spread: bad example of open source

The Spread toolkit is one of examples, where opensource project should better not exist. It is reliable multicast, it has APIs in multiple programming languages, and can provide message queueing facility you can run and forget. There’s even MySQL Message API based on it – you can use sync and async messaging between bunch of MySQL servers. Using Spread may give you lots of possibilities in deploying distributed system.

At Wikipedia’s content cluster we could use lots of synchronization based on Spread, but…

3. All advertising materials (including web pages) mentioning features or use
   of this software, or software that uses this software, must display the following
   acknowledgment:

   "This product uses software developed by Spread Concepts LLC for use in the Spread toolkit.
    For more information about Spread see http://www.spread.org"

That would mean that if we used Spread somewhere in cluster, we’d be showing adds for university project on every page (or at least that is what ‘must display’ sounds like). Of course, as some university project, it might want some advertisement, but I think it would get far more of it, if it was without viral advertisement clause – it is still the only framework of a kind out there.

Additional problem in such situation is that being half-free (or.. adware) it half-fills the need of proper messaging toolkit for community. Starting similar project when there’s Spread might not look attractive.. Of course, there’s always bunch of IRC servers – you would find lots of systems messaging needs efficiently implemented there, just without reliability and guarantees. But probably the best way would be simply asking Spread authors to release it under GPL or any other proper open source license? :)

php4: not supported, use php5

Tim wrote to PHP internals list, asking:

is there any intention to backport this simple but important bugfix to PHP 4?
Many PHP users are still using PHP 4, and it's not a very well advertised fact that
it does not properly support arrays with more than 64K entries.

Markus Berger responds:

Just change to 5.

It seems that MediaWiki HEAD branch will drop php4 support soon.

ways to (not) attract tv viewers

This year December 31st is Saturday. It means that I’m lazy in the morning, procrastinating all tasks and doing whatever is absolutely useless. So I compared two major TV channels in Lithuania, what are they offering for their beloved viewer on New Years Eve. I just took all movies (and some full-length animated ones) they’re showing, did check their IMDB ratings and used some formulas everyone knows to determine, if anyone should watch TV.

Metric LNK TV3
Count: 8.0 9.0
Rating sum: 36.6 47.0
Rating average: 4.6 5.2
Maximum: 6.6 7.4
Minimum: 3.6 3.3
SqDev: 6.1 10.7
Median: 4.3 5.4

First of all, you may end up in terror, as both TVs have sub-4 rating movies. Generally speaking, this is very very bad. On the other hand, average is terribly low as well, though TV3 might have slightly better status. If you get up early in the morning, you may watch ‘Chicken Run’, which is quite good animated flick. You’re saved if you have cable or satellite TV, or if you’ve got enough booze to erase all memories :) I just wonder, how could major TV channels get so much crap…

And this is the proof:

LNK                     IMDB  | TV3                       IMDB
09:45 Groove squad       3.9  | 08:00 Der Weihnachtswolf   5.5
11:10 Good burger        4.2  | 09:45 Chicken Run          7.4
12:50 Mr. Nice Guy       4.8  | 11:10 The Cat In The Hat   3.3
14:25 Joe's Apartment    5.0  | 12:45 Dunston Checks In    4.6
15:55 On Deadly Ground   3.6  | 14:25 Shallow Hal          6.0
19:00 Der Clown          4.1  | 16:35 Nutty Professor II   4.5
20:50 Rush Hour          6.6  | 19:08 Gorgeus              5.4
01:30 Who's your daddy   4.4  | 00:05 Commando             5.7
                              | 01:55 Swimfan              4.6