Android isn’t open source

There’s been a lot of discussion over documents coming out about Google’s strategy with Android. Google wants to use a Carrot and Stick strategy with Android to try and maintain control of the platform. This involves giving hardware manufacturers that behave early access to new code. It also meant that the code is developed in private and only released after the fact.

I don’t care what Google or others say, this isn’t open source. This is published source. There is no way to see bugs, contribute a patch, or take part in discussions on development. The only saving grace is that Google is publishing their code with a fairly unrestrictive license.

What this situation is screaming for is to have someone with a desire to actually behave in an open source manner to come along and fork the code. Then allow developers to contribute to that branch and let Google go it on their own. My hope is that Amazon will do exactly that with their fork of the Android code base.

Getting EHCache to shutdown cleanly in a webapp

I was seeing an annoying issue with a webapp having trouble shutting down cleanly. I would issue the tomcat stop command and most everything would shutdown, but I’d get this error:

Exception in thread "Multicast Heartbeat Receiver Thread" java.lang.NullPointerException
 at org.slf4j.impl.Log4jLoggerAdapter.error(Log4jLoggerAdapter.java:493)
 at net.sf.ehcache.distribution.MulticastKeepaliveHeartbeatReceiver$MulticastReceiverThread.run(MulticastKeepaliveHeartbeatReceiver.java:137)

After the error, the Multicast Heartbeat Receiver would not shutdown and would just hang. Eventually you would have to kill off the java process manually.

Doing a quick search found this page. With a small snippet added to the web.xml to add a shutdown listener everything shutdowns cleanly now.

<listener>
  <listener-class>net.sf.ehcache.constructs.web.ShutdownListener</listener-class>
</listener>

My Own Search Engine

I guess every software engineer should be writing their own competitors to Google and Facebook in their garage (in a future post I’ll include pics of our garage data center).  Because of issues I saw with Facebook, I created ReadPath. A social network with more of a focus on privacy and news sharing. It’s currently about 70% done. UI still needs lots of tweaks and there are some features that need to be completed.

One nice bonus of running ReadPath, is that it is constantly spidering content from RSS feeds for the news reader. The other day I realized that I’ve now stored a full billion content items going back several years. So of course having that much content I had to create a search engine to mine it. So, I created MiniSearch to play with different concepts involved in running a general search engine. There are a lot of things that turned out to be a lot harder than expected.

Currently the index is in the process of being built and only includes 20% of available content. There is also a lot of work to be done with ranking still. I’ll post again when I think it’s in a more usable state.

Moving back to Firefox

With the release of Firefox 4.0 today, I’ve switched my default browser back to Firefox. Chrome had taken over for awhile because it was cleaner and faster. The latest Firefox seems to be just as fast now and I prefer having access to Firebug when I need it without having to open another browser.

Great Job Mozilla guys 🙂

Virtualizing Mission Critical Applications

Jaimie has organized a webinar to discuss what it takes to manage a large scale virtualization project.

One of the speakers, Mr. Brodhun, is uniquely qualified on this subject having previously served as Technical Director for Enterprise Standards and Technologies for the United States Marine Corps, where he oversaw the deployment of approximately 2,300 ESX hosts and nearly 7,000 virtual machines across 167 sites.

Regardless of the size of your virtualization project, you’ll learn how to maximize uptime and performance of mission critical applications, while eliminating hidden costs that can decrease virtualization ROI upwards of 50%.

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