As usual, some of the best talks were on Friday, to get everybody to stay at the conference as long as possible. The keynote about the David Rumsey map archive was unbelieveably cool. It recieved a well deserved standing ovation. The security talk was excellent as well, and the Subversion best practices help solidify my resolve to evangelize their product in our company...
Overall, the whole worthless 'Emerging Technology' jive that was so prevalent at ETCON 2003 wasn't as prominent. This conference was about real technology, and the presenters were not just some slick sounding snake-oil salesmen looking for venture capital. They were actual programmers with actual code. How novel.
Another thing that is becoming more and more obvious is that the 'Alpha Geeks' dont really seem to care about Java anymore. The panel with Eric Raymond, and Tim OReilly was not well attended. There wasn't a single Java talk on Thursday, and the rest of them were only partially about Java. The more Sun tries to clutch onto control, the more people will move away from it. That's why Im becoming a Python hacker.
What stuck Pete as funny was how political this place can be... any time somebody is presenting new technology, they need to explain why its needed. The answer is either because nothing like it ever existed, or because what does exist is crappy and wrong. Well... the problem with the latter is that the guy who wrote the 'crappy and wrong' software is most likely in the audience. There are two kinds of presenters - those who walk on eggshells, and those who suffer from angry glares. Even Microsoft bashing is a little tough, because they are a huge sponser of the event! On Open Source. Double plus wierd.
In closing, here are a handful of links to the tech goodies that I learned about at the conference:
- OSCON 2004 - the home page for the conference. The presentations should be online someday...
- David Rumsey Map Archive - a 100% mind blowing view of what's next for online libraries
- Planet Planet - a Python based RSS feed aggregator for web sites
- Python On Nokia - for real, Python running on the Nokia 6600 cell phone
- Iron Python - a superfast version of Python for .NET by the guy who wrote Jython
- Jabber - an XML based instant message protocol. IM is probably the next big thing since email and the web, and this toolkit is incredibly flexible
- Free Geek - charity that recycles old computers, and rebuilds them for schools
- Subversion - a source code repository that actually works!
- Pear SOAP - a PHP implementation of SOAP that is super easy and full featured
- CPAN - code repository for Perl... I wish Python had something like this
- ALPH - a bridge between Flash and Ruby. Is it any better than Ming?
- XQuery - love it or hate it, XML is here top stay. Hopefully Jason Hunter will make sure XQuery sucks less than XSL.
- j0hnny - he hacks stuff
- Nessus and Metasploit - excellent net security analysis tools