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44 posts

Blast from the past Blog

Posted by webmink Jan 23, 2012

It's been two years since I posted here last, but life has been busy with open source all the same. Having helped a startup with their open source thinking, I'm now independent again and contributing much of my time to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and to The Document Foundation (TDF), as well as offering open source policy and practice consulting.

That first association with OSI is taking me to FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium for the weekend of February 3-5 to deliver a keynote on their behalf. I've written in more detail why FOSDEM is a must-attend open source event, but I wanted to alert friends in the Java community to the splendid agenda the Free Java Devroom has to offer. The agenda includes Oracle staff such as Mark Reinhold, Dalibor Topi? and             Edvard Wendelin, Mike Milinkovic from Eclipse, Stephen O'Grady from RedMonk and real free software hackers like Mario Torre and Andrew Haley. Those latter hackers, by the way, are among the people to whom we owe the existence of OpenJDK, so it's good to value them highly!

I'll be spending some of my time in the Free Java, LibreOffice and Legal Issues Devrooms, so say hi if you visit any of them (or, indeed, my keynote!)


Days In The Sun Over Blog

Posted by webmink Mar 8, 2010

After nearly 10 years at Sun, and 5 years as Chief Open Source Officer, I  have now left Sun. You can read my reflections on those years on my new personal  blog (to which you may wish to subscribe).


A JCK for OpenJDK Blog

Posted by webmink Aug 9, 2007
My comments are over on my "real" blog, but I felt today was a day to share with java.net :-)

I'm interviewed today on IT Conversations and the blog links take listeners to some less used places in my blog-o-rama, so this is by way of links to the right places - see my aggregator and my work blog where most of the action happens!


JavaOne Bloggers Party Blog

Posted by webmink May 5, 2007

Reserve Seats at JavaOne Blog

Posted by webmink Apr 18, 2007

For the last few months I've been writing an occasional series on the issues surrounding open sourcing Sun's Java implementations over on my other blog. Realising there are plenty of people on java.net who never get over there, here's a summary of the story so far.

Will Sun use GPLv3? (November 20, 2006)
Some people have been throwing rocks at the GPLv3 process from outside, and others have been accusing Sun of joining the rock throwers by opting for GPL v2 for the Java platform. Here's why I disagree with both.
Why Bother Open Sourcing Java? (August 18, 2006)
While the actual code-base will only be touched by the 400, the 4 million will benefit from the extended deployment range, the greater pool of expertise and the greater diversity of interests that will result. Open sourcing Sun's Java implementations is hard, has risks and affects only the 400 now, but it will quickly grow benefits that the 4 million will reap.
An Ongoing Process (August 15, 2006)
I briefed press an analysts in London to provide an update on the process of taking Sun's Java implementations open source. It's worth noting that this is part of an ongoing process that reflects Sun's roots.
Respecting The Developers (July 25, 2006)
So why doesn't Sun just pick an OSI-approved license, apply it to the Java source code and be done with it? Why claim it's so hard to open source the Java platform?
Forks Aren't a Problem (May 26, 2006)
I keep hearing people claiming that the biggest problem that would be caused by making Sun's Java SE implementation open source is forking. But I have to disagree. The implication is that all forks are incompatible forks, but the two are not synonyms.
No Unfair Advantage (May 24, 2006)
There are two dimensions to compatibility. The one everyone with developer genes can grok is about having the same APIs doing the same thing everywhere the word "Java" is used to describe a virtual machine environment. The other is more subtle. It's about ensuring no major vendor - Sun included - gets an unfair advantage in the market because they have been able to exert control in a way that yields a competitive benefit.

I'll try to keep this list up to date, so you might want to bookmark it.


The Java Up-tick Blog

Posted by webmink Nov 9, 2005

I just got off stage at JavaOne Japan, where I was talking about Open Source - the philosophy, the community, the reality. After the talk I was asked how important the union of open source and Java could be. I referred to Tim O'Reilly's Radar presentation at OSCON where he talked about the up-tick in Java books that happened at the end of 2005. He said:

A lot of this growth spurt occurred shortly after JavaOne and the new Tiger release, which happened around that time. All of the top titles were revised, and saw a healthy sales increase as a result. However, when we analyzed new books (versus revisions), it appears that a substantial portion of Java's sustained growth, outside of the classic titles, has come from books on Open Source Java projects, such as Spring, Struts, Lucene, and AspectJ, which collectively performed at nearly double the unit and revenue volumes of new books on their non-Open Source counterparts.

For me, this discovery is very significant. There are plenty of people around talking about "what's next after Java" (there's even an interesting O'Reilly book about it), but it seems to me that the growing trend is not the search for new languages but rather the creation of collaborative communities around the technologies people need to evolve software development. I have said before that programmers don't program using languages, they program by connecting libraries with languages. The delightful growth of Java-based open source communities seems to underline that. I'm not saying we don't need new languages (I wouldn't have advocated the Coyote project if I thought that) but rather that languages aren't the only or even main key to programmer productivity.

I was privileged this morning to be the Sun executive doing the morning news call for the world's press at 7:15am here in San Francisco, and thus I had the pleasure of being the one to announce that Sun's implementation of a Java Application Server,  Java System Application Server Platform Edition 9.0, is now open source.  Totally delighted to see it happen.


Announcing Coyote Blog

Posted by webmink Mar 15, 2005
There' s a free event for the Java Communities on Tuesday night too - 6-9pm in the Argent hotel, Metro 3 room. I gather there will be free food and drink to be consumed in the company of community representatives from each of the Java communities (java.net, JXTA, Jini and the JCP who I gather are the hosts) and that everyone is welcome.

JavaOne Blogger Meetup Blog

Posted by webmink Jun 22, 2004

Heroes of Code Blog

Posted by webmink Jun 18, 2004

Tucked away in the corner of the FISL exhibit hall in Porto Alegre was a stand staffed by the Brazilian OpenOffice.org group - enthusiastic, friendly, welcoming. I stepped carefully around the mound of food packages the team are collecting for the poor and was greeted by Claudio Ferreira Filho, leader of the group that localised OpenOffice.org to Brazilian Portuguese. Using just the tools to hand they have done a fine localisation that is widely used. By 'tools to hand' I'm talking dedication - at least one team member still has to do uploads and downloads using a dial-up connection, meaning it can take days to grab the full source code. If you're reading this in Brazil, help these guys!

Today, as the announcement of the availability of OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 goes out, I'm thinking of Claudio and the people like him around the world. Teams like Claudio's are the unsung heroes of code. The real success of OpenOffice.org is the fact that small teams in 36 projects are diligently creating the local language versions of OpenOffice.org that will bring it to millions around the world in their own language. Claudio explained to me that it wasn't just a matter of translating the text to the words everyone else uses in the computer world; his team strives to use authentic Brazilian expressions and break the linguistic hegemony of American English.

The fact that it's open source means every language group can have its own word processor, not just the ones that corporations think they can profit from. This, by the way, is why we need format standards - not for the people who have the wealth to create a custom schema but to include into the community those with economies too small to be worth exploitation.

[Other Brazil posts:  Java Everywhere, A Government That Gets It, WIPO, Smooth, Drinks, In Translation - also posted to Webmink]

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