Archive >  2007 >  July >  21 Previous / Next

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Exploring Apache on Mac Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named cycle.gifIn the background I'm learning how to configure Apache on Mac OS X. There are lots of little stumbling blocks that involve penetrating the user interface and getting down to the Unix running underneath. There's a tiny sliver of Apache showing through the GUI but not enough to do anything interesting.

The first thing I had to figure out, after learning where the document root is (still not totally clear on that but I got it working) is where the httpd.conf file is. I found it at:

Macintosh HD:private:etc:httpd:httpd.conf

You can't normally get to this location in the Finder, but there is a way, in the Terminal window, to tell the Finder to display hidden files and folders, and then you can navigate there. A tutorial at MacWorld explains how.

Even better, you can open the folder from within the OPML Editor using the file.openfolder verb. There's probably a way to do it in AppleScript as well.

So I opened the httpd.conf file and started reading it, and it seems like a standard Apache install with an added nicety: at the end it includes all files ending with .conf in the users sub-folder. So you can modify the install without having to modify the shipping conf file, which means you can get an upgrade from Apple without losing your changes. Good.

So I started writing a file that would map virtual hosts to store in my personal conf file, but when it came time to save, no luck. On further investigation I find that I don't own the files, even the one named after me! They belong to the system.

So now I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how I log on with permission to edit files created by the system. There must be a way, right?

Suggestions are welcome of course.

PS: This is what I needed. Thanks!!

Why Feedburner is trouble Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named mrSmithGoesToWashington.gifWhen Feedburner first came online I warned that there was danger in giving so much power to one company. They argued that they were just a little company, struggling to make a go of it, and no one should fear them. Some of them even took the predictable political tactic of trashing the personality of the person raising the question. I held my ground. I've been around this business a long time, and I was sure their strategy was to sell to a bigger company, and I don't trust big companies.

People at big companies often are underpaid, with stock options going nowhere, and feel unappreciated by their colleagues, and when they look outside their company they see lots of people who look happy and successful, making more money than they are, without the political troubles and strategy taxes, and they feel like they're doing all the work. (Of course we look at them and see much the same thing, the grass is always greener over there.)

So now someone at Google "owns" Feedburner and all their feeds. And they could, if they wanted to, change the feeds to another format, overnight, without asking anyone. Reader software might have trouble working with it. They would say "Oh but the new feeds work better with Google Reader, and that's the one most people use." And by the way, more and more that's true these days. But what about other feed suppliers? Do they have to change to work with Google Reader? They will say no, but there may turn out to be practical reasons why they must.

People at Microsoft used to say that Windows isn't ready to ship until Lotus doesn't run. That's not a typo. You'd think it would be the other way around, that a popular operating system would never hold the users of a popular spreadsheet hostage. But it could happen when they have their own spreadsheet and want you to switch. Or if they want everyone to put ads in their feeds. Who would miss a few blogs here and there, don't we all use Blogger anyway (that's one area where they haven't taken over, btw, thankfully).

I would have been concerned no matter who bought Feedburner, had it been Microsoft or Yahoo, or Fox or even Cisco, or if they hadn't sold out at all. Little companies can sometimes do desperate things when new management comes in.

These technologies work best when there's lots of competition and lots of choice, and when users are alert and don't trust companies that don't deserve their trust. But I can't say I've ever seen that happen for any sustained period, but I still have hope it could happen someday.


Last update: Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 2:14 PM Pacific.

Dave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

My most recent trivia on Twitter.

Comment on today's
Scripting News

On This Day In: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

July 2007
Jun   Aug

Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

Click here to see a list of recently updated OPML weblogs.

Click here to read blogs commenting on today's Scripting News.

Morning Coffee Notes, an occasional podcast by Scripting News Editor, Dave Winer.

KitchenCam 1.0

Click here to see an XML representation of the content of this weblog.

Click here to view the OPML version of Scripting News.

© Copyright 1997-2007 Dave Winer.

Previous / Next