Saturday, June 28, 2008

Aaron Spuler — making Mozilla smile

I've been using Aaron Spuler's Mozilla themes for a few years. I don't know the guy, but for some reason his graphical vision just leads him to places that put happy thoughts in my head. (This is rather in contrast with the default Firefox and Thunderbird themes, which are, shall we say … uninspired.) Anyway, peruse his (free) wares at, and consider sending him a small donation if you dig it, too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Subversion 1.5 released

Subversion 1.5 — the single largest post-1.0 release of Subversion — was released today. The long wait is over.

And boy do I mean "the long wait". Over two years have been invested into this release, with most of the effort surrounding the flagship feature it delivers — semi-automated tracking of merges. In that time we've added nine fantastic new full committers to the project, a handful of partial committers, and seen contributions from many other volunteers. And I've nothing but praise for Hyrum Wright, our unpaid, volunteer release manager, who patiently endured not just alpha and beta releases but eleven (yes, *sigh*, eleven) release candidates.

One personal benefit of this lengthy process has been the opportunity to speak publicly on the topic several times. From local LUGs and developer groups, to SubConf in Munich last October, to JavaOne CommunityOne last month in San Francisco, and in various blog posts and webinars, I've been able to talk about Subversion 1.5's new features and improvements. I'm not a particularly suave public speaker, but I was surprised to find that I wasn't nearly as nervous about doing these gigs as I thought I would be. But more importantly, each of these public appearances allows me to talk with other folks I've never met before and hear about their excitement around Subversion and the other tools in the Subversion ecosystem. In a few weeks, I'll be in London, speaking at the itSMF-BCS Conference, and once again talking about Subversion 1.5. But this time it will be different. This time, I can talk about the release in the past tense!

For the intimate details of what this Subversion 1.5 brings, what upgrading means in terms of compatibility matters, and so on, I refer you to the official release notes. Also, my employer (CollabNet) has a handy-dandy collection of Subversion-1.5-related documentation, webinars, training session, and other material available.

Subversion 1.5 with merge tracking is released. ALL YOUR BASE[LINE] ARE BELONG TO US

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Songs I wish I could sing

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
~ Psalms 71:14-18 (NIV)

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Programmer Insecurity"

Ben Collins-Sussman seems to have found himself squarely in the middle of the "centralized vs. distributed version control" debate. It's not exactly what he intended to do, of course. Ben is just one of those folks who has years of experience in people-watching, and a keen ability to summarize the patterns he sees.

Ben's latest blog post (at the permalink-less URL is more of that observational goodness. This time he tackles programmer insecurity. If you're a programmer, check it out — perhaps Ben is describing someone you know.

(Oh, and his post ventured into The Land of Version Control Tools, so if you wait a few days to read it, you'll almost certainly get bonus entertainment provided by a slew of comments aimed at furthering the which-kind-of-version-control-is-better debate.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Final technical review of Version Control with Subversion, 2nd Edition

Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian Fitzpatrick, and I — the primary authors of Version Control with Subversion — are nearing the end of the editing cycle for the second edition of that book. Last week, I put out a call for technical review assistance to the Subversion development community, which you can read at

Would you consider helping us out with this task? We can't promise you fame and fortune, but we'd be glad to list you in the acknowledgments section of the book!

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's All Part of The Plan

Today's Bible reading had me in the book of 2 Kings, another in a series of relatively dry books describing the history of the Jews after they settled into the Promised Land. It's been a pretty depressing read as of late. Over twenty times in the books of 1 and 2 Kings alone does the Bible say that somebody — typically one of the kings of either Israel or Judah (yes, a nation split into two, as if the story wasn't enough of a downer) — "did evil in the eyes of the Lord". And usually, that phrase is followed with "… like his father". [Sidebar: Dads, if you think you've got even a remote chance of your kids not learning to behave from own example, you've got another think coming!]

So today I braced myself for more tales of war, deceit, betrayal, and some good old-fashioned doin' evil in the eyes of the Lord. And the reading didn't disappoint. 2 Kings 21 briefly describes Manasseh and Amon as two more of the evil kings.
But there was one bit in a previous chapter (chapter 19) that was actually hopeful; that actually made me read it twice over. In 2 Kings 19, the prophet Isaiah is comforting King Hezekiah (of Judah) with words from the Lord regarding the very real threat of an Assyrian takeover of Jerusalem. Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had been pen pals as of late with Hezekiah, but was using his quill to hurl insults against God and his people. Hezekiah knows the score: Assyria has basically conquered every land they've stepped foot it, and without some divine intervention, Jerusalem would surely be just another statistic in the Assyrian conquest. And now Isaiah is presenting to Hezekiah God's response to Hezekiah's earnest prayers for help.

You can read the response for yourself in 2 Kings 19:20-31, but if I may, I'll summarize it here. The response goes something like this:
My dearest Sennacherib,
You're nothing.

Yeah, yeah, you talk all big. You've got some military successes behind you, and you're getting a kick out of bragging about all that. I get it. But — oh? what's that? — oh, you didn't know? All that stuff you think you did back then?

That was all me.

You say you knocked over some strong cities? That was me. Oppressed some people? Me again.

It's all part of my plan, a plan I developed looooooong ago. And per my plan, you're time has come. Enough is enough. Lights out. Game over.

Sincerely, Almighty God
Within the time span of the next six verses, Assyria is struck by a plague that kills 185,000 people, and Sennacherib is murdered by his own sons.

God intervenes often in the stories of the Old Testament, but I appreciate how He reminds us now and again that He's ultimately in control of everything, even the stuff that looks at first glance like it's only happening to us because He's too busy to notice how we're getting dumped on.