Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Wed, 27 Aug 2003
FOAF confluence
Today Shelley Powers and Leigh Dodds posted regarding the social aspects of information, in particular, the possibility that someone would build an information smushing tool.
Whenever you publish any data on the web, even simply posting to a mailing list with a public archive, you're releasing information that could be used to profile you. I could build a tool to smush together information about mailboxes from mail archives without FOAF. FOAF just makes this data, and the act of publication, more explicit. FOAF is therefore a showcase for the kind of issues that are going to be increasingly important in the future (now, even); it's not necessarily a problem for FOAF to solve, IMO.
It also happened that today Joi Ito used such a tool to find identity related information needed to merge frequent flyer miles accounts. The name of that tool: Google.
[01:18] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
What do you mean a device driver in Lisp? (Actually Dylan)
[via Chris Double's weblog]: Andreas Bogk is running Gwydion Dylan right on top of the L4 microkernel, including a VGA character screen driver written in Dylan.
[01:03] | [computers/programming/lisp] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Yep, time to stop copying
[via Daniel Barlow's diary] A quote from Tom Lord on free software architecture:
For a long time, the right strategy for GNU was to build a basic unix replacement differentiated primarily by licensing. As software goes, the core of unix is a simple architecture, reflecting its history as a design first realized by a very small team of people.

Well, that part's done and the strategy won.

Nowadays, the proprietary competition is about databases, and productivity apps, and browsers, and middleware layers. The software we're competing against is not like unix: it isn't simple; it wasn't built by a small number number of people; it's a moving target. It isn't a tractable project to clone this proprietary software under different licensing.

If the goal is still "(a) build a free alternative to proprietary software", then a new strategy is called for: competition on _software_architecture_, not just licensing.

One way or another, the free/open source software movements are going to have to truly invent something. The exciting days are ahead of us.
[00:53] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
More on libraries
Gordon Weakliem decided to do something about my wonderings and produced unzip examples in C# and Python. The net result is that the C# is about as bad as the Java, and the Python, while better is still not as good as Perl. Of course, this is a microbenchmark of sorts, but it does make you wonder.
[00:48] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Dynamic explorations
Jon's post today captures one of Patrick's comments that I mostly agreed with:
It *is* about how dynamic linking and binding works in a system. But how that works is intimately associated with the language design.
That's how I was tempted to respond yesterday. It usually is, but not always -- think of dlopen(3). Perhaps Don is thinking that the VM environment can help in ways that are usually the province of the language.

Then Jon goes on to amplify Patrick's point about interactive environments:

As programming increasingly relies on external services and alien environments, it becomes as much a game of exploration and discovery as of design and specification. I think dynamic languages and interactive programming environments help make us better explorers and discoverers, and I think that's only going to matter more as time goes on.
It is very nice to be able to probe the system and test out ideas without the overhead of writing a new class, compiling it, etc. I have yet to experience an environment for a static language that is as usable in this way as a system designed with a REP loop in mind.
[00:42] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Alma mater news
[via Slashdot] Some MIT Math grad students have built a robot that can walk on water. I think it's cool that a math PhD can involve insects, cameras, and robots. I was also more partial to the Slashdot title - "MIT Robot Walks On Water".

Many other sites have picked up the Wired article on MIT OpenCourseWare, MIT's effort to open source their entire curriculum.

[00:26] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

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