journal for 2003-07-09

oscon: day the third

Today was quite full!


The morning keynotes were a mixed bag; that is, a bag containing one good thing and one bad thing.

The good: Tim’s talk on “The Open Source Paradigm Shift.” He talked about how free software has already succeeded in creating applications like Amazon and PayPal. Just like open hardware broke closed hardware, open software is breaking closed hardware. The web services people, he said, need to further refine their business to data and service delivery.

What interested me was the suggestion that the lower levels were being made commodities by the use of free software, and that they could be constantly improved anyway. This implied, to me, that eventually this could progress further up the scale so that the data might become generic, too, and only the service would become the “business secret.” What happens after that?

The bad: a talk on IBM’s Eclipse IDE platform. I don’t like Java, I don’t like IDEs, I don’t use Eclipse. Suck.

the expo

The exposition started at 1000, and I left the Eclipse talk early to go see it. It was good. I got some free books for visiting every stand, not to mention some basic swag. Nothing was too impressive, bug swag is swag! I made a donation to the EFF and got a business-card CD that’s bootable Linux. Neat! Apple’s lack of booth was sad. They had a table with some stuff and a guy, but nothing interesting.

One of my free books was Web Services in XML, which was written (in part) by one of the guys I had dinner with on Monday. I was told it’s great.

I talked to the inventor of the Wiki, which was neat. He told me that The Wiki Way was probably not a book I’d need, which was nice of him.


This talk blew my mind. Completely. I suggest you wander over to my OSCON page</a> and read my notes. It was worth the whole trip. I was converted to a Perl 6 fan within the first ten minutes. I wish it had been longer.

What else can I say? It ruled.

ms lunch

I ate the free Microsoft Lunch today. It was just fine. I had a chicken caesar wrap, some cookies, and some chips. Other than providing lunch, MS seemed quite absent. They left around some ROTOR discs. I don’t know what that is, but it’s “shared source,” which is their ridiculous answer to free software.

the lightning talks

The lightning talks were also a mixed bag. Some were great, like the talk on how to get hired or Autrijus’s “Chinese Rap About My 40 Favorite CPAN Modules.” Some were good announcements, like the CPANPLUS “Future of CPAN” modules, the new Michel had a good “STOP USING XML EVERYWHERE!” talk. I hope people take it to heart.

tea time

RealNetworks is really, really pushing this goofy new Hydra thing. They supplied cookies. The cookies were good. It didn’t make me interested in Hydra, though. Don’t tell them: I think they’re supplying cookies again today.


I went to two chainsmoked talks on Parrot. One was “What’s New in Parrot?” the other was “Little Languages in Parrot.”

The first was a bit short and non-linear, but it was good. I was amused to see Dan mention “Z-Machine in Parrot.” He demoed some Parrot stuff, including the QBASIC compiler, and It Was Good.

The second talk, on little languages, was given by Leon. He gave some amusing demonstrations of some little languages that we all know and love like Brainfuck and Befunge. I wish there was a reason to use one of those at work! I’ll have to manufacture one.


I went to a “BOF” group on Kwiki. The author was there, as was the author of WebWebX. Unfortunately, the demo was very simple. Several of the people had trouble with very simple concepts. (“Can’t I just use file:// to access this CGI script?”) I wanted to ask a lot more about the API of the pluggable modules, but it didn’t happen. I did find out that authentication and authorization is not as modular as I want. Maybe I can make it so. That would be nice.

garbage collection

I didn’t go to a talk on garbage collection. Instead, I went back to my room and dumped all my stuff in a big pile and sorted through it while watching Law & Order and DS9. I bookmarked links that I had been given and threw out the paper. I ended up with very little that needs to go home with me. I should still be able to make it home in my carry-on. Awesome!

Written on July 9, 2003