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Wed, 11 Jun 2003
MIT New Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
The MIT Lab for Computer Science and the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory are merging to form the New Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. Reading this brought back memories of banging away at VT52's connected to machines running TOPS-20, hacking on Symbolics and TI Lisp Machines on various floors of NE43.
[12:29] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
java.net: a monoculture
One of the things that I love the most about being involved with the Apache Software Foundation is the diversity. We have the C based-httpd folks, the Java Jakarta folks, and the Java, C, and Perl folks at XML. The different styles and values are refreshing and invigorating.

In a similar vein, I've appreciated the chance to get into the minds/culture of (dare I say it) Microsoft and Microsoft affiliated developers via the blogosphere. It's been a thought provoking experience.

Sun wants java.net to be the premier Java community, and thats a reasonable goal for them to have. What I'm finding is that I'm looking to broaden the community that I'm involved in, not narrow it. I want to learn from the experiences of people coming from a totally different view of the world than me.

[12:24] | [computers/programming/java] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
java.net: "Show us your heart"
Dick Gabriel has an entry on java.net:
How do we know that Sun won't censor or otherwise pollute java.net with heliocentric notions - after all, Sun owns and operates the site?
His answer:
Sun doesn't know how well it will live up to the Guiding Principles for java.net. Here's why: Sun didn't write them, I did. Executives at a company come and go, and some will buy into the Principles and others won't. Regardless, Sun can't know without the experiment being run.
java.net is a barometer for Sun's courage to bring together a diverse and uncontrolled & uncontrollable mass of people. The executives in place the day I put the Guiding Principles on the table agreed, and now we'll see how well Sun holds up its end of the bargain, and thereby will you know the heart of Sun.
I really appreciate his honesty on this. It sets a benchmark for Sun to live up to.

On the other hand, I share Anthony Eden's mixed feelings:

Sun has an opportunity here to nurture the development community in a way which would benefit Java development greatly. Rather than building communities from scratch they should foster communities which are already established. However in order to take advantage of this opportunity they need to realize that, unlike Earth, the world of Java does not revolve around the Sun.
You should read the rest of his post.

I think that Sun could have done a lot to foster the development community without doing java.net, or even instead of it. In some ways java.net reminds me of IBM's attempt to do its own open source zone on developerWorks back in 1999. How many of us are going to that for code now?

A shared CVS repository, wiki's and a bunch of weblogs do not a community make. Sun might be able to get bunches of communities around individual projects, but growing a community across projects takes time and effort. It doesn't happen by magic. Jakarta (with all its faults) is the only example I'm aware of that actually has a flourishing community across some subsection of its many subprojects.

The bottom line is that Sun is asking us to trust them to do the right thing. Just like they've asked us (told us, really) to trust them to steward the Java technology. My reply to Sun: show us your heart. Here's your chance to make it up to us for not submitting Java to ECMA, for not open-sourcing Java, and for foisting tons of junk off on us via the JCP.

[12:21] | [computers/programming/java] | # | 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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