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Chacham's Journal: Update on the tape library project 2

Journal by Chacham

Just finished installing Debian. Here's the makeup.

Someone gave me a computer for this project. /proc/cpuinfo tells me that's it's a Pentium MMX 200. It has 96 meg of memory, a 2GB HDD, and I added in a PCI network card. I tried an ISA I had lying around, but DHCP wouldn't work.

I partitioned the HDD into two partitions. I told it to give 100MB for swap at the end of the drive, and the rest for an ext2 system. I added a serial mouse, a keyboard, and a cuecat for scanning in the UPC symbols. The computer didn't look like it had a PS/2 port, so I found a connector in my basement from PS/2 to whatever that circle with the half-moon is. Gee, I love that junk in the basement. :-) That's where I found this nifty 14 inch monitor. It's small, so I guess that's what it is. When I was in another apartment, my neighbor left and off-loaded a few on me. It looks as if two have all-ready found new homes.

The cuecat works nicely. It spits out garbage, so I'll just have to find some program I once had to descramble it. Now, I need to find a printer to print the labels.

For the OS, I decided on Debian, since I'm used to it. I chose stable, because it's the default installation, and, err... it's stable. :P With dselect I added PostgreSQL and some Perl interface that showed up in the dependency/reccomendation list. Besides that I haven't changed the system.

Then I need to code it. As a DBA, I believe DB design comes first. Then again, the requirements are so simple, I'll have to add my own things just to make it interesting. :) The plan is to have the DB itself to all the work, and use perl merely as an interface to call the various procedures.

I also need to decide on what to make the interface with. Something like VB for DOS. Whiplash is a neat dialog thing, but it doesn't look as if it is suited to be a main window. I only looked at its man page, so I really don't know what it is best suited for. If I did use it, the user would interface with whiplash, which would communicate the data to perl, and do IO through DB procedures.

If anyone has any ideas about this, I'd be happy to hear them. I plan to keep the source open, though I doubt anyone would need such a small project.

Now to learn perl. I know someone with an O'Reilly book. However, I like tech manuals. I wonder where the best place to learn perl is.

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Update on the tape library project

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  • As a DBA, I believe DB design comes first.

    I'm a developer, and believe that software design architecture should come first, and the DB should model the objects... but that's just the opposite side of the fence talkin ;-)

    If you don't have the space for X (which you really don't), then I'd suggest that you just make it command line. Anything GUI language you find now-a-days is going to be windows or X. I'll do some digging to see what I can find as far as a gui on the command line.

    Now are you intent on using perl, or are you going to mix and match languages?
    I'd suggest just choosing one language and sticking to it for such a small project. If you want any suggestions on languages or whatever, I'll give you what I know.

    Side rant: Now, I'd suggest trying something like Windows on the machine, cause it'd be easier to put a GUI on it and fit everything in 2GB, but the sacrifice would be the limited cue-cat support. And anyone that moans about crashing, understand that nothing other than a standard win install and this program will be on it, so crashes won't be happening. I know you already decided on debian, just thought I'd throw that in ;-)
    • Wow, I can add comments now. A short while before, I couldn't.

      I'm a developer, and believe that software design architecture should come first, and the DB should model the objects... but that's just the opposite side of the fence talkin ;-)

      Yep.

      Actually, I've done both. And I find DB design to help more. It promotes understanding of the objects, and the relation in between them. It also forces structure, which is something missing in many a program.

      If you don't have the space for X (which you really don't), then I'd suggest that you just make it command line.

      That's the plan. I wasn't even thinking space as much as resources and the ability to use the full screen.

      Anything GUI language you find now-a-days is going to be windows or X. I'll do some digging to see what I can find as far as a gui on the command line.

      Probably true. Though I did find whiplash. It just may not be interactive enough. That is, I need to catch when the cuecat spits out info, in order to translate it. Hmm... I could do that afterwards though, but I'd only like to do that if I had to.

      Now are you intent on using perl, or are you going to mix and match languages?

      No, I just figured it would be best, and, I've always wanted to learn it. If you can think of a better language, I wouldn't mind the suggestion.

      I'd suggest just choosing one language and sticking to it for such a small project.

      Exactly. However, I do want DB routines so the DB is easy to understand and accesible elsewhere should the DB grow and get another interface.

      That's why I figured DB for the backend with procedure, perl doing the rest of the work, but then dialog thing to do the actual UI.

      If you want any suggestions on languages or whatever, I'll give you what I know.

      Sure, I'd appreciate that.

      Side rant: Now, I'd suggest trying something like Windows on the machine, cause it'd be easier to put a GUI on it and fit everything in 2GB, but the sacrifice would be the limited cue-cat support.

      It was a thought, but I'd prefer to keep it completely free, and secure.

      And anyone that moans about crashing, understand that nothing other than a standard win install and this program will be on it, so crashes won't be happening.

      Maybe. Windows does crash a lot. Although I have heard rumors of NT boxes standing for six months. Personally, I had NT 4 running for 11 weeks, until I ran Diablo 2 on it and it froze.

      So, I understand the sentiment, but when it's Windows maybe crashing and Linux rarely if ever crashing, I'll take Linux. And, considering all that should be used besides administration is the UI, so the user-friendly aspect is moot.

      I know you already decided on debian, just thought I'd throw that in ;-)

      I understand. I have nothing against Windows. In fact, I like them (and AOL) for making computers easy to use for most people. Not to mention that helped to bring cost down.

      My brother asked me if he should try Linux. I discouraged him because I figured Windows was better for him.

      Finally, I'm used to Linux. I know Windows but not as well anymore. I haven't really kept up with all there latest flavors.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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