Crouching Tiger

After almost exactly two years working for Shopzilla I’ve moved on.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Shopzilla, met some great people, and worked on some challenging problems. I’m especially grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to develop and release some very useful Open Source software: Gofer, DashProfiler, and especially NYTProf v2.

When I started with ValueClick back in 1999 it was a small company. Over the years I was with them it grew rapidly, both from within and via mergers. When I left in 2006 it had become a very large company. For me Shopzilla was always a very large company.

I really like to make a significant positive impact where I work. I believe I did that at ValueClick and Shopzilla, but it’s always easier at a smaller company. There’s far less inertia to overcome.

So I’m delighted to be working now at a small company with a great team, product, technology, approach, and growth:

I’m not keen on job titles, but I needed to put something on my LinkedIn profile. After exploring some options I settled on “Entropy Minimizer”!

I’m also delighted to be working with the PostgreSQL database, at last, as I’ve not had a chance to work with it before. (Although I used to be good at tuning Ingres, the distant forerunner of PostgreSQL, back in the days when RDBMS were novel and we thought a 50MHz cpu was fast.)

Announcing Apache2::AuthPAM

I’ve been working on a mod_perl2 based admin interface for a pool of Gofer servers recently.

I needed to secure it and PAM plus SSL was the simplest way to go.

The Authen::PAM module is old (2005), doesn’t have good reviews, and the test results are poor, but it worked for us.

That just left the question of how to interface with Apache 2. There’s an Apache::AuthPAM module but that’s even older (2002), has more failing test reports than passes, and was mod_perl 1 only.

I emailed the author but got no reply so I’ve gone ahead and hacked it into a new module for mod_perl2: Apache2::AuthPAM. The source code is hosted by google.

Realistically I’m unlikely to touch it again, unless we find problems, so I’d be delighted if anyone wants to take it over, or even just co-maintain it.