The Machine Room
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The Machine Room is Back!
This is the recovered Machine Room from 2005. Please don't expect wonders. The look and feel of this site is nine years old, and so is its code. Some of the functionality has been recovered while the rest of the site is modernised and restructured. Watch this space!
Top :: Help & Docs :: Technical Details: How It's All Done
People sometimes ask how it's all done. Here's a complete explanation, including a list of the tools used to produce this site. All of the software tools are free, and most are Open Source or Freeware (take your pick) based on the GNU Public License by the Free Software Foundation. No commercial software is used to create the Machine Room.

How things are now: simple. All static content and scripts are php scripts. All mutable data is stored in a MySQL database. Hecate the K6 Linux box serves HTTP and PHP. Bastet, a SPARCstation 5), ladles out MySQL data.

Well-formed XML is used to describe computers and companies. Hordes of PERL and shell scripts did the conversion from the old, kludgy status quo to the new, more elegant one.

Hypertext markup is done in XHTML 1.0.

Top :: Help & Docs :: Hardware
At the time of writing, the WWW server hosting these pages is Hecate, an AMD K6-333 box running Debian GNU/Linux.

The database server, Bastet, is a Sun SPARCstation 5, one of the last pretty and elegant (inside and out) workstation series to come out of Sun. Bastet runs Debian GNU/Linux too.

The web indexing robot is Khepera, a SPARCstation IPX. These 'lunchbox'-style workstations go beyond elegance, they're downright cute!

The desktop machine where I do all the actual development is Vennëa, an AMD Duron box running Linux.

Top :: Help & Docs :: Software
Operating Systems
Linux (Debian GNU/Linux in particular).
HTML Authoring and Programming tools
Emacs and Joe are used for editing. PHP4 is the server-side scripting language of choice. MySQL is the RDBMS. Apache is the web server. The usual UNIX tools are used in sometimes unusual ways.
Graphic tools
The GIMP for design and artwork, xv for image inspections, and even giftool for the odd transparency job.
Top :: Help & Docs :: Books and Textual References
Most of these are O'Reilly books and W3 Consortium standards. Namely:
Paul DuBois, MySQL, New Riders, ISBN 0-7357-0921-1.
Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-scale Web Sites, O'Reilly and Associates, ISBN 1-56592-282-4.
Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour and Nathan Patwardhan, Perl in a Nutshell, O'Reilly and Associates, ISBN 1-56592-286-7.
Stephen Spainhour and Robert Eckstein, Webmaster in a Nutshell, Second Edition, O'Reilly and Associates, ISBN 1-56592-325-1.
Shawn P. Wallace, Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Software, O'Reilly and Associates, ISBN 1-56592-478-9.
Larry Wall and Randal L. Schwartz, Programming Perl, First Edition, O'Reilly and Associates, ISBN 0-937175-64-1.
The World Wide Web Consortium, HTML 4.0 Recommendation.
The World Wide Web Consortium, HTML 4.01 Proposal.
The World Wide Web Consortium, XHTML 1 recommendation.
The World Wide Web Consortium, Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 Specification.