Stories by Neil McAllister

Drizzle Project Plans a Stripped-Down MySQL

The open source MySQL database began life as a lightweight alternative to big, resource-hungry database management systems, such as Oracle or Sybase. Over the years, however, users have clamored for more and more features, causing MySQL's codebase to swell with capabilities that had previously only been found on its commercial cousins.

A biological approach to security

Over at the Open Sources blog, Savio Rodrigues calls attention to two critical security vulnerabilities in the Spring Framework for Java. They were discovered by security consultancy Ounce Labs, which disclosed the exploits in a detailed report. If you use Spring for critical business applications, you'll definitely want to be aware of the threats and take appropriate measures.

Developers: Firefox 3.1 update should be 'easy'

The release of Firefox 3.0 has been a resounding success, but for some the upgrade path has been less than painless. The latest version of the open source browser differed enough from previous versions that many add-ons had to be substantially rewritten before they would work with the new release. And just when the dust appeared to be clearing, Firefox 3.1 is on the horizon.

The Web development skills crisis

The proliferation of Web technologies has been much on my mind lately. Last week, I talked about the continuum of Web development tools, ranging from traditional browser-based technologies all the way to applications deployed as binary executables. The interesting thing is that all of these tools are designed to achieve similar goals. So which do you use?

Is the Web still the Web?

For developers of RIAs (rich Internet applications), Adobe's announcement that Google and Yahoo will soon be able to index text within Flash movies should come as welcome news. Until now, Flash files have been black boxes; with these binary files, search indexers could no more extract textual information from them than from JPEGs or PNGs.

Making desktop Linux work for business

Today's IT managers face tough choices. PCs that run fine today have an uncertain upgrade path, now that Microsoft has chosen to discontinue Windows XP. Upgrade costs associated with Vista, coupled with the ever-escalating cost of application licenses, make switching to desktop Linux an increasingly attractive option.

Nokia: Open source developers should play by our rules

I was a little surprised to hear Nokia vice president of software Ari Jaaski's comments last week. Not long ago, Nokia got off to a great start by embracing open source for its mobile device business. But now, according to Jaaski, it's the open source developer community that needs to adapt to the ways of commercial software vendors, not the other way around.

Google and Yahoo to partner on IM

Most of the attention to the recent Google/Yahoo partnership has focused on the two companies' search advertising plans, but the deal has implications for instant messaging, too. "In addition," reads the companies' press release, "Yahoo and Google agreed to enable interoperability between their respective instant messaging services, bringing easier and broader communication to users."

15 turning points in tech history

Imagine how different the computing world would be if IBM had used proprietary chips in the original PC, rather than off-the-shelf components. The PC clone market would never have happened, and IBM, rather than Microsoft, might have emerged as the leading company of the computer revolution.

Open source awards accepting nominations

Is open source software a part of your daily computing life? Now is your chance to sound off about it. Sourceforge.net, an online community that hosts open source projects, is accepting nominations for its annual Community Choice awards.

Is Palm worth developing for?

Palm isn't dead yet! That's the word from Palm CEO Ed Colligan, speaking at the recent media launch of the Palm Centro in Australia. To hear him tell it, the once-pioneering handheld maker is set to come roaring back onto the stage with new products, a new focus, and a brand-new, Linux-based OS, code-named Nova.

How Microsoft lost the office file format battle

Score one for the good guys: Last week, Microsoft announced that not only would Office 2007 Service Pack 2 support the ODF (Open Document Format) standard, but the productivity suite would not offer support for the ISO standard version of Microsoft's own OOXML (Office Open XML) format until its next major version, release date unknown.

My kid could code that

Imagine what it must be like to be an abstract-expressionist painter. You spend countless hours slaving over the canvas, applying all your creative talents and academic training to produce the truest expression of your painterly art, only to hear some gallery patron whisper, "My kid could do that."