Friday Mar 23, 2007

JavaOne Beer: Save-The-Dates

I've been at Sun for seven years this June. My very first day was the opening day of JavaOne in 2000. I have attended every JavaOne; indeed, I was responsible for IBM attending the first one in 1996 when I managed to find a colleague with budget to pay for it (hi, Gabriel!)

So it's with some pleasure that this year I actually have a substantial involvement with the event for the first time since I joined Sun. My team is running some stuff on May 7 that will soon be announced there; we are acting as managers for the open source track which is appearing there for the first time this year; and we are helping connect people for track sessions, demos, informal events and even (we hope) announcements.

I also hope to host a bloggers beer bash again at the Thirsty Bear on the Wednesday evening, so if you have a blog save the date. And if you will be in San Francisco on Monday May 7, save the whole day, something good (and free) is coming!

Wednesday Mar 07, 2007

Open Source Month on SDN TV

I spent a day last month recording a series of video podcasts covering various aspects of open source software at Sun and beyond. It was an exhausting but interesting day under TV studio lights with a very professional crew and I really enjoyed it.

The series we filmed launches this month with me being interviewed by Dan Roberts to explain what open source is and what Sun thinks of it. The day I recorded this I had just found out the statistics on Sun's historic and ongoing contributions to Free and open source software and I was frankly amazed - see what you think.

if you like this one, you might want to subscribe to the whole series in your feed reader. I am host and interviewer on the rest.

Thursday Nov 30, 2006

Will Sun Use GPLv3?

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.[Read More]

Wednesday Nov 29, 2006

First Time in Second Life

The reactions to Sun's announcements about the Java platform moving to GPL produced a deep amazement in many people. A crowd had gathered waiting for the news, and there were definitely critics waiting to find fault. When we actually announced the news, it turned out we had gone further than anyone expected.

In fact, apart from the odd voice of self-interest (from what others call "strip miners"), the only serious criticism was over holding one of the events on the announcement day as a "virtual" Q & A in Second Life. ZDNet newbie Larry Dignan was pretty harsh, for example. To be honest, if that's all people can find to criticise them I'm pretty happy!

Having said that, and being like Tim a teachable sceptic of the value of Second Life, I actually thought it was a pretty good thing to do. Despite what this comedy writer said:

Sun, of all companies, recently hosted a Java developer Q&A in Second Life. No Web cast, no conference calls, no live forum. If you wanted to participate, you had to become a Second Life resident.
(and Larry implied), there was plenty of opportunity for engagement. We briefed press all over the world, provided a press release translated to local language, had press at the launch event, held an IRC chat which was so heavily attended it was almost unmanageable, wrote blogs and responded to comments - and so on. The Second Life event was an experiment, and just one part of the overall picture.

Moving on from the ephemeral and the complaints of those outraged by the new, was the content any good? Well, I didn't find the immersive environment added anything much to the experience, but the content was actually very good indeed. Floyd has a good summary of what went on and you can listen to the audio recording too. True, it was amusing to see the penguin cruising around the auditorium, and guessing which avatar was which person was fun too, but the questions were good and so - even though I say so myself - were the answers. If that's the quality we'll get every time I want more, break-dancers or not..

Overall, I think this was a good thing to do. I think we'll see more use of immersive collaboration spaces to augment more traditional communications, so this was an interesting experience. It got plenty of coverage and brought the OpenJDK news to more people than would have heard otherwise. And best of all, despite all the straight-laced tut-tutting, it was actually pretty good fun.

Friday Nov 24, 2006

IT Guy on YouTube

Early on at Sun I noticed that there were plenty of people around who liked less-than-serious videos. I just found my favourite to date up on YouTube, along with three others I'd not seen before (of varying funniness), all under the title "The IT Guy". Give these a try:

  • Episode 1: "Good Enough" is still Good ... Right? ("Xeon Roasted")
  • Episode 2: More Is More ("Ice Station Xeon")
  • Episode 3: More Is Never Enough ("Ginormabytes")
  • Episode 4: Out Of The Box ("Xeon Sauna")

Seems someone has decided uploads are good - there are a whole load of more serious videos from Sun up there.

Monday Nov 20, 2006

Simple Is Better

Leaf-fall at City Hall

In a fine article yesterday whose title I have appropriated for this posting, Frank Hayes exactly captures the thoughts I was thinking as we were going through the license selection discussion for the Java platform inside Sun. I don't agree with his comments on obsolescence, but when it comes to licensing:

Anyone knowing that history would have expected Sun to open-source Java on Sun’s own terms ... Amazingly, Sun didn’t do any of that. The Java open-source license is identical to the Linux license. No specialized terms. No strings. Nothing new. Sun actually did keep it simple.

Licensing simplicity was one of the goals of the Open Source Initiative. By having licenses pre-approved as "freedom promoting" by a group of experts, the plan was to save developers from having to make decisions about which licenses were OK and which were a problem. I regard it as a huge irony that this approach was so successful that the number of approved licenses has proliferated to the point where one needs legal advice to choose between them. So one of the very first things we did when I became Sun's Chief Open Source Officer in 2005 was to start the process of simplifying Sun's approach to licensing by retiring an old open source license, SISSL, which I assume no responsible company will now choose to use.

Following the OSI's lead, the time has come to further simplify, and I'm pleased to be able to announce that Sun has contacted OSI again and informed them that another license Sun created - the Sun Public License, or SPL - is no longer required by Sun and requested that they consider it "retired". We migrated the last large codebase from it last spring - NetBeans - and it's now a historical artefact.

It was a good thing in its day, but it was one of many licenses created from the Mozilla license out of necessity and now we have CDDL it's not needed - that license has provided the whole community with a long-term alternative to "vanity" licenses. I'd encourage the (many) other creators of Mozilla-derived licenses to take the same step. We owe it to our colleagues in the open source community to keep things simple.


Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.


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