I missed the first keynotes (I just arrived in time for Tim O'Reilly's "what technologies are hot according to these slices on the data" bit that he does) but enjoyed Greenplum's Scott Yara talk, School of Rock. He highlighted the parallels of open source development and rock and roll. I'll paraphrase his points.
Open source, like rock and roll, has flourished simply because people enjoyed it. Like rock and roll, money has jumped into open source and an industry has swelled around it. Like rock and roll, open source threatens the establishment but also mutually coopts and becomes the establishment. Yara showed a funny "twins separated at birth?" photo pairing of Rick Rubin and Richard Stallman! What will sustain open source's integrity (like rock and roll's) are the intangibles, the real emotions and inspirations the drive innovation. The popularity game isn't a measure of quality... just because it's widely downloaded doesn't mean it's good just as Britney Spears' and N'Sync's sales success aren't validations of "good" music. So, beware of the vogue of open source, people are starting to believe that open source is better but don't let that undermine what's important. For those who are building their business on open source, go for the $$$ but keep your integrity. At that point Yara ran a little excert of Metallica goofing on a radio promo production (from Some Kind of Monster?), the ironies of choosing them as illustrations of how money changes everything, given how they coopted and have become the music establishment, were high humor for me. Nonetheless, Metallica like a lot of successful open source software projects have succeeded by being a little dangerous, by being genuine and not bothering with the constraints of the legacy establishment.
Anil Dash gave a talk about Trying to Suck Less: Making Web 2.0 Mean Something basically outlining that beyond the technology stack (i.e. LAMP), there are higher level tools that developers can employ to suck less (yep, I confess, at Technorati when we can't quite kick the butt that we aspire to, we focus on sucking less). Citing the technologies that have grown out of SixApart's software plumbing, he highlighted that all successful Web 2.0 compnaies are using load balancing, messaging, caching, filesystems and other scalability and performance platform components. In SixApart's case, perlbal, memcached, mogilefs and djabberd are the core technologies that they build on ... and, so the pitch goes, should you if you want to suck less.
Those the high points of the morning (so far).
( Jul 26 2006, 10:00:31 AM PDT ) Permalink