After the keynote, this is an interesting slowdown - a "roundtable" discussion of various software boks. First up: Beck's "Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns". The book dates back to 1997, so the discussion is almost nostalgic in nature - a lot of the people here started in Smalltalk, and they have fond memories of their work in it.
The panel liked Beck's book - the take away seems to be that yes, it's Smalltalk specific - but a lot of the lessons in the book are generally applicable and have to do with communicating intent between developers through well written code.
The group discussed other books, and it was a nice break from the more highly interactive "think" sessions after Tuesday evening :)
The second item was a seminal paper from 1972 - "On the criteria to be used in decomposing systems into modules" by David Parnas" - the group agreed that while the ideas expressed are now "old hat", it was ground breaking for its time.
Great line about one of the other books ('"Paradoxes of Group Life") - "I must say, I didn't understand this review any better than I understood the book". This book got a very general thumbs down as being incomprehensible for the general reader.
Next: "Software Requirements and Specifications" (Jackson) - Interesting take on this one: don't read it straight through, follow the "root map" through it. Basically, it's a website in printed form. Interesting take on this one, too: many of the people in the group thought the book had some good ideas, but that Jackson himself is irritating.
The last book taken up: "The Social Atom". This one isn't technical, it's about group behavior, but on a more approachable basis than something "technical" on the subject (like "Paradoxes of Group Life"). Michael Feathers brought this book up, and it was mentioned in his talk. People liked this book, but there seemed to be a sense of "what do I take away from it?". At the same time, people liked it. Heh - "I hated this book until I came in here".