One was on distributed caching and file systems. We talked about memcached, ehcache and a new file system from Live Journal – Mogile FS. It is user space, so not really a true file system. It comes with a mod_mogile for Apache. Must take a look at that. It looks like use of memcached is settling on page caching. Serialization issues make it a bit expensive for object caching.
Emerging Internet Security Standards
This was a wide ranging discussion on whether any standards are emerging in Internet security after 10 years of nothing more than server SSL certs being taken up.
In Instant Messaging it looks like OTR, which stands for Off the Record, is emerging. Adium for Mac, which had a version 1 release today, has it built right in. Many others have plugins. You click a lock and it asks the other party to go off the record. If they have the software they can elect to. If not, the handshake does not complete and it stays in plain text.
OpenID is the other big one. It is a single sign on system for the web. Technorati and Wikipedia are moving to it. Firefox 3 will support it (Ben Goodger confirmed it is on the wish list). Firefox 3 is also down to support SAML, the Oasis standard. Sun’s Liberty Alliance specifies SAML. So hopefully something is going to happen here.
As to email, it doesn’t look like anything is going to happen. We speculated that it will take someone like Google Mail to introduce a standard. Maybe S/MIME, maybe something else. Interestingly lots of ISPs are supporting using SSL for MTA. I tested mine and it does not but apparently lots of Australian ones do. One tick for confidentiality.
There wasn’t much on Ruby in the sessions. But I got around the rubyists. I met the guy who decided not to accept a patch for Oracle prepared statements. “Our user community does not really use Oracle and prepared statements can be harmful to PostGres performance and are neutral for MySQL”. One guy is an ex-Rubyist. His complaint was the community. Naive implementations solving problems that were elegantly solved 10 years ago, with the implementers thinking how cool they are. In the next breath I heard how banks and big enterprises are no longer interested in Java and are all doing Ruby. I look forward to them changing over to MySQL because the Ruby community does not care about Oracle.
There seems to be high respect for the JRuby project. It looks like it will imminently be able to run Rails. There are a few people showing how to deploy it on Glassfish. The Netbeans guys are making much of adding not just Ruby but Perl, Python and PHP language support. And IntelliJ IDEA released just a few days ago their Ruby plugin through their plugin manager. I played with it again (the last time was a few months back). It is ok. It has RDoc with CTRL-Q, syntax highlighting and minimal keyword auto completion. It needs to be much better to get me enthused. Allan Odgaard, the TextMate author, pointed out that Ruby autocompletion has just been added as a plugin to TextMate. (His focus is on supporting 100 languages, so he himself does not do too much that is language specific – he likes the Emacs analogy).
Tiobe announced that Ruby was the language of 2006, because it had the most growth. The latest Tiobe shows a leveling off of Ruby. Not sure if this is temporary or whether it will level off below Python.
Overall the super buzz around Ruby seems to be dying down.
Allison, a Parrot VM architect was here. I asked her about whether an open source JVM might get used by Perl and others. She thinks maybe, but the independent efforts, which are designed for dynamic languages will continue.
We all had a go on a Segway that the LiveJournal guy brought with him. It has a black key and a red key. Red is for fast. We all graduated from black to red and a had a great time. You delegate balancing to the machine. The rest is easy.
The google guys were conspicuous by their t-shirts and tight-lippedness. Google’s share price has taken a bit of a tumble, which was the main discussion. Chris De Bono, helpfully “does not comment on future share prices”. This is very similar to his comment from OSCON two years ago in answer to questions about better Linux support with he “does not comment on future product announcements”. With conversation that exciting I moved on. Interestingly, given that there now a 1/googol chance of any new hires making anything out of Google employee optios, all the Googlers are emitting a new company line that Google has found new creative ways to entice developers to join. I am up to three recruitment approaches from Google now in the past two years and am probably now on the do not call list.
I did manage to meet Lars Rasmussen who was on the team that did Google Maps. Due to its Cuba policy the USA has lost Lars and his Cuban wife to a country (Australia) that has normalised relations with Cuba. A good win for Australia.
Lots of Java people haunting the corridors. Thankfully they were all IntelliJ users, so we could escape the oppression of the Eclipse nazis for a short time. I met the guy who did the TestNG plugin. JUnit 4 is at the end of the day not that exciting. I might take a look at TestNG. I spread the word about Glassfish which I am now using at work in production. I think it will be big. It seems clear that Glassfish is the platform to be on for new experiments. Some of the non Java guys, who do not exactly keep up with Sun news, were interested to hear that Sun had done an open source Java app server. And the open sourcing of Java is big. Glassfish is coming on to the Linux distros (Ubuntu already announced) so they will see it.
It was agreed that Linux newbies prefer Ubuntu these days. A grizzled Debian veteran still prefers the original formula. I showed off my Macbook running FC6 on VMWare Fusion in answer to questions about whether I had used Parallels.
Lots of it at the conference. We even had the NZ Communications Minister with us. He seemed very well informed on IP issues. NZ is doing a new Copyright Act and trying to avoid the disgraceful Australian precedent done as part of the Australia – USA bilateral trade deal where we let the US export their IP laws to us in exchange for a little bit of market access for our farm products.
He suggested that patent infringement lacked mens rea. I suggested that it is now hard to write a line of code without infringing some patent. So we all have mens rea, but we have no idea what patent we are infringing.
Corporates still seem best served by building up patent war chests. A bit hard for those of who do open source.