A shout-out to SQLAlchemy

At work-work we write Python apps, using SQLAlchemy as ORM and database layer. I tend to run our stuff on OpenSUSE with SQLite for quick development purposes, but production tends to be MS SQL Server and Windows XP (there are migrations ongoing ..). Today we got a bug report that certain columns in the database were being created as VARCHAR(max) (that’s a SQL-Serverism) and that this was leading to errors elsewhere in the application when reflection of the database was used to (re-)retrieve the types of columns.

So I spent a few hours testing and writing up a careful bug report with a reproducible test case. That’s the time my job is (most) fun, writing up something that contributes outside our own walls.

Turns out we were doing something that wasn’t quite right, but the SQLAlchemy developers agreed that it was a not-unreasonable thing to do and within six hours there was a fix, committed and scheduled for the next release. So here’s a shout-out to Mike B. at SQLAlchemy for his quick work. (And I’m glad the effort of making a good-as-I-can bugreport paid off.)

The Sun Sets on KDE-Solaris

[[ No stories at Akademy this year — well, not by me. Maybe Kevin will write down how he got his students to sleep this year. Heck, I didn’t even put together a not-going-to-Akademy badge this year, and I see it’s been almost a year since my last post, which was after-Akademy-Brno. ]]

The KDE-Solaris site has been shuttered. The subdomain now redirects to KDE techbase, which documents the last efforts related to KDE on then-OpenSolaris. From the year 2000 or earlier until 2013, you could run KDE — two, three or four — on Solaris, either SPARC or (later) x86. I remember doing packaging for my university, way back when, on a Sun Enterprise 10000 with some ridiculous amount of memory — maybe 24GB, which was ridiculous for that time. This led — together with some guy somewhere who had a DEC Alpha — to the first 64-bitness patches in KDE. Solaris gave way to OpenSolaris, and Stefan Teleman rebooted the packaging efforts in cooperation with Sun, using the Sun Studio compiler. This led to a lot of work in the KDE codebase in fixing up gcc-isms. I’d like to think that that evened up the road a little for other non-gcc compilers later.

But OpenSolaris was removed from circulation, and Illumos hasn’t really got much in the way of desktop. The team kind of fell apart as the OS shifted underneath. The mailing list was shut down over a year ago.

This week, the site closed down as well.

So I’d like to take a moment to thank Stefan, hajma, Eva, Gerard, Joep, Alan for their work on  or support of KDE on Solaris over the years. Many others contributed as well — I don’t, and didn’t, know everyone involved, but I’d still like to say thank you.

As one roadway is abandoned, another pathway is cleared. And of course the ruins are still there, lurking in the shrubbery, for anyone with a machete and a Solaris-derivative-OS to rediscover and rebuild, should they so feel inclined. There’s gold (at least dtraces of gold) in them thar hills.