Monthly Archives: February 2008


I’m on the point of accepting a job offer. This is the culmination of several months discussion and negotiation, since $bigco first contacted me on September 9th last year, indicating their interest in recruiting me. For the first time since 1997, I’ll be on a payroll other than my own.

Accepting this means I’ll be earning quite a lot more than I’ve sustained in the past, though naturally less than my full charge-out rate (peak earnings) at WebThing, or indeed some of what’s been dangled in front of me. Indeed, I didn’t even try to haggle over money, but concentrated instead on things I care about: working from home without some ghastly commute, and retaining the right to maintain and continue specific existing work without $bigco claiming ownership. Anyway, I’m very happy to replace intermittent contract-work earnings with a regular salary, which is exactly what’s happening to my finances.

Apart from retaining my freedoms, the other good news is the work itself, which will continue to be dominated by Apache development. My level of commitment to core development work will not suffer, and could potentially even benefit in some areas.

For the forseeable future, WebThing will continue as-is, with the important exception that I’ll no longer offer paid consulting and support work. For existing/past clients, I will of course honour existing commitments. If you have followup issues, I will of course do my best to help, with the proviso that I can no longer commit my own time to you.

Much more on this subject to come!

Apache Database Apps

It seems the ApacheLounge folks are powering ahead in developing DBD-enabled versions of standard modules. Specifically, Tom Donovan has written modules for DBD logging and vhost-configuration. The latter could be particularly useful, as database-powered configuration is a semi-FAQ in the support fora.

So the portfolio of DBD applications is gradually growing. We now have authentication/authorization, configuration, logging, mod_rewrite (RewriteMap), embedded queries (mod_sql/mod_sqil) and general-purpose forms processing with mod_form.

I’m not trying to follow adoption amongst the scripting languages.

Winter == this morning

This morning we had a sufficiently hard frost for much of town to be dressed in white.

Why am I remarking on such a perfectly normal thing?  Because it’s no longer normal.  We’re a thoroughly maritime climate, meaning we get neither cold winters nor hot summers.  But twenty years ago we’d have had our first such frost sometime in November, and the coldest days would remain below freezing all day.  Indeed, the government in the 1980s introduced a “cold weather” payment to help pensioners, which was triggered when the temperature maximum remained below -2 for several consecutive days (I forget how many).

And now, a first visible frost comes only in February, and is pretty much gone by 11a.m.  No wonder things like English wine are becoming mainstream!

Business never healthier?

A lot of mergers and acquisitions when the acquired companies aren’t in serious trouble is strongly correlated with a healthy market, right? I thought that was conventional wisdom amongst economists.

Even as the financial sector and the meeja are crying meltdown, the tech sector is forging ahead. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the two big deals in a day: Sun/MySQL and Oracle/BEA. Since then we’ve had another two smaller but nevertheless substantial takeovers: Nokia’s of TrollTech, and SpringSource’s of Covalent. And today, the biggest potential deal of the season to date, with Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo. The evident health of the tech sector is a sharp contrast to gloom and doom elsewhere.

I don’t think I can bring any great new insights to the deals. They’re all important in their own ways. TrollTech because of Qt: possibly a little troubling, in that the commitment to the GPL doesn’t seem to preclude a fork and a two-track future. Covalent less so for two reasons: it seems most unlikely that SpringSource would reduce commitment to Apache, and even if they did, Apache is a much broader community. And MS/Yahoo … obviously an attempt to rival Google, but I’ll be somewhat surprised if they succeed, at least if they try to challenge them head-on.