In 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:
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!!
When 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.