Monday, November 16, 2009

My Next Adventure

After almost 10 years at EmbeddedSupportTools/WindRiver/Intel, I'm heading off to pursue a new opportunity. I will be joining National Public Radio as Director of Technology for Public Interactive. This Boston-based division of NPR is responsible for the web technology platform used by many of the NPR affiliate stations. NPR is a great organization with a great mission, and I'm excited to be joining their team.

For my colleagues in Eclipse who know me as the embedded and mobile guy, the leader of DSDP, the guy who's always on the EclipseCon Program Committee, or one of your friendly Committer Reps, this is clearly "something completely different" as the Monty Python crew would say. In my new role, we will predominantly be users of Eclipse rather than contributors, and as such I will unfortunately be stepping down from my leadership roles in the Eclipse community.

I want to thank Wind River for supporting my work at Eclipse and for investing in the CDT, DSDP, and Platform projects. I also want to thank the many leaders in the Eclipse community and at the Foundation, from whom I've learned a great deal about meritocracy, IP policy, coopetition, copyright, governance, collaboration, and free beer.

Please stay in touch. Follow me on twitter or connect on linked in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Internet Will Be Paid…

Or so some guy named Barry Diller says. I beg to differ.

Unless you've been living in a cave for a while, you've noticed that there's an ideological war underway around content. By content, I mean software, music, tv programs, movies, books, and any other piece of information or entertainment you can package. The war is between paid and free, closed and open, restricted and unrestricted. Did this war start with open source software? I'm not sure, but open source has definitely helped arm the conflict. Let's consider the content categories.

When you look for a software application or you need to perform a task with software, you can almost always find free software to do just about anything. In many instances, the free stuff is nowhere near as good as its commercial counterpart (e.g. GIMP vs. Photoshop). This reality keeps us software types employed for now. But the free stuff is still there, and sometimes it's good enough.

Then there's entertainment media sites like hulu, youtube, pandora,, and countless others that are supplying us with endless time-shifted and (mostly) free entertainment. Sure, it's not always in HD on your giant flat panel or in CD-quality through your audiophile stereo, but often it's good enough.

Switching to books, you can find lots of online material in Google Books or in any number of free audio book libraries. If you're looking for open college materials, check out MIT Open Courseware or the excellent collection of CC-licensed college lectures at Academic Earth. Wikipedia, The New York Times, and many other excellent sources of information are all open and free. Google alone is hell-bent on ensuring all content is in the open, whether people want it to be or not.

And this is all of the legal stuff. For everything else, grab a torrent client, search a database, and (in some cases) break the law to find what you're looking for. DRM? Forget it. For every smart group of engineers that implements DRM, there's another smart group that cracks it. It's a waste of money to even bother implementing it. Perhaps this is why Apple is dropping DRM from much of its iTunes library and why Amazon MP3 never had it in the first place.

Now consider Diller's claim: "people have always paid for content," and once this "accident of historical moment" passes, people will again be paying for it. Are you kidding me?! Um…you know that point in your life when some teenagers drive by in their car blasting music, and you think it's too loud…and then suddenly you feel really old? (Well, it hasn't happened to me yet, but I've heard of it.) Anyway, this is what it looks like when it happens to someone else. And at a Web 2.0 conference no less!

The open content ship has sailed. This content war is about a more fundamental question: the accessibility of information. And the challenge for all of our businesses—software, music, entertainment, publishing—is not about restricting access to content, it's how to support open or very inexpensive content while still making enough money to keep producing it. This is what progress looks like. Diller, you'd better crank up your stereo.

Friday, May 01, 2009

State of Eclipse

I've enjoyed reading Bjorn's State of Eclipse series, and I find myself almost schizophrenic (using the incorrect definition of the word) in my response. So I'd like to comment in three different voices that are my own and one that probably should be.

Project Lead and Committer

+1 for the IT infrastructure and support staff. I'll admit to having a lot of man-love for the webmasters, despite Denis' grumpiness about VCS systems (wink, wink).

+1 for the Dev Process. It's verbose, but it gives me a place to start when mentoring new projects.

0 for the IP process. I get the criticality of this for the adopter community, and how more adopters = more project success. But when I'm just trying to get sh*t done, it's frustrating.

-1 for still not having a way to get GPL pre-reqs into Eclipse packages. This is a killer for the embedded community.

Employee of a Member Company

+1 for the IP process. Wind River does use GPL-licensed toolchains, but man do we love vetted EPL code!

+1 for the Release Train. Having dates on the calendar for getting Eclipse drops…priceless.

0 for the bragging rights of being "built on Eclipse". In the embedded space, Eclipse is used as the base IDE by almost all competitors.

Elected Eclipse Board Member

+1 for Industry Working groups as a way to focus Eclipse strategy in specific verticals.

-1 for Bjorn's departure.

+1 for the Foundation's relentless campaign of Eclipse branding.


+1 for free beer.

-1 for API contracts that live forever in lieu of improving the @#$% performance and footprint.

-1 for complex and confusing downloads.

-1 for relegating us to second class citizens in favor of adopters. F*** it, I'm going to one of the forges.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

EclipseCon 2009 and git

As in past years, EclipseCon 2009 was fun, interesting, and exhausting. Thanks to Darin for organizing 4 days of early morning 3-5 mile runs to offset the food and beer!

I'm please to have made the top 10 tweeters for EclipseCon. Unfortunately, my friends on facebook (a) know without a doubt I'm still a geek and (b) do not know what the hell I do for a living. I think perhaps the twitter app in facebook is a bad idea….different community, different friends, different etiquette.

A quick summary of the conference. I owe the committers my notes from the Board Meeting on Monday and a hearty "thanks!" for re-electing me to the Board for a second term. I remain obligated to do your bidding for another year.

Speaking of which, a large part of my time at EclipseCon was focused on Version Control (#$%# campaign promise). The VCS panel was large and well attended. We needed more time, and it wasn't quite as controversial as one might have hoped. The VCS and git BoFs were much more effective, though. In the notes, you will find a raw summary of our discussion including a couple of funny webmaster quotations, and next steps for git at the Foundation. Follow Bug 257706 and all of its red-headed step-children to keep up with the developments.

Finally, I gave a sponsored talk on the Future of Mobile and Embedded in Eclipse. If you're looking for slides, you'll have to email me because I made liberal use of images from Google that surely don't fall under EPL or CC. The Pulsar folks tell me they didn't learn anything new, but for the uninitiated the slides are a good summary of the state of the industry, the projects in eclipse, and what's coming down the pipe.

Finally, there was the little matter of a certain "power point karaoke" presentation on Monday that may have left folks with mistaken impressions about me (and Scott). I can assure you that I don't grow anything, and therefore my second piece of advice to the audience doesn't apply.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Version Control at EclipseCon

Following up on my previous post, we have organized an excellent group of panelist for our EclipseCon panel: Controlled Chaos – Version control in the Twenty-first Century. We'll be in the Theater on Tuesday at 2:30, and we'll be using twitter for questions with the hash: #eclipsecon-vc.

If you can't get enough of Version Control, check out the VCS BoF on Tuesday night and the git BoF on Wednesday night. See you there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Board Elections & VCS Enthusiasts

The problem with campaign promises is that some people expect you to live up to them. Anyone familiar with U.S. politics knows that campaign promises are what you say to get elected, not what you actually intend to do in office. I guess we hold ourselves to higher standards in Eclipse. So back to my (shameless) "Can we deploy git? Yes We Can!" initiative.

Scott Rosenbaum (EclipseCon 2009 Program Chair) asked for a volunteer to organize a panel on VCS technologies. I've volunteered, and I'm calling all VCS/DVCS enthusiasts interested in this panel. I already have a pretty good list of potential panelists, but if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

And yes, I am running for my 2nd term on the Eclipse Board of Directors. Truthfully, all of the candidates are great, so please vote! (You should have an email in your inbox with instructions.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eclipse Board of Directors

After attending an all hands meeting with my Board of Directors Exploratory Committee, I'm pleased to announce my candidacy for the 2009 election.

My first order of business will be a Committer Stimulus Package, the details of which will be fleshed out after I announce my Committer Czar. In the meantime, you can influence my position with the purchase of foamy beverages. Hey, I'm in open source, and I was promised Free Beer. Where is the beer? Oh wait…I just reread that article. It's says "Free as in speech, not free as in beer." Dammit! Anyway, I'd like to announce my campaign slogan (and the subsequent loss of Denis and Karl's votes):

Can we deploy git at the Foundation? Yes We Can!

In all seriousness, I have actually accomplished a few things this year on the Board, and I'd like to continue to represent you. I'd appreciate your vote when the virtual polls open on Feb 23.