About Me

Who I am / My Professional Life / and Disclaimers

My name is Eric Van Johnson and currently I make my living as a PHP Developer and one of the owners of a development group called Diego Dev LLC. I am very passionate about PHP development and as part of Diego Dev we also run the local San Diego PHP User group SDPHP.

I consider myself an Open Source advocate. I specialize in Web Architecture and was a DevOps guy for many years making me a well rounded architect from infrastructure or coding. I am also a fan of good development work and consider myself somewhat of a "Framework Junkie". Obviously PHP Frameworks are my particular fix of choice; CakePHP, Zend, CodeIgniter, Symfony, Yii, F3, Silex, Laravel, and many others. I also enjoy learning and understanding other languages and their frameworks such as PhoneGap, Django, web2py, Sinatra, RAILS, GO, you name it. If you can code in it, I am interested.

My postings here, or any other social media site I may post to should also be considered the thoughts and opinions of myself and not those of anyone who might be employing me at the time.

If you are interested in any of those social streams, they can be found at the bottom of any page.
What does SHOCM mean?

SHOCM (pronounced show-come) is a nickname given to me by a friend. It's actually an acronym. I don't think there is any other SHOCM out there.

What is this site?

My place on the internet where I post my thoughts, rants, experiences, and general what nots.

This blog is kind of my hub. I will, from time to time, write things that are specific to just this blog but for the most part it consumes feeds from several other sources.

My philosophy on Free and Open Source Solutions

I should be upfront and clear that I am pro F/OSS and not anti proprietary solutions. I believe F/OSS offers better, more flexible, and more secure solutions than proprietary solutions. I think you should have a basic right to be able to look at the source code of the applications that you run. The basic principle of openness with F/OSS allows for stronger learning which translates into a natural evolution of stronger and more secure programs. I think it's generally a bad idea to base  your business on solutions that are controlled by another company that doesn't necessary have your businesses best interest at heart. F/OSS allows you to take as much, or as little, ownership over solutions you pick as you wish.


I found a good general definition of Free and Open Source Software on the Wikipedia page for F/OSS which states;

Free and open source software, also F/OSS, FOSS, or FLOSS (for Free/Libre/Open Source Software) is software which is liberally licensed to grant the right of users to study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code. 'F/OSS' is an inclusive term generally synonymous with both free software and open source software which describe similar development models, but with differing cultures and philosophies. 'Free software' focuses on the philosophical freedoms it gives to users and 'open source' focuses on the perceived strengths of its peer-to-peer development model. Many people relate to both aspects and so 'F/OSS' is a term that can be used without particular bias towards either camp.

I think that it's important to look at F/OSS  as much more than implying a license or referring to a type of software. F/OSS is in fact a culture, a way of thinking and implementing solutions. It’s an approach that allows one person to build on top of, and learn from, the experience of several others and at the same time allow others to build and learn from the experience of one.

I get a little more detailed here on the meaning and differences between Free Software and Open Source Software if you are interested.

The Cost of F/OSS

It's hard to talk about F/OSS solutions and not mention the financial monetary aspect of it. While it's true there is typically no upfront cost for F/OSS solutions, the F/OSS community works hard at pointing out that the talk of Free as it applies to these types of solutions does not refer to this cost and that in fact all solutions eventually have some sort of cost associated with them. In the framework of F/OSS, FREE is more political in the sense that is is talking about FREEDOM and the rights of users. One of the most classic quotes to express this comes from the GNU Operating Systems web site in which they state;

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

Another quote I came across from someone posting to a micro blog site that I thought was good, and is more focused on the monetary aspect of it went something like;

Free as in "Free Puppies"

Which is meant to point out the fact that even though the puppies themselves didn't cost you anything directly, there will still be a cost associated with the puppies.

What F/OSS is NOT

F/OSS is NOT freeware.