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Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Tue, 23 Sep 2003
Greenspun redux
Unsurprisingly, there's been some link traffic generated from Greenspun's Java is the SUV... posting. I've see blog postings, and a thread in the SeaJUG mailing list, and the ultimate signal of success, and entry on the Bileblog. I've no problem with dissent, but I'm disappointed by the quality of the critique. Much of the critique is snide "people in acadamia don't know what's going on" or "undergraduates are stupid", or such like. There's a disturbing (to me) inability to admit that maybe there really are some problems with Java, J2EE, JSP, or JDBC. I know when I go to SeaJUG I always hear grousing and grumbling about J2EE this, EJB that. But have someone attack Java as the problem, and suddenly all eyes are blind and all ears are deaf.

What Greenspun said isn't really anything new. Lots of people have been saying the same kinds of things for quite some time. Charles Miller was good enough to provide some code microbenchmarks that illustrate some of the problems with Java. Greenspun's post is the latest commentary on the fact that Java (and C#) have their problems, and that there is still quite a way that we can go when it comes to the foundations that we use to build systems.

[14:44] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
And Ben Hyde might be there, too
There's the easy, simple way to invite people to ApacheCon, and then there's the Ben Hyde way. Only Ben can turn a conference announcement into a learning experience. So on top of what Ben had to say, all I can say is, you better come, because maybe Ben will be there and you'll get some facetime with him. I had dinner with him last year, but didn't really know him, so I missed out. You had better believe I'll find interesting stuff to talk about with him if we end up at the same table again this year.
[14:22] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Open source, irrelevance, and Sun
Recently, Jonathan Schwartz has been saying lots of things that are irritatating open source folks. I'm surprised that no one has picked up on this one. Schwartz discovered that you need MS Word to submit a patent application. Of course, this is a problem for him because Sun doesn't use Microsoft Word. What Schwartz wants us to do is use StarOffice because the file format is an open standard. Of course, StarOffice only costs $79, but that's fine because we're not paying Microsoft for the privilege of submitting a patent application, we're paying Sun, and that makes all the difference.

Open source comes into it because he claims that open source people think that open source will magically fix things like this. Not. Open source doesn't influence which file formats are used by the patent office. And much as Schwartz claims to the contrary, having an open standards file format won't fix the problem either. If the file format were StarOffice, we'd have just as much trouble or more, because most of the rest of the world doesn't use StarOffice and can't write StarOffice files, because the rest of the world is using MS Office, which is closed source and can't be adapted to write StarOffice files. Open standards only matter if they are adopted.

Let's look at more of his argument:

At least for my customers, purchasing decisions are never made on the basis of the licensing convention used to build the product-customers care far more about product quality, price/performance when compared to the competition, and (especially of late) their security attributes. None of those issues have anything to do with open-source any more than whether Sun employs left-handed engineers to build the products, or marketing folks who work weekends (we do, both).
Excuse me, but open standards don't influence product quality, price/performance, and security. If you take the narrow view that open source is about licensing conventions, then I suppose you might come to some of Schwartz's conclusions. But if you view open source as a kind of software development process, they you might conclude that there is a relationship between open source and product quality, price/performance, and security.

Open source ,ay not be relevant to the reasons that the PTO chooses a patented file format for submissions. But its very relevant to the production of high quality software.

Otherwise, the only conclusion you can take away from Schwartz's article is that Sun is the industry's single largest contributor to irrelevance.

[14:14] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Raw pages done
Early yesterday I finished the pages for my book. Now there's a slight breather while I wait for the editing folks to do their job. That means I'll have some time to start looking at a bunch of things that have been backed up for a bit, as well as taking a bit of a breather.
[13:49] | [books] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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