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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

OSCON 2007

I had the opportunity to spend a day at OSCON 2007.

This is my attempt to capture what I found interesting from the presentations that I attended for future exploration and reading.
It is long and not formatted very well. The content is thought triggers for my future explorations. Hopefully yours as well.

Note: that most of the thoughts here are from the presenters with my note taking and comments in italics.

KeyNote: Year in Review: Open Source at Microsoft
Bill Hilf: Open Source software lab at Microsoft.
- Their progression has been from Experimenting to Learning to Architecting.
- Worked to overcome open source bias within Microsoft.
- Check out: Port 25, Channel 9, CodePlex
- Microsoft has submitted shared source license to OSI for approval: read more
- New Microsoft open source web property: (live at 7am July 27th)

Definitely some interesting new movement that will be fun to watch.

Key Note: Copyright Regime vs. Civil Liberties
Rick Falkvinge, The Pirate Party
- Sweden political platform at the web page.
- Copyright is intended to be commercial...but in the digital age is touching everything and is everywhere.
- Under current law that messenger is not responsible for the contents of the message...commercial interests would like this "limitation" to be changed.
- Society must choose: privacy or copyright
- Another possible outcome is a filtering the internet.

I think this is a group of people who are asking questions that are great to get people talking. Not sure I agree with everything but...discussing the situation is good.

Key Note: How to Ignore Marketing and Become Irrelevant in Two Easy Steps
Steve Yegge (works at Google):
- New Coke is like New God??!! Who needed the redefinition.
-59% said New Coke tasted better in blind.
-With label 59% old coke
- Turbo C and Quick C : which sounds faster to you?
- Brand is a a pointer in programming (constant identifier).
- GTE trying to change image...constant.
- Data indicates it takes a generation to change a brand perception...GTE --> Verizon
- Eclipse must be careful...watering down of brand by becoming a mega-brand...a brand must stand for something...and the consumer usually picks.

- 22 immutable laws of branding (book to check out).

- IBM Visual Age for Java - names can really hurt adoption
- Visual Age for Java --> Eclipse
- eBay / - which one is the better name?

- Eclipse known as Java (joke from the audience is that Eclipse is associated with being slow...ouch!)
- Hard to successfully move into other spaces
- Attempting to extend brand...Eclipse main web page given as example...(even though the old quote of good for everything but nothing in particular has been gone for more than a year!)
- Claims Eclipse should just stay focused on Java...but then admitted that Java is getting close to being your father's programming language.
- Open source licensing: GPL brand leader for OSI
- What does open source mean...depends on license...hard to define. Brand has no strong meaning. Needs attention and a solution.

Likely the best talk I have heard where the presenters slides refused to show up on the screen!

How to Protect Your Open Source Project from Poisonous People
Subversion anecdotes
- Producing open source software, Karl Fogel (book)
- Attention and focus is the scarce resource: conflict drains this aware, infighting
perfect is the enemy of the good --> good old analysis paralysis
- build strong community based on: politeness, respect, trust, and humility
- increase bus factor for many people need to get hit by a bus before your project is in real trouble.
- Don't be afraid of process
(Wahoo...just what we believe on the Jazz process team! The team owns their process. The process must be easy to explore and open to change. Only an enacted process is real.)
- Genius is now a commodity so just don't let someone in just because they are smart.
- EVERYONE must be a team player.
- Everyone agreed that no one really understands "angry demands for help".
- Pink bike shed: so true!!
- Apparently this talk is available on Google video

People Hacks: Adam Keys
Machines tend to be rational / people tend to be irrational
(at this very moment someone in the audience took a cell phone call that was very disruptive to the talk: hilarious)
- There is no readme for humans
- Easier to convince someone to do something if they like you
- There is a reason programs have laff tracks
- Negativity is lazy
- Criticisms --> turtle with its head stuck in a shell can make no progress. Be gentle when critiquing someones work.

- No Asshole rule
(Book to check out)
- Generally not worth tolerating even geniuses
- Start your own method of coping (My method is to write an scathing email to a jerk and then delete it! Always ensure the TO address is to yourself :-) )
- It is good therapy to admit you are a jerk...sometimes
- Advocating ideas:
  • understand the box/context someone is living in. Then you can move towards thinking outside the box
  • resistance to change
  • prepare for the tough questions
  • honesty and modesty
  • plant ideas in other people...then be ready to implement when they see the light
- move teams to hive mind
- make easy for people to try out and make them feel like a hero when they do
- move "know it all" (teenage mentality) to mentor, if not mentor then friend
- give people an incentive to really care...even just implied rewards.
- social gatherings to grow team dynamic. Even team "inside jokes" grow the dynamic.
teams that can have fun produce more...feel of belonging, pride in group identity
- How to win friends and influence people (old school book that is still relevant)
- Test out someone: jerks will generally show their hand dealing with wait staff at restaurants.

Next generation Version Control Systems
Distributed src control
We all need to keep up with
- Git
- inode history uninteresting, derivable from the content
- important to encourage frequent topic branching
- if you want a usability feature...patches welcome...not the focus
Apparently there is a Git eclipse plug-in ?



- And for lots of fun on a Sunday night: Comparison of revision control software

Body hacking and functional body are the platform (Quinn Norton)
Enhance function of body or perceptions
- rare earth metal implanted in ring anesthetic--> artist not doctor
- re-purpose brain for new functional capacity
- RFID implantation
- people putting together CT scan with open source packages
- Emotiv - basically a game controller but ooohhh the potential for "hackers"
- if steroids are cheating why isn't Lasik?
- Provigil - reduces need for sleep...7-10 dollars per pill
- CUV1647 - tan, weight loss and increases sex drive
- vaccination is required modification
- black market medicine---back alley hospitals
- What makes or defines a human?
- When does someone stop being human?

Not directly related to anything I do or would try but man is this a conversation starter!

Art of Community Panel
Great code comes out of a good community
Is it really about the community or is it the code?
-over the long term these merge to become one
- people are important. Anonymous software, ability to get away with lower quality
-Wikipedia - people building an encyclopedia. Healthy community software is emergent
-Ensure your community has a defined goal. This makes it much easy to define healthy community

Is a community healthy?
-consistent, constant participation
-distribution of workload
-many roles in a community
-ease of joining and ease of use, ease of sampling...taking college course
- self moderating, self governing
-vested interest in community success

Benevolent it dead?
- General consensus...yes. Always really a core group of committers that you can trust.
- You do have the opportunity to take your toys and leave the party

Community that is too large?
- attempting to break down areas of expertise is a sign of too large of a community
- having a reputation system - tends to be gamed
- Linden Lab love machine - A vehicle to give someone kudos for doing a good job. Giving and getting. Hard to game as transparent
- Communities just plain do not scale: look at a map

Are communities becoming a commodity?
- Source forge into marketplace
- Value is in the committers: IBM and committers for Apache
- Community only stays if things are still healthy

- Community about in the works: link

What Do You Mean, Marketing? Promoting Open Source Projects
- If your project sucks no amount of marketing effort will make it successful
- It is not evil to engage in marketing
- Give talks and presentations to promote
- write articles
- A really good web page is a must
- postgres sql given as an example: web page
- simple but provides the user with everything in an expected and easy to recognize format
- Do not hide the source code
- make it easy to get and try out the project
- VMWare image
- Good documentation is great marketing
- Don't disrespect the competition
- have a low traffic announce list
- have predictable release cycles for users, downstream vendors --> great comfort for IT managers
- regular users should be involved in every stage of the project
- get the stats of your users: Who is your consumer?- Fedora project doing good work here
- Eclipse given as an example still run by IBM...memories are long :-(

Overall interesting and thought provoking talks.
I appreciated the slack time to think about these tangents.


Kim Moir said...

Thanks for the summary Darin! Very interesting.

Melanotan said...

Hello, your blog entry here makes mention of Quinn Norton's talk that included the drug "CUV1647". This drug is best known as melanotan-1 and it has recently been given the generic name "afamelanotide". The drug has progressed quite a bit in terms of eventually coming to market since Norton's speech. Wired has covered the latest:
Suntan Drug Greenlighted for Trials

melanotan - afamelanotide