CVS notification emails

One of the guys at work wanted to get a notification when just one branch of his repository received a commit. I tried setting it up in the master.conf but never could get it to work for just one branch. Finally I googled around and found a nice explanation of how to do it with loginfo at this website.  The one minor issue I had was that the mail command on my cvs box did not include a -s flag, but I changed that over to mailx and we were up and running.

It goes without saying that you don’t want some propietary commit info to be sent in notification emails so if a developer requests this sort of set up ask a few questions about what data will be needed.  Also, add yourself to the notification list for a little while to see how the developers are using the tool.

Also, this is usually a beginner level issue, be sure that your box is configured to relay mail out.  A simple test message like below should get you an email in your inbox(check junk and spam filters).

Enter this as one line:

echo "test body" | mailx -s "test subject",

It’s Lives, My WebMonkey LIVES!!!!!

Long ago, when dial-ups were the norm unless you were on campus and ISPs set you up by giving you a CD that would load Netscape onto your computer with their particular settings, there was a website.  It helped me publish my first website which, embarrassingly enough, was a bunch of high school poetry.  It had these tutorials that would tell you how to load and set up some technology and then you could play around with that technology.  It was called Web Monkey and I knew about it because I was a serious Wired Magazine devotee.

A few years back, Wired decided that it was time for the Monkey to retire.  But something a little strange happened.  They retired it, but I could still get to their content, like their HTML Cheat Sheet.  So, I kept hoping and hoping that it would come back to life some day.

Well apparently the time has come.  In Wired Digital’s infinite wisdom they bought the rights back to the website and are going to bring it back as a Wiki.  I love Wiki’s and I love me some Web Monkey, so this is right up my alley.  Who knows, maybe I’ll actually start developing again instead of sitting on the sidelines and commenting.

Punch the Monkey to give it a shot:


Perl is going away? No way Jose.

Unbeknown to me, some people have been asserting that Perl’s heyday has come and gone.  Sterling Hanenkamp and Kevin Marshall have posted a fair rebuttal over at  I thought I’d tag on a bit to what Kevin and Sterling brought up.

Truly great languages do receive updates less frequently as they age.  That’s because such a large base of programmers have learned the earlier libraries and being the bright chaps they are, they requested more and more features.  Until at a certain point the product becomes so eminently usable that very little else needs to be added for most users.

Now there are going to be specific requirements for each project and that’s where the development comes in.  But god bless these bright chaps, because not only do many Perl programmers write this custom code, but they frequently check it back into CPAN as modules.

So other people who program similar projects with these precise requirements don’t have to reinvent the 7-spoke, 16″, lithium-greased, carbon steel wheel.  You see, Perl provided the wheel to everyone who worked with the base language.  But not everyone needs a 7-spoke, 16″, lithium-greased, carbon steel wheel.  Especially when they’re writing really secure code that has to be analyzed line by line for security risks.  Or if they want to write really small code that will work on a mobile phone or embedded code.

Why is this good for business?

Do you really want your programmers to have to re-learn their code-base every 5 years?  I knew lots of people who used to know how to do some Visual C++ and Visual Basic development back in the .com days.  Then along came Java.  In the midst of this came a lot of middleware that provided common libraries for programmers.  And then came .net.  Now, most Java developers don’t do Microsoft stuff, but these days some .net guys do perl and some java guys do some .net.

But trying to find and hire people that will mesh with whatever mix of code your shop is currently running is difficult for technical managers.  It’s completely impossible for HR and non-technical managers.

Now I’m not saying that hiring Perl developers is necessarily any easier.  And I’m not trying to be a Luddite either.  All I’m saying is that new revisions of products come out when current needs aren’t being met.  So we haven’t needed another Perl for a while now.

And Sterling hits on a brilliant point about how poorly the TIOBE index measures current market needs or the current state of code development.  Go figure that a free language doesn’t have a bunch of PR geeks hiring Search Engine Optimization guys to drive up the results of people’s searches.  Microsoft and Sun are literally spending millions of dollars to try in tilt these sort of comparison’s in their favor because it helps them make money.  Then we have to spend our money to learn the new skills, license the new libraries, call for support on their poorly written new projects, etc. etc.

In summary, Perl still kicks much ass and it’s not going anywhere any time soon because the price is right, it does the heavy lifting, has a good community full of nice people like the Perl Monks and Larry Wall is god.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

intriguing writing – The Joel Test

I’ve been around coders for years, almost 2 decades now.  Software development isn’t easy, especially if you’re not technical and you’re managing the developers.  I can clearly tell you that these precepts are essential.  Grade yourselves by them quarterly and you’ll make money IF your business model is sound.  Even great programming can’t sell turds as apple pies.