Sunday, 10 February 2008

Blogger Blowout

I created this blog one day last December, on a whim. I had noticed several Second Life blogs that use Blogger, so I thought I'd try it out. I created the blog in about ten minutes, and was pleased with the result.

Blogger is blog software created by Pyra Labs, and bought by Google in 2003. The software runs on a free web hosting service, which is also provided by Google. Thus both the software and the web hosting are totally free. You just create an account, configure the blog, spread your wings, and fly.

By and large I've been satisfied with Blogger. The software is easy to use, the default page format is simple and elegant, and the support systems are pretty good. But lately, when I try to look at the blog, my anti-virus program warns me that Blogger is trying to suck confidential information out of my computer. So it's time to move on.

Chalk up another freebie that was just too good to be true. Prokofy Neva would exult over this, and use it to prove once again that anything given freely is just NOT SUSTAINABLE. One might have hoped that Google was maintaining the huge Blogger service merely to build up its own good name in the cybersphere. Wishful thinking. Apparently they can't resist using it as an additional way to spy on us, and to load their databases with sellable information.

So it is time to implement plan B. I've been fooling around with creating my own websites for more than a year now. Thus I know how to purchase a domain name, how to rent server space from a web hosting service, and how to connect a dynamic website to a MySQL database on the web server. I have a rudimentary knowledge of HTML, and as for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), well, at least I know what they are. The big remaining question is: what blog software will I use?

In the first place, I want to use a free software package with open-source code. I know that Prokofy Neva thinks that open source is communistic, because it seems to go against capitalistic principles. But in Danton's world view, Richard Stallman is a saint, and Microsoft is the Beast. To quote Saint Richard, the philosophy behind free software implies: "free as in free speech, not as in free beer."

Open source is one of those divisive subjects that it would be best to avoid arguing about. People like Prokofy Neva will go on confusing open source with the theft of copyright, and insisting that free software is unsustainable. In the meanwhile, free and open source software will just keep developing. One day Linux will outstrip Microsoft Windows, and some open source simulator or other will evolve into a new standard for virtual worlds. Also, by the way, Linden Lab will be overtaken by competitors who provide better customer service, rational land-use planning and effective in-world government. In real life, free-market capitalism will continue to flourish within the framework of some kind of welfare-state socialism. The earth will keep turning. Next question.

To select my new blog software, I started by looking at the list of free and open source packages listed in the Wikipedia article about blog software. I also did a bit of searching on Google, using key-words like "best blog software." My choice narrowed down to a duel between Movable Type and WordPress. I read the following in the Wikipedia article on WordPress:

"In 2004 the licensing terms for the competing Movable Type package was changed by Six Apart, and many of its users migrated to WordPress – causing a marked, and continuing, growth in WordPress's popularity."

In addition, I notice that Gwyneth Llewelyn uses WordPress for her blog. So WordPress it will be.

It will take me a while to implement the necessary steps. I have to purchase a domain name, create the directory on my web hosting service, create the database on the web server, install the software, configure the site, and transfer the blog contents. This is all going to take me a while.

In the meantime, whenever I connect to this blog from my home computer, I get distressing messages from my anti-virus firewall. I "authorize" the connection - and Blogger spies on me. Yuck.

Note added on February 12, 2008:
Blogger seems to have corrected the problem. I'm not getting messages from my firewall any more. But it's too late, the process of changing to WordPress is already underway....

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