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Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Fri, 11 Jul 2003
OSCON: Sean Moriarty "Why Ticketmaster Hires Open Source Programmers and Sponsors Open Source Development"
Ticketmaster is a very large business, but there is no existing software to do what they do. Moriarty said that access to a specific type of individual talent wsa one of the most important reasons for using open source at Ticketmaster. He cited two books as examples of individual intellectual achievement as resources to help understand Tickemaster's point of view: Ticketmaster is using the LAMP suite, where the P is Perl. They have hired Stas Bekman, Ask Bjorn Hansen, and Geoffrey Young and are sponsoring their work on various parts of perl, which are being contributed.

Basically what it comes down to is that Ticketmaster as a company is getting enough value from open source that they can see the benefit of giving back to the community by sponsoring folks. They feel that it's a better investment to support someone in open source versus hiring a recruiter and trying make the right hire. Sponsorship of individuals doesn't cost millions of dollars. Their sponsorship of open source (they also sponsored OSCON and provide the infrastructure for perl.org) also promotes the company name.

I was hoping that there might be more of a model for patronage here, but it basically comes down to the goodwill of companies that benefit. Perhaps this is an issue of education. Ticketmaster itself may be a type for companies who are benefitting from open source and who might find sponsoring open source developers to be a good investment.

[23:59] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Friday Keynotes
George Dyson Von Neumann's Universe: Coding (and Engineering) at the IAS, 1945-1956
I deliberately missed this talk because I was too tired and anticipating driving home today. I arrived for the last 10 minutes or so, and it seemed pretty interesting. I was surprised that Dyson received a partial standing ovation. Now I'm wondering what I missed.

Miguel de Icaza with Nat Friedman: Beyond .NET: The Mono Project This was the Miguel and Nat show, and a good show it was. Miguel explained briefly what Mono is, and gave a status report on the various parts. One particularly useful diagram showed the relationship of the ECMA RAND-0 (patents licensed for free) CLI, the .Net classes and the Mono/Gtk classes. Last night I asked Miguel to clarify the "what happens if Microsoft sues you" issue. He said that even if they got sued over the .NET portion, they could not be sued over the ECMA portion, which is key. That's enough to get us an open source Java like language for the future of Linux -- more on that in the section on Nat. Miguel also talked about IKVM which is the JVM => CLR bytecode JIT for Mono. This allows Mono to run an unmodified Eclipse drop on Linux. The only way to run Eclipse on a completely open source Java stack is to use Mono. I repeat, Sun, are you paying attention?!

Miguel then turned it over to Nat Friedman who demonstrated the super cool dashboard project. I've explained dashboard in this blog before, so you can use the search function on the blog or visit Nat's site. Cool as predicted. Take away #1: There's no way that Microsoft can do what these guys have done, because they don't control every app that runs on windows, so they can be instrumented the way Gnome is getting instrumented. Take away #2: This is good for the Chandler project because now they have something that people can see and play with which can be compared and contrasted with Chandler. I hope this will make it easier to explain the Chandler vision.

Miguel is as high energy a speaker as he is a person. It was also cool to see the working relationship that he has with Nat show up in the course of the presentation. I felt (and I was) that I was watch two old friends hacking the world. I love that part of open source. More on that below.

Milton Ngan: Tales from the Two Towers Before this keynote, they showed a movie that the perlies did during the conference. It was really cool and funny, and again, you got that sense of watching a bunch of friends goofing around.

After that, Milton Ngan came up. His entire presentation was a series of Quicktime(?) I think movies. And I don't just mean the The Two Towers outtakes and stuff. Milton's talk was more like a TV documentary with a live narrator. I know how much work it is to give a good slide talk. I can't imagine how much work it is to make a movie for a talk, and then to pace your speaking to keep in time with the video. That by itself was cool. We were treated to a tour of the new WETA data centers and hardware. Then he took us through some of the effects in The Two Towers including Gollum, the Ents, Legolas' swing up onto a horse (forget exactly which battle this is in), and of course, Helm's Deep. Unlike last year, he didn't show a trailer for the next movie.

[23:22] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Grab Bag
Stormy Peters: The Business and Economics of Open Source in the Enterprise
This was a generic open source talk. If I didn't know anything about HP's open source position (and I didn't) it would have been fine. I should have already known that. The fact that I didn't shows that not all the cylinders are firing. The fact that this talk was given anyways is just more proof. I did end up sitting with Brian Behlendorf and catching up, so not all was lost (except maybe sleep)

Panel: Emerging Open Source Busines Strategies
Panelists: Tim O'Reilly, Matt Asay, Dave Dargo, Ian Murdock

  • Ian Murdoch: Progeny is doing custom distributions for specialized markets, because in the commodity software market, integration of all the various OSS components is desirable
  • Dave Dargo: Oracle likes Linux because it reduce support cost because they can now deliver more of the software stack, which reduces the three way tug of war between hardware vendor, OS vendor, and DBMS vendor (in customer support scenarios)
  • Matt Asay: So what if software is commoditized? The world is full of commodity products, which compete on price, brand, style, image.

In addition to the sessions, I had full mealtimes. I had lunch with BEA's XMLBeans team, since I will be their shepherd through the ASF incubator. This is a smart bunch, eager to learn the "Apache Way", and open to a new way of working. I have high hopes for this to be a very successful incubation.

I went to dinner with some of the Chandler folks, Miguel de Icaza, and David Ascher from ActiveState. Turns out David and I overlapped when we were at Brown, and it was fun to hook up and make the connection after all these years. It was interesting to hear everybody's war stories about their various past and/or current employers. I go to talk to Miguel a bit about dashboard and goings on with Mono. More on that after tomorrow's keynote.

[00:52] | [] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Chris Pine "Understanding Ruby's Object Model"
I didn't know a lick of Ruby, but I gambled on this and went anyway. You really need the slides to understand the talk, but what I came away with is that Ruby has a very interesting object model.

Apparently you can create singleton classes by defining a method on an instance. I can see some situations where this is useful. G?? on of the Activestate developers then started asking questions about exposing the singleton classes, wondering if they could just be done away with, thereby simplifying the conceptual model for Ruby as well as improving performance. Matz confirmed that this would work.

Looks like I'm going to end up looking at Ruby after all. My issue with Ruby (and Smalltalk) is that I don't think that I buy that everything needs to be an object.

[00:48] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Mitchell Baker, Katie Capps Parlante, Andy Hertzfeld, Chao Lam "Chandler: An Open Source Personal Information Manager"
Today was Chandler day, with a talk and a BOF

The talk was an overview of the Chandler requirements (Chao Lam) and architectural goals (Andy Hertzfeld). Katie Capps Parlante explained some of the aspects of the Chandler data model. This is a good piece of progress. I believe that the data model/data store issues are getting unblocked and am hopeful that we'll start to see code appearing soon. Mitchell Baker talked about the community aspects of Chandler including where to find information, and how to get involved.

The BOF was a lot of ideas and questions on Chandler features. There were also some expressions of frustration over the rate of progress, and the lack of a piece of code that can really be poked and played with. During the BOF there was gentleman who was asking some pretty technical questions about the data storage / platform aspects of Chandler. At one point, he said that he had a startup that had done a PIM called Arrange. During the early 90's I was a beta tester for that same company. I went over after the BOF, and it turns out that it was Scott Wiener the CEO, who I had dealt with quite a bit back then. Arrange was a very cool product for the Mac -- actually if Chandler just got back to that it would be cool, and I know that the Chandler folks want to do more, which is fine by me.

[00:45] | [computers/open_source/osaf/chandler] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Lisa Wolfisch, Terry Bollinger, Patrick J. Moran "Open Source Projects in the US Government"
I went to this talk to find out more about how the US government is using open source. I had already planned to go to this talk, and Mitch Kapar's prediction that the public sector was going to drive open source only increased my curiousity. Lisa Wolfisch works for the US Census and Patrick Moran works for NASA.

Wolfisch concentrated on how open source is making inroads into the government and how they are using it. Her memorable quote "the penguin has landed". In her situation, OSS gives her the advantage of zero procurement delay. Low price is just a nice to have. The talked about their success at building the QuickFacts web site, and the mapstats section of the Fedstats site.

Moran's story was more gloomy. He told of his troubles in trying to get NASA software open sourced, and of his experiences releasing a report on open source at NASA. His memorable quote, "I'm not the official NASA spokesman, but I have a NASA t-shirt".

[00:40] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON: Panel "Bill of Rights for Web Services"
Panelists Tim O'Reilly, Jeff Barr, Jeffrey McManus, Sam Ruby

This panel had some disappointing moments. Sam Ruby didn't arrive in Portland in time for the panel. I think that the key point came up when someone in the audience said "You guys are platform vendors, and over the years, all of us have been screwed by platform vendors". A lot of discussion focused on the value of the data as opposed to the value of the software. The other theme that was repeated was that developers want these new platform vendors to guarantee that they won't take access to their service away, or to provide a service level agreement (SLA). Both of these would be bad recommendations for a corporate attorney to make. I still feel kind of fuzzy about exactly what the appproriate areas are here.

Some time into the talk I realized that the person sitting in front of me was Dave Winer. It seems to me that Dave was disagreeing with the positions of the panelists, and was agreeing with the challenges being presented by the audience. Since I've never met Dave in person, I introduced myself and we had a pleasant conversation.

[00:36] | [computers/internet/www] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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