for the next week. I am headed to the XP conference in Brazil, and I have no idea what kind of network connections to expect. I'll have my wireless card; gosh knows if the show is big enough (like OOPSLA) to provide wireless connectivity. So if you see no postings for awhile, you'll know why...
Take a look at this CNET story
"The U.S. Defense Department should think twice before embracing open-source software, a trade association is advising. The Initiative for Software Choice, which counts Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Intel among its backers, said in comments filed Tuesday that the department should 'avoid crafting needless and potentially detrimental IT policy to promote the use' of open-source software. 'Open source' means every software developer can view the source code for software, modify it, and use it for free. The initiative, which launched in May and is chaired by a group called CompTIA, an organization that has close ties to Microsoft, is worried about a recent report that concluded the Defense Department relies on open-source software and recommended its further adoption..."and then take a look at this from the Register
I am currently doing some new media projects in an emerging market country. As one of the reasons I was sent there was that I care about cost, I decided to develop the projects based on Open Source. The main reason for choosing Open Source software was:That much attention means that the industry powers are worried...
The fourth reason was very important as I didn't want to buy any new hardware for the servers and instead reuse existing old hardware and extend its lifetime by using Open Source Server software. We decided to Use FreeBSD, Apache, mySQL+PostgreSQL, Perl+PHP The company I am working with is a pure-Microsoft company, i.e. they only used to use Microsoft software, and they even didn't know anything about Open Source. It was a painful but successful transition. But this is not the reason I am writing. The reason is Microsoft itself. When the local Microsoft rep "heard" (someone inside the company tipped them off), they asked to meet my team(!) and discuss the reasons for our Open Source use.
- Licensing Cost for Server Software
- Openness, i.e. the ability to change software to fit our purpose
- Security & Reliability and (last not least)
- Low hardware requirements.
But I found this rant amusing. Someone break out the Prozac!
Analysts and industry pundits all have the same blinkered view of software development. They say that no one should be doing Smalltalk, because everything will be either Java or .NET in 12 months. That's funny, because they were saying something awfully similar (but without .NET) 2 years ago. In this commonly held view, I presume that all the PERL, PHP, Ruby, and Python development are a mistake as well, since they aren't part of the mainstream. But hey, what's a little fact checking on usage statistics and actual utility to developers if you have the right chair? Why bother thinking about the 70% failure rate of Java projects - as reported by Gartner - at all, so long as you tell people what you think they want to hear? The main reason the analysts give for using Java is that everyone else uses it. Well. What did your mother say about things everybody else did?
Along with a number of others, Alan Knight was interviewed for this book. Check it out.
In case the link doesn't make it clear, this book is in German
You'll want to see this comment from one of the earlier postings on the "analysts". It's absolutely amazing that anyone takes these people seriously
I got news of this lovely bit of prose from the Forrester folks, under the title: Commentary: An app server winner? Not yet
Someone should buy Borland. A couple years ago, BEA acquired Java tool VisualCafe, but did little with the product. At that point, Borland grabbed a healthy share of the Java development community. Its tools now give J2EE developers an easy way to bridge J2EE and .Net development, and although all the application servers on the market integrate with Borland's tools, vendors don't optimize its tools for their platforms.Never mind the absence of fact checking; who actually okayed that prose? The whole article may be found here. I guess the question end users of these "analytical reports" should ask themselves is: If you can't trust the facts presented by the analysts, why should you trust their conclusions?
You'll want to look at the comments from David Buck to my previous post. One of the fascinating insights into the state of Smalltalk technology from the analysts:
"There are one or two reputable vendors that still support Smalltalk (e.g. IBM) but they do not and will not introduce significant enhancements, recognizing the niche status of Smalltalk."What this indicates is a failure on the part of said analyst to do even basic research - he obviously spent zero time even with a web browser, instead taking their information from within their own echo chamber. Within a few weeks of these brilliant comments, Cincom had released VW 7, and IBM had released VAST 6. Meanwile, Object-Arts had put out a new release of Dolphin, and the MT guys were busy putting out development builds of their latest work. And that doesn't even get into all the fascinating stuff that goes on over in Squeak, or in dialects like Smalltalk/X, which is mostly used in consulting projects. Have a visit to Why Smalltalk for a rundown of all the links I've managed to omit here. Apparently, being an analyst meeans never having to fact check. You might want tp bring this up the next time you speak to an analyst, and see if they can explain their research "methodology" to you. Make sure to use small words...
The analysts amuse me. They write stuff like this:
MUNICH (COMPUTERWOCHE) - If your company is just going to decide whether to chose Sun's Java or Microsoft's .NET as development architecture then according to Gartner then it is appropriate to ask whether either of them works at all. About 70 percent of all initial Java implementations have failed up to now the researchers say. "An immoderate number of big Java projects failed", said Mark Driver, Research Director for Internet- and E-Business-Technologies. Driver continued - Microsoft shouldn't draw positive conclusions for their own .NET from that. The failure rate for early implementations of the Microsoft architecture will most likely be as big. "The only practical possibility to decrease the risk (of a failing implementation) is to outsource the development", says Gartner.So, Java and .NET lead to 70% failure rates, and outsourcing (a trend Gartner has been touting for years) is the only way out. Then they say:
Despite the problems of the Early Adopters the institute anticipates, that up to the year 2005 the decision about the Enterprise Architectures has become a head-to-head race of the two rivals J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and .Net. Both shall control in three years about 40% of the market each. "Most of the bigger companies will have both platforms", expects Driver. "They have become de-facto-standards."So - even with massive failure rates - Gartner just blissfully goes along, and tells people to move off things like Smalltalk, and go to things like Java and .NET - knowing full well that 70% of the people taking this advice will fail These are the people that C level folks listen to? Why????
Download this patch. Automatic delivery of patches has a small bug, or I would arrange to have this delivered automatically. Once we get the next release out, patches should be delivered that way. For now, just save the file above into the BtfPatch directory, and the system will load the patch at startup.
I still see a number of messages - in email and in newsgroups - that go something like this:
We are using VW 2.5.2 for our application, and would like to use the newer features of VW 7. How do we go about upgrading?
Well, start by reading here. I went through awhile back and documented the changes between various versions of VisualWorks, and posted the results. More usefully, I posted the scripts I used - you will probably want to run the chnage scripts yourself, in order to get any specific changes you made (I used vanilla VW images in all cases, with only the pacakges loaded that were defaults in 2.5.x). It's a lot easier to upgrade than you think - this is Smalltalk, not Java!
Before anyone else is awake (yes, we do sleep in in this house!). I doubt I'll be blogging much today; there will be too much cooking and eating later. So Happy Thanksgiving all!
I stumbled across an interesting point of view on why things like generics haven't caught on in Java:
I think that this view is a bit optimistic, it's been noted before that language features don't really catch on unless they're integrated into the language, e.g. Garbage Collection in C++. It's certainly possible to build a garbage collected system in C++, and there are commercial implementations (I think one prominent vendor is named Great Circle), but hardly anybody uses GC in C++. So the fact that hardly anybody's using third party extensions to Java isn't an indication that people don't want them; they either don't know they want them, or they don't want to use a third party extension. Especially given that Sun put so much effort into promoting "100% pure Java", it's not surprising that nobody's shown much interest in creating a "better Java". Sun's created a situation where their imprimatur is crucial for language features to be accepted by the wider audience of Java programmers. So development focuses on the platform, where extension is encouraged, rather than the syntax, where extension is discouraged.
The whole thing is here. I think this catches an interesting difference between the Smalltalk developer community and the developer communities for other systems - especially Java and MS based ones. It's not that developers don't ask Cincom (or IBM, or Object-Arts, etc.) for additional features; they do. It's that they don't sit around and wait for them. The entire Smalltalk culture is built around a more self reliant, do it yourself kind of credo, whereas the mainstreamers tend to sit back and wait for the promised delivery from the vendor. Maybe that's because Smalltalk is simpler, maybe that's because Smalltalk has always left itself more open to extension - no final classes or primitive data types here, for instance.
Whatever it is, I think it makes for an overall smarter community of developers.
This story has Sun reviving the x86 port of Solaris. Sure, this is where Sun should be spending their dollars, competing on the commodity end with Linux and Dell. At the very least, I'll enjoy the additional drag this will give Sun.
Another Thanksgiving is just about here - and I am girding for guests again. My wife and I managed to arrange things such that we never travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas; our relatives come here. This is a decidely mixed blessing - I don't have to drive anywhere and fight horrible traffic and airport crowds, but I do have to help prepare the rather large volume of food. And then there's always the huge stack of dishes to clean up, not to mention the days of Turkey leftovers. Still and all, better than traveling on the holidays, I think.
We released BottomFeeder 2.5 today. We made a lot of enhancements to this version - including making the menus more logical and context driven. The major fix was in the handling of merging new items into the existing cache of items already received - with some internal feeds, some bugs in this code surfaced. Those are fixed now. Suggestions on what else BottomFeeder could use? Send me email
BottomFeeder 2.5 is just about ready to go - we are testing one or two more things before release. There's been a longstanding problem with the way it identifies new items coming in - and we think we finally have that problem nailed. Look for 2.5 shortly!
My wife and daughter headed out to a party on Saturday, so I had plenty of time to add features to BottomFeeder. We have a project member writing a user's guide - and his questions have helped a lot, pointing out areas of the application that were clear to me, but not necessarily to others. I did take some time to hop on the web and buy a new ReplayTV. The holidays and my wife's birthday are upon us, and it seems that we are sufficiently potato-like that the 40 hour unit wasn't enough. So, the 80 hour unit is now incoming, ready to be hooked up to the other TV and the house network. I have some trepidation about that; the A/V setup in my family room is already confusing, and now I'll have to wire in a new component. Meanwhile, I'm convinced that the remotes are up to something when I'm not looking - there's always more of them floating about....