Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Wed, 05 Nov 2003
Why type annotation is important for Python
James Robertson didn't like my idea for a Python type annotator as a MS thesis level Python project. I happen to agree with James' opinion on the value of testing vis a vis discovering type errors. The reason that I think a type annotator is important is that it can be provided as a crutch for those who are used to static typing and are just too afraid to let it go. Once you have a type annotator, it becomes a matter of time before you can demonstrate that programs that pass your test suites also pass the type annotator. Once that becomes routine, you can stop running the annotator. This one is about doing something to get the curly brace people to jump the fence and come on over.

If an annotator makes it easier to geneate IDL or WSDL or whatever, then that's a nice side effect as well.

[23:24] | [computers/programming/python] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
An interview with Robert Lefkowitz
I have a bad habit of letting magazines and journals pile up and then I sit down and blow through them all when the mess is overwhelming. As an example, while blowing throught the stacks of Technology Review, I discovered this interview with Robert Lefkowitz (registration required). Here are some of the juicier excerpts:
People start out thinking that they'll save on licensing costs because the software is free. But it turns out that more of the financial benefit comes from the network effects associated with the transfer of knowledge, and the interactions that happen between people.
TR: So you see open source as akin to academia?

LEFKOWITZ: Yes. One of the things that open source projects should aspire to is to create the definitive literature for a particular problem domain. The distinction between what one's doing in open source and what one's doing commercially would be the same distinction that one makes between academia and business. Spinoffs of good ideas that originate in academia turn into companies. There's room to push forward both the academic version, which is focused on clarity and exposition, and the commercial version, which is focused on scalability and performance.

I find the analogy to academia attractive -- although these days I'm more interested in the public commons / non-profit analogy.
[23:17] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Cringley on Microsoft and Open Source
Robert X. Cringely thinks that Microsoft misunderstands Open Source. I bookmarked this a while ago, but am just now getting to post about it. Cringely comments on the skill and dedication of various flavors of developers, and also on the existance or non-existence of product roadmaps.
At the core of Ballmer's remarks is a fundamental misunderstanding not only of Open Source, but of software development as an art rather than as a business. Cutting to the bone of his remarks, he is saying that Microsoft developers, since they are employees, are more skilled and dedicated than Open Source developers. They are better, Ballmer suggests, because Microsoft developers have their rears (presumably their jobs) on the line. All those lines and all those rears are part of a road map, he says, and because of that road map the $30 billion plus Microsoft gets each year isn't too much for us to pay, so the model works pretty well.

This is nonsense. It is nonsense because Steve Ballmer, like Bill Gates before him, confuses market success with technical merit. Microsoft's product roadmap is a manifestation of a business plan, and what matters in Redmond is the plan, not the map, which is in constant flux. How many technical initiatives has Microsoft announced with fanfare and industry partners, yet never delivered? Dozens. That is no roadmap.

If Microsoft developers rampantly fail to produce good software, but the company exceeds earnings estimates anyway, how many of those rears will be actually on the line? Very few, and maybe none at all.

He does raise an excellent point about product roadmaps. What good is it to have a roadmap that you fail to execute on? Is that really better than allowing a system to grow organically? Historically, the "professional" software industry's record on roadmaps isn't really all that good.

Food for thought as I go into the world of full time open source development...

[23:10] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Matrix Revolutions (no spoilers)
This is the last week before I start at OSAF, so Julie and I took advantage of that (and a favor from Grandma) to catch The Matrix Revolutions on opening day. I'm a Matrix fan, but not crazy enough to go to a movie at 6AM...

I'm not going to post any specifics here, so it's safe for you to read without getting spoiled. It often takes me a while to decide whether I like a movie or not, especially something like Reloaded or Revolutions. I've been noodling around on this, trying to think of something to write. Revolutions isn't a terrible movie, but it isn't what it could have been either. After Reloaded, I was walking around saying "but it's only half a movie". I don't have that excuse any more. I don't want to pan the movie -- as a strictly action movie it was great - visual effects, battles, etc. But the story and character development didn't work for me. I found the resolution to be plausible and explainable, but unsatisfying. Maybe I'll post some more in a few days after more folks have had a chance to see it.

[22:21] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

twl JPG


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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Now available!
Professional XML Development with Apache Tools : Xerces, Xalan, FOP, Cocoon, Axis, Xindice
Technorati Profile
PGP Key Fingerprint
My del.icio.us Bookmarks
My Flickr Photos

RSS 2.0 xml GIF
Comments (RSS 2.0) xml GIF
Atom 0.3 feed
Feedburner'ed RSS feed

< November 2003 >
2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Macintosh Tips and Tricks

Blogs nearby
geourl PNG

/ (1567)
  books/ (33)
  computers/ (62)
    hardware/ (15)
    internet/ (58)
      mail/ (11)
      microcontent/ (58)
      weblogs/ (174)
        pyblosxom/ (36)
      www/ (25)
    open_source/ (145)
      asf/ (53)
      osaf/ (32)
        chandler/ (35)
        cosmo/ (1)
    operating_systems/ (16)
      linux/ (9)
        debian/ (15)
        ubuntu/ (2)
      macosx/ (101)
        tips/ (25)
      windows_xp/ (4)
    programming/ (156)
      clr/ (1)
      dotnet/ (13)
      java/ (71)
        eclipse/ (22)
      lisp/ (34)
      python/ (86)
      smalltalk/ (4)
      xml/ (18)
    research/ (1)
    security/ (4)
    wireless/ (1)
  culture/ (10)
    film/ (8)
    music/ (6)
  education/ (13)
  family/ (17)
  gadgets/ (24)
  misc/ (47)
  people/ (18)
  photography/ (25)
    pictures/ (12)
  places/ (3)
    us/ (0)
      wa/ (2)
        bainbridge_island/ (17)
        seattle/ (13)
  skating/ (6)
  society/ (20)

[Valid RSS]

del.icio.us linkblog



Listed on BlogShares

Locations of visitors to this page
Where are visitors to this page?

pyblosxom GIF