JAOO 2005

24 October 2005

This is an embarrassingly brief report of what has turned into my favorite conference. Sadly a clash with other business meant that I could only spend a day in Aarhus. JAOO continues to be a great conference, although I'm hard put to say why. Somehow it manages to retain the feel of a small conference while staying fresh and broad.

Meeting people is much of the point of conferences for me, and this time the highlight was meeting Erik Meijer, one of the men behind LINQ - the .NET language for integrated query. The idea is to have a single declarative query language that can access multiple data-stores - in particular SQL databases and XML documents. It delivers on the hints Anders Hejlsberg dropped at OOPSLA2004. I liked the fact that Eric seems to strike a rare balance between dynamic and static languages, looking for an approach that takes a different route to type checking.

There were also older friends to catch up with. I was interested (and pleased) to hear that Mary and Tom Poppendieck were getting busy - apparently Lean is now 'in' and many companies are getting lean initiatives and looking to apply them to software. I've long like the Poppendieck's approach of using lean manufacturing as MetaphoricQuestioning to describe agile methods - despite my usual suspicion of such analogies.

On panels 'Bedarra' Dave Thomas and Brian Barry said that they believed the current spate of Open Source development was unsustainable. Much support for open source is funded by large companies, IBM's support for Eclipse is a long one. They felt that this support wouldn't last, if so there's likely to be quite a collapse in open source activity. (I'll stay silent on this question, I prefer to avoid trying to predict the future.)

On a very different note, I learned a new problem that Microsofties face: how to deal with your child who asks you why you work for the Evil Empire. I'm sure many open-sourcers hearts will go out to those sufferers in Redmond.