Friday, September 26, 2014

The 0.1 Milestone: Implementing the 'du' linux command in Filer's Shell

For the first major task this semester, I had major logical challenges in implementing this task on my own. The weeks that I've been away from Javascript work and programming work in general have heavily hindered me from making a lot of sometimes obvious logical assumptions and conclusions in code flow and structure that I should have been able to undertake with relative ease. Many thanks to fellow classmate and prior co-worker Gideon Thomas for his reference solution which my own has inevitably become extremely akin to. Time constraints due to other obligations have also played a large part in my half-baked attempt at delivering this task in a signatory fashion. An immediate future goal of mine would be to play catch-up yet again and invest more effort in being able to comprehend complex code structures such as Filer if I am to continue contributing in a productive and meaningful way going forward. 

While I am still familiar with the unit test infrastructure and conventions, and am able to easily understand the high-level purposes and functions necessary to complete the function itself, my original design was completely bereft of very basic and standard node.js conventions including proper error and function argument handling cases. I also had trouble remembering how to properly access method properties (syntactically) for what I can only describe as absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Overall, without external sound logic there would have been no way for me to meet the deadline and I'm quite disappointed at my general performance for this milestone, but am now doubly inspired to bring myself back up to speed and uphold whatever little reputation that I already previously built back into these projects.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Transcript of Open-Source Case Study Presentation

Here is a slightly summarized transcript of my presentation earlier today centered around my open-source case study -


A hackable text editor for the 21st Century”
Created and maintained by GitHub and its communities


Core is built with web technologies, making Atom extremely customizable
Primarily made for and used by web developers, but supports a variety of languages
Is currently found to be slow in some cases, including text search in the editor and string manipulation


GitHub made and GitHub-based
Currently over 100 contributors in the main repository and over 45,000 downloadable packages
Atom’s twitter page presently has over 35,000 followers
A few ways to contribute to are:
Creating a new package and adding it to the already vast library of modifications to the editor
Directly contribute to the source code by heading to the main repository’s webpage on GitHub.
Conventions and practices used by this community to add or modify code is well documented on the webpages 


An end user has the right to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, with the following stipulations:
The MIT copyright notice needs to be shown on all of or substantial parts of the codebase
The owner of the codebase is not liable for any hardware or software malfunction that occurs either directly or indirectly as a result of using this product

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Setting Up Development Environment on Windows

As a vehement and outspoken anti-Apple preacher for all things hardware and software related, I have been time and time again mocked or warned about the disadvantages of the development environment limitations of a windows-based machine. The main complaints and tribulations that I needed to address (for myself included) were - 

* Find a way to circumvent having to deal with windows command prompt/line syntax in favor of more familiar and comfortable unix console syntax
* Find a good package manager that can compete with the likes of brew or apt-get

The first conundrum was rather easily solved with the installation and activation of Git (with the process being virtually identical to any other platform) and using the the git shell instead of the windows command prompt. The git shell accepts all unix-like commands so you can feel right at home "cd"-ing and "ls"-ing around your file system. I have yet to try more complex bash scripts or commands, but for my current necessities this works like a charm.

Coincidentally, GitHub also helped me procure the next solution with the desire to install and use their code editor, Atom (which I will be presenting about tomorrow). The suggested method of download and installation for Windows 8 is to use a package manager called Chocolatey. This is now turning out to be a marvel of a package manager that also helped me install Node.js, Grunt, and Bower - all paramount to the Mozilla projects that I will be focusing on this semester.

Stay tuned for next week's updates.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apache vs. Apple Licenses

While I do come from a bit of experience with open-source contributing, the licenses that mine or other peoples' code are wrapped in was never a real big concern of mine. I sort of cruised along with the vague understanding that open source is meant to be free and reusable by all in order to achieve a global sense of community and progress. It's quite eye-opening to read and discuss the various flavors and takes that some of these licenses adopt in our day and age. For my case study, I took on the comparison between the Apple EULA and the Apache license. Below are a few snippets from each:

Apple's Logic Studio Software:

1. General.
The Apple software and any third party software (including any content), documentation and any fonts accompanying this License whether on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the "Apple Software") are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. ("Apple") for use only under the terms of this License, and Apple reserves all rights not expressly granted to you. You own the media on which the Apple Software is recorded but Apple and/or Apple's licensor(s) retain ownership of the Apple Software itself. The terms of this License will govern any software upgrades provided by Apple that replace and/or supplement the original Apple Software product, unless such upgrade is accompanied by a separate license in which case the terms of that license will govern.

Title and intellectual property rights in and to any content displayed by or accessed through the Apple Software belongs to the respective content owner. Such content may be protected by copyright or other intellectual property laws and treaties, and may be subject to terms of use of the third party providing such content. This License does not grant you any rights to use such content nor does it guarantee that such content will continue to be available to you.

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
A. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on one Apple-branded desktop computer and one Apple-branded laptop computer so long as both computers are owned and used by you. You may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time. You may make one copy of the Apple Software in machine-readable form for backup purposes only; provided that the backup copy must include all copyright or other proprietary notices contained on the original.

B. With respect to the Logic Node Installer, the Logic Node application may be installed and used concurrently on as many Apple-branded client computers owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by you as reasonably necessary. These computers must be networked and running Mac OS X.

C. Except as otherwise indicated, you may use the Apple and third party audio file content (including, but not limited to, the Apple Loops, built-in sound files, samples and impulse responses) (collectively the “Audio Content”), contained in or otherwise included with the Apple Software, on a royalty-free basis, to create your own original soundtracks for your film, video and audio projects. You may broadcast and/or distribute your own soundtracks that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual Apple loops, audio files, sound settings, samples and impulse responses may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound files, sound effects or music beds.

D. Certain components of the Apple Software, and third party open source programs included with the Apple Software, have been or may be made available by Apple on its Open Source web site ( (collectively the "Open-Sourced Components"). You may modify or replace only these Open-Sourced Components; provided that: (i) the resultant modified Apple Software is used, in place of the unmodified Apple Software, on a single Apple-branded computer; and (ii) you otherwise comply with the terms of this License and any applicable licensing terms governing use of the Open-Sourced Components. Apple is not obligated to provide any maintenance, technical or other support for the resultant modified Apple Software.

E. You may not, and you agree not to, or to enable others to, copy (except as and only to the extent permitted in this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any part thereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law).

3. Transfer. You may not rent, lease, lend, sell, redistribute or sublicense the Apple Software. You may, however, make a one-time permanent transfer of all of your license rights to the Apple Software to another party, provided that: (a) the transfer must include all of the Apple Software, including all its component parts, original media, printed materials and this License; (b) you do not retain any copies of the Apple Software, full or partial, including copies stored on a computer or other storage device; and (c) the party receiving the Apple Software reads and agrees to accept the terms and conditions of this License. You may not rent, lease, lend, redistribute, sublicense or transfer any Apple Software that has been modified or replaced under Section 2C above. All components of the Apple Software are provided as part of a bundle and may not be separated from the bundle and distributed as standalone applications.

Apache's General License (version 2.0):

"License" shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and distribution as defined by Sections 1 through 9 of this document.
"Licensor" shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the copyright owner that is granting the License.
"Legal Entity" shall mean the union of the acting entity and all other entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with that entity. For the purposes of this definition, "control" means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.
"You" (or "Your") shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising permissions granted by this License.
"Source" form shall mean the preferred form for making modifications, including but not limited to software source code, documentation source, and configuration files.
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3 Key Differences - 
* While Apple's license does refer to some open source components being reusable and redistributed, the vast majority of the rhetoric in the license agreement goes into great detail about the "temporary privilege" of this being a 1 sole obtainable license that cannot be modified, or sublicensed by anyone except Apple who are the true "owners" of this particular piece of intellectual property. Apple makes every effort to constrain you from doing anything except the intended end-use of a product such as this, as blatantly written in this clause: 
"You may not, and you agree not to, or to enable others to, copy (except as and only to the extent permitted in this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software or any part thereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law)."
* Apache is in clear contrast mostly open-source in its philosophies, especially with clauses explaining classic conventions such as being able to redistribute the work in any modified or unmodified form onto any medium so long as the original authors are given credit where it is and that this continues to be published under the same license respectively.
* Interesting additions to the Apache license even as far as open source goes, extending to such things as "trademarks" that protect the name of the released product from liberal reuse, or the clauses referring to how you can sell this and warranty or maintenance plans along with it so long as you follow certain conditions.