Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Frustrations of Software (1)

Being a software engineer provides me with plenty of [Aaaaarrrgghh!!] moments - a my own expense, as you can imagine ! Despite this, I still haven't learned not to do things like tear my hair out, grit my teeth, and claw at the wall when things don't work the way the documentation promises faithfully that it does ! [Grrrrrr] is, I think, the technical term for it, but I haven't ever been able to find it in the dictionary.

Note to reader: from now on things get seriously geeky :) !

[Grrrrrr] moments normally happen when you're working on a piece of software that's (for you) totally new, so not only have you not much idea where to get help from, you also don't really understand what the help says when you do read it, as it assumes that you've got lots more experience than you actualy do have! The most recent [Grrrrrr] moments have been coming courtesy of the installation packages of an operating system called Ubuntu - a version (or "distribution") of Linux.

As I don't just have a spare PC for this I created what's called a Virtual Machine (sort of a PC in software, not hardware) to put the new OS into, and then downloaded the system and installed it with no problems whatsoever. Of course, my luck couldn't last ! According to the OS manual the installation is a simple one-liner, but as soon as I started trying to install the popular set of programs (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) that one can use for developing web sites I got a very persistent error message seemingly telling me I didn't have permission to do the installation.

Like I say, a [Grrrrrr] moment, so I'm writing this while deciding what alternative strategy to follow, as the online bug-reports, etc., seem to show that this isn't an unknown problem. Others may have got around it, but I don't have the time.

Oh yes, and all the lights went out, so I should post this and close down my other PC, I think !

Back later !

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