Friday, December 15, 2006

Goodbye Janek, Goodbye Roach

After 20 months of amazing productivity and a long list of noteworthy achievements, today was sadly Janek Lasocki-Biczysko's last day on the PDE team.

Instead of joining the work force, Janek decided to take time off after graduation to travel and then go back to school for more knowledge.

In his fourth year at the University of Toronto, Janek has been working on a project called 'Interfacing with video games through a third party'. Janek chose the Madagascar hissing cockroach as the player in his experiment. The Madagacar cockroach is a bonafide movie star, having appeared in the movie Bug and all. So naturally, one would expect the roach to be difficult to work with. It is like trying to direct a demanding diva like Jennifer Lopez.

But Janek stuck by his star. They had their ups and downs over the past few months and the project finally came to an end.

Enjoy the world premiere of Janek's roach video.

All the best, Janek.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Mother of All Panels

Ed Burnette seems to have suspended his obsession with Google and GWT, for now, and has become active once again in the Eclipse world. Welcome back, Ed :)

The latest cause Ed has been championing is the official expansion of the PDE mandate. Of course, he is not the first one to do so, but he is certainly the most skilled at mobilizing the base. Observe how within a couple of hours, Dave Orme was already talking escalating the matter to the Board of Directors. Even Karl Rove or James Carville are not as good as Ed.

Of course, not everybody is as much of a PDE enthusiast as Ed or Dave. Old-school OSGi developers are resisting to accept the wonderful world of PDE and are sticking to their old tools (ie. sticks and stones). Some Maven enthusiasts think that PDE places too many restrictions on their worfkflow.

Are we right or are they wrong? How can we come together to make Eclipse the best development environment for all plug-in/bundle/module/component programmers?

There is no better forum to address all these timely topics than an OSGi panel at EclipseCon 2007. So I submitted a proposal.

Our competition in the OSGi track is a panel about the "Future of OSGi". Give me a break. Sounds pretty boring. It will probably be a distinguished panel of OSGi-philes patting each other on the back and telling you that OSGi is "the best framework in the whole wide world, blah blah blah..." Who wants to see that? :)

Before we start talking about the "future of OSGi", let's talk about the present.

So if you like drama, if you like heated debates, vote for the fun submission. You will get your money's worth and more. People paid to see a fight on that stage, and I say let's give the people what they paid to see.

I am not going to reveal my most effective moves, but let's just say I used to be a huge 'Saved By the Bell' fan as a young teen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Chicken in Every Pot

Last week, Mike Milinkovich sent an email to the committers mailing list announcing important dates for the upcoming 2007 elections of the Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors.

There are four coveted seats on the board of directors reserved for committer representatives to be elected by their peers for a one-year term starting April 1, 2007. This year, the nominations open Dec 17 and close Jan 13. Voting takes place from Feb 7 through Feb 21, and the winners are announced on Feb 28.

So I thought this may be a good time to take a look back at the accomplishments of the current elected representatives over the past year. Wait a minute. We can't, or at least I can't.

With all due respect, I, for one, have no idea what they did on behalf of committers. Not to say that they did not do anything, it is just that the communication was pretty much non-existent. As a result, I am not very well-informed.

There are so many ways and channels already available to the elected representatives (and us all) to communicate effectively with the rest of the committers. Unfortunately, these channels were not utilized well, if at all.

It would have been useful, for example, if the representatives published an interim report after each board meeting to the committers mailing list outlining issues discussed and conclusions reached. Blogging is another complementary and useful outlet to keep their constituents informed.

I also do not recall the representatives soliciting for input from the committers in a public forum on what issues are most important to them that they can bring it up to the board of directors. How do they know they are really representing our interests?

I hope the next class of freshmen and/or incumbent committer representatives take the time to communicate effectively with the rest of the committers and community.

Actually, what I am asking for is nothing new or groundbreaking. Bjorn used to do that when he was an elected member a few years ago, and the webmaster keeps us very well-informed on the issues that affect us the most.

We all appreciate that, and let's have more of it.

Incidentally, the title of this post is, of course, a reference to the famous 'A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage' slogan of Herbert Hoover's 1928 presidential campaign during the depression.

Trivia: The Simpsons had an episode about an election with a title that is very similar to that slogan. what was the title?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Silence of the Lambs

This week's integration build features the new Eclipse splash screen. For the first time, the splash shows the release train name, Europa, instead of the Eclipse SDK version.

The next release of Eclipse will be referred to the 'Europa release of Eclipse', not Eclipse 3.3. The other 18 projects participating in the Europa release will also be referred to as the 'Europa release of ...'.

Since the quality/reputation of the Europa brand will be a function of the quality of each participating project, it is as important as ever for all participating projects to have as solid a contribution as that of the always-rock-solid Eclipse Platform.

Will that happen? Are all projects focusing on robustness and quality? are there projects that may be compromising on robustness by trying to simultaneously solve all the problems in their space, instead of concentrating on a smaller subset of the more important problems?

That's what has been keeping me up tonight.

O doctor, when will the lambs stop screaming?