foss.in, day 2: A day of Sun

Day 2 for me started with watching Simon Phipps talk about Sun’s FOSS Philosophy and Strategy. It rained in the morning, so the talk started a little late, and there were hopes of better attendance. Nonetheless, the talk was interesting, and the announcement that there was money in it for FOSS developers, was just fabulous. I took away a few points, which I ended up Twittering:

  • There’s this idea of a global mesh nowadays, and its leading to a changing society. FOSS is all about it. And “Its Going Mainer Mainstream”!
  • Investment in skills is important for any country. There should always be a preference to invest in the local workforce. Simon mentions that all this allows you to keep the sovereignty of your country.
  • You cannot pirate free software. Want to avoid foreign interference, and all the worries of WIPO? Free software is the answer.
  • Simon Phipps thinks “software patents are bananas”. I tend to agree.
  • I also found out that the Sydney Opera House owns a trademark on all photos taken of the Opera House. That seemed retarded, and not long after, I found out this was similar with regards to the Petronas Twin Towers in KL. I can take a photo, but apparently, I can’t sell it on say, ShutterStock Photo or anything. Ridiculous.

I didn’t get to attend the next round of talks, mainly because I was giving my talk! The room was full, the questions were good, I was happy. I read a report, from Ditesh, so that’s a pretty good summary, I guess.

I really wanted to attend the Mozilla talk from Mitchell Baker (mainly because I’d have liked to have met her), however, I couldn’t resist going to the PostgreSQL 8.3 talk by Josh Berkus. It was an interesting talk, well rounded, with the occasional jab or two at MySQL. The attendance was about half full, and we had some unwelcome loud noises in the talk! I took away from it:

  • Contributors are full participants. PostgreSQL is owned and run by the community. Write a patch, and its accepted? Be prepared to write documentation.
  • CSV logging is now built-into PostgreSQL 8.3
  • I was introduced to Heat Only Tuples (HOT). Benchmarking, then seems to be skewed towards greater performance gains in PostgreSQL
  • MVCC: Overwriting model (InnoDB, Oracle) or the non-overwriting model (PostgreSQL, Firebird)
  • The attention to standards is great. Extending SQL, to create the SKYLINE feature, to power approximate queries, however, this was rejected for the core of PostgreSQL, and is available in their foundry
  • Release engineering in PostgreSQL is amazing. 6 weeks development, 2 weeks commit, and repeat.
  • There are doubts of an embedded PostgreSQL – this is what SQLite is for. I like the focus of the core team here.
  • You never want PostgreSQL running on handheld devices – heavy writes it has.
  • “There is no one size fits all solution, for databases” — Josh Berkus. I tend to agree
  • Why are few hosting companies providing PostgreSQL? Customers don’t ask for anything else? CPanel doesn’t run with PostgreSQL. pg_hba.conf (my.cnf equivalent) needs fixing, for controlling quotas (can be implemented via tablespaces), etc.

Next up, was the OpenMoko: What, why and how talk by Harald Welte. The talk was packed to the brim, and I didn’t learn much more than I’d have found out from their website. Its an interesting project, but with the upcoming Android, and the idea that I need a working phone now, I don’t know if OpenMoko is right. Besides, the battery life on that thing is horrid.


Colin Charles and Josh Berkus (photo, courtesy Josh Berkus)

Spent time talking to Josh Berkus, in the corridor, nearby the Sun booth about life, the universe, and everything. Then it was Lightning Talks, and dinner…

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  • http://www.embeddedcomponents.com/blogs/ Ron Fredericks

    Hi Colin:

    I liked your overview of FOSS.IN. I was intrigued with your review of Simon Philipp’s preso “The Virtuous Cycle: Sun’s FOSS Philosophy and Strategy”. I would like more info on your comment on “money for developers”.

    Perhaps you and your readers would be interested in my review of an evolving open source effort around HP’s antique programmable calculator called an HP-41:

    Community Software Development for Embedded Devices
    http://www.embeddedcomponents.com/blogs/2007/04/community-software-development-for-embedded-devices/

    Best regards,

    Ron


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