Thursday, March 23, 2006

EclipseCon Wraps

EclipseCon is winding down. This morning's keynote was by Ted Neilson, the CEO of Borland. He's an ex-Microsoftie, and somehow I just didn't find him totally convincing explaining how Borland "gets it" with regard to open source. Well, if nothing else, it's pretty clear that Microsoft stands alone against open source. Right now, a consultant with both Visual Studio and Eclipse experience is comparing the two environments, and coming down quite squarely on our side.

Tuesday and Wednesday were excellent. Joel Spolsky's keynote was entertaining, if not overly insightful. There was something about emotional appeal and polishing and misattribution. But, most notable were the numerous pictures of pretty men. Hey, I'm not saying! I'm just saying...

Greg Stein, from the Apache Software Foundation (and Google) gave the keynote yesterday, and made several good points about software, licenses, and communities. His key point was that Apache is about building communities first, and creating code second. He seemed a little anti-copyleft for my taste, though. I'm of the opinion that licenses mostly get chosen in a sensible way. Whoever starts the project tends to choose a license that meets their needs and desires. Usually in an open source project, those align quite well with the needs and desires of the users, or the project will fail spectacularly. Obviously, for a project like Eclipse, started by IBM to enable itself and other companies to build proprietary products on it, the chosen license will allow that. For Linux, the GPL is a an excellent choice: it keeps it free, encourages its rapid development, and does nothing to interfere with the abilities of individuals and companies to make use of it. Linux is thriving, in part, because of the GPL -- certainly not in spite of it.

I saw many good presentations over the last couple of days, covering topics like VE, the TPTP GUI test recorder, open source business models, GMF, profiling, the Jazz project, BIRT, platform undeveloped operations, Apache Harmony, GCJ and GNU/Linux distribution packaging, and the JET editor. Phew.

There's lots of cool stuff going on in Eclipse. I'm itching to try out some of this for myself. But somehow, I can't help thinking about the next few days...Vegas calls!

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