Lisp with Java

I was very pleased with myself for finding Armed Bear Common Lisp; you've gotta love that name. You get a cool editor as well!! For someone like me who works in a mainly Java shop the excellent looking integration of Lisp and Java is cool and potentially very useful for prototyping (I wonder if Bill Clementson knowws about this?). (I'm also rather more attracted to building GUI's in Swing as Lisp is has so many different GUI libraries and many are rudimentary, only run on some platforms etc.)

A bit more research brought up a Java Foreign Language Interface for Common Lisp and a Lisp-friendly interface to Java Servlets by Rich Hickey - both look good.

Then it turns out that Lispmeister mentioned the latter 2 over 2 months ago and I missed it:Lispmeister.com : Lisplets

More to play with!!

PS: Yes, Bill Clementson does know about these !! Article in June or so; I wonder if he has done any more with any of them ?


God bless Poland!

Via Webmink: NoSoftwarePatents.com :: View topic - (EN) 21 DEC 04: Big Surprise in Brussels, No Swpats 4 Xmas!

More on DSL's and Lisp

Bill Clementson's Blog: DSL and Metaprogramming Resources

An eventful year for Lisp

I started looking at Lisp in the middle of the year, after a single course on it way back on my BSc course. I discovered that there was a lot more to it than I thought. This timeline is intersting though, as it shows a lot of progress has been made, just this year.ALU Wiki : 2004 Lisp Timeline

My sense is that there is a lot of activity around Lisp at present. I certainly feel that the renaissance of Virtual Machines and the rise of Domain Specific Languages is bringing the computer world back towards Lisp.


Cringley on the IBM PC/Lenovo deal

This analysis certainly makes more sense than IBM buying Apple!
PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column: "Winners in this deal are IBM, Lenovo, AMD, and Dell. Lenovo instantly doubles its market share. AMD eats away just a little bit more at Intel's power base. Dell, as the true PC market leader, will rely on its lower overhead to further hurt HP.

Losers in the deal are HP, Intel, and Sun. Especially Sun. Those guys are in trouble."

Successful Lisp arrives

My copy has arrived!Lispmeister.com : Buy "Successful Lisp" at amazon.com

It is in beautiful condition, the cover looks great. Opening it up is a joy: the pages are crisp and new, the font lovely.

My only gripe? Each right-hand page has a tiny left-hand margin and a big right-hand one. I can see the spine coming under a lot of pressure as I struggle to see the first word of each line.

I ordered mine early from Booksurge.com. No complaints about speed of delivery, but the web store experience was scary, and response from customer service was non-existent. When I input all the details and confirmed the order, up popped a record of the transaction with a blank order number, and a list of things which I hadn't ordered, and the wrong total in dollars !!! Eeek. Phone number given on the site didn't work - eeek! Three e-mails to the address given - no response at all. Ohno!! I was getting a mite agitated I can tell you.

I was somewhat comforted when VISA confirmed the correct amount for Successful Lisp had actually been deducted ( and not the bogus amount) and that there were no other unaccounted for transactions.

Anyway, I am pretty much convinced I have not been phished and the book is here.

One last thing: David Lamkins ( author) should refrain from dyeing his hair (IMHO) !!


Model Transformation and Eclipse

Something new from IBM:alphaWorks : Model Transformation Framework: "What is the Model Transformation Framework?
The Model Transformation Framework (MTF) is a set of tools that helps developers make comparisons, check consistency, and implement transformations between Eclipse Modeling Framework (EMF) models. The framework also supports persistence of a record of what was mapped to what by the transformation; this record can be used to support round-tripping, reconciliation of changes, or display of the results to a user."

If the models can be expressed in EMF then they can be transformed.


Lisp and Domain Specific Languages

Bill Clementson's Blog: "Forget syntax, forget library availability - the 'Lisp Difference' is that it allows you to create whatever domain-specific language you need for the problem space that you're working in."

Doesn't sound like Microsoft's DSL Workbench - still nothing wrong with that!!


Hmm, languages as object ....

Logix: Multi-Language Programming | Lambda the Ultimate

Butchery at the Beeb

Ouch, 10% to go.

This looks odd:BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | BBC boss details 3,000 job cuts: "Almost 2,000 workers are expected to move from London to Manchester, to make the corporation more reflective of UK audiences."

I think "to reduce costs" might have been more honest! If you want to reflect a broader geography, you spread out. But no doubt that reduces management control, economies of scale or something.


Jonathan Schwartz speak with fork tongue?

I listened to the Gillmor Gang podcast for the 25th November (trendy , heh?). Mr Schwartz was that and came over as witty and made some insightful comments. He also made assertions about Red Hat which Steve G and co. never really called him on. And he kept talking about "Open", not alsways making clear which concept he was on about -Open Source or Open Standards (can I have both please?)

Now this:Slashdot | Sun's COO Pretends Linux Belongs To Red Hat

I hope Steve Gillmor asks Jonathan to back up some of his assertions: for instance, which benchmarks are showing Solaris trouncing "Red Hat's Linux" ?

Neat gizmo - Flash Linux

Portal - Flash Linux Home Page. 256M USB stick Linux with Gnome


IP Policy : the tyranny of the lobbyists

Democracy isn't just about everyone being able to vote. Who influences and drafts legislation? Who gets to sit on influential bodies endorsed by a government. We have a once every 4 or 5 year "nuclear option" to keep our elected representatives in-line - big industry has continual, well-financed influence. And they are using it: FT.com / Comment & analysis / Columnists - James Boyle: A natural experiment:

"So how do we decide the ground-rules of the information age? Representatives of interested industries come to regulators and ask for another heaping slice of monopoly rent in the form of an intellectual property right. They have doom-laden predictions, they have anecdotes, carefully selected to pluck the heartstrings of legislators, they have celebrities who testify - often incoherently, but with palpable charisma - and they have very, very simple economic models. "

Found via Lessig

Java to Python and back again

Interesting and provocative article. The referenced text is actually from one of the comments at the end, so keep reading!dirtSimple.org: Python Is Not Java: "But what's much more frustrating is the drop in language level; so much of what's done for you in Python needs to be put together painfully and explicitly in Java. And don't get me started on static typing..."

Found via Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants - James Robertson who comments: "Everything he said about Python relative to Java goes for Smalltalk as well."

Any Lisp comments anyone?

Lisp Comic Book

Thanks to LispMeister for this fun and useful link !!Lispmeister.com : Lisp Comic Book

I love the new terminology for macros - they are not like macros in any other language, so a new name seems appropriate to me (but I'm a newbie!)


The master speaks

Sun Proposes New Open-Source License: "'One of the beauties of the GPL,' he said, is that 'you have to totally give up control over the project (because everybody literally has the same rights to the whole project), but exactly because nobody can control it, it makes everybody feel like true owners.'"


Think Lisp

Sure this will be a great help to Lisp adoption:The Think Lisp Repository


Squeak on Linux

pvaneynds Debian & Lisp blog: Unix squeak image

Certainly the Gentoo Portage version is very out-of-date now. I for one would appreciate an update.

No, please don't remind me

Greg Reinacker's Weblog - The Best of the Best: "A::A() : m_x(5) { }"

Lord, I had almost forgotten this dire syntax. And frankly I wish I hadn't been reminded. Must be more careful of the links I follow.......


Good game, good game

AMK's Journal: Carcassonne

Good game!!

Played "settlers of Catan" last weekend - another good game!!

A flurry of books on Lisp

For a supposedly dead language (ducks behind cover), Lips is gettng a fair number of new books:

"Hackers and Painters" has some Lisp references too.

Talking of Paul Graham, an update to "On Lisp" would be great. "On Lisp" is a great example of going beyond an intro book - it really shows the power of the language by going beyond the simple cases. I'd like to see other books that go into GUI, database etc. at a more detailed level. Of course, a disadvantage of Lisp (and Smalltalk) is tha therre are many ways to skin those Cats, so a book of contributions covering the most popular alternatives would be great.

What about Smalltalk? There are some fairly recent Squeak books, but perhaps there will be more along in a while.


XML.com: WSDL 2: Just Say No: "To put it simply, these specifications are astoundingly bad."

Architecture Astronauts

Joel on Software - Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You: "Architecture Astronauts":
A recent example illustrates this. Your typical architecture astronaut will take a fact like "Napster is a peer-to-peer service for downloading music" and ignore everything but the architecture, thinking it's interesting because it's peer to peer, completely missing the point that it's interesting because you can type the name of a song and listen to it right away.

Ouch! no Xmas card for him !

Philip Greenspun's Weblog:World's most depressing country uses the most anti-depressants


Have no back to break, but have got hearts and minds

Scott iis rght:Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment

There will always be some hot heads taking pot shoys, but adopt policies to reduce them to an unsupported minority.


James Governor makes some important points on SOA and UML:James Governor's MonkChips: BEA, SOA, UML

SOA is not about bits and bytes, or XML, or some other standard du jour. There is a big picture to it, and an integrating vision part as well.

Then lets generate the XML!.


Fix UML 2?

Good summary of UML vs. DSL:Why not base domain specific languages on UML?

Some of these can be fixed.

And there is a potential downside for DSL - what if I want to combine models based on different metamodels?

An interesting debate - hopefully this moves us to languages with greater expressive power than todys programming languages.


Did I Blog this before ?

The same malaise which keeps m from blogging much also means I have lost the ability (or will) to search. Anyway it's still great !!
smart stuff


IBM and Smalltalk

IBM & Smalltalk

Is IBM blowing their Smalltalk ship out of the water just when the tide is heading again for dynamic languages?

My interpretation of the newsgroup thread that is pointed to is "No"; sounds like a holding statement to me. Plenty of people reading between the lines and speculating though!


Great hackers revisited

This article reflects many of my opinions about Paul Grahams article:Great Hacker != Great Hire

I too enjoyed the essay, but I too rankled at some of the strictures (Obviously I am not a great hacker!)

I really don't understand the part about not wanting to work on customer stuff - ultimately that IS what matters. The number of jobs you can do without pesky users is severely limited - back to academia ?

Also, team work is just so important; are there pretty great hackers who are more productive than most, but aren't prima donnas ?


Hope this isn't true

BBC NEWS | UK | MoD denies US missiles set for UK

Not so much whether we have the missiles or not, but how the decision has been made scretly (if it has).


Closing the presses

I thought most of the world had come to realise that allowing states to close down presses is a bad idea, unless you want to undermine democracy. Here is the modern equivalent of shutting down the presses: Home Office in frame over FBI's London server seizures | The Register : " What does this action say about freedom of expression and freedom of the press?"

September - the month of evil

Much fun with the SenderID debacle at IETF with some great houmo[u]r:Evil of September 2004 :: OSDir.com :: Open Source, Linux News & Software: "users are just friends who haven't submitted a patch yet"

Good, fun article.

Tinderbox..... for the Mac

After reading Mark Bernsteins article I took a look at his:Eastgate Tinderbox: the tool for notes : "Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals and web logs."

Sounds really good but I don't have any Macs to try it on. Linux version some day ?

Oh darn

10 Tips on Writing the Living Web: A List Apart: "Write for a reason, and know why you write. Whether your daily updates concern your work life, your hobbies, or your innermost feelings, write passionately about things that matter."

But that takes time !!

A recommended article, even though I do find myself wincing every now and again - perhaps I shouldn't write at all :-(


Back from Paris

Had a great time, met some great people, learnt many "interesting" things, but tripled the length of my TODO list !!


Off to Paris

Daniel Barlow -- Diary: "Off to Paris tomorrow (work trip)." What a coincidence -so am I!


Managing via blogs?

Fortune.com - Technology - It's Hard to Manage if You Don't Blog: "It's Hard to Manage if You Don't Blog". Hmm, I can see how blogs, well done, help get a message out ( though they should be about 2-way communication), but how does it help manage ? I assume he (Schwartz) means managing people. Does Sun have internal blogs too ? That would be neat.


Finally a use for the internet

NewsForge | Thanks to Linux, this beer's for you!

There is a guy "at" work who always offers me a drink when I help out - but in 3 years we have never actually met (different continents)

So, team building for the distributed team - just add a couple of videolinks and we're away!!


Beware ye seers

A reminder of the perils of looking too far into the future! manalang.com ? The Home Computer of 2004

Reminds me of those Victorian pictures of the future of air travel - they were more sophisticated balloons.

Still, the exercise of imagining the future is good - gives a path forward even if the vision proves to be wide of the mark.

And it gives our descendents a good laugh


Just stop it!

Blogging is bad, bad, bad!
Spotted in Joi Ito's Web
Stop tempting me with gadgets , darn it !
Must resist, must resist ......
... do the Eagle Creek folders fit in the large Waterfield?....... must resis...

Back to "normal"

If the posts have been few and brief, it was because I was the single-parent of a 3 child family. All kids go to different schools, have music lessons, dancing, sport etc.

Fortunately my wife has returned from her walking holiday to share the load.

WS- *

Sean McGrath has some great quotes and pointers to quotes:

The whole WS standards thing has more moving parts than a 747. Much of it recently invented, untested and unproven in the real world.


Given that there are no exceptions to Gall's Law:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.


Serve the cheapskates right

Frankly, if you are not willing to pay MS properly , then you get what you deserve: Slashdot | Early Warning For Microsoft Premium Customers: "Early Warning For Microsoft Premium Customers"


IBM Open Source's Basic Voice Reco Software

Spotted in Slashdot


What war on terror

Dowbrigade News: : "John Kerry, asked to comment on today's milestone in Iraq - a political softball to his wheelhouse, just begging to be swatted over the wall - answered, in his gaunt, sonorous and sepulchral tomes, 'Over 1000 of America's sons and daughters have now given their lives to the war on terror.'

NO, NO, NO, John. That is the Bush lie. They have given their lives to an obscure, oil-drenched Texas family feud, to a personal vendetta that has nothing to do with the real security of the United States and in fact is making us less secure by breeding a million widows and orphans who blame us for their misfortunes and will spend the rest of their lives trying to get back at us.

The Real War on Terror is tracking down Osama, rooting out the entrenched hate-mongers in our 'allies', Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, stopping the massacres in Africa, finding the Anthrax killer, and getting real about protecting our borders, airports and container ports."


Oh that sort of notebook...

Spotted in Joi Ito's Web

Looks cool - Victorian adventure anyone?

Oooh, this looks nice!

Clove Technology - Fujitsu Loox 720

Of course, I bought my iPAQ 5550 only a few months ago. This looks lovely, and it has Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Second Edition, which HP will not be providing as an upgrade (grrr!)

When to update hardware

Ted has an eye for good looking hardware:Ted Leung on the air : Lunchbox multiprocessor

The thought occurred to me though, that I have not upgraded my hardware for a while either. Perhaps this is a trend? I did build myself a box a few months ago, but it was low-tech: the aim was a small, cheap and quiet box. In fact it is a Duron processor, which is fine for Web usage, a bit slow for starting up the word processor.

If I am honest it was the kids games that used to drive most upgrades, so either they are more diligent with school work(!) or advances in games no longer requires increases in hardware power.

Is this "The Innovator's Dilemna" in practice? If PC manufacturers focus on more an more power, will they be beaten by other who focus on other facets? For instance, beautiful design, size, power , noise ......... Perhaps Ted's choice has power and these other factors!


OCL: " The semantics of OCL is unclear in many places, and there are likely many pitfalls in mapping it to a well-founded language like PVS. However, the potential for making a contribution to the UML development and to our understanding of OCL is great"
Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment: "I can't imagine anyone watching Miller's frothing speech and feeling reassured about the direction Bush is taking us. It was an outburst of intimidation, intended to cow. Dave Winer heard the jackboots behind it: 'Why was the Miller speech so scary? Answer -- you're next. That's what Miller was saying. After this election we put on the brown shirts.' That may be a little over the top, but the fact that's it's only a little over the top is itself chilling."

And: ' "Today, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."

Strip this of its spin and modifiers and what Miller is saying is, "While Americans are dying, the opposition party is trying to win the election, and that hurts the nation." '


Still relevant today...

Jan Smuts in the Houses of Parliament on "Thoughts on a New World": perhaps more so than in 1943.

We are facing to-day probably the most perplexing complicated human situation that has confronted the world for many generations, and anybody who thinks he has a panacea at his command to deal with these problems must either be sub-human or super-human. . .

This will never catch on ...


A use for philosophy!

The Fishbowl: The Principle of Charity

I knew there was (at least one) hole in my education - a use for philosophy ! Any others?

Insert your favourite language here

The Fishbowl: The Joy of Bombast: "More importantly, whenever I start hacking Ruby, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that this is... right. And I find myself going back to Java and thinking 'Why does this language keep getting in my way?'"

I might put Python instead of Ruby, or perhaps Smalltalk (less familiar).

I agree with the sentiment though! Whether Java is doomed is another question altogether - maybe it will become undead like Cobol.


Heez crazy!:Danny Ayers, Raw Blog


Mandrakesoft GLobeTrotter: wrong answer

Mandrakelinux Globetrotter FAQ: "Can GlobeTrotter be upgraded to future versions of Mandrakelinux?
This is not officially supported by Mandrakesoft. It should be possible (and not too difficult if you know Mandrakelinux well) but we won't be able to give you any support if you choose to do so."

The product looks interesting - this upgrade policy looks dumb


The MSDN Camp vs. The Raymond Chen Camp: "The Microsoft culture is about creating the newest, latest greatest thing that 'changes the world' not improving what is already out there and working for customers. When I read various Microsoft blogs and MSDN headlines about how even though we've made paradigm shifts in developer technologies in the recent years we aren't satisfied and want to introduce radically new and different technologies all over again. This bothers me. I hate the fact that 'you have to rewrite a lot of your code' is a common answer to questions a customer might ask about how to leverage new or upcoming functionality in a developer technology."
Open Source Article


Manufacturing lines they are a changing

Bill de h?ra: Add Nothing But Value

An excellent perspective. We have lots of promising, intelligent programmers, and treat them like idiots.

Classic Pilgrim

Spotted in dive into mark

Most developers are morons, and the rest are assholes.

Assessing Java code quality

AMK's Journal: Computing Archives: "'The problem here is that programmers are not as scared of using threads as they should be.'"


More on static typing

Ned Batchelder: August 2004:
"Static typing prevents certain kinds of failures. Unfortunately, it also prevents certain kinds of successes"


The Fnordistan Department of Software Engineering ? What Java Owes to Smalltalk

More regrets

The Fnordistan Department of Software Engineering ? What Java Owes to Smalltalk

That’s the sort of thing I didn’t really notice until I started working with Smalltalk. Now I shake my head and wonder how much better life would be if it had been Smalltalk rather than Sun’s Java that had been poised to catch the wave in the 90s.

Forget the particular languages mentioned here (though I do agree), there seems to be a lot of feeling that things haven't improved in the area of language design. I see Python, Groovy, Ruby etc. restating older things, almost looking over the morrass of C, C++, Java, C# et al which form a tar pit between now and then. Of course other languages like Smalltalk, Lisp etc. have waded through; but are they prepared to move forwards themselves ?

Return of Java

The article refernced here is wierd:Slashdot | The "Return" of Java Discussed

Slashdot asks whether Java has been anywhere, but I wonder what makes us think it is getting renwed attention. The article cites:

  • Jon Schwartz of Sun saying Java helps keep the cost of substitution low: cost of substitution is just part of the costs, and anyway you can only substitute vanilla installs - must Java apps sit on app servers and you certainly can't easily substitute those
  • VCs think games can be written in it

  • I'm convinced !!

    Personally I think the whole Prog Language game is more wide open than it has ever been.

Spotted in Dilbert
Darn what's my excuse?


More heresy!

IT industry warned over wasted money | The Register : "It [the survey] highlights the need for the industry to deliver tangible benefits, focus on selling practical solutions not technology for technology's sake and most importantly to improve after sales customer service. With the customer in mind, it is also important for us to focus on integrating new technologies with existing systems and not automatically adopt the 'rip out and replace' mindset."

So why does the industry get away with this approach? I think it may partly be because elements within the customers also like to focus on technology, haven't thought through what the business wants etc.

Treating workers well increases productivity?

Dangerous and subversive ideas: IT company gives workers free beer - wins award | The Register : "n fact, AGI spends around $1m a year on freebies and perks for staff, according to the Detroit Free Press. As a result, workers are more productive, motivated and enjoy coming to work - while the company saves buckets loads of dosh in recruitment and training."

Billionaires For Bush: Our Candidate

Frustrating lack of choice

Shame there are only (really) 2 to choose from, especially when on so many topics they seem tro have identical stances.
Preston L. Bannister:Yes, I want “someone else” for President.

Where is Python going ?

Pensieri di un lunatico minore: The joy of Smalltalk distributed programming:"mostly because I’m bored with Python, and think it’s zooming off into lala land in some ways"

WHich ways, please ?


Spotted in Ted Leung on the air

Those of us fortunate enough to use a Symbolics or a Dorado know that an expressive language and good tools are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps someday there will be another system that combines both. But for now, I'm still looking for a home.

Spotted in Ted Leung on the air

people would pay a service to make up a lie for them so they could get out of a date

Amazing Like hiring a lawyer to get out of a marriage

Spotted in dive into mark

Babies are all-consuming. She¢s fine now, she¢s at her regular kennel and quite happy there.

Baby dog ?

Spotted in Joi Ito's Web

At the Brainstorm conference in 2002, I heard Shimon Peres say, "What can you learn from History? Very little... History was written with red ink, wth bloodshed. We should educate our children how to imagine, not how to remember." I think his words are extremely relevant.

Making it stick.: "We need to think less about the VM (and even less than that about the OS) and more about (sometimes distributed) interprocess communication. But we need to do this without the heavy burden of the WS-* ice field."
bknr: another LISP based web system. Worth a closer look - glad these to-do lists are infinitely long!!

Back from Vacation

Well, that is not the only reason for a paucity of entries, but hope to do better over the next few days.

By the way , we took a week to go around Southern England ( which is where we live). Amazing how many places there are to visit ( and our outstanding list didn't get much shorter). The weather was fantastic: beaches were great, water warm, body-boarding was good. The sailing was fantastic - beautiful sunshine, constant but reasonable breeze. The best sailing I have done in ages.

Now back to work, and it is raining more but still warm. Oh well.



Lisping at JPL: "programming in Java means a life of continual and unremitting pain."


Pocket PC Notes - BizOrg

BizOrg is an easy to use pocket software for PocketPC. Pocket organizer, PIM, manage notes tasks, contacts journal and more. pocketpc freeware. synchronize, outlook synchronize.

Will report back when I get to try it

Trivilazation of ....

I agree with this:The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Triumph of the Trivial. It is certainly happening more in the UK too.

And I wouldn't limit it to TV either: it seems to me that more and more column inches are given over to trivia.


Maudlin, Welsh mare

Just when everything is picking up in my favourite Welsh/Dorset reality sitcom, this happens:Chocolate and Vodka :: Have some Lamington: "http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/_trackback/111808"

I ask you, who writes the plot lines for this? Too unpredictable to be plausible!!


Quote of the day

Lisp Quotes: "Most papers in computer science describe how their author learned what someone else already knew.

- Peter Landin"

"Most software platforms are a rehash of older platforms, with a new buzzword -- Keith


Smalltalk Marketing

This is very imprtant point: Sean Malloy: The ball is rolling...


Sick as a parrot (not a python)

Not been feeling top notch recently - summer flu or some such. Hope to get back to more blogging soon.


Amen, brother

UrBlog: "If only I could be working in a dynamic language such as Smalltalk or Python"


Got a clue ?

From UrBlog via Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants

And Smalltalk folks will shake their heads and wonder when people will finally get a clue.

Must try Gemstone some time. I'm certainly enjoyting my programming play time right now - relearning Smalltlak, seeing what has changed after all this time. I hope my play application might actually get some real use, but if used at work it will have to be re-written in something else ......

Quote of the day test

Who said this, and is it correct:? :The Independent Weekly: With trembling fingers: "'It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.'"


J2EE vs. .NET shootout at OOPSLA

Any "discussion" about this topic is bound to be fun:Spotted in Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants

And adding a Smalltalk perspective should make it funner Will Alan represent Cincom Smalltalk or Cincom as a whole?


Quote from Hackers and Painters

Spotted in Bill Clementson's blog quotes from Paull Graham's Hackers and Painters, including this:
"A programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing programs you've already thought of. It should be a pencil, not a pen. Static typing would be a fine idea if people actually did write programs the way they taught me to in college. But that's not how any of the hackers I know write programs. We need a language that lets us scribble and smudge and smear, not a language where you have to sit with a teacup of types balanced on your knee and make polite conversation with a strict old aunt of a compiler." P22

Ancient Greece vs. Soviet Russia

Spotted in David Buck - Blog :

There are two conflicting forces driving software development. The first force tries to help developers by giving them the tools and environments that let them do anything they need to do to solve the problem at hand. They give the programmer the freedom to create whatever solutions they deem necessary.


Do restrictions in the environment help? I believe that they only help a little and usually cause more harm than it's worth. They increase finger typing, hinder productivity, slow down development, increase refactoring efforts, and decrease code readability

Wheels within wheels

Re: More Alan Kay notice
Spotted in Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants :
But late-bound has some deeper and more profound properties that include abilities to actually change the both the structure and metastructure of the language itself. Thus an important new idea can be assimilated into the constantly evolving process that is the system.

Another aspect of late-binding is the ability to change one's mind about already instantiated structures that are already doing work. These can be changed automatically on the fly without harming the work they are already doing.

Long lasting software

Good thinking, as usual, from Dan:
Software That Lasts 200 Years

One thing I have been struck by recently, is how many times we reinvent the wheel ; we produce a new platform, in a new technology ( including hardware/OD platform), with a new interface. However, to the application the new features are not that great - perhaps there are a few new things, just enough to warrant a re-write.

But surely, there is enough demand for new software that we can still employ our current developers and perhaps more. Of course, they might be specialists in other areas who can develop on the longer lasting platforms.


OK, I'm starting to get this...

In this paper by Daniel Friedman:mex.pdf (application/pdf Object) he quotes Jon Rossie :
Programming languages are the box outside of which most programmers, architects and managers cannot think.

I guess this includes me !!! Or maybe included me.....


Productivity quotes

I hadn't seen these before ( must have been prior to my taking another look at Smalltalk):
Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants: Experts say Smalltalk is better:

"Kent Beck (Mr XP) said (at ESUG 1999 in Ghent) that, 'I program at a third of my Smalltalk speed in Java.'

Bran Selic (RealTime UML guru, built the tool that is now the RT part of Rational Rose) said (at UML 2000 in York) that, 'I was sorry to see Smalltalk lose out to Java because Smalltalk was the only language in which I noticed a real difference in my productivity'."

I know one of these gentlemen - I must get his latest thoughts on the matter......

uhoh.... be very afraid!

Scripting News: 7/11/2004

Re: Ted Leung on the Air: Croquet video

Ted Leung

Ted's last paragraph is interesting on a few counts: is the LISP community too fragmented? Is the Smalltalk community split between Smalltalk and Squeak? Also, I'd love to know Ted's take on where Python sits in this ? Can't the Python community (or Ruby, ....) push computer science forwards?


Paul Graham's sneaky strategic advantage

And here is the Paul Graham article referred to: Beating the Averages: "Another unusual thing about this software was that it was written primarily in a programming language called Lisp. It was one of the first big end-user applications to be written in Lisp, which up till then had been used mostly in universities and research labs. Lisp gave us a great advantage over competitors using less powerful languages."

Strategic advantage and keeping quiet about it

Here is the quote I referred to earlier:: ONLamp.com: The Pragmatic Programmers Interview: "Ultimately, it comes down to ease of expression. If I can express myself in code at a level closer to the problem domain, then I'm going to be more effective, and my code is likely to be easier to maintain and extend. Paul Graham makes a big deal out of the way Lisp helped him while building the software that became Yahoo Stores, and he's right. These languages, applied properly, are a strategic advantage. I know some companies are using them with great success. And you know -- they're keeping quiet about it."

Is this the big secret?

I will dig out the refernce, but I saw a blog entry a while back talking about how vaiuos small companies are using certain languages as a competitive example, and they are keeping quiet about it !! I remember it cited Paul Graham's LISP implementation of Yahoo stores(note find pointer to his essay).

Here James Robertson points to a very important application ofthe experiments I have been doing:Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants: How dynamic is dynamic?: "I can't imagine trying to manage a server without this capability. This blog hasn't been taken down in months, but I've made major changes to the underlying code base. How? By making use of the facility keith mentions, that's how."

This is an advantage I hadn't thought of before - my thoughts were on much smaller timespan benefits for client apps. Coolll!!

How dynamic is Python?

OK, this lunchtimes experiment was Python. Created a class and produced an instance, then modified the class by adding a method - the instance did not have this method available. However, a new instance with the new class did.

I have no idea whether ths old class and its instances stay around, disappear with gabage collection etc.

How dynamic is your (programming) language?

I'm doing some experiments on changing classes at runtime without affecting existing instances.

With Smalltalk ( at least with Visualworks) this was a breeze: added the code for a variable, accepted it and, hey presto, any inspector open on an instance got a new variable field set to nil.

Even tried Lisp, which I haven't used for $%$ years. Why ? 'Cos you can do anything in Lisp can't you, especially this dynamics stuff? Well, I tried CLISP first, and guess what ? A redefinition to add a new slot invalidated existing instances ( or so the message said). Not taking no for an answer I accessed an old instance and crashed the whole environment.

Now it has to be said that, from the docs I have read, I wasn't sure what the behaviour should have been. Finally, I found a doc which seemed to be adamant that it should have worked. So I tried the free version of Franz' Allegro Lisp..... and it worked.

What next? Well, what can other languages such as Python and Java do in this regard? Also try to be more scientific with Lisp and Smalltalk: add/remove variables, add/remove methods, add/remove supportable etc.


BTF Blog post without title tag

Thanks to James Robertson for updating the blog posting tool to remove the title tag,

Now I just need to get the subject line to appear!!! If I surround it with say h2 tags it completely disappears. Hmm


Lisp is procedural

A bit dated but I thought htis was interestingLSlashdot | Creating Applications with Mozilla: "Lisp was just procedural, while XML is more like logic programming."

Discuss(20 marks)

Logical Methods in Computer Science

Spotted in Lambda the Ultimate - Programming Languages Weblog

This is the trend of the future, by-passing the big publishers

Croquet: the movie

Croquet: A Collaboration Architecture

Takes about a 90 minutes, but I felt it was worth the effort!

You tell'em Dwight

Many people have quoed this excellent piece:Escapable Logic

But the section which leapt out at me was the 2nd Eisenhower quote about the military-industrial complex. Surely this influence is a major factor in Iraq.

the other salvo

Scripting News: 7/5/2004

...got most of the facts wrong...

Which ones ?

Just the facts, Dave, just the facts

I wish Dave would take the time to clarify what the facts are. Given the way this farce was announced, muttered about, rescued, it is hardly surprising that there is some confusion.

I'd like to see a sober setting out of the facts that show why the end of the service had to be announced, before a rescue package could be put together.

Another fact of importance would be,"when did the users get informed that they were being hosted by Dave, rather than Userland?" I think this escaped a lot of people.

Dave's latest salvoes:

Re: So Yale doesn't feel totally out there, Harvard Law School also took took a shot at me during the flamefest. Their comment about RSS is pretty nutty (it's a format, not software, it can't be licensed under GPL). They say they got their facts from Wired, so they're just passing on what they heard. I guess that's an okay excuse. Anyway, thousands of people weren't stranded and we got all the sites back on the air within a week. It would be nice if they published that part too.


So why haven't the btf posts shown on the web ?

See if this flushes the system.

Yep, sems to be working.

If you are having problems posting from BottomFeeder under Linux - re-install!!

This is a post from Bottomfeederon Linux

This tool is now claiming that it is posting, as opposed to just hanging. All I did was reinstall !!

However, nothing has actually shown up on the site yet.

Update: but it does in the blogger console ......


Croquet : Screenshots

Wow: Croquet Project

This looks truly wonderful.

LISP from Java

Cool; not sure when it would be used, but cool nonetheless!!
SourceForge.net: Project Info - Jatha - Java LISP library

PLT Scheme

This looks interesting:PLT Scheme

I don't know the details of LISP vs. Scheme but they look similar enough that the DrScheme with tutorial sounds like a good way to get started in this general area.

Let me know if I'm wrong !

Re: Sanjay Pande: Regular Expressions with CL
Spotted in



Re: Remote Bf synching

Spotted in Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants

Blogging from Bottom Feeder to BlogSpot

This may be written up somewhere but here are my entries in the Bottomfeeder Blog Poster plugin settings:

  • Blog API == Blogger API
  • Blog ID == a six dgit number at the end of the URL of yourBlog e.g. 123456
  • I do client side markup
  • ftp url == ftp.blogspot.com
  • Profile Name == any string to uniquely identify which blog you want to post to (BottomFeeder use only)
  • Posts to retrieve (whatever)
  • Username and Password == your Blogspot logon info
  • On the Blogger API page : App Key == 1, Blogger URL == http://api.blogger.com/api
  • Under Settings->API , ensure blogger API is selected (need to do this each time for ome reason)

Grady on UML "vs" DSL

What a guy !! Grady Booch on developerWorks : Blogs: "However, I think, as does Simon, that Keith misses the point when he distinguishes DSLs as something totally different from the UML. The last thing the world needs is yet another (non-open standard) programming model or language injected in an already complex space. Our experience has shown that domain-specific design and architectural patterns specified can (and should be) expressed in the very same language that one may use on a whiteboard or napkin, namely, the UML. "

UML & DSL: Simon says....

I find myself in agreement with the following points:developerWorks : Blogs:
My position is that the creation of domain specific languages that do not seamlessly support the ability to transform information along the refinement scale are not helpful to us. So, for example, a component designer that is a stand alone tool unconnected to the class designer that provides the next logical level of refinement (classes being used to construct components) is a pot hole in the road from concept to actual implementation. Now, this is not as I have said to indicate that domain specific languages are bad, just that many of us in this industry love to create new languages be they graphical, textual or conceptual. We have to beware of the tendency to build these disjoint languages that force the user to keep stopping and jumping across another gap.
My summary: present different views to different users, but in a way which keeps transformations (including mental ones) easy (e.g. all views based on common metamodel)

Now, does the UML help us in this? Well, actually as it stands no, it has many pot holes all of it’s own! But, one way to look at the UML is a pre-existing set of domain specific languages, with at least small and well understood gaps between them. For example most everyone is familiar with the class model, the component model, the state machine model – all of these can be treated as sub-languages, and have been successfully applied in projects.

My summary: common set of concepts which can be tailored

Now, the danger is then to say that the UML is enough surely for any problem (got a hammer here – anyone got a nail?). Well therein lies a big, big hole waiting for the unwary. The UML is a general purpose language, like English and as such can be vague in a particular domain, so we have created specific usages of the English language for engineering or science, even standardized the meanings of terms for defining specifications (RFC 2119). In this regard it is clear that the UML needs to have particular usage patterns documented as sub-languages, or domain specific usage.

But then, there are simply concepts in use today that do not map well to any UML sub-language or usage pattern. Well, the OMG has already thought of that and provided the Meta-Object Facility (MOF) which is the underlying language used to construct the UML – making MOF a domain specific language for constructing domain specific languages? Here at IBM the open source Eclipse Modeling Framework implements the MOF specification and provides both run time capabilities and tools for defining new modeling languages (and you can see examples in the XML Schema Tooling on eclipse.org).

My summary: UML can be extended, and if that isn't enough then new dialects based on MOF can be built. Still the transformation gap is small.

Anyone seen a scenario mapped out in the two approaches? When the terms and concepts seem so slippery a practical example always helps.

Quick now, what IS the difference between UML and DSL?

The DSL, MDA, UML thing again... | Lambda the Ultimate

Can you have one metamodel across differnet domains that, nonetheless can be tailored? If you do, can the transformation be small variations on one another ? Can we ever expect them to be totally automated? (no) What is a domain anyway : industry, level of abstraction?

This seems to be one of those arguments where the terms involved remain unresolved and ambiguous (at least to me)


High Court move over police chief

BBC NEWS | UK | High Court move over police chief

Apart from the details of this case, how do we come by such badly written laws here in the UK? Why do we write a law which apparently gives the Home Secretary the power to suspend a Chief Constable, but for some reason this has to be actinide through some other body such as the local Police Authority ?

Either we let local areas have authority or we don't. If we want to allow the case where the Home Secretary can ride rough-shod over this pretense at autonomy, then he should do the dismissing and inform the Police Authority.

This is a horrible fudge of a law, and I am glad it is coming back to irritate the politicians who regularly enact Laws with so little principle behind them. Actually, I hope it does more than irritate them!!

developerWorks : Blogs


Lisp <-> Java

Bill Clementson's Blog

AKMA Sanity

This is a great summary of the situation:Not to many winners in this argument

Russell Beattie Notebook - Rampaging Computer Science: "'The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.' --Bertrand Russell"

Java Community high on complexity?

Via David Buck: Russell Beattie Notebook - Rampaging Computer Science

I certainly felt this way about J2EE!!

I was there

I was at one of these tals ; very good it was too:tim.oreilly.com -- Various Things I've Written: Tim's Archive


London-Brighton Bike Ride

What am I thinking of? Forgot to Blog about my cycling epic!

Last Sunday, 20th June, I and 26,999 other "cyclists" bowled out of London on a nice sunny Sunday. We were about an hour late starting due to our transport , but also because of the huge queue to get the start/finish card stamped.

Cycling as a team proved almost impossible, but other tthan that and buses actually wanting to use the bus lane everything was fine.

Out in the country everything was lovely except hills on narrow lanes where most people got off to walk and blocked the road completely.

My legs got tired at about 40 miles - took a break and also sorted out why my new Camelbak water carrier was giving out so little water(kink in pipe).

At about 50 miles you hit the only real hill on the course, but it is nasty - again the road is quite narrow, so most people walk. The experts ( and people with proper clips on their pedals) are determined to cycle up; with a lot of tired people this is a recipe for disater. Oh, and it started raining big time, and Brighton being by the sea, the wind was cold.

The next 4 miles to the sea front were awful: rain, wind, large roads where the police bunch the cyclists up to let them cross - it took over an hour to do this.

By the end, I was really cold - my teamates looked even worse and were shaking.

Then we got a lift back to Winchester.

So, for next year, I'm looking for a cycling challenge which is far less crowded : any ideas ?


Hilarious: Irony Deficiency

WebMink: "(Yes, you're reading that correctly. A man named Kafka has been deployed to field questions about a prison where the criminals are only vaguely charged with crimes, can't speak to lawyers and likely will never get out.)"


Think tanks lack transparency

Deltoid : When Think Tanks Attack: " And the Albion Monitor writes:

[Citizens for a Sound Economy] is just one of several tax-exempt orgs that have divided over $750,000 from Microsoft and waxed in outrage over the proposed breakup of the software giant. Other beneficiaries include the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, National Taxpayers Union, and about a dozen more obscure names such as Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Small Business Survival Committee, the Independent Institute, Americans for Technology Leadership, and the Association for Competitive Technology.

Together the groups wage a disinformation campaign almost identical to the attempt to debunk global warming waged by Big Oil that we described in a 404 report two years ago. The strategy requires discrediting Microsoft critics while building a sham Â?grassrootsÂ? movement in support of the corporation.

Folks should be free to fund what they like, but who is sponsoring whom should be transparent, to avoid conflicts of interest.


1st European Lisp and Scheme Workshop: "Sheng-Chuan Wu, 'Lisp for Service Oriented Architecture Programs'"

Worth further sytudy - a quick scan shows many intersting points, but I'd lie a bit more detail.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Prisoner torture 'not sanctioned': "I have never ordered torture - I will never order torture -
President George W Bush"

George, I believe you. But your administration faces an uphill battle to convince folks that, whilst it was done without written orders, it was not done in an environmnent which pushed getting intelligence above nearly all else.

More finding LISP

I find myself wondering about LISP as well as Preston:Preston L. Bannister ? Finding Lisp.

But I'm not sure how he squares these two paragraphs:

  • "Both were written using UCI Lisp. [....] The folks in the Ada programming environment project generated an Ada parser, interpreter, compiler, and integrated editor for a subset of Ada in a remarkably small amount of time. This was only possible by leveraging off the Lisp environment. " AND
  • " In fact the combination of Java and XML covers much the same ground"

I should have thought the ADA environment probably used features such as LISP macros etc. ; how do Java and XML help there?


Finding Lisp: "One of the things that struck me is that more than any other language, Lisp, because of lambda calculus as well as the convenient notation provided by s-expressions, lends itself to source-level transformations. Macros are the most obvious user-level expression of this capability, but Lisp compilers also make very heavy use of this capability to reshape code symbolically before they actually start generating object code."

Oh, Dave

Comments: "JF, you're repeating an incorrect fact about the avoidability of the outage, and it's pretty disrespectful to put the word in quotes, do you think I'm lying? You're pretty gutless about that, if you think I'm lying, say so, and say why, and tell us who you are and how you know. Anonymous personal condemnations are worthless. How can we condemn you when we don't know who you are, except that you're a coward.
posted by Dave Winer at 03:05:05 AM on June 22, 2004 "

Please don't do this. And point to where a clarification of the real reason for the outage is then. Thanks


A great achievement: SpaceShipOne

This is fantastic:BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Private craft makes space history, but then the BC article follwos up with this comment: "When the X-prize is won, it could open up the skies to future tourist trips to the edge of space for those bored of the usual beach holiday."

Well, it sure could, but is this a sign of out times? Did Christopher Columbus sell Ferdinand and Isabbella on his epic voyage, with tourism? No! They wanted to make money from spices!!

How about: "SpaceShipOne ushers in a new pantheon of reality TV show!"? Now we're talking!!


Iraq - al-Qaeda

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Editorial comment:"The Bush administration has misled the American people. It has isolated the US, as American diplomats and commanders pointed out this week. And its bungling in Iraq has given new and terrifying life to the cult of death sponsored by Osama bin Laden. Above all, it inspires little confidence it is capable of defeating the spreading al-Qaeda franchise, which always was the clear and present danger."

"Don't listen to people who disagree with you"

michaelw.net In defense of Dave: "Anyway, my friend and I quickly realized that we had developed an excellent litmus test for software engineers and program managers at Microsoft.

This principle can easily be extended to other areas too. The people who bitch and moan are just doing you the favor of self-identifying as people you won't waste cycles on in the future. The fools who listen to the bitchers are self-identifying as fools."

If Dave doesn't listen to some of the "bitching and moaning" and learn for the future, then he is missing out. And any "friend" that encourages him to ignore such comments is no friend at all.

Clear thinking ?

GROKLAW: "Any business that would rather use a license like this than the GPL just isn't thinking clearly. "


Dave Winer

Scripting News: 6/18/2004: "After years of service, actually decades, I feel I have earned the benefit of the doubt. "

"it's a rare thing when people consider your feelings"

Dave, this is what you are missing - people are hurt at how little you thought of them!

Yes, I think some of the ranting is much over done, BUT ....

You have only partially done the right thing. Now is a good time to stand up and say that you realise that you could have done this better (and saved lots of people, including yourself a lot of heartache). You just didn't think it thru, and now you blame the ranters, look reproachfully at your friends ( many of whom HAVE gone out on a limb for you) and say nothing about your own actions.

New slant on Whitewater

This is a new slant, at least for me:The Iraq War Reader


More on home/family schooling

Here is the entry that Ted refers to:Philip Greenspun's Weblog:

Read the comments - some great stuff there. In fact, I should have read it before my previous post!

The idea of collaboration had not occurred to me (I wonder if there is so much of that in the UK?) Also, the idea that you could get a day's school education done in less time, thereby having more time to do other stuff is also interesting.

The comment about "oh, they were English (home schooled) children, that is why they were polite" made me smile. Call me jaundiced, but I think that the English middle calss fixation on manners ( maketh man) is definitely eroding!

Home Schooling

This is indeed a wonderful thing for any parent to hear:Ted Leung: Home Schooling

I admire parents who can do home schooling - I'm sure the concentration, planning and time would just overwhelm us. On the other hand, I would worry slightly about the longer term social aspects - I'm not saying that the child is isolated from society, but they have a different view. Is this a problem? To some extent it depends on how you view life: do you need to be equipped to deal with the dirty tricks people will throw at you, or does your child have self-confidence and ability to shape life around them?


Google search for Model Driven Architecture

What is this ? Will let you know


Microsoft distances itself from AdTI

GROKLAW: "'With growing numbers of businesses turning to Linux, its pros and cons are fair game for debate. But cynically manufacturing confusion isn't debating. Even Microsoft didn't like the way this report turned out, though it indirectly helped subsidize it. A company spokesman called the study, 'an unhelpful distraction from what matters most -- providing the best technology for our customers.''"

Hope they stick to that themselves of course; please fight it out on technology - not spin, paying others to produce crooked reports etc.

Whatever the politics, do the right thing!

This look encouraging; people of various political leanings are all saying enough is enough. Chris Nolan is right - this is beyond politics:Chris Nolan - Politics from Left to Right: Paging Hannah Arendt

Industry Best Practice

I am not qualified to assess Paul Graham's comments about the advantages of Lisp. For instance, what about Lisp and database access, which I have discussed elsewhere. But his point about the risk aversion of people in LargeCos is great:Revenge of the Nerds: "This is the kind of possibility that the pointy-haired boss doesn't even want to think about. And so most of them don't. Because, you know, when it comes down to it, the pointy-haired boss doesn't mind if his company gets their ass kicked, so long as no one can prove it's his fault. The safest plan for him personally is to stick close to the center of the herd.

Within large organizations, the phrase used to describe this approach is 'industry best practice.' Its purpose is to shield the pointy-haired boss from responsibility: if he chooses something that is 'industry best practice,' and the company loses, he can't be blamed. He didn't choose, the industry did."

It is generaly assumed that innovation fuels growth, but this implies risk. But which risks should you take and which should you minimise? If you have an established development shop, then the technicalities of a new product might be viewed as sufficient risks without adding a new language to the mix. On the other hand, shouldn't the company fund some sort of research project so that net time around the new language is not an unknown ? Otherwise you end up like the Knight from the cartoon going into battle, not having talked to the machine gun salesman.

And some more .....

Passion, entrepreneurship, and the rebirth of local economies: " It's trying to put responsibility where responsibility can be, in fact, applied--grassroots. Let me tell you what I've done in my life.

I was so disgusted by what I saw, that when Ernest Schumacher published Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered in 1973, I went ballistic. I said, this guy is telling us the truth about what development is! And I wanted to follow him. I wanted to look at alternative development. What can we do that makes sense?

And so I left Italy, I left my agency. Initially I went to Africa, to Stellenbosch University in Cape Province, and then I went to Australia. And I researched anything that was a caring, intelligent way of helping people help themselves. And I came up with the most radical thing. I could not find anything as radical as what I've done."
All via Crossroads Dispatches

Sirolli Institute

Enterprise Facilitation:Ernesto's Story

I feel the same way about top-down initiatives in big companies !!

And isn't Open Source collaborative development similar ? A large number of people get to contribute how they want, when they want, with real passion born out of free-will, other than compulsion.

See my next post for a bit more. It has ben a long time since a web contact has instantly seemed so right. Ricardo Semler and his philosophy of giving employees their heads was similar.

So why do we have these big organisations working in such a "command economy" fashion?


Serious cycle training

Better late than never, but I finally got ina serious ride today - 45 miles. The front of my legs are aching, walked up a few hills at the end.

Not sure whether next Sunday's route is more or less hilly, though I know there is one killer hill right at the end. Oh well.....


More rebuttals to AdTI

Yet more people that they interviewed are pointing out flaws in the arguments:GROKLAW

MBA Case Study ?


Charles William Milller

More on this exciting revelation:History of soccer. How football came to Brazil

Reagan on Freedom

In May [1989], at Moscow State University, Reagan said that mankind is emerging "like a chrysalis" from the economy of the Industrial Revolution and is entering the information age, the economy of the mind. "The key is freedom -- freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of communication." (via Crossroads Dispatches)

Great points about being a leader, but we live at a time, when so many freedoms are under threat. Just because they are not physical , the threat to free speech, building on others' ideas etc. are a burden being imposed on us and future generations,...by stealth.

Agile and Evolution

Thin Air:Bodily Processes

I miscued on this one, thinking the single responsibility meant that multiple organs had the same responsibility, but in fact, the point is that some organs have multiple responsibilities. I assume that this is to do with evolution tending to find resourse-lite "solutions".

And amen to this: "The problem with BigDesignUpFront is that it relies too much on the intelligence of the designers." The designers are intelligent that this sort of behaviour impreses the boss!!

Summary of Python and Java

PythonComparedToJava - Irmen's Python Wiki

Software Analysis Tool:Moose

Via the European Smalltalk User Group:Moose

Works for Smalltalk, C/C++, Java, Ada apparently. Will be giving it a try later .....

Little known Southampton export

Living just up the road from Southampton ( and it being the home of the nearest Premier League club), Simon Phipp's revelation was of great interest:Southampton-Brazil Football Link

And now we re-import Brazilian Soccer Skills Classes for our children!!


AdTI on the ropes?

Prof. Tanenbaum delivers more damaging blows:Rebuttal to Ken Brown

The sponsors of the book should demand their money back.

Blogging to minor stardom

brianstorms weblog: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse. Brian gets his blog published in a newspaper.

My Aunt lives in San Diego - time to ask her to snag a copy.



wxPython tutorial

An excellent, comprehensive view of how to use wxPython:The Farm: The Tucows Developers' Hangout :: Exploring wxPython: The stdout/stderr Window and MessageDialogs

This really is (for its scope) the best resource I have seen; the table showing the eresults of various options is great.

Mitch on OSAF

ONLamp.com: Inside Mitch Kapor's World [Jun. 03, 2004]

Many intetresting comments, including: The dual-licensing model that's been used successfully by a number of open source projects such as MySQL and Sleepycat for their implementation of Berkeley DB is gaining a huge amount of currency and popularity. We identified that from the very outset as being promising.


Paul Graham on language Design

Not a new article: Being Popular

Found it via: O'Reilly ONLamp:Paul Graham on Hacking

Hi from New York

First US trip in some time - reasonable flight though several minor niggles over the state of the AA plane.

Here for a small conference, heading back to the UK for Saturday.

Weather ? Just like the UK :-) Alternating sunny and heavy rain.

Is this an investment strategy?

Slashdot | SCO and Baystar Strike a Deal


Print your blog!!

LJBook (Turn your blog into a PDF Book)

Not that mine is worth printing, but a Blogger version, please ?

Cold and beautiful

R Todd King: China Photos 2003 - Northeast Winter

Interesting: post-modern christianity

Reality. Issue 33: A Churchless Faith, by Alan Jamieson

Reality. Issue 34 - In Search of Turangawaewae, by Alan Jamieson
Reality. Issue 32: Ten Myths About Church Leavers, by Alan Jamieson Via WebMink

Conflicting views on Sun's Open Source statement(s)

Groklaw doesn't like Schwartz statement, like ESR's rebuttal, and wonders if the bad mouthing of Red Hat[ammended]Open Source is part of Sun's settlement with Microsoft:GROKLAW

On the other hand Simon Phipps says that this is not based on any new interview with Schwartz, that ESR was fed a provocative line by eWeek and hence he came out fighting (as only he can):Webmink's take

So there is probably an element of the tech. press stoking things up during a slow news day. But there were enough ambiguous/worrying statements in the first eWeek interview to make Sun vulnerable to this sort of thing.

I think a reasonable response to ESR by Sun, plus any clarifications they wish to make with hindsight would be a good move here.

I think most people realise that we have a software community using a variety of business models - the bold (therefore newsworthy) but unhelpful arguments like all "Open Source is bad/communist/starving my children/blahblah" or "I'm more Open Source than you" doesn't help anyone.

AMMENDMENT: As Simon points out in the comments, the Sun's questions about Red Hat weren't criticisms of Open Source. I'd really love to know what they all really meant though!


The salvos are flying in on AdTI


In addition to publishing a note from someone who did some background research on Linux source vs Unix ( and found no correlation, Eric Raymond and Newsforge are winding in some heavy hits.

If someone did pay for this book to be written, they'll be asking for their money back.

Legalise torture?

Why America's top liberal lawyer wants to legalise torture

I see what he is saying, but I think it is wrong. Maybe I am too wedded to the idea of "do onto others, as you would have them do unto you" - and yes it applies across religions.

Is going in front of a judge first, somehow sanitising what follows ? What verifiable facts could be presented to such a judge? When a judge of a foreign country has a similar power over coalition captives ?

This is indeed a slippery moral slope, and we are accelerating.....

Corporate moves to Linux

Now it is gathering momentum:Slashdot | Oracle To Finish Linux Makeover This Year

They might beat IBM to it ; weren't they aiming for end of 2005 ?


I'm legally trendy

If that isn't an oxymoron....

Updated to Creative Commons 2.0

Oh Lord, Say it ain't so!!

TheJacksonChannel.com - News - Sen. Lott Sounds Off On Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Photos

Where to start on this one ?

  • The USA and its allies need to show the world that there is an alternative to barbarism
  • You don't save lives (American or other) by turning a candidate "beacon of democracy in the Middle East" into another recruiting ground for terrorists
  • There is plenty of evidence that some prisoners should never have been brought in - they can't tell the interrogators anything, because they don't know anything
  • In every conflict it easy to vilify the opponents, make them less than human. The Geneva Convention was an attempt to halt this animal instinct.
  • Are you telling me that those photographs show part of an interrogation ? They were(Mainly) a bunch of people out of control.
  • Are ther any real interrogators there?

Poor leadership.


So what does that make Linux?

The Fishbowl: The Mac is a Harsh Mistress

Or daren't I ask ?

Events and Business Processes

Sean McGrarth makes the following point: E-BUSINESS IN THE ENTERPRISE - When modelling business processes, upside down is the right way up:

"In this model, the programmer drives the business process onward, dictating the tempo which applications must follow. There are numerous terms used to describe this approach but my favorite is 'temporally coupled'. Applications must work in lock-step with each other for business process to function as they should.

This is a point solution. Why? Because it only works well when all the applications underfoot are under your control and (preferably) on the same physical network. Under those conditions, temporal coupling is manageable. Costly but manageable. The more general case of course is where not all the applications are under your control and not all on your local network. Web Services on an Extranet or the Internet for example.

To handle the general case of Web Services owned and hosted by other organizations, with the varying quality of service that that entails, programmers need to take a different approach to pan-application business process modelling. Instead of driving business processes programmatically, they need to deal with the fact that they are no longer completely in control. Web Services respond at different rates, they may not be up all the time, they will produce garbled data because somebody changes something without telling you and so on."

This seems natural to me; the ability to centrally model a process, even within a single company, is often an exercise in wishful thinking. Better to describe interconnecting patterns of behaviour and synthesise a view of how the parts work together.

Unless I misinterpret, it seems to me that UML Activity diagrams with Events can be used to model and view the results; what is the best mix of technologies underneath ? And can we generate these (or parts of these) from the UML diagrams?


Peace Pilgrim

Steps Toward Inner Peace by Peace Pilgrim via Crossroads Dispatches

I have only had a chance to skim the "booklet" but this paragraph hit home in our present circumstances:

MAGIC FORMULAS: There is a magic formula for resolving conflicts. It is this: Have as your objective the resolving of the conflict, not the gaining of advantage. There is a magic formula for avoiding conflicts. It is this: Be concerned that you do not offend, not that you are not offended.

Must return for another look.......



This is good stuff: great for being open about mistakes, fantastic that it could be aired on a blog, mature response from his colleagues:Anil Dash: Moving Forward.

Well done.


Disappointing economy with the truth

I'm disappointed if this is true:Amazon's Bezos: He omitted a crucial piece of data -- they weren't his to give up.

What Andrew Tanenbaum really thinks

A very interesting article:Some notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle

  • He still believes the microkernel is the way to go
  • OS kernels are (relatively) easy to do
  • the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, or more precisely, its president, don't come out at all well. But then none of their articles have been very good so far

Well worth the read.

I don't want to live there/here



Python on Nokia phones

Looks like a good kickoff:Python workshop

I'll be interested in seeing if this starts a trend for other mobile manufacturers.

Maybe Python on Pocket PC will be updated


More on freedom 0

Simon Phipps gives a comprehensive guide to the many recent posts on freedom 0:

Was the Blackdown Java for Linux open source?
And why are users trapped by having to use THE professional?
And if you provide reasonable quality free(beer) software on all platforms, software which has a compliance suite why would there be an open source version? If Sun radical ly changes the Java license (and it is legal) an open source version will happen (unless a better language platform comes along )

Sexist nonsense

The less advertising this sort of nonsense gets the better:Proof that Girls are evil

Intro to Social Software

on social software

Work towards a target

Well done, Suw:Chocolate and Vodka :: Cruel and unusual punishment

But perhaps a target is needed to increase motivation ?

This weekend I got out for a lovely bike ride, and did 20 miles in preparation for our London to Brighton cycle ride , due on 20th June. Suw is welcome to join us for this event!!

And everyone is free to sponsor me !!
Keith's BHF Sponsorship Page (only just created - may not work yet)

"It's the community, stupid!"

Ted Leung on the air : Code, community and money

Well, I don't know whether Mark is "starting " to get this! Anyway I would re-order Ted's heading as Community, Code, Money! Perhaps Ideas should be in their ahead of Code.

Dave Winer, Userland: Open Source?????

Scripting News: 5/17/2004

Congratulations to Dave and Userland on a bold decision. My interpretation of Dave's blog has been that it is very much against Open Source, along the lines of "how do I survive/eat/prosper/do new things?"

Still, here we see, courtesy of a blog , some of the rationale for their decision. And it makes sense to me ( so it must be a good idea). "This is no longer core to us, but could be useful to others, so let it free!!"

(Reminds me of "Master and Commander" when they have to leave the carefully gathered samples behind to get back to their ship quickly - "Open the cages!")

So, when else does it make sense to open source things?

Mark Pilgrim on Freedom 0

Read this:Freedom 0 [dive into mark]

It is difficult to highlight a few points as there are so many good ones.

Once again the moral is - know what you really(, really) want from you software.

Movable Type: it's the whole feature set

Dan Bricklin emphasisies a really good point here:

The thing to learn here is that the choice of how you differentiate between users for pricing is a key element in a product's feature-set. You had better be pretty clear about the philosophy behind that differentiation and change it at your peril. Reactions to the new Movable Type licensing scheme


Movable Type Controversy

Never used it myself, but many peole do. My main interest is that somehow people look at this situation and draw conclusions about Open Source software. Which is odd because I don't think MT is open source!

Here is what I regard as a well resoned look at the siruation for MT:
Brad Choate: Movable Type 3.0

His take seems to be that people who want to continue to use MT free ( including the new version) can do with pretty much the same restrictions as before. Maybe those who had to pay now have to pay more? Not sure: MT for use by more than one person and more than 3 blogs have to pay, any commercial activities ditto. Sure sounds like they should pay for something.

I have seen some talk about people who have contributed add-ons to MT being a bit sore about the situation. This is more understandable, but unfortunately, read the license !!

Anyway , folks , please don't infer any Open Source generalisations from this episode.

Interesting Resources for Software Development

These are new to me:

I'm particularly interested in the RUP Anti-paterns at present; comments to follow.

SDO : needs looking into

Specifications: Service Data Objects, WorkManager, and Timers


E-mail blog from wireless iPaq

Hope this works.

The Pocket IE rendering of the blogger.com posting page is unusable :-(

I wonder if it was better before the blogger facelift ?

EU is getting more Stalinistic

Two problems:

  • The EU political system is does not work properly. It is currently operating around the level of England before its Civil War - perhaps one day the EU Parliment will be properly elected and actually have some power. The Council of Ministers is too powerful, and goodness knows why it can overrule parliament. And why does the Commission have the power to advance Policy ?
  • Software patents: by all means protect innovation, but the future (especially of increased employment) lies with growing smaller firms, not big ones defending their eroding competitiveness
    Software Patent News


Turning Japanese, I really think so

Respect ! Martin Fowler has his blog translated into Japanese !!

Anybody no anyone else who has a translated blog?


Cincinnati's premier Cicada information source

Zope too hard?

Ian Bicking

I think I got into the "then starts getting hard again" phase.


Good question

"The question now becomes, will that commoditization result in innovation?", from
Ted Leung : Will IT matter more after it's commoditized?

Geneva..... what's that?

ZNet | Iraq | Smoke Them

Blogger Facelift

Blogger Relaunch

Looks good - wish they supported skins or somesuch - I don't want to cut and paste stuff just to get a new look - maybe I'm missing something.


Lawrence Lessig: mama's day


Broadcast this to all troops.... and West Virginia

All Men Are Created Equal


Making America .....

Seen via GT:Making America Our Own Again - A speech I'd like to hear: David Weinberger

A couple of things strike me: "Gosh, couldn't see a Brit saying that". But perhaps some did in the 18th/19th centuries?

Similarly, was there a period in Republican Rome when its citizen's thought they could improve the world?

The route from "Let us help you", via "We know best", to "We're better than you" is short and easy

I applaud David for what he has written, and I hope that his vision of a better world comes to pass, though I think it would be better if a growing team of nations lead this improvement.

You're a ruttish half-faced hedge-pig

Davtri.com :: Elizabethan Insulter

Very educational for students of Elisabethan history !!