January 11, 2006

On Linux, the project, Instiki and more…

Linux is great, but takes some getting used to. Compilation is especially a pain—trying to make gcc link together different libraries is annoying. I gotta learn about them make files soon.

I don’t use it as my primary OS at home—my PC is kept in regular use by my whole family and I don’t think I have the energy to teach Linux. Showing my dad how to use Thunderbird was pain enough. I can’t teach. Well, actually I can’t teach my family and close friends—I get annoyed real soon with them. Being patient with strangers comes easier to me.

It’s a good thing that me & Sunil are connected via a (not so local) LAN. He keeps his machine booted to Linux, and I login there via SSH or VNC.

Oh, getting the VNC server that ships with FC4 to run properly is a huge pain—if you’ve messed up the configuration files that is.

The project’s just getting started. Today we partially finished with a bare-bones, stripped-down, inflexible, rudimentary and crude version of one module. Notice the different adjectives to get to know how far along we are.

The application’s simple methinks, but it’ll be a pain to finish it and to build it right. We at least we’ve made a start now—the last four months were just spent loafing around.

Oh, on the project management side, Basecamp was a total failure. That was due to the facts that no one was using it, plus the fact that no one was actually doing anything at all. Now we’ll have to go for marathon coding sessions in the month of Feb., and screw any plans & schedules as we go along. No criticism of the software, I think this is the way most IT projects get done.

Which brings me to Instiki. It’s a beautiful software.

Instiki is a simple-to-use and simple-to-set-up wiki. Just download the distro, un-pack and run the script. Fire up a browser window and it’s done. (If you’re using Windows, you do need to install Ruby first though.)

You can see recently revised pages. There’s a diff mode. It supports Textile & Markdown syntaxes (is the spelling right?). What more do I need?

I’ve set up a Instiki web at Sunil’s, and we use it to document whatever’s going on. Arcane compiler directives, quick how-to’s et cetera all go in there. We’ll keep finding more uses for it I’m sure.

Now I just need to convince the guy to get a faster connection and setup a DynDNS address for him, and I’m with a free desktop that I can use anyway. Muahahah.

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