Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Wed, 31 Aug 2005
BIGeeks go sailing

Yesterday Julie wrote about the tension between summertime and blogging (really all activities that can wait till winter). It's been a long summer for us, with house projects and lots of traveling to conferences and so forth. Now it seems like everyone wants to pack those last few moments of summer freedom in before they are all gone.

I do too. Yesterday I took a half day out of work to go sailing with some folks from our geek study group here on the island. One of our members spent a significant portion of his adult life building a boat, and now he is able to reap the rewards. It was very kind of him to share some of them with the rest of us. Especially the landlubbers, like me.

Rather than recount the afternoon's events, I made a photoessay in a Flickr photo set. There are a *lot* of pictures, so you might want to wait till you have time and/or a fast connection.

Here's a preview to whet your appetite:

The joy of sailing

[12:11] | [places/us/wa/bainbridge_island] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 30 Aug 2005
Modern Attraction and Instant Messaging

Sunday afternoon we trucked over to the other side of the water to hang out with Maryam and Robert Scoble. (Good thing that I'm a Spouse Of a Friend Of Maryam). As Robert mentioned, there were a bunch of geek males standing around and talking about various stuff.

I can't remember the precise twists and turns of the conversation, but at one point we were discussing pleasing one's user's versus trying to block one's competitors. The specific situation was the various instant messaging silos, a predictable turn of conversation, given Joe Beda's Google Talk T-Shirt. The gist of it was that the owners of the existing IM networks are too busy trying to block each other to bother about what their users want, which is mostly to eliminate the need to run one client for each network (and yes, that includes the uber clients like gaim, Trillian, and so forth). Never mind actual innovations in IM client features...

Today I was catching up on blogs and noticed that many of the problems that came up in that conversation were listed in the table in Kathy Sierra's posting on Modern Attraction/neo-marketing. (Yes, I'm making you go there, and I swear that Kathy is not paying me anything to keep referencing her blog). The IM companies are doing stuff the old-school marketing (and business) way. There's a huge opportunity for someone in the IM space to try the Modern Attraction way. I hope that Google gets this. I know that Joe Beda at least gets this, because we spent a while talking about it.

Lots of people are up in arms about IM clients. People are complaining about the Windows client for Google Talk. People are complaining about the lack of Mac and Linux clients. But I think that this is misguided. The real value and potential in Google Talk is that Google might be building an open, un-siloed IM network. It will be interesting to see whether "don't be evil" actually works in this case, because starting another closed, siloed IM network would definitely count as evil (not to mention pointless) in my book.

There's a nice parallel to what is happening in the internet telephony space. Skype is like the existing IM companies. They have a lot of users, they have their network, and they are guarding the door of the network. The saving grace of Skype is that it works pretty well. That's the only reason why I use it. Skype's control over it's network is something that I don't like. They totally have a right to keep it closed, and I totally have the right to switch to another provider. Assuming of course, that I could find a decent one. Same problem as IM.

The thing is, that as long as the IM and internet telephony networks are closed, that means that the companies that control them are barriers to innovation in those spaces. It's not hard to imaging all kinds of cool features that you'd like to have in your IM client or your internet telephony client, or preferably, your converged IM, voice, and video chat client. But it's hard to do that cool stuff without access to the network. If we want to see the Greasemonkey for IM, the GreaseMonkey for voice, and the GreaseMonkey for video(!), then we need to see open networks where the authors of clients (and possibly even servers) and innovate while remaining interoperable.

Okay Google, so don't be evil on this...

[00:58] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 23 Aug 2005
Back from Foo

I've posted my photos of Foo Camp on Flickr.

After the weekend, I'm a big fan of the totally unstructured self organizing conference. Of course, I was a big fan of this format before Foo Camp -- the Apache Hackathon and the PyCon sprints are some of my favorite events because of the self organization and the people involved. So it wasn't a surprise that I enjoyed the format. For every time slot there were at least 3 sessions that I really wanted to go to them. Obviously I wasn't able to do that. I also had a number of excellent conversations outside the sessions.

Some of the sessions that I went to included Open Source Hardware, Leadership Hacks, Creating Passionate Users - the Koolaid point, Technologies of Electronic Communication, Digital Identity, and James Duncan Davidson's conference photography tell all.

Mitchell Baker, Geir Magnusson, and I ran a session on Money, Power, and Open Source projects. In hindsight, we should have been prepared for a large crowd. As it was, the room was really full, and the discussion was pretty lively. The session was the beginning of a conversation that will move onto the foundations mailing list.

I hope that there will be more events like Foo Camp and Bar Camp -- there's plenty of room for more meetings like these.

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Fri, 19 Aug 2005

One of the reasons that the OSCON panel on women in open source was very interesting to me was that the Apache Software Foundation was in the middle of a discussion about the best way to increase the participation of women in Apache projects. So I'm very happy to say that those involved in the process have come to consensus and that women@apache.org is now available.

Here's the announcement:

The Apache Software Foundation is looking to start a new mailing list for women!

The goal of the women@apache.orgmailing list is to foster greater participation by women in the ASF community. The list provides a supportive, encouraging forum to help women become more involved in ASF projects. The list is open to all genders - you might be a woman who wants to become more involved or you might be someone who would just like to help create a welcoming environment. Subscriptions are moderated, but public archives are available.

If you are interested in joining, please send an email to women-subscribe@apache.org, with a brief sentence or two describing who you are.
[08:54] | [computers/open_source/asf] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 18 Aug 2005
Congrats to Simon Phipps

on his new job within Sun.

Among other things, Simon was the one who turned me onto Coase's Penguin, wherein the term commons-based peer production was coined.

[23:04] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 17 Aug 2005
Community: it's not just for software

Stephen O'Grady is thinking about the benefits of community in domains other than software:

Anyway, maybe it's just because the benefits of community are so obvious in the world of software, but it seems like a no-brainer to me that other industries would benefit from a bit of community building themselves.

I've already written a little bit about the Creating Passionate Users tutorial at OSCON, but there were a few phrases and ideas that smacked me in the side of the head, and left my head ringing like a bell. One of them was this: "Where this is passion, there is community". It seems so obvious, but when I heard it, it was still like a smack in the head. I wish I could point to a post on Kathy's blog about this, but I couldn't dig one up, and I can't make a permalink to my copy of the tutorial notes. Stephen's post began with musing on a post by Caterina Fake of Flickr, which is a result of this phenomenon. Flickr is not about software, it's about photography and the worldwide community that are photography nuts. And most products that people are passionate about have large communities. Think Harley Davidson, think car clubs -- you could probably think of many more. If people get passionate about something, the question isn't will there be a community, the question is where will the community meet and form, and what will be the culture of that community...

[23:43] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 16 Aug 2005
How dinner became a photo shoot...

I'm slacking a bit on the blog. We've had a busy summer - a conference every month, a good sized house project, and some unexpected health stuff. This weekend was one of the first quiet weekends in quite some time, or so it felt.

Sunday afternoon we were pondering what to have for dinner. It all started with Compli. Julie found it earlier during the weeks grocery shopping, and it sounded interesting. The only problem was that we didn't have recipe compatible with the use of Compli, and the use of the grill. We've had limited use of our deck (the house project) and so we're trying to make up for lost grilling and eating outside time. Some Googling produced a reasonable sounding recipe. Julie wanted to take Abigail to the pool, so I did the food prep. The brining was pretty easy, and I finished that before they left for the pool. I sent Elisabeth for a nap, and Michaela sat in a part of the kitchen working on a Python turtle graphics program. That left me to prepare the rub. Julie thought I was a little strange to want to work on it right away.

Growing up, we barbecued a lot during the summer. My dad usually did this, and it was a common sight to see him doing the prep for dinner either late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Then there would be a break and Dad would do all the grilling. I have a powerful and pleasant set of memories about this. Almost without fail, I think of my dad when I am grilling.

I started out by crushing fennel seeds with a mortar -- Julie wanted to bag most of the spices in the rub, but I wanted to try it -- one more reason why I got the job. It was great to smell the fennel as the pestle cracked the seed cases and released the spices. Michaela caught the smell from her perch behind the Thinkpad, and told me so. The fennel was followed by sage, which was pretty short work.

Things slowed down when I got to the rosemary. Julie sent the girls to pick some rosemary from the garden (our garden has been reduced this year, due to a different house project). Of course, if you send three young children to pick rosemary, you are going to get a sizable amount in return. The rosemary took a bit longer. I found it hard to really keep all the little leaves lined up so that I could chop them nicely.

When I finally finished, I decided that I was going to snap some pictures of the rosemary, and that was when the trouble started. The rosemary was innocent enough. From there, I moved on to photographing the rub as it was at that moment. After the rosemary, I needed to chop some garlic. About halfway through one of the pieces, I got the idea to take a few photos, figuring that a knife halfway through a sliced clove of garlic would make for a cool picture. So I shot various angles, and looked for reflections against the blade. Then I noticed that the light from the kitchen window was being blocked by the blade, and I took a bunch of exposures trying to capture the subtle change in light caused by the blade. In order to do this I felt that I needed longer exposures than I could reasonably handhold. So out came the tripod (although I used it as a monopod).

From there on out, each completed step ended up getting photographed to death. Fortunately, there weren't that many steps left. Julie and Abigail came back from the pool, noting the pleasant smells in the air. There was some surprise that I wasn't done with the cutting yet. Once they heard that I was taking pictures, they seemed to understand the delay a little better.

The actual grilling went fairly well. I had a small problem with the grill being too hot, but I eventually solved that, and got all the pork chops cooked. We doubled the recipe and did some pork tenderloin as well (pork chops are pricey). Was it worth all the work? Based on the reactions of the diners, I'd have to say it was. It's hard to say which made more of a difference on the results, the brining or the rub. All I know is that this is the second time that we've brined something and had it turn out fantastic. Although if I was making this recipe again (and I definitely will if I have anything to say about it), I would dial down the salt and pepper in the rub just a little bit.

I posted a Flickr photo set, so if you want the visual version of the story, you can go have a look.

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Sat, 13 Aug 2005
Women, women, everywhere

One reason that I wanted write (an as yet unfinished) additional piece on the topic of women in open source, is that in our own family, there has been a confluence around the topic of women in distributed communities: BlogHer took place a few days before OSCON officially started, and one of the last sessions at OSCON was on women in open source.

So in an effort to cross pollinate, here's Julie's summary post on her experience of BlogHer.

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Thu, 11 Aug 2005
Memories of T

Patrick Logan posted some pointers to information about T, including a project to revive that fine implementation of Scheme.

The summer after I graduated from high school, I was fortunate to work at Burroughs' System Development Corporation subsidiary, which did some defense work, and some research. I was working on building a compiler for the functional language Super, which was a derivative of SASL. This was the first time that I saw a functional language (we were doing combinator graph reduction), and the first time that I saw a language where indentation was part of the syntax -- they called in the offside rule. Python had not yet been born, but I suppose it's some strange circle of life that I'm once again working in a language with an offside rule.

Lots of important Lisp and Scheme related research came out of the T project, so I'm glad to see it get a little more time in the sun.

[23:29] | [computers/programming/lisp] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 10 Aug 2005
Passion Reviews

Kathy Sierra is starting up a series of Passion Reviews. The first one is for 37 Signals. You must go read the whole thing.

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Photographing a conference

Conferences and the attendant activity provide lots of fodder for "user created content". When I first started blogging, I used to try to blog something about every session that I went to. Blogging a conference in the level of detail that is truly useful is a daunting task, and I lacked the energy to keep up and do a really good job. Now there are lots of folks who are new to blogging a conference, so there's much less incentive for me to do that kind of blogging.

At PyCon, we've started a little tradition (2 years running) of using SubEthaEdit to transcribe session notes, and that's worked out quite well. I wouldn't even think of trying to do the same for OSCON -- there are too many tracks -- it's just too big.

Now that I have a camera of my own, photographing the conference is my latest foray into user created content. OSCON is the first conference that I've been to with the camera, so a lot of what happened there was me learning -- it always helps to have new photographic subjects. Fortunately (for me), I ran into James Duncan Davidson, the conference photographer, pretty early on, and he gave me a few key tips. I'd been experimenting a little bit with the ISO settings on the camera, but I'd forgotten about the exposure compensation. Since there was very little light in many of the rooms, the only way to get halfway decent shots was to set the ISO to 1600 (thank you Canon for the wonderful sensor), and crank the exposure compensation to -2ev. That let me shoot a bunch of pictures and still have something that came out. The pictures that Kathy Sierra has up on her blog were done this way. I'm pretty sure that if I had flashed these, I would not have seen what was on the projector.

There are so many parameters that affect shooting, that its tough to keep track of them all. I already mentioned my (fortunate) accident with the white balance settings. Another thing that I forgot about was fill flashing when reasonable. I really dislike the look of flashed photos, at least as they are coming off my camera, so I think I've developed a block about judicious use of the flash. There are probably a number of shots that would have improved substantially with fill flash, so I'll need to try and remember that for the next time.

It was fun to have some more social moments with the camera. James Duncan and I had a little camera shoot out. Another fun thing happened as I was standing around talking to James Thursday. While we were talking Ben Hammersley was rearranging a sofa to take a photo of JC Herz. Next thing you know, James has his camera out, so I figured why not, and JC had all three of us photographing her for a few minutes. That was fun, too. I'd definitely like to do some more 'shooting buddy' kinds of stuff.

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Tue, 09 Aug 2005
OSCON 2005 slides available

You can check out this post on the OSAF blog for the location of my slides, as well as additional reporting on OSCON.

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Mon, 08 Aug 2005
Planet HCI

Here's a long overdue planet: Planet HCI

[00:42] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 05 Aug 2005

[ This post brought to you courtesy of Amtrak, the Washington State Ferries, and Mobilisa ]

The last day of OSCON is always a short day because it's only a half day. I only attended two sessions: the panel on Women in Open Source and Miguel's keynote.

The panel was well done, presenting some of the issues related to women and keeping a positive tone. One thing that was interesting to me was Bernard Krieger's statistics related to women. While it's well known that the proportion of women in computing is lower than the proportion of women in general, Bernard's numbers show that there are ten times fewer women participating in open source than the rest of computing. He also had some statistics related to age, education, and earning power, which I'm not going to quote because I'm not sure that I recorded them correctly. Another interesting set of statistics had to do with the ages that children are exposed to computers and when a young person has their own computer. Unsurprisingly the ages are much younger for girls boys than for boys girls. There was a lot to think about in this session, so I'll probably be writing another post on this topic fairly soon.

Miguel showed a bunch of the new apps that are being done for Linux (using Mono of course). He did some nice eye candy demos using the compositing stuff that will be in GNOME soon. He also took some potshots at all the OS X users at the conference. In my case, it's not the eyecandy that has me using OS X. It's the ease of install and maintenance, as well as the presence of good, usable, and scriptable apps. I use interapplication scripting a lot to streamline my workflow. As far as I know, most applications on Linux don't support that yet.

Since I missed the keynotes, I also missed my picture flashing up all over the projector screens. I guess they were cycling photos from Flickr through the slides, and Duncan's end of our camera duel made the cut. I was also surprised to see that one of my photos made it into the list of finalists for the photo contest. I totally forgot about the contest (see what happens when you skip keynotes), and was mostly just having a great time with the new camera. Even more interesting is that the particular photo was a boo-boo on my part. I forgot to reset the manual white-balance settings. Maybe next year I'll have developed enough skill to actually be a non-accidental contender. I really do love the idea of a conference photo contest, though.

I still can't seem to win on getting home from conferences. I decided to take the MAX train and then walk a few blocks to the train station. But when I got there I was told that my train was 10 hours late. They of course, put me on another train, but I had to wait an extra two hours. Having planned for an air conditioned train ride, I spent those extra hours cooking in the train station (no air conditioning). I slept for a good portion of the train ride. At least the train was on time and I was able to squeak onto the 10:05 ferry, so maybe I'll get home at a reasonable hour. It might be a few days before you see any more postings from me.

[22:33] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

This has been an extended OSCON week, so I've been sleeping in and missing some of the keynotes. I specifically got up in time to hear Nat's interview with Mitchell Baker. The blogosphere has already beaten this to death, so I won't comment much here, other than to say that I think this is a good move and that I trust the folks at Mozilla to do the right thing.

Dick Hardt followed Mitchell with a Lessig style, rapid fire presentation on digital identity. In terms of presentation style, this is probably the best one of these that I've seen (sorry Anthony), just because of the pacing and delivery.

I stopped into a couple of sessions in the Open Source Business Review track. r0ml's talk on ROI/TCO stories was kind of interesting. Understanding how to communicate with the business/commercial world is important. The closer open source gets to mainstream, the more we need to be able to communicate effectively.

I came in David Temkin's talk on Lazlo's experience open sourcing OpenLazslo. David and I spent some time talking about the pros and cons of going open source, and it was very satisfying to hear him sharing his experiences with others.

The Ruby track has been jam packed. I thought that I would slip into some Ruby talks to see what has been going on in the Ruby world, but I couldn't get into 2 out of 3 talks because they were jam-packed, standing-room only, totally full. I was able to see Glenn Vanderburg's talk on Metaprogramming Ruby. Most of what he talked about was related to DSL's, but that's not the only application for metaprogramming.

The last session that I went to was Sanjiva Weerawarana's talk on Open Source and Developing Countries, which as mostly about how to actually get people in those countries participating in open source projects. Sanjiva has been able to help some Sri Lankans get involved in various Apache projects, so he's actually speaking from experience.

[13:31] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 04 Aug 2005

Regular readers know that when I am at a conference, I usually blog one day behind -- On a particular day, I blog about the events of the previous day. As time has passed I'm spending more and more of my conference attendance time meeting with people as opposed to attending the sessions. So if you are reading for complete coverage of OSCON, I can tell you right now that you will be disappointed.

I'm also blogging less because I'm photographing more. I've been toting the Canon with me everywhere and photos are starting to go up on Flickr. I just hope that all the 8MP photos don't overflow my hard disk before I get home. (And no, I'm not shooting RAW, although I wish I could be. I'll save the rant on iPhoto + Digital Rebel XT RAW for another time).

There is a new keynote format at OSCON this year. Instead of big long keynotes, there are 15 minute keynotes. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be working well. Many of the keynotes were too product focused for my taste. In the past, OSCON has had some great long keynotes. I ended up in and out of most of the keynotes. The only one that I saw in its entirety was Jonathan Schwartz. His language around open source remains focused on cost, but was glad to see him emphasizing the competition is good for innovation, which I agree with. The other positive statement was that he thinks that most software patents are inapplicable.

I want the to the WebWork vs Spring MVC Smackdown because Kathy Sierra mentioned it the day before. The back and forth format and the boxing ring bell enhanced the content. There were lots of comparisons of details between the two frameworks. I'm not working in the space at the moment, but seeing the presentation makes me wonder if there isn't a simpler way.

O'Reilly graciously allowed r0ml to finish his presentation from last year. It appeared to me that the r0ml fan club is quite large, and includes many high profile individuals. I'm not even going to attempt to summarize here. Doug Kaye from IT Conversations was there, so folks will just have to wait for the audio to appear. (I hope that my iPod hasn't exploded from the backlog by then).

After that the OSAF festivities began, starting with my session on Chandler parcels. The session was lightly attended, which was disappointing, but the folks who did attend clearly understood what I was saying. There were a number of good questions about the content. I could hide behind "Quality, not quantity", but I'd rather have both.

The CalDAV panel followed my session, and I think that went pretty well except for a glitch on Dan Mosedale's demo. The conference wireless has been pretty unreliable, and Dan wasn't able to get a connection for the coup de grace. Sheila Mooney from OSAF demonstrated sharing (and updating) a calendar between two instances of Chandler. That was enough to make a fellow next to me go "Wow". I wonder what he would have said if he had seen the same thing happening between Chandler and Thunderbird.

The CalDAV panel ran over right into the CalDAF BOF (as planned). Unfortunately, the Chandler BOF wasn't so lucky. I'm not sure what happened, but I know that the BOF board entry for the Chandler BOF was confusing about the time of the BOF, and that we were up against the reception/party in the exhibit hall. Being far from downtown Portland increases the value of free food immensely. We had 2 or 3 people that ended up in Chandler conversations, but it wasn't really comparable to BOF's in previous years.

The folks from Portland are really going all out. A bunch of us from OSAF were standing around after the dust had settled, trying to figure out where to go for dinner (a neat trick when you don't know your way around the city). Kevin Altis had just finished giving us recommendations/directions when two guys came out of the exhibit hall. They were part of some kind of Portland evangelism group. The saw the map in my hand and proceeded to give an additional set of recommendations and directions. Ultimately, we were glad that they did. We went to andina in the Pearl district and had a fabulous meal. The last time I was in a restaurant like this was when Marc Canter to Julie, the girls, and I to Guu during Northern Voice. I've never been to a conference where people were evangelizing the hosting city the way that Portland folks are doing.

Being at the convention center is helping me to discover more about Portland. The free ride zone for the Max train is a thing of beauty. I had thought Seattle's bus free ride zone was good, but the Max train beats that all to pieces. Combine that with Portland's short city blocks, and wonderful downtown, and it's all very appealing. I've had lots of conversations (usually on the way to meals) about how nice Portland is.

[09:23] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
OSCON Tutorials Day 2

First up today, Alex Russell's Learning AJAX tutorial. The tutorial has a ton of people in it. Alex has been given a tough assignment -- the topic is really hot at the moment, which means that the skill level of the audience varies widely, which makes it hard to do a talk that will capture everybody's interest for the entire time. I fell more on the advanced end of the spectrum, so the talk didn't get really interesting for me until he started showing the way that the various toolkits reduce the amount of work that you have to do. I was impressed with what I saw of Dojo, so between the tutorials and some long talks with Alex, I'll definitely be looking at it more closely. I was please to find out that Dojo and Bob Ippolito's MochiKit are complementary.

I went to Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users tutorial. Kathy has a great blog, and I've been learning a bit more about the Head First book series from fellow Bainbridge Islanders Eric and Beth Freeman, so I was well primed for the session. The topics that Kathy covered are related not just to creating passionate users of products, but creating communities and to education. We spent a lot of time in hands on exercises designed to get us thinking about what makes people passionate. Along the way, we heard stories about specific instances of passionate users, lots about brain and learning theory, and a bit on video game design. The goal is to keep people advancing along an experience spiral because this impacts how people feel about themselves, which is the key to creating passion. Passion begets a number of desirable outcomes, including community. By the end of the presentation I was thinking, "I rule!" (in what dimension, you'll have to guess), which is how I'm supposed to feel as a passionate user. I found the material to be highly relevant to building community in open source projects, and to home schooling. If you get the chance, you should take Kathy's tutorial. I think that Kathy is working on a book -- but the experience will always be preferable to the book.

Tuesday night has the traditional evening extravaganza, which included a bunch of awards to various folks, and presentations by Larry Wall, Paul Graham, and Damien Conway. This is the first time that I saw the entire thing -- last year I just saw Paul Graham.

I knew but had forgotten that Larry Wall's kids are homeschooled, but I have yet to get up the courage to go and talk to him about that. The most interesting bit of information from Larry's talk is that the Pugs project appears to be the choice for the compiler for Perl 6. At least, I think that's what he said, because it was a little difficult to separate the information bits from the humor bits.

Nat Torkington said the Paul Graham's presentation this year was going to be controversial, but I didn't find it to be very controversial. Of course, I didn't find last year's presentation to be controversial either. I could try to summarize the key points, but it's sort of pointless to do so since you can go read it for yourself. My experiences with open source and blogger agree with his conclusions.

Damien Conway has a kind of demigod status here at OSCON, and you can understand why. His talk on dead languages was creative and incredibly funny. Even I had to laugh when he declared Lisp to be dead and then displayed the names of various languages in font sizes proportionate to their market share. The slide showed Lisp as a small dot, and you could see the D of Delphi (the next language up) looking just huge on the projector. I do have to say that I have to respect some that can contort Perl to obey Latin's nonpositional grammar rules. The humor that is prominently on display at OSCON seems to be a hallmark of the Perl community. You can tell that these people are passionate.

[01:08] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 02 Aug 2005
OSCON Tutorials Day 1

This year OSCON is a new venue, the Oregon convention center. I was surprised to discover that the convention center is not attached to the convention hotel. This means I need to allot additional time for the trip to the conference. I'm find with the 5 (very short Portland) block walk, but the additional time gets subtracted from sleep, which is always at a premium at conferences.

I've never stayed in a Doubletree Hotel (the official conference hotel) before, and there are a few nice touches. When I checked in, they gave me a nice warm cookie. Of course, I checked in at dinnertime, so I dropped my stuff (and the cookie) off and went to meet my party. I wouldn't pick my hotel on the basis of a cookie, though. Another nice touch is that there is a power strip behind the desk in the room. I've got a decent number of charger plugs, so I really appreciate this

Unfortunately, there is no free hi speed internet in the rooms -- there is free wifi in the lobby but the Courtyard by Marriott down the street (where I stayed during FLOSSPS) has free internet, the rooms (which have a jacuzzi in them) are $20 a night cheaper, and it's closer to the convention center. Unfortunately for double tree, I don't consider a cookie and a power strip an equitable trade for a high rate, no internet, and no jacuzzi.

I'm usually not a big fan of tutorials (cost issues aside). The three hour format is just a killer. However, this year the program looked very good. There were at least 2 tutorials in each slot that I was interested in.

The first tutorial that I went to was Anthony Baxter's Effective Python Programming. I didn't learn about any totally new major areas of Python, but there were a number of smaller things that I learned, so it was still worthwhile.

For the afternoon tutorial I went to D. Richard Hipp's tutorial on the internals of SQLite. This was a really good tutorial. He was able to cover all the internals of SQLite, in a lot of detail. I've been hearing about SQLite from various folks in the Python community, and the Core Data framework in OS 10.4 is based on SQLite. SQLite's engine implements SQL via a bytecode vm that is tuned for dealing with a transactional b-tree. SQL code is compiled into these bytecodes for execution. A lot of people are using SQLite in embedded environments, apparently down to the scale of smart cards. You can compile out many features in order to reduce the footprint.

After Hipp's tutorial I met Andrew Carter from SourceLabs. Andrew came to SourceLabs from Microsoft, which is interesting in itself, but he also helped me understand what SourceLabs is trying to do, and how that's different from what SpikeSource is doing. It's nice to see more open source oriented stuff happening in the Puget Sound area. But we still aren't anywhere near Portland...

[09:59] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 01 Aug 2005

Today was legal day at FLOSSPS, and Roberta Cairney and Larry Rosen joined us, ensuring that we actually had lawyers in the room. One of the topics that we spent the most time on was trademarks. Trademarks are a tricky issue for open source projects because they can both support and detract from what you are trying to accomplish. In addition, most laymen know very little about trademarks and trademark law. The knowledge that seems to be common is "if you don't do something to protect your trademark, then you can lose your trademark". If you've decided that having a trademark is a good thing for your project, then the prospect of losing the trademark becomes a problem that needs to be dealt with. This mean financial resources will be needed, as will volunteer/staff time to handle potential trademark problems. Roberta and Larry gave us a very educational lesson on the basics of trademark law. I for one, have less fear about the whole trademark issue than I did before the meeting.

The other major topic that we discussed was attribution of people's contributions. People felt that people need a reason to participate in open source projects and that attributing people allowed them the build up reputation that was a reward. There was also some discussion about whether or not one could/should require that copyright notices (or other attributions) be kept in derivative works of an open source project. This discussion was pretty lively.

It's been a very educational and thought provoking two days. It's going to be a great thing to have forum/place for the foundations to support/help each other. If you are interested in these kinds of issues, and want to subscribe to the mailing list, drop me a note or leave a comment. I don't want post the address because of spammers (I've been hit by lots of comment spammers recently, so I don't want to take any chances with posting email addresses)

[01:31] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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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.

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