May 2003 Archives

OS X Rox

Mac OS X just rox. Posix, bsd, GNU; all the goods are there. It has hang-ups sure. And the architecture has languished. Although, I'm optimistic about the new Power 970 that IBM is working on. The image (jpg,pdf) is a bomb moment where I'm ripping a dvd using mencoder, installing oracle on a remote solaris box and on a local linux box using Apple's X11 server. It's just awesome.

Customize your SQL*Plus prompt

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Guilduss prompted (heh) me to look into customizing my login prompt. Here's how. In $ORACLE_HOME/sqlplus/admin, edit/create a file called login.sql. Add this to it (hacking to fit your needs). It'll run when sqlplus starts, additionally, you can run it from the SQL> prompt with '@login.sql'.

define gname = 'not connected'
column global_name new_value gname
set termout off
lower(user) || '@' || v$instance.HOST_NAME || ':' || v$instance.instance_name global_name
v$instance, global_name;
set termout on
set sqlprompt '&&gname> '
This creates a prompt something like 'jim@dbhost:practice>'. It gives user@host:instance . Very much like my bash prompt 'oracle@styx:/oracle/product/8.1.7/sqlplus/admin$' which is PS1=u@h:w$.

rebel code

Just wrapped up "rebel code" by Glyn Moody. It's an obscure open source history book that doesn't even show up on Amazon. My dad got it for me. At first I scoffed at the book, because I was in the GNU/Linux/OSS revolution. Now, I realize I was wrong, while I could identify with most of events that Moody tracks, that redundant information didn't detract from viewing the revolution in it's entirety...

The book covers a nice range of history. It start with the advent of Unix right up to Windows 2000 and IBM's linux hug. After his coverage of unix Moody moves on the the obligitory RMS jesus-in-the-desert story.

There is a lot of discussion about linux and linus. Moody explains how it filled Hurds niche. He mentions the Linus v. Tannenbaum flame wars. He covers Linus' move to the use to work for Transmeta.

I was really interested to read the history of all the companies; TurboLinux, RedHad, Cygnus, Debian, etc. There's discussion of the linux IPO frenzy. There's talk about all the companies scraping and groveling to get a piece of OSS. Moody also spends a good deal of time on the development of the internet from perspective of free software projects that springboarded it's inception like sendmail, ncsa, mosaic, netscape, and bind.

rebel code addresses on of the pentultimate open source questions. What business model uses open source and is sustainable? He covers everything from packaging a product, to strapping on proprietary components, to support services. It's a really interesting read on that level. Although, he doesn't draw any epiphanic conclusions. He does seperate markets into roughly server, desktop and embedded.

That seperation requires a discussion of the history of the QT & GTK projects. Then he covers that whole war; QT works, but GTK is free (as in freedom). He covers what the implications of free media software on end user's machines means to media corporations (MPAA, RIAA et al.).

The book closes with talk about leadership. How does the open source movement stay moving? Who will replace Stallman, Linus, Cox? He concludes that open source has planned for that and that there are budding young hackers and leaders all over the world. Then ends with Moody's typical senseless nobility that niggled at me through the book (I'm a cynic):

In the end, GNU/Linux and the open source projects are not about software code only. As this book has described, they are aslo about freedom, sharing, and community; they are about creation, beauty, and what hackers call "fun"-though "joy" would be nearer the mark. They are rebels against the worst, and that will exist as long as humanity endures.

On DVD Conversion

I made this a linux story, but that's not really fair. Because this is Mac OS X's story to. It's about me finally ripping DVD's. I tried every hack, app, applet, and script out there and I'm finally satisfied. I use mencoder universally. Read on...

I'm not even going to post detailed instructions. Mencoder dvd stuff is all over google. You'll figure out how quickly. The nice thing about mencoder is it's unified.

My only DVD players are apple laptops w/ OS X. I use mplayer there to extract the vob files as one unencrypted vob. This is an mpg 1 or 2 video stream and an AC3 audio stream. You'll have to tweak with the options to get the right title (means movie chunk) out of DVD's.

I put that VOB on the linux box. There I used a three pass video processing (with mencoder) that ultimately produces an AVI with an MPEG4 video stream and an MP3 audio stream. OGG would be better for the audio, but I don't feel like it ubuquitous enough yet. As long as I have my original DVD's though I can always reformat them for the latest codecs.

Then I just setup a cron job that process any unencrypted VOB files in a certain directory. It runs the three pass encoding to create 3 versions of the VOB; a really nice one, a decent CDROM sized one, and a masturbatory-turbo PDA sized one.