Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google can harm your computer

Seen today on Google search:

[caption id="attachment_152" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Screenshot of a Google search on 2009-01-31"]Screenshot of a Google search on 2009-01-31[/caption]

And when you click on the first result:

[caption id="attachment_153" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Warning shown when you follow the "Google" link in the search results"]Warning shown when you follow the "Google" link in the search results[/caption]

I guess I should stop using Google to protect my computer. :-)

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one affected. See #googmayharm on Twitter. Techcrunch is already covering this.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Purchasing Lightroom

After buying a new camera a while ago I've been thinking about upgrading from Picasa to a bit more powerful tool for organizing and editing my photos. I had heard good things about Lightroom so I decided to give it a try. So far I've been very happy with the trial version. Even though the price seems a bit high compared to the free alternatives, I today decided that the license is well worth buying.

So I followed the "Buy" button, entered my credit card information in the online form and approved the order expecting to see the serial number of my new license on the next page. It wasn't there. Instead Adobe tells me that my order is "being processed" and that I should wait for an email with the license details.

OK, I figure, the email will reach my mailbox in a few minutes. I check the latest tweets and feeds before going back to my mailbox only to find nothing from Adobe, not even a confirmation that the order was received. I check my spam filters, but find nothing relevant there. Anyway, it's time for my dance class so I leave the matter for now. Two hours later there's still no message from Adobe. Only an hour after that I receive a message that tells me that the order has been "edited", but there's still no sign of the serial number I'm waiting.

Finally, almost five hours after placing the order I get an email message containing the serial number of my license. Five hours is actually pretty good for a process with humans involved, but I'm surprised that the online license purchase process hasn't been fully automated already years ago. That seems like a no-brainer for a company like Adobe.

Anyway, I'm now a happy Lightroom user and you'll probably start seeing more of my photos also in here as I get my photo workflows back in shape.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Apache PDFBox status update

The PDFBox project is a well known and widely used Java library for reading and writing documents in the Portable Document Format (PDF). Here's my perspective on the recent developments of the project.

Apache PDFBox

Project activity

The project was quite dormant when it entered the Apache Incubator about a year ago after we had discussed the idea first at the ApacheCon US 2007 and then on the Incubator mailing list. For a while it looked like project would remain quiet, but in the past few months we've seen a clear increase in project activity. Thanks for that goes especially to the contributions of the two new committers, Andreas Lehmkühler and Brian Carrier.

License review

My main focus in Apache PDFBox has recently been the thorough license review that I've been conducting. Before entering the Incubator, the PDFBox library was liberally licensed under a  BSD License. However, the copyright or licensing status of many external components included in PDFBox was neither well documented nor well understood by downstream projects. For example, PDFBox used to contain parts of the Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) library that is only available under the Sun Binary Code License, a license that is not compatible with Apache policies.

The license review has taken me through a number of legal issues, put me in contact with the Adobe legal team, and made me solve some followup issues. And we also took care of proper export control notifications needed for the PDF encryption support in PDFBox. Luckily the end is finally in sight, and I'm optimistic about having all the remaining open issues closed within a month or so. Altogether it's been a very interesting and educational process.

Next release

With the license review nearing completion and lots of unreleased fixes and improvements accumulating in the project trunk, it is time to start preparing for the first incubating PDFBox release. This release will be called Apache PDFBox 0.8.0-incubating, and will be a major improvement over the 0.7.3 release from over two years ago. All downstream projects should seriously consider upgrading as soon as the release becomes available. It would be really great if the release was out by the ApacheCon Europe at the end of March.


As a mentor and champion of the project I am really happy with the current status. It seems reasonable to expect PDFBox to graduate from the Incubator sometime later this year.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apache JCR Commons

In the Apache Jackrabbit project we've decided to create a new JCR Commons subproject for developing and managing the set of generic JCR tools that has grown over time around the core Jackrabbit content repository implementation.

The JCR Commons subproject will to some extent resemble the Apache Commons project, and I'm hoping to use some of the ideas put forward by Henri in his blog post about a "federated commons".

I'm hoping to flesh out the details of this new subproject over the next month or two. It would be nice to have releases of all the new JCR Commons components ready to be used as dependencies for the upcoming Jackrabbit 1.6 release.