Apache party & hackathon in Rome: you’re invited!

Come Celebrate the Spirit of Open Source 3-5 October in Rome, Italy!

The Cocoon community proudly invites all ASF contributors to the sixth edition of the Cocoon GetTogether, the annual gathering of the world’s foremost Cocoon users, developers, and enthusiasts.  In addition to a "conference day" on October 5th dedicated to all things Cocoon, the
event will also feature a two-day hackathon for developers to meet, greet, and collaborate in an informal environment.

In keeping with our long-standing participation with other Open Source communities, the hackathon is open to all Apache Projects (incubating ones too!) interested in getting together for a couple of days of fun. We’ll happily make room for new friends!

In addition to hacking fun, attendees are welcome to join the social activities that have been scheduled around the conference: Cocoon GetTogether evening events are all about fun — hacking, collaboration, and community-building meets local flair and flavor. Join us for stunning architecture, outstanding gastronomy, and some of the hottest nightlife available, from leisurely city walks and bus tours, to authentic pizza and slow-food hero porchetta, to sunny Nastro Azzurro and noble Nebbiolo.

The Cocoon GetTogether is considered among the best Apache community events: with tickets at just EUR125 for the full three-day program, you can’t afford to miss out!

Sign up at http://www.cocoongt.org to reserve your spot today — see you in Rome!

Apache party&hackathon in Rome: you’re invited!

Come Celebrate the Spirit of Open Source 3-5 October in Rome, Italy!

The Cocoon community proudly invites all ASF contributors to the sixth edition of the Cocoon GetTogether, the annual gathering of the world’s foremost Cocoon users, developers, and enthusiasts.  In addition to a "conference day" on October 5th dedicated to all things Cocoon, the
event will also feature a two-day hackathon for developers to meet, greet, and collaborate in an informal environment.

In keeping with our long-standing participation with other Open Source communities, the hackathon is open to all Apache Projects (incubating ones too!) interested in getting together for a couple of days of fun. We’ll happily make room for new friends!

In addition to hacking fun, attendees are welcome to join the social activities that have been scheduled around the conference: Cocoon GetTogether evening events are all about fun — hacking, collaboration, and community-building meets local flair and flavor. Join us for stunning architecture, outstanding gastronomy, and some of the hottest nightlife available, from leisurely city walks and bus tours, to authentic pizza and slow-food hero porchetta, to sunny Nastro Azzurro and noble Nebbiolo.

The Cocoon GetTogether is considered among the best Apache community events: with tickets at just EUR125 for the full three-day program, you can’t afford to miss out!

Sign up at http://www.cocoongt.org to reserve your spot today — see you in Rome!

Pacta sunt servanda

Pacta sunt servanda (“pacts must be respected”) is probably the first or second thing you learn when you enter law school in Italy. Looks like someone in Sun could use some good old latin to understand why what they’re doing to Java is wrong in so many ways.

I hope the community as a whole understands what the real issue is: the problem is not Sun trying to restrict Java use through questionable strings attached to the Java Compatibility Kit. The problem is not Harmony being at risk of losing the “Java” branding. The problem is not even OpenJDK itself being potentially impaired by the Field of Use restrictions Sun is trying to make the community swallow, which are most probably incompatible with the GPL itself.

All these are serious issues which should be addressed, yet there is a much more prominent conundrum which needs attention from all of us. The whole JCP is at serious risk, as the very basic contract among the different parties (the JSPA) has been breached by the most prominent kid in the block, the one who started it all: if this issue is not resolved, it won’t be just a problem for Harmony, as everyone would feel entitled to provide Open Source incompatible ties to the TCK or the RI for a given Java spec.

Just look around and consider how much Open Source software relies on JCP-provided specs: from XML processing to JDBC, from servlet containers to portals, the virtuous cycle of interoperable implementations by means of good specs, solid TCKs and usable RIs will be broken into pieces, as spec leads would be able to restrict usage of TCKs, effectively hampering or even prohibiting Open Source implementations.

Let me delve into more latin: Harmony here is just a casus belli. The stakes are much, much higher.

No Apachecon US for me…

The speaker list is out, and the long waited acceptance email didn’t come in. My bad for providing just business-related talks: Apachecon is and should be a mostly-geek event, and the competition for the few business slots is understandably high. Time to flesh out some tech ideas for the next edition…

Looks like I’m going to miss my first Apachecon in four years: given both Ugo and Andrew have been accepted, Sourcesense is both going to be more than well represented and in need of someone at the helm, which means I will probably stay home and enjoy some local work for a change. I will deeply miss hanging around with the other ASF guys, but there will for sure be other chances to meet up. Have fun in Austin, guys!

ApacheCon Dublin

Apachecon Europe 2006 just started, and the first keynote from Mark Shuttleworth is over. I’m exercising my new camera and posting a few pictures on Flickr (you might want to look for the “apachecon2006” tag to see more from other attendees, or even “apacheconeu2006”, “apachecon” or whatever tag the next guy will decide to use).

Meanwhile, I’m frantically finishing up slides for my two talks, and getting some stuff ready for the Open Development BOF I just submitted, hoping a few people will show up to discuss the whole concept and how to approach it. If you feel like chiming in, head to the Ulster room tomorrow at 9PM, we’ll have some fun!

OSBC and Apachecon: ubiquity machine, anyone?

I just realized that the first OSBC Europe is going to happen in the very same days of Apachecon EU. This sucks in so many ways: I know the target audience is somewhat different, but I really don’t think I’m the only one who was planning to attend both.

I’ve been looking with a lot of anticipation to OSBC Europe, and we were also planning to have a booth or something, yet seeing how the OSBC producers didn’t give a dime about colliding with one of the major Open Source events out there it’s not a good sign at all. I’m sure there have been plenty of good reasons to choose those dates, yet I really don’t feel comfortable in having to choose between the two, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Matt, can you share any insights about this mishap?

The”real Open Source”blogfest

Touching a nerve is always interesting: useful discussion is bound to happen when a lot of people with different backgrounds talk about controversial matters. I guess it’s time to put a few more irons in the fire responding to the feedback I’ve got so far.

Matt: I guess I deserve to be called an elitist after being labeling most of the OSS business arena as a bunch of baitware-based suckers. I wouldn’t have been stretching the paradigm so far to include racism in the picture (the Aryan bit was unfortunate in my opinion), but that might just be a problem of language/cultural barrier. Oh, and I don’t give a damn about soccer, despite being italian. :)

More to the point, I think that as of today there is no way to describe Open Source apart from using the very minimal common definition: a set of licenses with some common principles in terms of non-discriminatory access to software, designed to ease access to source code. As such, Open Source is legitimately up for grabs by anyone willing to comply with a few legal requirements: it’s a very pragmatic concept, which worked really well to turn the software industry tables and still able to make a lot of a difference thanks to its simplicity.

The devil is in the details, though: the easy to understand concept behind Open Source isn’t able to differentiate enough the value of community developed software versus a different way to perform software distribution. The former aims to provide quality solutions via peer-based production system, achieving notable goals such as avoiding lock-ins while at it, while the latter is able to provide “just” source code at best, and aims to actually lead to lock-ins at worst.

As much as some value source code per se, I’m more and more inclined towards leaving that camp: thanks to the Open Source and Free Software movement, availability of source code isn’t a big deal anymore and tends to be taken for granted even in notable and traditionally proprietary solutions. As Matt himself correctly pointed out in the past, there are quite a few Open Source benemoths out there (OO.o, Firefox) who can’t be touched with a six feet pole by the average developer, so what’s the real deal with Open Source then apart from bare availability? I don’t really think that the net effect of having tons of freely available source code is going to make any difference that matters in the end.

Also, I’m not buying what Matt, Matthew and Ugo are saying about some sort of Darwinian selection being able to discriminate the good from the bad (assuming there is actually “good” and “bad” – I just tend to think we have different objectives): it’s hard enough to move the CIO masses beyond the “Open Source means Linux” meme, go figure explaining why they should care to consider the difference between Open Source built within the virtuous cycle of community based development and Open Source as a pure distribution model of conceptually proprietary and closed to participation code. This is why I really think we need to be more vocal about it, possibly with a new term or brand that clearly specs out what we really perceive as the real value around open development.

Last but not least, I have been invited to check out the Free Software definition and consider it as an alternative. Well, thanks for the heads-up, but I’m still a pragmatic guy: I think that there is still a lot of room between the social implications of the Free Software Foundation guidelines (which I might buy as a natural consequence, not as a given precondition) and the practical effect of healthy communities providing great software because it just makes sense. I remain unsold on forcing freedom down the throat of anyone: technical merits and shared itches are the still best community builders around.

Now, where do I signup for that Open Source panel? :)

The “real Open Source” blogfest

Touching a nerve is always interesting: useful discussion is bound to happen when a lot of people with different backgrounds talk about controversial matters. I guess it’s time to put a few more irons in the fire responding to the feedback I’ve got so far.

Matt: I guess I deserve to be called an elitist after being labeling most of the OSS business arena as a bunch of baitware-based suckers. I wouldn’t have been stretching the paradigm so far to include racism in the picture (the Aryan bit was unfortunate in my opinion), but that might just be a problem of language/cultural barrier. Oh, and I don’t give a damn about soccer, despite being italian. :)

More to the point, I think that as of today there is no way to describe Open Source apart from using the very minimal common definition: a set of licenses with some common principles in terms of non-discriminatory access to software, designed to ease access to source code. As such, Open Source is legitimately up for grabs by anyone willing to comply with a few legal requirements: it’s a very pragmatic concept, which worked really well to turn the software industry tables and still able to make a lot of a difference thanks to its simplicity.

The devil is in the details, though: the easy to understand concept behind Open Source isn’t able to differentiate enough the value of community developed software versus a different way to perform software distribution. The former aims to provide quality solutions via peer-based production system, achieving notable goals such as avoiding lock-ins while at it, while the latter is able to provide “just” source code at best, and aims to actually lead to lock-ins at worst.

As much as some value source code per se, I’m more and more inclined towards leaving that camp: thanks to the Open Source and Free Software movement, availability of source code isn’t a big deal anymore and tends to be taken for granted even in notable and traditionally proprietary solutions. As Matt himself correctly pointed out in the past, there are quite a few Open Source benemoths out there (OO.o, Firefox) who can’t be touched with a six feet pole by the average developer, so what’s the real deal with Open Source then apart from bare availability? I don’t really think that the net effect of having tons of freely available source code is going to make any difference that matters in the end.

Also, I’m not buying what Matt, Matthew and Ugo are saying about some sort of Darwinian selection being able to discriminate the good from the bad (assuming there is actually “good” and “bad” – I just tend to think we have different objectives): it’s hard enough to move the CIO masses beyond the “Open Source means Linux” meme, go figure explaining why they should care to consider the difference between Open Source built within the virtuous cycle of community based development and Open Source as a pure distribution model of conceptually proprietary and closed to participation code. This is why I really think we need to be more vocal about it, possibly with a new term or brand that clearly specs out what we really perceive as the real value around open development.

Last but not least, I have been invited to check out the Free Software definition and consider it as an alternative. Well, thanks for the heads-up, but I’m still a pragmatic guy: I think that there is still a lot of room between the social implications of the Free Software Foundation guidelines (which I might buy as a natural consequence, not as a given precondition) and the practical effect of healthy communities providing great software because it just makes sense. I remain unsold on forcing freedom down the throat of anyone: technical merits and shared itches are the still best community builders around.

Now, where do I signup for that Open Source panel? :)

Maven2 is sweet!

I know this will be no surprise for many of you, yet I’m writing this post for the skepticals still around: if you’re developing Java applications and you’re not considering moving to Maven 2, well, think again. I’ve been in the skeptical camp for far too long and while I don’t plan to enter the zealot crowd anytime soon (there are still a few rough edges), I’m definitely sold on the idea.

After a few years spent juggling jars, keeping Ant skeleton files around and trying to put together best practices and guidelines, I’ve become sick of build processes that no matter what you do always end up in spaghetti code making Postscript shine as a more manageable alternative. Maven’s standardization works indeed, and what you loose in terms of flexibility is more than paid off in terms of clarity and maintainability. True enough, there is some black magic lying around, and I’m too old/not brave enough to see what has been downloaded in my local jar repository, but the overall result is just astonishing.

What makes Maven great, besides the sound ideas behind it, is the number of great plugins that are made possible thanks to standardization. If you’re an Eclipse user like me, you’ll just love the Eclipse plugin that generates project files automagically, referencing jars in your local repository. And if you’re into web applications like me, you’ll find yourself asking how on earth you managed to survive without the Jetty6 plugin around, which makes webapp development a breeze with a mere handful of configuration lines.

Bottom line: if you didn’t give Maven2 a try, this is a very good time to take it for a spin. I, for one, am not looking back.