Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Sat, 13 Sep 2003
I don't want to read your damned source code
I've titled this post the way that I think Jason should have titled his. I'm an open source guy and I believe in the open source method of producing software. However, I believe in open source for pragmatic, not ideological reasons, and what Jason is complaining about here is one of the ways that open source needs to grow if it's really going to be successful. We are not doing a good job of making sure people don't need to have the source. One of the reasons that I'm writing a book is that there's a need for documentation, and the experience of doing the research for the book has made me much more aware of what people are facing when they try to use some of the code at the ASF.

The source code, the licensing, and the process should combine to yield a better product. There is a benefit to having the source. But we can't neglect the other stuff either.

It's hard to have an accurate perception of yourself. I know that this book project has helped me to see some areas where the ASF, at least, needs to improve.

[01:16] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 8 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Bandwidth Problem? What bandwidth problem?
Quite a few people have posted in response to Jeremy Bowers' post on librsync and RSS.

There are basically 2 responses:

  1. This is not a problem, and if it is we throw money at it
  2. This is a solved problem because we know how to do HTTP
Jeremy himself replied to #1. For weblogging bandwidth usage is an issue. If you are a small blogger (like me), you get charged for bandwidth. Money is not in abundance for everyone, but one of the great appeals of weblog content is diversity, especially for small fry.

As for #2, I just sent mail to Bill Venners at Artima about this, because the Artima crawler is pounding my feed. That's because it's not doing ETag, If-Modified-Since, or gzip. I know that when I bugged Brent Simmons about getting Gzip support into NetNewsWire he told me that he wasn't finding many feeds that were compressed. Just because we know how to do HTTP doesn't mean we actually are doing HTTP.

One post also said that the success of RSS is due to using HTTP. That may be true, but I don't see that as the major point. The reason weblogging is successful in my eyes is that I no longer have to manually navigate to a zillion sites, and then try to figure out what I have and have not read. It has nothing to do with the protocol or RSS (although I am aware that they are necessary to enable the end user benefit).

Right now weblogs are a niche phenomenon. They have incredible reach, but the number of deployed aggregators is far less than the number of deployed browsers. I believe this is going to change. I believe we are going to see some uses of e-mail replaced by RSS. The bandwith usage is only going to increase. Its not just raw bandwidth usage either, it's the time it takes to download the feed as well.

[01:00] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
I've Reverted too
Jeremy Zawodny's time shifted into the night. I have too, at least for the duration of this book project. Around here, we call it "going nocturnal" -- helps to have a biochemist for a wife. I can do a decent amount of work on a "normal schedule", but if I really need to grind something out, then nocturnal is the mode for me. That was one of the most difficult things about moving to Bainbridge Island. When we first got here, I was working at a company in downtown Seattle. Most of my friends were catching the downtown people mover sailing (7:10AM). At the time I lived a 20 minute bus ride from the ferry, which totalled up to a very early day for me. My mental productivity, and my state of mind definitely suffered. Right now, though, I'm a little too nocturnal, even for me, so I'm looking forward to a a week or two hence, when the major push to get all the pages out is over.
[00:43] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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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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