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The Powerful Promise of Economic Return

Like many geeks, I have long admired and respected Neil deGrasse Tyson. In the following video, Neil talks about 3 drivers that inspired great & expensive accomplishments. Or, in his words, “how to get something done in modern times” and “drive tomorrow’s economies”.

After much reflection, he felt there are 3 and only 3 drivers:

  1. Praise of royalty/deity, which he feels is less relevant today
  2. War, which is less relevant today
  3. Search for Economic return

Good morning #EclipseCon

Today is day 0 of EclipseCon. This means there are a number of great Tutorials and Working Group Meetings today. In addition, the annual general meeting takes place at 3pm in the Waterfront Ballroom 3 room.

In the evening, there is a choice of interesting events including Birds of a Feather (BoF) meetings, an M2M Hackathon, Ignite LocationTech Boston, and capping things off will be Eclipse Late Night at the Tamo bar at the Seaport Hotel.

Hope you enjoy your day!

Chart.js – phew! that was close

I noticed the following earlier today from Nick Downie:

“An apology to open source

At midnight on the 18th March 2013 I posted Chart.js online. On the morning of the 19th March, I’ve had to take it down due to IP concerns with my current employer.

It had been my final year university project I had been working on for a couple of months. I had intended it to be an open source project for the web design and development community.

Since posting it online, I’ve been completely overwhelmed and hugely grateful for all the support and kind words.

Sadly though, due to concerns from my employer regarding intellectual property and similarities in projects I’ve worked on, I’ve been asked to take down the site. My job and livelihood have to be my primary concern. With this in mind, I have closed down the site, and removed my master branch from Github.

I’d like to personally apologise for taking this away, I’m just as disappointed as you.


This kind of thing is really tragic. In this case, it seems to have worked out perhaps as I notice chart.js is back on-line. I’m guessing of course, but I suspect a small employer might wisely weigh the potential for much negative publicity and be forced to quickly approve. The code may benefit from the extra visibility and attention.

This kind of thing isn’t rare unfortunately. The Vert.x project went through a similar situation  recently. The discussion in that case was worth the read to see how the Vert.x community weighed their options and came to consensus.

The quick lesson for open source developers is that intellectual property really does matter and it is worth educating yourself on the issues so you’re as prepared as you can be and avoid painful mistakes. Github by itself is not enough.

Should Eclipse do rolling releases?

Some of you may have already been following the discussions taking place in the Ubuntu community. For those who haven’t, it has been a very interesting, relevant, & passionate examination of Ubuntu’s release management processes/cycle including Long Term Support.

Particularly interesting in the discussions is the proposed move from a regular release (not unlike the Eclipse simultaneous release) to a rolling release concept. One of the latest posts on the topic is from Mark Shuttleworth including a strawman proposal.

The Eclipse community has had its own discussions about the right approach in this regard. Notably around the switch to Eclipse 4.x and balancing stability/robustness/performance against innovation, evolution, and timely acceptance of contributions. Alex Kurtakov from Red Hat wrote an excellent blog post inspired by the LibreOffice community & hitting on some of the pain points hindering community development and encouraging newcomers to contribute within the Eclipse community.

The work the team has recently done to move the Eclipse platform to the Common Build Infrastructure has made it much more accessible & easier for people to build than it has been for the last 10 years – just a single command. The major overhaul of Eclipse’s IP process also makes things a lot easier. The Long Term Support working group and forge offer new possibilities for support and maintenance that were not available before. These are significant in the history and evolution of Eclipse. Each is a big deal on its own. Collectively they have massive potential. We need your help to ensure they are used to their maximum potential.

At EclipseCon 2013 in Boston (March 25-28th), there are meetings where you can learn more and participate in the discussions. Space is limited so please sign up in advance with the links provided below:

For those of you who might not be able to make it to these sessions, I encourage you to participate in discussions on the CBI & LTS mailing lists.

For those that are interested in getting started with Eclipse, moving their project to build with the CBI, hacking the code on an interesting project, or meeting some pretty amazing Eclipse committers – we are also holding a Code Sprint. We have a few more spots left for those who wish to participate.

Significant Milestone for Eclipse: Platform building with CBI

We just reached a very important milestone for Eclipse. The Eclipse platform has switched to building using the Common Build Infrastructure (CBI).

CBI will be used to build Kepler (M6 and beyond). This work has made building Eclipse super easy for anyone on a wide variety of machines. I build it on my desktop in about 30 minutes (90 minutes on my laptop). Give it a try to see for yourself.

I’d like to thank the core team who pushed it through to completion. Special thanks to:

Paul Webster, Thanh Ha, Igor Federenko, Krzysztof Daniel, Jan Sievers, Tobias Oberlies, and David Williams.

Also, many others responded by supporting the effort in various ways including advocating, testing, providing feedback, committing our patches, infrastructure, providing patches, and more. Thanks to:

John Arthorne, Alexander Kurtakov, Mike Milinkovich, Mike Wilson, Lars Vogel, Pat Huff, Steve Francisco, Mike Lim, Dave Hughes, Daniel Megert, Szymon Brandys, Silenio Quarti, Andrey Loskutov, Szymon Ptaszkiewicz, Markus Knauer, Yates Monteith, Gunnar Wagenknecht, Mickael Istria, Jayaprakash Arthanareeswaran, Aaron Digulla, Denis Roy, Matt Ward, Wayne Beaton, and more that I’m surely forgetting.

Code Sprint in Boston

On March 23rd and 24th, just before EclipseCon, we’ll be hosting a 2 day code sprint in Boston at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. You do not have to register for EclipseCon to participate. Space is limited so sign up in advance.

This code sprint is a golden opportunity for hacking on the code face to face with fellow developers. For those who have been following the Common Build Infrastructure (CBI), this is a great opportunity to migrate your project with help. Evaluate your project’s LTS readiness. Get involved with Orion or the Internet of Things.

Being a code ninja is not enough

I’m glad that my recent post Github is not enough was well received. I felt it was important to explain. Another important thing I want to share is about the importance of communication in software development. One person working in isolation doesn’t usually have communication issues. How often does this really happen though? Anything reasonably complex and actually being used will have a group of people involved.

Once a group of people get involved it’s all over… you need to communicate. The better you are at it, the less the outcome is limited by communication. The worse you are at it, you’ll likely need to communicate more to fix problems resulting from poor communication. If you suck at it, you’re going to be miserable and less effective than you might otherwise be.Android_smartphone

You don’t have to take my word for the fact development is based heavily on communication. Let’s look at some interesting examples.

PostgreSQL, a mighty fine DBMS, is a large and complex software project. I see just over a dozen active core committers at the moment based on the last month. Most prolific of these is Tom Lane. It’s clear Tom is a very talented & busy guy. A really interesting recent blog post highlighted he’s equally if not more prolific in email sending over 82 thousand emails!

No one will argue against the fact that Linux and Git have been massively successful. One of my favourite interviews with Linus Torvalds was by Glyn Moody and also touched on this: “That’s all I do, day in and day out, is I read email. And that’s fine, I enjoy doing it, but it’s very different from what I did.”

Developing open source software, or any complex software, is a team sport and heavily based on communication. That’s really interesting and good to know.


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