Warning: Midlife Crisis Ahead

I’ve been re-reading Les Misérables recently1, which is a book heavily steeped with nostalgia. Hugo clearly wants to share his strong memories of early nineteenth century France, and the waves of nostalgia wash off the pages and into my head, where they evoke images from my own past. I had a college reunion last year and have a high school reunion coming up later this summer. So it seems like a good time to make my first weblog post in almost three years.

A few years ago, James Duncan Davidson posted a link about his work with Apache, specifically a link to apache.markmail.org, and a graph of all his messages to the Apache mailing lists. At the time I read his post (which is no longer on his blog, but can be found on the Internet Archive). I remember generating my own graph at the time, and noting that my own participation trails off just about where Duncan’s starts — we both worked on Apache’s servlet implementations, but not at the same time — although that didn’t seem worth a mention at the time,

But today I notice not when I stopped being active2 with Apache, but instead when I started: July 20, 1995. Which is, to within a month, half a lifetime ago.

There’s a point here somewhere, but after two years of posting mostly to Twitter, I will end by indulging the long form with footnotes that are themselves far longer than any tweet.

1The Signet Classic edition, with translation by Fahnestock and MacAfee. It’s the one I recommend; it’s based on Charles Wilbour’s 1863 translation, updated and unabridged. Some other translations make the language too modern, which makes the book feel not quite right; this one still feels like the nineteenth century novel it is. It’s also the version I first read twenty years ago (see nostalgia above). The only downside to this translation is that it’s only available as a 1500-page paperback; it would be nice if I could get it as an e-book. Be careful with the e-book stores, by the way — for example, Amazon will claim to sell you a Kindle version of this book, but it’s a different translation.

2In the nostalgia vein, I wish I had a great story to tell about leaving Apache. But truth be told, I faded away. I officially became an emeritus member of the Apache Software Foundation in 2005 when I was contacted by a Foundation member because the email address they had on file bounced. I still have fond memories of my resignation letter from DALnet (I was Lefler circa 1994–1996). I don’t have a copy anymore, which is probably good, since in my memory it’s far more poignant than it almost certainly was.