Running GGTS on OSX under Java 7

I had a look at this and it looks to be a bug somehow related to the way that RJB on OSX works. RJB is the library that Buildr uses to interact with the JVM. Essentially RJB does not seem to allow the configuration of the JVM without setting some environment variables (possibly at build time?). See

There are two main ways to work around this;

  • use the external compiler by adding something like “compile.using(:externaljavac)” into your buildfile.
  • use JRuby.

I will look into what is required to solve this correctly for the next release (1.4.8).


Fixed in 1.4.8 – a work around for 1.4.7 is to set the JVM_LIB environment variable like

export JVM_LIB=$JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/server/libjvm.dylib

Install Python 3 Raspberry Pi

Its pretty simple to get Python 3.2 ( the latest for Pi ) installed, just a couple of apt-get commands and a little shell hacking will do it

First lets get Python 3 install

sudo apt-get install python3

Next get setup tools

sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools

And finally we want Pip installing but ensuring it works for Python 3

sudo apt-get install python3-pip

Then modify you shell script to alias ‘python’ to run ‘python3’

alias vi='vim'
alias python='python3.2'
alias pip='pip-3.2'

The best way to do this is with your favourite editor and then adding the lines you mention, followed by using source to make them available in your current session.

sudo nano ~/.bash_aliases
source ~/.bash_aliases

Jobs a good’un !

Install Python 3 on OSX

Even the the latest version of OSX ships with Python 2.7 which is getting a bit long in the tooth and Python 3.x is where its at these days. Although I wish most Python library developers would update their systems. Its not that hard

Anyway, download the latest version, in this instance Python 3.3

I went with the 64 bit version as default. Run the installer once downloaded and you have 3.3 installed but from the command line, it still shows 2.7, so we need to tell the shell to use Python 3.

Edit ~./bash_rc and add the following 2 lines

alias python=python3
PATH="/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.3/bin:${PATH}" export PATH

If we want to do anything interesting with Python we will need pip, the pack installer. Get this with the following command

curl | python3

You can check its installed and working with Python 3 with the following

pip --version

Which should should something line the following

pip 1.5.2 from /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.3/lib/python3.3/site-packages (python 3.3)

Which shows you are running pip on the latest version of Python you just installed

Adventures in Natural Language Processing – No 1. Setup

Natural Language Processing

So this will be a series of articles on natural language processing, this is based on Python 3, and the NL Toolkit, NLTK 3.0, which can be found at


The current version of NLTK is based on Python 2,8, As we are using Python 3, and there is an alpha version available, but requires a bit of a manual process. First we need to install PyYaml 3.10 as NLTK requires a version greater than 3.9 and 3.10 is the latest version.

This can be installed at the command line using pip

> sudo pip install pyyaml

We can then check its installed with ‘pip list’

> pip list

Next head over to, download one of the distributions, then unzip and open command line in root of unzipped files

> sudo python install

This will install NLTK into your current version of Python. You can test the install by starting the Python command line and importing the nltk module

> python
 Python 2.7.5 (default, Oct 11 2013, 15:52:19)
 [GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 5.0 (clang-500.2.75)] on darwin
 Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
 >>> import nltk

If this failed or throws an error, you install failed.

If there are no errors, then download the corpas ( this also tests nltk is install ), remaining in the Python command line.

>>> import nltk
>>> ()

A dialog will appear, select all to download all packages and then click Download

Any errors in the above and its likely nltk installation failed

We are ready to begin….. watch out for No 2. NLP Basics

Agile Smagile

I love agile, I really do, for me it provides such a close cooperation between all parties involved in a project. I love agile pragmatists, people who know what to use when, and more importantly what won’t work for their specific environment, customer or company. These are people who see agile as a toolbox that provides a suite of tools that help you to deliver great software more frequently and better aligned to what your customers want.

However I really disagree with the pursists, delivery is not guaranteed based on the number of books you have read ( and can quote ) or the number of certificates you have, its based on how you apply the core tennets of agile at the appropriate time. You don’t need to follow Scrum, or DSDM, or XP or any of the others by the book, instead you need to know that each has its place, but none are the only solution.

Certification is diluted, every man and his dog has some form of certified agile this, and agile that, its time to talk about experience not paper. Certification should be seen as getting your papers to operate within an agile environment, its says you get it, you want to get it more and you want to operate under its guiding principals.

Where I work, we love Scrum, just about every project we deliver uses Scrum, but we don’t follow it religiously, for example, we have 2 week time boxed sprints but we release as soon as a feature is ready and by release I mean straight into production from the first day of the sprint, right the way through to the last day. When its ready it ships, we don’t hang around.

Sometimes ( shock horror ), Scrum doesn’t work for us, we have a large production system and sometimes we need to get a number of small changes out the door as quickly as possible, this is when we swap between Scrum and Kanban, and allow us to push features through the entire SDLC piece by piece.

In terms of development, TDD is great, its a major innovative step in software quality, but sometimes its hard. Its hard to learn, its hard to practice, but once your get it, personal and team productivity does soar. However sometimes people like to try an idea out, explore a concept, see if it works, if it doesn’t abandon it, if it does work then refactor it with tests to make it stronger. I get no greater thrill out of sitting down at a keyboard and trying to get an idea to work in code. I know and support the power of tests and refactoring, but sometimes ( just sometimes ) they get in the way until you really understand what it is you are trying to solve. Then the discipline kicks in and I can refactor then hell out of the code and build in quality with tests.

Agile is now so close to becoming mainstream its scary, but its still fragmented, and still too many high priests ( and their followers ) telling us their way is best, or jumping on the band wagon too late and telling us their re-interpretation of agile is best. Lets get back to the 4 key principles and make them work for you.



Finally a half decent Scala IDE

For some time now programming in Scala has required you to take a standard eclipse install and add a one of 2 pretty poor Scala plugins. Both of which left you feeling that you are not really getting the full Scala experience.

Enter Scala IDE 3.0, built on top of the Keplar release of Eclipse, for the first time, the support for Scala is well integrated, smooth and works really well.

Now just need to find a decent Clojure IDE and I’m sorted….

Install Java 7 on OSX

If you currently have your JAVA_HOME environment variable set as the trusty:

export JAVA_HOME=/Library/Java/Home

then when you upgrade to Lion you will need to adjust it, as the install location has changed. The new environment variable should be:

export JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home)

This is actually a command which (in true OS X Java fashion) is a symlink to another command that outputs the true location of Java.