Monthly Donations: Perl Dancer and the “Friends to the Animals” Foundation

June 30th, 2014

I’m blogging from the scene of destruction and havoc that used to be my apartment, but it’s currently undergoing renovation and this is what it’s turned into. There is dust everywhere, the furniture is all over the place, and I’m having trouble finding my way around. In short, it’s like a major rewrite of a large code base, but in real life.

Anyway, some renovation-shmenovation won’t stop me from continuing the initiative of monthly donations — so here we go. It has become a tradition of its own that June is the month when I support Dancer, my favorite Perl web framework, which I use both for work and for my personal projects with great joy. This year is no exception, and with my donation to the project I’m sending the well-deserved big thanks to the developers and maintainers of the project.

The second donation that I’m making this month goes to the “Friends to the Animals” Foundation, based in Katowice (whom I also support regularly — the previous time was in November last year). Their mission is to help mistreated and abandoned animals and to raise awareness of animal welfare issues, and I know they are truly dedicated to their cause. Thank you for your great work, Friends to the Animals!

Monthly Donations: The Perl Foundation and “Przystan Ocalenie”

May 31st, 2014

This month marks the second anniversary of Operation “Monthly Donations”, which I started back in May 2012. Since then, every month I have made a small donation to an open source project (or an organization that supported the open source movement in some way), and to a charity organization or other good cause.

Like I did last year, celebrating the first anniversary, I’m sending this month’s donations to the same recipients that I supported at the very beginning — the Perl Foundation, which stands behind my beloved programming language, and “Przystan Ocalenie”, the great people who run an animal shelter for horses saved from slaughter and other animals that suffered from abuse or abandonment.

Here’s to year three and beyond!

Monthly Donations: Sudo and the Animal Shelter in Olsztyn

April 30th, 2014

As the glorious tradition goes, I’m doing another round of monthly donations supporting open source projects and charity organizations, and per a slightly less glorious tradition, I’m doing this on the lastest day of the month.

This month’s open source project that I’m supporting is one small utility that is so common that I found it hard to even think of it as a project of its own, it seems like an elemental component of every operating system that I’m using these days. And if you’re reading this on Linux or Mac OS X, it’s pretty likely that you use it all the time as well, because I’m talking about Sudo, the program that gives you great power whenever you need it.

Sudo is mostly used to gain root privileges, but it can do much more than just that — it’s highly configurable and gives you fine-grained control over who’s allowed to run which commands.

I’m also supporting the Animal Shelter in Olsztyn (for the second time, since I also sent them a donation last year).

Monthly Donations: Nginx and the WWF Poland Lynx Campaign

March 31st, 2014

Update from last month’s post: things haven’t slowed down yet like I hoped they would, and I still haven’t had the time to return to my precious projects. But the day will come, and it will come soon. Now, let’s do this month’s donations.

The open source project that I’m supporting this month is Nginx, the web/proxy server that’s famous for its performance. It’s currently the second or third (depending on how you count) most widely used web server on the planet. Over the past few years, I’ve personally witnessed how its popularity increased based on the web projects that I’ve been participating in — more and more often, Nginx was being chosen as the web server to run the project on. To Nginx project team — congratulations and keep up the great work!

By the way, the fine FLOSS Weekly podcast covered Nginx in one of the recent episodes — I recommend it if you want to learn a bit more about this project and where it’s headed.

The second donation that I’m making this month is to a cause that I already supported a year ago, and that is the WWF Poland Lynx Campaign. It’s an initiative of the Polish office of WWF to restore the population of lynx in the Mazury region in Poland. Since March last year, they have introduced three new lynxes to the Mazurian woods. I’m glad to know they are moving forward with their efforts and I wish them best of luck.

Monthly Donations: The OpenBSD Foundation and the “Little Claw” Foundation

February 28th, 2014

My blog is temporarily in sleep mode with just the donation announcements coming up every month — I’m sorry about that, but I’m swamped with work and have zero time for writing posts or for my personal projects. Hopefully, in March things will slow down a bit and I’ll have some time to get back to that.

Anyway, it is the time for this month’s donations. The first organization that I’m donating to is the OpenBSD Foundation, and it’s yet another long-deserved donation, as I’m an everyday user of the two main products that are supported by the Foundation — OpenBSD and OpenSSH. An OpenBSD machine acts as a gateway in my home network, and pretty much every machine that I use is running OpenSSH. So, guys, thanks for being with me all the time and keeping my network activities secure!

I’m also sending a donation to the “Little Claw” Foundation (not to be confused with “Cat’s Claw” that I supported last month), which helps stray cats by neutering them and finding them new homes. Some time ago I had the pleasure of speaking with the Foundation’s director, and I know the people behind it are truly dedicated to their cause. I wish them all the best in their efforts.

Monthly Donations: Transmission and the “Cat’s Claw” Foundation

January 31st, 2014

Once again I’m doing the monthly donations on the very last day of the month. I wonder if there’s a badge for a master procrastinator… Alright, let’s get down to business.

The open source project that I’m donating to this month is Transmission, the popular BitTorrent client, initially released back in 2005. Highly renowned for its stability and low resource usage, it’s currently the default BitTorrent client on a number of Linux distributions. I happily use it both on a Linux desktop and on a MacBook.

The second of this month’s donations is to the “Cat’s Claw” Foundation in Poznan, formed in 2006, which is committed to providing help to stray animals — mostly cats, as the name suggests. It’s the second time that I’m supporting the Foundation, the first time was a year ago.

All the best to the “Cat’s Claw” crew of volunteers, and to the cats under their care!

Behold, the Emperor

January 27th, 2014

Remember the elegant dog with the magnificent name of Emperor that I virtually adopted last month? The good people at the “Last Chance” Foundation who are taking care of Emperor sent me a couple photos of him, which I’m now happy to share.

Hang in there, Emperor!

Monthly Donations: Free Software Foundation and the “Last Chance” Foundation

December 31st, 2013

Festivities done, the end of December is nigh, so it’s high time for the last round of donations this fine year.

This month I’m yet again making a donation that’s long-deserved, to an organization which had a great influence in shaping the free software/open source movement into what it is today — the Free Software Foundation, established by Richard Stallman back in 1985.

Currently, the Foundation is collecting donations to build up their budget for 2014. Chip in if you can!

As usual, I’m also sending a donation to a charity organization that is not related to technology, and this time I’m supporting the “Last Chance” Foundation, which runs an animal shelter near my home town of Rawa Mazowiecka. It’s the second time that I’m donating to them, the first one was in June last year when I virtually adopted a dog named Michał (yes, we shared the same name). Now I’m also virtually adopting a dog that goes by the glorious name of Emperor.

I wish all the best and a Happy New Year to the people of the Foundation and all the animals under their care.

Showstopper – Book Review

December 23rd, 2013

I first heard about this book on a programming-related podcast, where the host recommended it enthusiastically and sparked my interest. The book recounts the course of the Windows NT project from the very beginning in the late 80s to the glorious day of release in July 1993. It was (and probably still is) one of the largest and most ambitious software projects undertaken at Microsoft.

The focus of the narrative is on the people working on the project, with technology and business matters in the background. The making of NT is presented as an extremely challenging and demanding endeavor, requiring great commitment from those involved in it, especially the people who shaped the product and the development process.

Some of the heroes of the story are placed in the spotlight and the reader gets to know more about them than just what their job on the project was. Dave Cutler, the lead developer, gets the most attention, which is justified by his role and the effect that he had on other programmers (at one point they built him an altar). A lot is told about how new people joined the project, how teams were formed, how conflicts arose and got resolved, and how being immersed in the stressful work environment affected the personal lives of the participants and their families.

While the book does touch on many technical topics, it presents them on a rather high level and rarely dives into the nitty-gritty details (a code fragment is only shown once or twice throughout the text). A basic understanding of how computers and operating systems work should be sufficient to follow the story.

At all times, it’s apparent that the author took great care to present the story comprehensively and accurately. Many excerpts from messages and memos exchanged between project members are included, and an impressive number of people have been interviewed for the book – their names are collected in a list after the epilogue. The author did his research, no doubt about it.

I found “Showstopper” a very good, amusing read and I recommend it to anyone interested in software projects (especially large-scale ones), or technology in general.

Monthly Donations: The Mozilla Foundation and Fred the Cat

November 30th, 2013

Here I come with another round of donations to open source projects and charity organizations.

The first of this month’s donations goes to the Mozilla Foundation, which I also supported last year — back then I endorsed them for Thunderbird, the excellent e-mail client. This time I’d like to thank them for their efforts in building the Mozilla Developer Network, a documentation and community website for web developers. It was founded back in 2005 with the goal of creating a high quality documentation center, and over the years has pretty much accomplished this objective. For me, when it comes to HTML, CSS, or JavaScript documentation, MDN is usually the first place to go. Thanks guys, keep up the great work!

My second donation is to the “Friends to the Animals” Foundation, also a “regular” — I donated to them back in April and in August last year. This time I’m supporting a cat by the name of Fred, who was found by a friend of the Foundation after being badly hit by a car. The cat had to have a serious surgery procedure, and is now slowly recovering.

Best wishes to the caring people of the Foundation, and to Fred — get well soon, buddy!