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rjray (1649)

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Journal of rjray (1649)

Friday August 05, 2005
03:31 PM

OSCON: D+4, Say Goodnight, Gracie

There are still a few lingering blog entries to write, but the show is now winding down. I'm in the closing session, in which they've announced the winners of the HP-sponsored OSCON Photo Competition and gnat has given recognition to the key O'Reilly staff who've made the conference run so smoothly. He also distributed some left-over swag. Generally by throwing it over the seated crowd.

The closing talk is Miguel de Icaza, talking about the efforts made at Novell to move ~5500 employees to completely-Linux destops. This involves replacing apps where they can, and writing new ones where they have to. The new apps they develop are all built on the Mono platform, in C#.

Desktop issues have come up a lot this year at OSCON. There's some "enterprise" work, applications that go beyond the basic things we (currently) expect from a desktop environment. He's talking about something they call "iFolder", which handles smooth synchronization of file-trees between systems that are only occassionally connected. Now he's talking about "Beagle", a search appliance similar what Google and Yahoo! are doing, using Lucene.NET and other elements.

He's also touching on how the progress of the desktop has been hampered by the lack of a really-good rendering library, until Cairo came along. He's also referring to a new implementation of an X server on top of OpenGL. Not X trying to support GL, X11 in it. Combined with Cairo, there's a potential for amazing stuff. Right now, he's demo'ing it: true transparency in windows, 3-D zooming of the desktop, switching virtual desktops by grabbing the bottom edge and flipping it around. He just started a video player, moved it half-way off the edge, then started a flip: the video was wrapper around the edge of the "cube". OpenGL effects are applied at pretty much al levels; moving windows or icons, etc. GNOME 2.12 will feature some or all of this, it wasn't clear how much would be deployed with that release (slated for October). Really stunning, though admittedly it falls more in the "eye-candy" camp.

It's been a heck of a week. I still have more thoughts to sift into words, so be sure and check back.

Thursday August 04, 2005
04:54 PM

OSCON: D+3, Aprés Presentation

The talk is done. Alas, I ran over and had to rush my last 4-5 slides. Part of the problem was that there was a slight 'net hiccup that detached the machine in the presentation room from the share that held all the slides. I lost about 5 minutes while we fixed that. Then, there were more questions at places I hadn't expected; good questions that deserved good answers, so it wouldn't have been fair to dismiss them. Still, what matters the most: one person stopped me on the way out, saying that he had been faced with exactly that sort of problem (justifying a choice of SOAP over REST), and I had given him the words he needed to explain to the people that mattered. No doubt, it really makes you feel good to know that someone actually benefits from your efforts.

I forget, sometimes, how much I enjoy doing this. It's funny, since I'm not that social of a person. But I do like sharing knowledge as much and as often as I can.

Should probably start working on next year's proposals sooner, as opposed to later.

Wednesday August 03, 2005
10:30 PM

OSCON: D+2, Two Signs, No Portents

Some interesting signage around the area:

Ummm, I thought we were already in Oregon...?

If only the books were offered under the same deal...

Of course, by that last jab I'm referring to AJAX, which is either the wave of the future or the next technology destined to be referred to derisively as a has-been a few years from now...

02:31 PM

OSCON: D+2, The Beachhead Has Been Established

After subsiding on minimal sleep and getting up for early tutorials (and the flight out) for three mornings in a row, this morning the flesh was just too weak. I slept past the opening keynotes and the first round of sessions. As I'm still polishing my slides, I've chosen to avoid the second round, as well, and try to finish the last 6-7 pages.

When the Allies finally took definitive control of the landing beaches at Normandy, it was safe to start bringing in the logistical personnel and set up permanent communications, supply lines, etc. And so it is on the third day of OSCON. Not to compare the first two days of tutorials to the beach assault, but as of today the numbers well and truly swell. Members of the press arrive and get settled in to the press room. The people who are here just for sessions and the trade room emerge, whether they just arrived in Portland or whether they were taking the first few days to sight-see. The bulletin board of messages and job announcements is almost completely covered.

Later today, the vendor trade room will open. The big draws are usually the tech book publishers who set up mini-stores in their plots, usually offering 10% or more off of cover price. It's hard to compete when OSCON is in Portland, though, because of the impending "field trip" to Powell's Books. But there will also be displays from various OS projects to big-name vendors like Red Hat.

There's also a very interesting social dynamic that is starting to buzz, but I'll write more about that later.

Tuesday August 02, 2005
10:36 PM

OSCON: D+1, Tutorials' End and Dressing Funny

Finished with tutorials for this year. The Best Practices session taught me a few new things, things that I look forward to trying out later. I've gotten spoiled by Java providing me with a real object model, and I've been frustrated trying to bullet-proof OO code in my day job to minimize the odds of people breaking my interfaces. I recommend people take a look at the new modules Class::Std and Class::Std::Utils from Damian. They are designed to prop up his design theory of Perl OO based around what he calls "inside-out" objects.

Of course, this con (like any other con) draws its share of, err, colorful characters. Like this guy, who seems to think that vintage Circus Barker attire is the best way to stand out in the crowd. Speaking as a recovered goth, I understand wanting to not look like everyone else. But this just screams of "Please, please look at me." *shrug*

05:32 PM

OSCON: D+1, ActiveOops!

ActiveX Oops

Though it isn't too clear (despite climbing up on a railing to get a closer shot), this is an ActiveX error dialog. It's showing up on the announcements screen for the venue of this year's Open Source Conference.

I'm sure there will be plenty of people offering suggestions to the center's IT department.

03:34 PM

OSCON: D+1, Between Tutorials

About to start my second tutorial of the day, and the last for this year. Next up is Perl Best Object Oriented Practices, a Damian Conway tutorial.

Time to sit down and buckle up...

12:09 PM

OSCON: D+1, First Tutorial

Started the day by being late to the Learning AJAX tutorial. This one is sold out, and it shows. The room is packed, and I'm at the very back with about a dozen other late-comers. The CC staff just came in with a load of extra chairs, or I'd still be sitting on the floor.

AJAX is an interesting technology. I'm very annoyed with myself for not having noticed it sooner-- it's been out there for some 5-odd years, but I've only been aware of it from about March or so on. A number of projects at my day-job are using it, and I'll almost certainly be using it within the next few weeks myself. And that's not even considering my "personal" (non-day-job) work.

The speaker, Alex Russell, is good. Sharp, and quick with the real-world code examples to illustrate his points and/or answer questions. He's a lead developer on a JavaScript project called the Dojo Toolkit. Something worth looking more closely at.

Monday August 01, 2005
06:28 PM

OSCON: D-Day, Second Tutorial

D. Richard Hipp, the creator of SQLite, knows his stuff. This isn't exactly news, as anyone who's used SQLite knows this. The tool is well-designed and well-written. What's more, it's also pretty well-documented, something that OS projects can't always claim.

He also gives a good tutorial. He's not as hyper as Damian, but he's engaging and he uses a lot of very applicable, easily-understood examples as he goes along. I don't know that what I'm learning here is going to make my usage of SQLite that much more efficient, but I'll certainly have a better understanding of what is going on under the hood as I code. And some elements may actually lead to better performance in apps using SQLite. Great contrast from the first tutorial of the day.

Unfortunately (for me), one of my book ideas was to write about this topic, and apparently someone is already working on one. I hope to chat and see what his plans are, especially where coverage of language bindings are concerned. Who knows, he might be interested in having someone contribute...

03:20 PM

OSCON: D-Day, Between Tutorials

In between tutorials. Contrary to what I said earlier, I am starting to run into a number of people that I know. Catch is, they aren't sure at first that they know me. Not having made it last year, I completely forgot that I changed my appearance a lot about a year and a half ago. People who are used to seeing me (the long beard was an experiment, usually it was much shorter) suddenly don't recognize me.

Despite this minor setback, I've run into Alisdair Allen, gnat, Larry Wall, and several others I don't have links for. Still plenty of others I hope to run into over the next four days. And of course, in about 15 minutes I'll be on my next tutorial, at which I'll get to meet the talented D. Richard Hipp, creater of SQLite, possibly the mostly subtle and surreptiously-cool piece of DB code ever.