Getting Help the Open Source Way

What happens when the effectiveness of your favorite search engine turns against you, when it becomes almost too effective to be useful, giving you so much information that you're not sure where to start?... Well, my overworked friend, you're in luck. Read the full article below, written by Norbert 'Gnorb' Cartagena

Here's a scenario: The boss just chose you to head a new project in line with the company's new cost cutting, Open Source initiative. He gave you this assignment because somewhere in your resume you said that you're an expert in Open Source technologies: Red Hat, PHP, Apache, Zope - you got it all. In fact, you claimed you've been using Linux since the infamous version 0.99. Of course, this must all be true, because you would never lie on a resume, would you? Anyway, so your boss made you the go-to guy when it comes to Open Source. Now, you're hard at work on your new Open Source project. You're humming along and all the pieces are falling into place. Still, somewhere along the line you run into a problem that doesn't seem to be covered in the included man or info pages. But you're not worried. After all, someone must have run into this problem before, right? Since you're dealing with Open Source software you know that all you have to do is point your web browser at your favorite search engine and begin the quest for your answer there. You're sure that some friendly people out there in Internet-land must have put up some documentation when they ran into this problem. Since you don't really know how to describe the problem or what it is, you start with a vague search and then try to narrow it down. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

What happens when you've narrowed your search and you're still stuck looking through 100,000 or more pages worth of information for something which needed answering five minutes ago? What happens when the effectiveness of your favorite search engine turns against you, when it becomes almost too effective to be useful, giving you so much information that you're not sure where to start? Of course, the first forty websites that come up are wise enough to use SEO Chat, so their sites come up first, but they're not quite what you're looking for. Conversely, what happens when you can't find your answer anywhere, when your search yields no useful results? You've done the footwork, but nothing has come up. You're getting frustrated. Your team is getting impatient. You need those answers now!

Instead of going through all of this, do you ever wish that you knew someone, anyone, whom you could quickly tap for information on specific subjects so that you can get on your merry developing way? Well, my overworked friend, you're in luck. Today, I'll be covering the holy grail of information gathering: asking people. I'll be discussing some of the most popular methods and locations for free, live help available: Newsgroups, mailing lists, and IRC channels. In the process, I will also show you some of the better locations to begin your searches and give you a few pointers in getting the most out of your queries.

Before I start ranting and raving about where you
ought to go,
I feel obligated to cover some important points when it comes to
information through live sources. Reliable, fast, and friendly as they
be, they don't always turn a blind eye towards people who don't follow
rules, spoken or not. Just keep the following guidelines in mind when
for help:

  1. Keep a good attitude. No one likes a
    loud-mouth know-it-all, so ask nicely and thank people for their
  2. Be willing to do some of your own
    foot-work and learn. Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach
    him how to fish; you feed him for a lifetime.
  3. Be willing to give answers as well as
    ask for them. Be willing also to give more relevant information on your
    topic when it is requested of you.

Unlike web pages, which don't care whether you're a
jerk or
not, chat channels, e-mail lists, and newsgroups require some amount of
finesse in order to get the information you need quickly and
effectively. This
is especially true in the world of Open Source and Free Software. Like
a search
engine, to get the best results you have to be able to play by the
rules and to
know how to ask a question. The better you know the rules, the faster
and more
accurate results you are likely to receive. Before you go off into the
world of
Free Software and Open Source development, however, make sure you
what you're getting yourself into. Sometimes there's more to keep in
mind that
just getting your project done.


XML for <SCRIPT> - XML for SCRIPT is a simple, non-validating XML DOM and SAX parser written in JavaScript. It was designed to help Web application designers implement cross-platform, client-side manipulation of XML data without having to resort to proprietary platform-limiting solutions. It includes extensive documentation on both its DOM and SAX parsers as well as a host of tools, sample applications, and test suites to aid in developing applications based on its technology.

Redhat Linux Rescue Mode

The official Red Hat CD-ROM (disk 1) can serve as a bootable emergency disk for most modern PCs with BIOS that can boot from CD-ROMs. It includes file system tools for emergency system administration. Using this disc you can attempt to recover from file system-related crashes.

When your system crashes due to a power failure or any other dire reasons, you may find your file system to be corrupt, and Red Hat Linux might refuse to boot as normal. In such a case do the following:

Insert the official Red Hat CD-ROM (disc 1) in your CD-ROM and boot your computer.

After the system starts booting from the CD-ROM you will see a screen that displays a boot prompt. Enter "linux rescue" at the boot prompt to boot the system in rescue mode.

Communications Between Technical Professionals And Their Managers


As a manager in charge of technical professionals, I have learned that managing projects with multiple team members requires certain people skills, as well as technical skills. In the world of management, there are many skills required when it comes to the management of people. These skills, and how you apply them, vary depending on the type of business you are in, as well as the type of people whom you manage.

Technical professionals, in general, tend to be a little different to manage than the standard office workers. Their jobs are not just about doing a mechanical process, but designing and writing software is also a creative, if not artistic process. I’m sure that everyone has heard stories about artists and how temperamental and bizarre their behavior can be. Does that sound like any software developers you know?

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