I thought I’d write up my notes from OSCON here. Hopefully my
notes have some resemblance to reality. I can’t really promise
anything. There are a lot of notes so it will take up a number of
Torkington talks and makes an analogy that goes, “US, Europe,
Asia” is like “free beer, free speech, free market”. These analogies
always seem lifeless to me. He remains engaging however. There’s a
heavy push at this conference on CodeZoo, and they have new python
and ruby sites, I think Torkington must have mentioned this toward the
Next O’Reilly himself is up. He talks a bit about “the open
source paradigm shift” — his old talk which he has handily reduced to
a single slide. He talks about greasemonkey,
which I hear about several times over the next few days; I gather this
is a Web 2.0 application. He also talks about “the proxy web”, which
reminds me of a company a friend of mine used to work for once. They
were making a proxy server that could apply various nice
transformations as you walked the web — book marks, annotations,
automatic translation, etc. It occurs to me now that we could do one
better here, though, and just have a Wiki that proxies the entire web,
making the whole thing editable.
He also mentions a few “hot” things in passing: ajax, MythTV (I’m
still meaning to set that up here), IP telephony. He has interesting
access to data, and shows a nice interactive (java, I think)
application for viewing and comparing book sales. This was pretty fun
to watch, we could use more interactive data visualization tools. One
thing he was able to point out is that positive SlashDot reviews do boost a book’s
sales (while bad ones seem to have no effect). Also he pointed out
how the java 1.5 release boosted java book sales, as did the release
of some books about open source java-based web development frameworks.
Another interesting fact is that book sales about Red Hat Linux
dropped precipitously. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but I
Next is Kim Polese, the CEO of SpikeSource. She mentions
“erasing the silos” (my notes don’t say but I assume this is related
to stuff that Havoc
Meeks talk about) and the transition from “DIY” to “DIT”, where
“T” == Together. Basically her observation is that organizations
using java are using lots of libraries with varying release schedules,
and that testing (SpikeSource’s specialty) is the answer.
I’m skeptical about this. It seems to me that testing, including
integration testing, must be incorporated directly into a project’s
lifestyle, and that any good community participant who worked on this
would push their infrastructure upstream. But, wouldn’t that just
undermine their business? I probably don’t really understand what
they’re up to.
When it rains
Andrew Morton talks about Linux and the desktop. Unfortunately he
is not a very engaging speaker. But, he is soft spoken and seemed
like a nice guy, the kind of guy you’d probably want to work with.
Someone from Yahoo talks. I don’t catch his or her name or make
notes except “typical stuff”. Apparently they use FreeBSD. And I
made a note to look up Konfabulator. (I did… not my
kind of thing.)
The Schwartz Show
As Jonathan Schwartz
sits for the interview segment, he pulls his chair away from
Torkington’s a foot or so. I find this telling. He keeps his
psychological distance the rest of the talk.
He talks a little about Harmony, and says that Sun employees could
work on it. It isn’t clear whether he really means this as he doesn’t
answer with complete forthrightness.
Then he talks about OpenSolaris. Two million downloads,
interesting. He mentions meeting with Andrew Morton’s boss, which in
my mind marks him immediately as a tacky ass.
Torkington asks him about the CDDL (the license for OpenSolaris
and some other things) being GPL-incompatible. Torkington presses him
a little, saying that they made a choice of license and didn’t have to
pick one that is not GPL-compatible. Schwartz evades, saying that
their customers didn’t want the GPL, that they didn’t own all the
technology in question, and that he is a “big fan of the GPL”.
I hope Red Hat representatives aren’t this weaselly. I fear that
Torkington is a good interviewer. He asks tough, interesting
questions. He should replace Russert on Meet the Press.
Schwartz on java: 20 million downloads a month, “java is already
free”. Ha, ha, ugh.
On patents: a complex question; patents are largely inapplicable.
Not sure what that meant. When asked whether the linux kernel could
implement techniques patented by Sun: “knock yourself out”.
On why you should use OpenSolaris and not Linux:
- First, compare products. For instance, compare a specific Linux
distro to Solaris, not “linux” which is vague. (This is a good point
- The license.
- The technical merits. E.g., look at dtrace (I saw a dtrace talk
and will write about it later).
I have “open source HP/UX” written here, I think he made a joke
He talks about what is next in open source, but isn’t too clear
about it really… Nobody likes to make predictions. One memorable
statement: “Why did netbeans get so good? Eclipse”.