There's no getting around it: OpenACS is a complex beast. Although the software is generally excellent, it requires an experienced UNIX/web/database hacker to use and modify it. Even the installation procedure is long and complicated, and I can assure you from personal experience that it's often hard to understand where you have made a mistake. The documentation is improving, but there are many gaping holes and difficult-to-understand table structures that can be confusing.
As if that weren't enough, the code isn't completely finished in many places. Yes, the fact that OpenACS is open source does mean you can fix things yourselves. And the community is generally quite open and generous, giving help to those who are trying to get started with it. But it's frustrating to hear constantly that the packages you need are almost ready or that someone expects to finish with them at some point in the future. I'm not averse to helping improve open-source projects, especially when it benefits me (and my clients) directly, but many small annoyances can add up quickly.
Given these complaints, it might seem absurd to think that I endorse OpenACS at all. And indeed, it probably will take some time for the dust to settle and for all of the necessary improvements to be made. But there's no getting around the fact that OpenACS provides a much richer infrastructure for creating on-line communities than anything else I've seen. The included applications might not work completely, but they work pretty darned well overall, and provide most of the functionality that my clients need, right out of the box. Finally, a number of commercial consulting companies, several universities and one or two dozen independent consultants are working on improvements and extensions to OpenACS that promise to make it more robust and featurefull than it is today.
If you're creating an on-line community, and you're not afraid to get your hands dirty with Tcl and SQL code, then you should take a serious look at OpenACS. This month, we considered the overall structure of OpenACS and saw how to install its various elements. Next month, we'll look at how to install and manage the various packages that come with OpenACS, so that we can put together a custom community site that includes only those programs that we really need.
Reuven M. Lerner is a consultant specializing in web/database applications and open-source software. His book, Core Perl, was published in January 2002 by Prentice Hall. Reuven lives in Modi'in, Israel, with his wife and daughter.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide