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bronto (1193)

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Perl "programmer" since ~1995. System Administrator

Journal of bronto (1193)

Friday November 16, 2007
03:35 AM

Today's Perl problem is popularity, not power


It took a long time to come back, didn't it?

Just a few words to inform you that my blog entry "Today's Perl problem is popularity, not power" was published on the Free Software Magazine. It contains just my own personal opinion on how the Perl6 process is going, and everybody is free to comment wherever he/she sees fit, even if commenting on the source site is the preferred choice.


Thursday August 31, 2006
02:42 AM

an AxKit success story

[ #30813 ]

The following message was sent a couple of days ago to the axkit-users list, so I believe it's public and it can be republished here. I think it's great, but I leave it to you to comment about.


Hi Matt and all,

>> My company is preparing a huge development project based on AxKit - a
>> virtual document management system. The core will be built on top of
>> AxKit, and we plan to contribute the whole core to the community.

> That's awesome news.

With the risc of beeing of-topic:

Last year I created an AxKit plugin for OpenDocument files based on
Matts earlier work on OpenOffice 1.x files; however, I did use it in
another way than the way I think Matt originally intended. I used it for
a webserver CMS - letting my customers create and edit their webpages
using OpenOffice, and I then styled it and assured a consistent and
professional layout using an XSLT stylesheet. For the customers, all
they had to learn was how to up- and download their .odt files using
WebDAV, and how to edit them using OpenOffice - I took care of the

Wow, did they like it! That system has a huge potential - especially
when people figure out that they can even cut and paste pictures into
their OpenOffice file, and they'll show up nicely on their webpages. No
more hassles about uploading pictures to the right directory, no more
broken links when people still cannot do it right - everything's clean
and simple.

On the programming side, I planned to spend around three weeks to get
the system ready to roll: I started Saturday morning, and Sunday morning
I was happily creating the first layout for my sons homepage ;-). I like

By January, I started a new job. The company I work for primarily
develops ideas - real programming is usually outsourced. We have a close
relationship with Ricoh, the Japanese manufacturer of copying machines.
They wanted an idea that could integrate their machines closer in a
typical corporate network.

I brushed off my AxKit/OpenDoc project, worked it over a little, and
the result was VDMS - Virtual DMS. That was February. By March and April
my boss was on a Novell GroupWise tour all over Europe (totalling 15
countries), together with Ricoh and Blackberry. Included was a
description of VDMS - we wanted to see whether it was a product that
could be of interest to the potential customers. At the beginning of the
tour he tried to sell the idea, at the end of the tour he tried to keep
potential customers away - they where crazy about it.

By May, we signed a special high-priority development contract with
Ricoh. By July, we signed another development contract with Blackberry.
We have agreed that we develop the system, and Ricoh will market it
worldwide. That means a salesforce of 9.000 people... So far we have
interest from one of the worlds largest oil companies, one of the worlds
largest car manufacturers, one of the worlds largest shipping companies
(which happens to be Danish, so we're in very close contact on that
one), several very large banks, and the list goes on.

We have signed a pilot contract with a building contractor who will
fund the first development phase; apart from VDMS, we will write
software that allows a Ricoh MFP to be used as a file and directory
server. It is said that the Ricoh machines run Linux - however, I think
it's either Open- or FreeBSD instead, but anyway it's quite interesting.
And we have even more dirty tricks up the sleave that I'm not allowed to
talk about at the moment.

But what is VDMS? In principle, it's a Linux host running Axkit and a
bit of other software. It has a lot of SOAP interfaces to other boxes,
allowing it to handle all documents in a company. We've created a lot of
documentation, but to keep it short, a will give a few examples of the

* All documents handled by VDMS shall be in OpenDoc format. That means
converting MS Office docs to OpenDoc, helping people to migrate their
docs to a better format ;-).

* The building contractor can scan a meeting resume at a building site
on a Ricoh MFP. The Ricoh machine has a full Java SDK, so we create a
client that will pass the scan on to VDMS through a SOAP interface. VDMS
has rules that defines where the document - a raw scan - should be
stored. It can be an ordinary file server, allowing access to the
document using ordinary means, or it can be a database system, or
whatever. Anyway, VDMS has another rule that dictates that the doc
should be OCR scanned by a suitable engine. So the doc is forwarded to
the OCR scanner, and stored on the fileserver again, this time as
searchable text as well as the original bitmap. A new rule requires the
scan to be proof read, so it's forwarded using email to a proof reader
and stored again when it's finished.

* Of course you can create all kind of indexing for such a document;
but the interesting part is when you want to retrieve it. You can do
that using a huge range of clients such as a browser, a mobile phone, a
PDA, a Ricoh machine, etc. etc. Every device requires a special format,
and I expect AxKit to handle that flawlessly ;-). The printer is an
interesting special case: We will format the document in XSL:FO, then
convert it to PostScript and print it. But we're in a unique position to
suggest to Ricoh that they create a native XSL:FO engine, completely
bypassing PostScript. That's quite a potential - and Ricoh listens a

* But VDMS can retrieve "documents" from a lot of other sources: As an
example, GroupWise has a SOAP interface, so we can create an XML based
mail client. The idea is to create a VFolder that will allow, say, the
building contractor to create folders for each project containing not
only ordinary files, but also all emails related to the project,
financial data from their accounting system, data from outside partners,
etc. etc. VFolder creates a unified view of all the data, it's XML
based, and handled by AxKit. We intend to create a VFolder as a Windows
Explorer extension, as a Java client for Ricoh and Blackberry, etc.

* The whole core project - the various AxKit plugins, the specification
of the various SOAP interfaces, the (huge amount) of XSLT stylesheets,
etc. will be released as Open Source. The customized clients for Ricoh,
Blackberry, Windows, etc. will probably be closed source and sold.

* I'm particularly thrilled by seeing that Matt has included RDF
support in his Gallery demo. That's another road we want to go with VDMS
as well - creating and handling metadata and making it available in RDF

So - does this sound interesting? At least it's a lot of work, so if
anyone would like to join the party, please contact me the sooner the
better. We already have the customers, we have a global salesforce - we
just need a little coding...


Monday August 28, 2006
04:54 AM

The System Administrator song

Saturday May 20, 2006
03:21 PM

bye bye skype?

It's such a long time that they don't update Skype for Linux... No new features, but above all no bugfixes and no improvements.

I discovered Wengophone today.

It's multi-platform, it's standards-based, it's free software, it's cheaper than skype to place phone calls, it works. If I have to find a defect in the first day that I tried it, it's that it's partially written in Python :-)

Maybe it's time to say goodbye to Skype...

Friday March 10, 2006
09:08 AM

A real Enigma machine!

[ #28950 ]

From irc://, today

(14:18:29) kjetilkWork: wow
(14:18:57) kjetilkWork: $self->cow-orker just demonstrated a real WWII army enigma machine
(14:19:22) kjetilkWork: a real, _working_ enigma machine :-)
(14:39:17) bronto: kjetilkWork: WOW!
(14:39:34) ***bronto wonders how he did got one
(14:41:02) bronto: s/got/get/
(14:49:41) kjetilkWork: apparently, his grandfather found it
(14:49:55) kjetilkWork: he was in the illegal resistance
(14:50:28) kjetilkWork: he first saw the machine at his grandfather's place when he was about 10
(14:50:39) kjetilkWork: but no-one in the family knew what it was
(14:51:06) kjetilkWork: it was not untill a recent bad hollywood movie that he understood it
(14:51:47) kjetilkWork: the thing looked really new, actually...
(14:51:59) kjetilkWork: it was an army field model
(14:52:07) kjetilkWork: but had probably never been out of an office
(14:52:38) kjetilkWork: so, it was probably just that his grandfather had grabbed in the days of may 1945
(14:53:53) bronto: :)
(14:54:06) bronto: may I post this conversation snippet in a blog?
(14:55:01) kjetilkWork: hmmm, I think someone will blog the even soonish, better point to that
(15:00:21) bronto: "will blog the even soonish"????
(15:05:47) kjetilkWork: eh
(15:05:52) kjetilkWork: the event soonish...
(15:05:55) kjetilkWork: :-)
(15:06:17) kjetilkWork: one of my cow-orkers took a few pics

Monday October 17, 2005
07:55 AM non e` una cosa seria!

Stamattina, mentre mi vestivo, la radio era accesa e parlavano dell'ultima giornata del Campionato di Calcio. Ad un certo punto mia moglie ha sbottato: "Parlano come se fosse una cosa seria, che fastidio!!!!".


Ho spento la radio. Chi non ha niente da dire dovrebbe stare zitto!!!


Thursday August 25, 2005
08:27 AM

Se la vita ti sorride...

[ #26461 ]
Se la vita ti sorride, vuol dire che ha trovato qualcun'altro da prendere per il c**o.
Saturday August 20, 2005
04:22 PM

Aerei (in italian)

[ #26402 ]

Ogni giorno, da casa e dal lavoro, vedo aerei partire.

Sento il tuono dei loro motori lanciati al massimo per il decollo.

Vedo le loro luci puntare il cielo la notte.

E ogni volta la malinconia di essere inchiodato qui mi pervade, e non vedo il giorno in cui potro` partire anch'io...

Monday April 25, 2005
03:01 PM

Paolo Meneguzzi...

[ #24367 ]
Saturday April 09, 2005
04:59 PM

I've seen *the* Life in my hands


On March 16th, my first son Andrea was born.

They were really bad days for our LUG (named GULCh), where an huge an hungry flame was burning in the mailing list, taking some of our associates away -some of them where really valid people and will be missed.

But Andrea was there.

There were people that were behaving bad.

But Andrea was there.

So, the same night that Andrea was born, I wrote an email that I never sent to the list, and that you can read it here.

It's in Italian, sorry about that. I'll try to translate it in English, sooner or later, unless someone else wants to do that for me and post a translation as a comment.

Sono stato molto occupato oggi, al punto che internet non sapevo neanche cosa fosse. Un amico mi ha fatto sapere che oggi qualcuno su questa lista si e` divertito a buttare fango sul GULCh e sui soci del GULCh "studentelli che non conoscono il mondo del lavoro"

Ma sapete una cosa?

Dove sono io oggi queste cose non arrivano neanche.
Dove sono io oggi tutte le bassezze e le meschinita` che possono essere state dette sono cosi` piccole e lontane che non le vedo neanche.
Dove sono io oggi tutte le cattiverie gratuite che qualcuno puo` aver detto su quanto ho fatto nel GULCh e per il GULCh non arrivano neanche a sfiorarmi.

Io oggi ho visto la vita. E la vita e` una cosa cosi` grande che nessuno che non l'abbia vista puo` riuscire a immaginare.
E` una cosa cosi` grande che, in confronto, lo sfogo della vostra cattiveria ha oggi per me le dimensioni che gli sono proprie: niente.

Io oggi ho visto la vita. Una cosa cosi` grande e allo stesso tempo cosi` umile da lasciarsi prendere in braccio.

Io oggi ho visto la vita. Una cosa cosi` grande che ha voluto avere bisogno di me per affermare, oggi, che da questo momento esiste per se stessa; che ha origine da me, ma che non e` per me perche' e` altro da me.

Io oggi ho visto la vita. E non riesco a vedere nient'altro.

Domani, forse, riuscirete di nuovo a farmi del male.

Ma oggi ho visto la vita. E voi, le vostre cattiverie, i vostri complessi, le vostre chiacchiere inutili, la vostra miseria, non esistono.

Potete urlare quanto vi pare, ma oggi non mi avete.

Continuate a seminare morte. Continuate a cercare di distruggere. Io, ancora finche' posso, rimango a guardare questo mistero; questa cosa che ha saputo sopravvivere alla cattiveria dell'uomo dall'inizio dell'esistenza.

Ho visto la vita. Una cosa che sopravvivera` anche a voi.