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Fun Stuff at OSCON 2005 153

Posted by jamie
from the roundup dept.
OSCON 2005 was held in a convention center this year, instead of a hotel, because it just got too big (2000+ people). Too big, in fact, for pudge and myself to cover more than a fraction of the talks and the ideas flitting around the hallways. But here's some of what I found cool last week. And if you attended or presented at OSCON and want to tell us about all the neat stuff we missed, please, share your thoughts in the comments, or submit a fact-rich writeup and we'll maybe do a followup story later.

Mike Shaver's talk on writing Firefox extensions was packed to the walls. If you've been wanting to try it, Firefox 1.5 makes development easier, and should be out soon, so now's a good time. This talk and the tutorial on Ajax persuaded me to start using the DOM Inspector and debugging some JavaScript to get a better understanding of webpage manipulation.

Aaron Boodman's talk on his extension Greasemonkey was a walkthrough of writing a simple GM user script, a discussion of what's coming up, and some Q&A. Greasemonkey 0.5 ("Now With Security!") is in beta: there are multiple security changes that suggest someone really has sat down and thought the whole model through. GM works with Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, and Windows MSIE (but not, oh please somebody correct this oversight, Safari).

Ruby on Rails is hot; if you want to develop a web app quickly you can't ignore it. It stresses "convention over configuration" with reasonable defaults. The tutorial went from installation to the "hello world" of the web, a blog (!), in a few hours. Anyone have a real-world example of Rails scaling to a large project and lots of traffic?

DarwinBuild is an open-source project from Apple that aids in building the open-source components of Darwin/Mac OS X. Given a build number of Mac OS X, it will fetch and build the software for that version, allowing you to modify the source as needed, making it easy for any developer to modify everything from the kernel to various utilities (just remember to reapply the modifications after running Software Update, if necessary). You can read more about it from, in addition to the web site, the presentation slides.

Google and O'Reilly gave out the 2005 open source awards, with $5000 attached to each. Congratulations to the winners.

Tony Baxter's Shtoom is a cross-platform VoIP client and software framework, written in Python, for writing your own phone applications.

Novell is still moving its employees from Windows to Linux, which we first heard at last year's OSCON. The migration from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice is complete, and the big step, from Windows to Linux, is 50% complete, projected to be 80% by November. Miguel de Icaza gave flashy demos of some Linux desktop applications that didn't impress this cynical observer very much.

PlaceSite is an open-source project looking to bring physical proximity awareness to Internet access at coffeeshops and other meetingplaces: think "local-only Friendster" and you're not far off. They got feedback from a monthlong trial earlier this year and are working on a new version that will be easy to deploy. Could be neat.

In a great 2-hour session on Wednesday, we got to hear from representatives of four leading open source databases about what they've been working on lately. Here are the summaries...

Ingres r3 has an impressive list of big features. Ingres was just open-sourced by Computer Associates this summer, and it's gotten a lot of attention for being a full-featured enterprise database. Ingres supports table partitioning that can be either range-based or hash-based, which can greatly improve performance in many cases. Its optimizer can now come up with parallel execution plans, which can be useful even on single-CPU machines and non-partitioned tables. There's also federated data storage (one can access data stored in another RDBMS through Ingres) and replication. And they're working on a concurrent access cluster, to allow data to be manipulated not just by multiple threads on one machine, but multiple machines.

A side note: Computer Associates was invited by O'Reilly to talk about its recently open-sourcing Ingres. Its representative, while confessing that introducing a new license was "probably the wrong thing to do," said that other licenses wouldn't have worked for them (the GPL "was seen as viral"). The one question that the audience had time to ask was "is Ingres a dump" -- is CA making it open-source to transfer the responsibility of support from the company to the community? The three-part "no" answer was that there are more CA developers working on Ingres now, that Ingres is at the core of their new releases, and that they've sponsored a "million-dollar challenge" to foster community interest. Time will tell I guess.

Firebird 2.0 has been in alpha since January and a beta is expected soon. Since 2000 much of their development has been aimed at making the product easy to install, and making the code easy for a distributed group of developers to work on. This year they're building features on that groundwork. Their design includes 2-phase commits (since the beginning), cooperative garbage collection (as a transaction encounters unneeded data, it removes it) and self-balancing indexes. Backup has been improved. When 2.0 gets to beta, I'm going to check this out, it sounds like very interesting technology (and apparently it will install with four clicks!).

MySQL 5.0 is in beta, and has been feature-frozen since April. Back in 4.1, its abstracted table-type has been put to advantage with odd engines like Archive (only insert, no update); Blackhole for fast replication; and an improvement to MyISAM for logging (allowing concurrent selects with inserts-at-table-end). Their Connector/MXJ lets you run a native MySQL server embedded inside a Java application. In 5.0 we're seeing stored procedures per the SQL:2003 standard, triggers, updatable views, XA (distribution transaction), SAP R/3 compatible server side cursors, fast precision math, a federated storage engine, a greedy optimizer for better handling of many-table joins, and an optional "strict mode" to turn some of MySQL's friendly nonstandard warnings into compliant errors. And they're working on partitioning, ODBC, and letting MySQL Cluster's non-indexed columns to be stored on disk.

PostgreSQL 8.1 is expected to be released in November or December, after a feature-freeze in July -- and it's an impressive list of new features. Their optimizer will make use of multiple indexes when appropriate, which is pretty darn exciting. The recommendation will be that in most cases it will be most efficient to have only single-column indexes and let the optimizer figure out which combination to use. They're implementing a 2-phase commit, they're bringing the automatic vacuum into the core code, and they removed a global shared buffer lock so they're now getting "almost linear" SMP performance scaling. I've never felt the need for Postgres, but I'm definitely going to look at 8.1.

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Fun Stuff at OSCON 2005

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  • The first conference talk by a disembodied, floating head (NOT Evil Richard Nixon)! http://conferences.oreillynet.com/images/speakers / jeff_waugh.jpg [oreillynet.com]Next year, a performance by the Beastie Boys' Heads is scheduled, get your tickets now!

    He looks awfully cheery for having no body and a set of crap headphones, doesn't he?

    I know i'll get modded down for this, but ontopic: That Darwinbuild stuff looks pretty handy for say, upgrades in time without having to wait for Apple to stream then in via OS updates like th

  • RoR large scale? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Komarosu (538875) * <nik_doof@nikdo[ ]net ['of.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @09:54AM (#13285741) Homepage
    Anyone have a real-world example of Rails scaling to a large project and lots of traffic?

    While theres no sites i know off with massive traffic that run rails, theres a few large projects. TextDrive [textdrive.com] run StrongSpace [strongspace.com] which is basiclly online storage using SFTP and RoR. Also theres a few from the creators of RoR, BaseCamp [basecamphq.com], BackPack [backpackit.com]...

    • Re:RoR large scale? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ./ (13859)
    • There are a lot of rails pages which get massive traffic. 43things.com / 43places.com and blogger founders new business odeo.com are build with ror. It scales very very easily ( same general principle as php / perl apps scale plus tools to make it even easier )

      There is no downside to using ruby on rails. Closest thing to a silver bullet since the web came out.
      • by Decaff (42676) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:59AM (#13286688)
        There is no downside to using ruby on rails. Closest thing to a silver bullet since the web came out.

        There are several significant downsides to using Ruby on Rails.

        Firstly, the way that ActiveRecord works by default - generating classes at run-time based on database tables - is considered by many (well, me at least!) to be a very backward step, as it makes code vunerable to changes in those tables, and also makes portability of code between different databases non-trivial. There are far better ways to do this - the Python ORM Dejavu (in in which the data model is expressed as classes) is an example. Almost all modern development languages work this way - with the exception of RoR!

        Secondly, Ruby is slow. There may be future JIT systems that help deal with this, but they are not there yet.

        Thirdly, Ruby is changing, and it is likely (from what I read) that the next version will not be fully compatible, so any major project developed now in Rails will have upgrading issues.

        So Ruby on Rails is very far from a silver bullet. It may a neat way to get small (in terms of code) websites up quickly.
        • There is no downside to using ruby on rails. Closest thing to a silver bullet since the web came out.

          There are several significant downsides to using Ruby on Rails.

          Firstly, the way that ActiveRecord works by default - generating classes at run-time based on database tables - is considered by many (well, me at least!) to be a very backward step, as it makes code vunerable to changes in those tables, and also makes portability of code between different databases non-trivial. There are far better ways to

          • People who dont really know anything about data modelling and relational theory tend to prefer class->table interpretation. People who understand data modelling tend to prefer table->class interpretation.

            I have to fundamentally disagree here. Even Oracle, who have a huge vested interest in relational theory, are putting a huge amount of work into class-> table interpretation with projects like TopLink.

            This is a straw-man. Ruby most emphatically is not slow.

            It emphatically is! Try benchmar
            • People who don't really know anything about data modelling and relational theory tend to prefer class-> table interpretation. People who understand data modelling tend to prefer table-> class interpretation.

              I have to fundamentally disagree here. Even Oracle, who have a huge vested interest in relational theory, are putting a huge amount of work into class->table interpretation with projects like TopLink.

              Only because of people who don't know better--which appears to include you. Class models ar

              • Only because of people who don't know better--which appears to include you.

                I prefer to assume that Oracle know what they are doing. I have been using both object-based and relational approaches for decades. Use of one does not preclude the use of the other. They can work well together.

                Class models are inherently tied to a single application or a small class of applications. Database models are far more flexible *and should be*. Any monkey can design a class model that can be used in a single application.
                • You may fundamentally disagree that data is king in business. The fact that businesses survived for centuries without computers indicates that your fundament is disagreeing with reality. It is mostly when data has been lost without any way of reconstructing the processes surrounding the data that companies have run into trouble.

                  If you give me data in a usable form, I can *always* build or rebuild processes and code around that. If you give me code, it will take me far longer to build the data. Your fundamen
                  • You may fundamentally disagree that data is king in business.

                    where did I say that?

                    The fact that businesses survived for centuries without computers indicates that your fundament is disagreeing with reality.

                    Not at all. For those centuries business have combined information with business processes to handle it. Both are essential.

                    It is mostly when data has been lost without any way of reconstructing the processes surrounding the data that companies have run into trouble.

                    I agree.

                    If you give me data in a usab
    • http://www.odeo.com/ [odeo.com] probably gets a fair amount of traffic with podcasting taking off. In addition to the 37signals and 43 Things sites, the new "Agile Web Development with Rails" book describes a mortgage processing engine (www.rapidreporting.com):

      Rapid Reporting is running their identity and income verification engine on top of a Rails system. It's used by roughly 80% of the top 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US and is built to handle 2 million mortgage application transactions per month.

  • by jurt1235 (834677) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @09:54AM (#13285744) Homepage
    I think that is good. Desktops are supposed to be boring (at least for business). To much eyecandy or things to be impressed about (3D flipping transparent rotating windows, everything animated, multimedia under every mouseclick) has nothing to do with productivity or doing business anymore. I think that Novell realises this much that they now that they can run their business on desktop linux (and they do), and that is does not really has to impress anybody. If somebody wants to save on licences and maintenance the next migration, just look over here is the message from Novell.
  • MySQL w/ XA (Score:3, Informative)

    by coflow (519578) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @09:55AM (#13285745)
    MySql getting XA is huge. In the retail world, a lot of companies are switching to J2EE-based POS applications. This requires a database in each store. The problem is that the J2EE servers need an XA-enabled database so that the JMS reads/writes can occur within the same transaction as the data being generated. This has historically ruled MySQL out, which would otherwise be the natural choice. I'm glad to hear XA will be supported in the next release as this opens up MySQL to a whole new audience.
    • Re:MySQL w/ XA (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      MySQL is more expensive than SQL Server or Oracle once you start working on large systems though (MySql is $300 per client.. on a web farm you could easily be expecting 1000 clients simultaneously. SQLServer and Oracle are much cheaper at these volumes.).

      They had a nice niche with the small developer, where they worked out cheaper (maybe 1 or 2 clients in-house) plus they had the hobbyist/GPL market of course but going for the bigger market is going to backfire on them unless they change their pricing stru
    • Re:MySQL w/ XA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JohanV (536228) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:56AM (#13286659) Homepage
      I have to disagree with MySQL being the natural choice. With both MySQL and the drivers being GPL a vendor of POS applications would either have to GPL his POS application, or pay for a commercial license for each sold unit. Neither appear to be particularly attractive.

      XA support has been committed into the upcomming PostgreSQL release and is already supported by Firebird. Considering their licensing, both are better choices.
    • I think the comment from the MySQL rep was something like "we're working on it, those of you who know what it is will be very excited, the rest of you won't care..."
      • Re:MySQL w/ XA (Score:3, Informative)

        by krow (129804) *
        The code is committed and has been for several months :)

        We provide XA both via SQL and the JDBC driver currently.
  • Ruby On Rails (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsturbonutter (518391) <`slashdot' `at' `carshaft.com'> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @09:56AM (#13285755) Homepage

    Been playing around with it for a while now, there's a fair few sites using it

    • Strongspace [strongspace.com] a secure online file storage/sharing area
    • BackpackIT [backpackit.com] a personal and small business information manager
    • Basecamp [basecamphq.com] a project and task management site

    Plus the (small) site I'm working on for a friend Slap My Belly [slapmybelly.com]

  • His blog is at http://panela.blog-city.com/ [blog-city.com]. He thought it was a great conference.
  • Ruby on Rails (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mauriatm (531406)
    From the main site: "Rails is a full-stack, open-source web framework in Ruby for writing real-world applications with joy and less code than most frameworks spend doing XML sit-ups". ... Curious: so how does this compete with other web frameworks in use (LAMP, J2EE, .Net, etc)? Pros, Cons? Any users/developers here?
    • and isn't there supposed to be a PHP framenet coming out soon? Seems easier to use existing technology than new stuff, unless I misunderstand the RoR tech.
      • It takes less time to learn the new way, then do it the new way, than to just do it the old way. I know, I've just done both...
    • Re:Ruby on Rails (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I recently switched a project from J2EE to RoR (with a Postgres 8 back end). Rails lives up to a lot of the hype!

      It takes a little work to get from some of the simplistic tutorials on the web to larger-scale apps, especially if you are working with an existing database schema as I was. However, I've found that RoR really offers huge productivity gains.

      Compared to the J2EE project I was working on, where I was evaluating persistence frameworks, J2EE vs. Spring IoC for the business logic, presentation/templ
    • First, Rails is in Ruby [ruby-lang.org]. If you never used Ruby, you may think it's not a big deal. If you did, you're probably interested in Rails now, because you love Ruby.

      But even if you don't care about Ruby, Rails is amazing because... well, instead of bogging you down with boring hype, I'll point to the videos on the official page [rubyonrails.org] (they're much cooler hype). Seriously, watch them.
  • Oh! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    "...maybe do a followup story later. " Ahh! So when things are reposted several times, they're actually followup stories. Sorry to be so critical, Taco.
  • I was there... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aallan (68633) <alasdair&babilim,co,uk> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @10:17AM (#13285910) Homepage

    ...and blogged the conference, some of the more interesting bits below,

    Amazing conference, if you weren't there, you should have been...

    Al.
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @10:26AM (#13285977) Homepage
    "Computer Associates was invited by O'Reilly to talk about its recently open-sourcing Ingres. Its representative, while confessing that introducing a new license was "probably the wrong thing to do," said that other licenses wouldn't have worked for them (the GPL "was seen as viral")."

    What a disappointing response by the CA representative. Can CA really be that clueless, since a simple Google search on "GPL viral" will find plenty of information (including past articles on /.) that show the GPL is NOT viral? Or is CA just pushing that FUD for some other reason? I don't know, but it's disappointing to see them resort to that tired excuse for their actions.

    If you use a GPL'ed database tool, the GPL does not come into play with regard to your software, any more than using the GIMP to create a picture doesn't GPL your software in the process. The GPL comes into play if you were to grab some GPL code and put it into your software product, and then you release the result as your own product under a different licensing scheme. You are then given a choice: Release it under the GPL or not release that code. There is always a third option: Don't take someone else's code without honoring its license terms in the first place. Write it yourself, if you want to release under a different license.

    But none of this applies to using a DB program. The GPL isn't viral in the first place, and it certainly doesn't apply to the end-user use of a software package.

    • Release it under the GPL or not release that code.

      I'm seriously not trolling here: how is that not viral? If you release the code you are forced to use the GPL ... so ... viral, right?
      • "I'm seriously not trolling here: how is that not viral? If you release the code you are forced to use the GPL ... so ... viral, right?"

        Viral means you get infected whether you take action or not. Someone coughs and next thing you know you get sick. But the only way you get to the stage where you face the choice I describe is if you take deliberate steps to appropriate some GPL code into your own product, combined with the next deliberate step to release the new product, combined with the next deliberat

        • Viral means you get infected whether you take action or not.

          Where does this definition come from?

          This isn't part of the biological definition of viruses, or else viruses that are hard enough to transmit that they require fluid exchange (such as STDs) wouldn't be considered "viral".

          This isn't part of the computer definition of viruses, or else only things like email worms would be considered "viral". In fact, computer malware that transmits whether you take action or not are generally referred to as "worms".
          • The definition comes from the way biological viruses work. You do not have to take any steps to become infected. You can sit there quite passively and have someone else walk by you and you become infected.

            This is absolutely not possible with GPL code. The only way the so-called "viral" behavior can occur with GPL code is if you take several deliberate steps that are expressly forbidden in the GPL. Guess what? You get a fishing license and you violate the terms of the license, that license gets taken

            • The definition comes from the way biological viruses work. You do not have to take any steps to become infected. You can sit there quite passively and have someone else walk by you and you become infected.

              Viruses in general are quite fragile, and most need a liquid medium to propogate. Even highly contagious viruses usually require physical contact of contaminated liquids with an open wound or mucous membranes, which is why face masks are used... they prevent droplets of infected fluids from coming into con
              • Hmmm...I meant to write, "have someone else walk by you, cough, and you become infected" but I see I clearly did not do so. Based on what I wrote, not what I thought I had written, you are right. No, I don't think you can get infected just by having an infected person walk past you.

                My point was, and is, that you do not have to take any deliberate steps to become infected. Just standing near someone else who is coughing can conceivably be enough. It's the person-to-person contact that doesn't translate

            • The definition comes from the way biological viruses work. You do not have to take any steps to become infected. You can sit there quite passively and have someone else walk by you and you become infected.

              Well, I think we can safely say that you are not a virologist, nor do you play one on TV. For something to be considered viral, it should display the properties of a virus -- among which we would not include the ability to invade a passive host (using your connotation of passive). While this is true for
            • Umm... no. I regularly write software under the GPL and even I disagree. Your argument misunderstands both the problem and the terminology. In the context of computers, "viruses" do NOT spread witihout the user taking action, although that action doesn't necessarily involve doing something that you know will cause infection. Something that infects you passively without you taking any action is called a "worm".

              For example, opening an macro-virus-infected Word file will spread a virus. You're takin

              • 1. There is NOT ONE provision in the text of the GPL that says you can't link a proprietary program with a GPL'd library.
                2. There IS a provision in the text of the GPL that says you can aggregate a GPL'd library with other, proprietary code.
                3. There is NOT ONE caselaw -- neither in the US nor elsewhere -- that ruled otherwise, AFAIK.
                Feel free to contradict me.
                The whole whining "cannot write proprietary programs for KDE" is FUD.
                HTH
                • See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPL_linking_exceptio n [wikipedia.org]. If linking did not create a derivative work in the minds of the authors of most GPLed libraries, there would be no reason for a number of authors of such libraries to create such a clause.

                  You're right that there is no case law. Last I checked, there was no case law relating to the GPL whatsoever. Everything seems to get settled out of court. However, there is plenty of case law about whether one piece of code using parts of another as occurs in

                  • including MySQL vs Progress IIRC.
                    "there is plenty of case law about whether one piece of code using parts of another as occurs in a library situation constitutes a derivative work". You have cited none. In a library situation, dynamic-linking, code does NOT include parts of other code; they interact as separate, independent, entities (just as I can, in my book, say "oh, god, this is just like the third chapter from Harry Potter and the half-blooded-prince" and I would not be infringing on J.K.Rowlings -- ev
                    • Clearly the intent of the GPL was to prevent linking a GPL library into a proprietary work. This has been stated numerous times by the FSF. Whether the wording does so with sufficient precision to hold up in a court of law is another issue, and one that is irrelevant. As I said, you don't have to win to hurt someone. You just have to sue. An individual with a lawyer working on commission can do a lot of financial damage to a company who then must bring in lawyers to defend themselves even if the compan
    • I think CA didn't want to make their product GPLed to keep control over it. Once it is GPLed, there is no way back, and in that way for them it is viral. In the case of licenses some licenses are viral in their demands (like the license for the use of MySQL in a commercial product when you do not want to buy a MySQL license), but always provide a choice to the user (in case of MySQL: Just take care that your product is also capable of using other databases, do not distribute MySQL with your product etc).

      Mo
      • Yeah, that makes sense. That's probably what they meant, and why they did it.
      • (in case of MySQL: Just take care that your product is also capable of using other databases, do not distribute MySQL with your product etc

        MySql makes no such exception.. in fact it extends the GPL:

        "If you develop and distribute a commercial application and as part of utilizing your application, the end-user must download a copy of MySQL; for each derivative work, you (or, in some cases, your end-user) need a commercial license for the MySQL server and/or MySQL client libraries."

        ie. If I even provide MySql
        • It used to be in their explanation about what they mean with the license extention. So as long as your product is not just MySQL centric, you can distribute it without getting the per user licence fee. So if you support multiple databases, then you are off the hook (or if your own product is GPL, you are off the hook too, pretty viral there (-: ).
    • How does the GPL come into play with application specific extensions? For example, DLL-based stored procedures (not uncommon in database systems, but I know nothing about Ingres). I know you have legal problems if you try to link to a GPL'd library (thus, viral), but what if a GPL'd application links (or dynamically loads) to your proprietary, application-specific library?
      • The FSF would contend that this makes your library a derived work and thus under GPL (which *is* truly viral).

        Since that won't fly legally (since it's not you doing the linking, and a 3rd party can't force you to change your license) it means that no GPL app can link to your application.
    • There is always a third option: Don't take someone else's code without honoring its license terms in the first place. Write it yourself, if you want to release under a different license.

      Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly what CA has done?
      • I wasn't complaining about what CA did, for they have the right to use whatever license they want for their code. What I was complaining about was their representative's tired use of the old "viral" FUD that has been debunked all over the Net, including right here on /.
        • What I was complaining about was their representative's tired use of the old "viral" FUD that has been debunked all over the Net, including right here on /.

          Translation: I read an argument here (and perhaps somewhere else) that said that the GPL wasn't viral, and I agree with it. Therefore, this tired old myth has been debunked and everyone who claims otherwise is wrong.

          Refutation: You (presumably) understand the GPL, and don't think it's viral. Other people, who also understand it, do. Since 'viral' as i

    • No, I think the CA stand in the exhibit hall made it very clear that CA just "doesn't get it", they were treating OSCON like a normal industry trade show rather than trying to sell themselves technically, which is pretty much the only way to do it at OSCON.

      Of course, if their exhibit hall stand didn't show it, their awful keynote [babilim.co.uk] talk surely did...

      Al.
  • The programmer of Ruby on Rails also got the 2005 "Best Hacker" award by O'Railly and Google [loudthinking.com].

    This years OSCON was all about ruby.. amazing stuff.

  • by the big v (45514) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:09AM (#13286300)
    I have a buddy who works in the Novell legal department. I asked him if he was being forced to switch from MSOffice to OpenOffice, and he said no. There is no way he could prepare his necessary documents with OO because of some features it lacked. Specifically he said they had problems with generating the kinds of tables they needed.

    Further, he indicated that they were not going to be forced to switch. I wonder if that 100% change that Miguel indicated was for the technical and support staff only.

    Anyhow, I decided to download and try out NLD when I got back from the conference. It failed to recognize my monitor (19" Dell flat panel with DVI interface) and sound didn't work even though it recognized the card. On recommendation from a friend, I tried Ubuntu the other night and it worked with everything (except the printer needs some driver change to work which I haven't done yet).
    • The only ``intuitive'' interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

      Is THAT why IBM puts a little red nipple in the middle of their keyboards?

      -fred
  • Ingres (Score:4, Informative)

    by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:37AM (#13286500)
    "Ingres was just open-sourced by Computer Associates this summer". Wel yes and no.... Ingres was the very first ever relational database. It pre-dated the wide spread use of SQL. It was released under a BSD style license and was Open Source before the term "open Source" was in wide use. Later Ingres was further developed comercially and sold as a product and the old Open Source version becames known as "University Ingres". It is the later comercial version that is now open sourceed. PostgreSQL (aka Postgres) comes from the same university develoers as Ingres. It was hier next DBMS hencethe name post-gress for after-ingres Postgres has linage dating back to the first first RDBMS. Postgres too was started before SQL wa universal but was converted over to accept SQL in 1995 and then later renamed "PostgreSQL" (with the "QL" being silent) Bottom line, Ingres was the grandfather of open source DMBSes and has severa importent children.
  • Drupal (Score:2, Informative)

    by metaclous (884409)

    One of the highlights for me was the talk by Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, on Thursday.

    Drupal is way ahead of Ruby on Rails in terms of flexibility, scalability and implementation, IMO. They work in different spaces (Ruby hosting is scarce, though there are a few) but the clean architecture and extensibility of Drupal while remaining fast and small is exciting.

    The Drupal BOF was well-attended (they even had a full buffet!). Both http://www.bryght.com/ [bryght.com] and http://civicspacelabs.org/home/ [civicspacelabs.org] were repres

  • What's all the hype? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ramannoodle (683009)

    Although I applaud Ruby at finally getting an MVC-based framework together, I don't see what all the hype is lately. MVC-based frameworks have been around for a long time, and MVC-based frameworks in other OSS languages have been around since RoR came to be as well.

    Java has Struts and others, Perl has an excellent Framework called Catalyst based on another MVC framework by Simon Cozens called Maypole - see Jesse Sheidlower's article [perl.com] on O'Reilly for building an AJAX-based framework in 30-lines of code or

    • Rails isn't an MVC framework. Go watch the intro video and you'll understand -- http://www.rubyonrails.com/ [rubyonrails.com].
  • Do anyone have a link to OSCON videos? I'm specially interested in Miguel de Icaza's keynote.
  • OSCON Aggregator (Score:3, Informative)

    by Noksagt (69097) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @02:08PM (#13287736) Homepage
    The OSCON Aggregator [eventblogging.com] has had a bunch of good blog posts before, during, and after the conference.
  • by rycamor (194164) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:41PM (#13291714)
    While PostgreSQL usually doesn't seem to get decent press from O'Reilly, it practially dominated the database talks at OSCON. Just about every database event either included or featured PostgreSQL.

    The things in the works for 8.1 and 8.2 are looking very interesting indeed. Besides 2-phase commit and bitmap indexes:

    - Full multi-master replication with Slony 2 (Slony 1 is single-master)
    - IN/OUT paramater declaration for more flexibility in functions (making PL/PgSQL even more like PL/SQL)
    - Much more useable and flexible custom datatype creation. "Complex" dataypes may not seem too useful for standard business databases, but they have all sorts of applications in areas like mapping, engineering, scientific analysis, etc... (Not to mention which, you might even want to think in terms of mapping custom datatypes to classes in your applications.)
    - Horizontal partitioning: this is a concept used in very large tables, where you might want different groups of rows from one table stored in different locations, such as different physical disks, SANs, etc... This sort of thing is actually already being done informally by leveraging PostgreSQL's table inheritance features and tablespaces, but in the future (8.2 or 8.3?) it should become a standard feature.

    Speaking of which, how many people caught Josh Berkus and Joe Conway's talk on "Terabytes of Business Intelligence"? Very interesting insights on how to handle very large databases in PostgreSQL. For example, Joe Conway's project gathers statistics from industrial equipment around the world, receiving several GB a day of data on the central server, an 8-CPU XEON, storing the data on a SAN array via NFS mount configured for jumbo frames. To handle the super-large main table, he created a partitioning schema where there are 12 sub-tables, each holding the data for one month of the year, and then creating a main table via inheritance [postgresql.org] from these tables to present a unified relation of all this data. In some ways this may sound like a view from a UNION query, but the implementation has much better performance and maintenance implications.

    All this means PostgreSQL is steadily gaining ground on the Big 3 database vendors, and in some ways surpassing them, as far as the quality of the implementation. Many of the distinctions now are in external areas, such as application servers and federated systems. (You can do either of these things in PostgreSQL, but there is no official standardized method)

    We all know that the main DB vendors don't allow anyone to publish benchmarks without permission, so of course there are no easily accessible benchmarks between PostgreSQL and Oracle, for instance. But, in informal talks at OSCON, I found at least a couple companies who had done their own internal benchmarks and PostgreSQL came out ahead surprisingly often.

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