Unsung heroes of open source

Unsung heroes of open source.

When my e-mails to vendors went unanswered, I turned to open source. A
Google query for “sourceforge vx4400” yielded this first result: “Welcome to BitPim.”

On the BitPim project site, I found not only sync software for Windows,
Linux, and OS X, but also a wealth of useful documentation, including a
beautifully written online help system.
Thanks to these docs, I avoided buying the straight-through USB cable
that would evidently have caused problems with my particular phone
model, and instead got the alternate USB-to-serial cable.

It wasn't all clear sailing. I couldn't get the recommended
FutureDial USB driver to work, so I wound up using a different
USB-to-serial driver from Prolific Technology. After I sorted that out,
BitPim could read and write the phone's contact and calendar records.

Although BitPim can import and export various contact formats, it as
yet has no similar support for calendar events. You can move events
back and forth interactively, but I wanted to automate the process.
Happily, BitPim offers all the tools I need to make an easy job of it.

Because it's written in Python and uses the wxPython
cross-platform GUI library, it's open and easily extensible. What's
more, BitPim's developer, Roger Binns, thinks the same way I do about
managing collections of simple objects. To export calendar entries to
the phone, I only had to write a simple script that emits the ASCII
serialization of a Python dictionary. Sweet!

I haven't taken the next step yet, which is to bypass the GUI
and move data directly to and from the phone by means of a scheduled
task, but it's clear that BitPim's architecture will make that
undertaking a straightforward one.

When people talk about the heroes of open source, you tend to
hear such familiar names as Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Brendan Eich,
Guido van Rossum, Monty Widenius, Miguel de Icaza, and Rasmus Lerdorf.
No question about it: These people are my heroes. But so is Roger
Binns, and so are the countless other unsung heroes of open source. For
solving a host of vexing problems with quiet competence, and for doing
it in ways that invite others to stand on their shoulders, I salute
them all. [Full story at InfoWorld.com.]

It would be a fun project for someone to scout out a bunch of folks
like Roger Binns, Dave Betz, Roger Dannenberg, and others of the
countless unsung heroes of open source, and weave their stories into a
full-length treatment. [Jon's Radio]

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