Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Example Of Public Money Used For The Public Good

I've always held that Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is one of the best aspects of the modern IT landscape. But like all software, FOSS needs constant effort to keep up to date, and this effort costs money. A variety of funding models have sprung up, where for-profit companies try to sell a variety of peripheral services while keeping software free.

However, one of the most obvious ways to fund the development of FOSS is government funding. Government funding is public money, and if it isn't used to fund the development of software that is freely available to the public but spent on proprietary software instead, then it's an unjustifiable waste of taxpayers' money.

It was therefore good to read that the Dutch government recently paid to develop better support for the WS-ReliableMessaging standard in the popular Open Source Apache CXF services framework. I was also gratified to read that the developer who was commissioned to make these improvements was Dennis Sosnoski, with whom I have been acquainted for many years, thanks mainly to his work on the JiBX framework for mapping Java to XML and vice-versa. It's good to know that talented developers can earn a decent dime while doing what they love and contributing to the world, all at the same time.

Here's to more such examples of publicly funded public software!

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Neat Tool To Manage Sys V Services in Linux

I was trying to get PostgreSQL's "pgagent" process (written to run as a daemon) to run on startup like other Linux services, and came upon this nice visual (i.e., curses) tool to manage services.

It's called "sysv-rc-conf" (install with "sudo apt-get install sysv-rc-conf"), and when run with "sudo sysv-rc-conf", brings up a screen like this:

It's not really "graphics", but to a command-line user, this is as graphical as it gets

All services listed in /etc/init.d appear in this table. The columns are different Unix runlevels. Most regular services need to be running in runlevels 2, 3, 4 and 5, and stopped in the others. Simply move the cursor to the desired cells and press Tab to toggle it on or off. The 'K' (stop) and 'S' (start) symbolic links are automatically written into the respective rc.d directories. Press 'q' to quit the tool and satisfy yourself that the symbolic links are all correctly set up.

You can manually start and stop as usual:

/etc/init.d$ sudo ./myservice start
/etc/init.d$ sudo ./myservice stop

Plus, your service will be automatically started and stopped when the system enters the appropriate runlevels.