Tag Archives: oscon

OSCON Sessions, Day 1

I went to 5 sessions today, and I was pleasantly surprised by most of them.


CouchDB is a distributed non-relational database written in Erlang. It is unique in that its main query interface is simply HTTP REST, and for every UPDATE, it simply creates a new version of the row. Additionally, you can request the entire history of a row very simply.


An open-source implementation of Google’s bigtable. Hypertable uses novel methods such as Bloom filters to significantly decrease query times, as well as smart messaging to distribute a database across many nodes. It is also non-relational.

Creating and supporting Free Software in Africa

A group of CS professors hailing from Africa have gotten together to create a community that fosters creativity and innovation from people in Africa. People in first-world countries can participate by acting as mentors, or directly contribute to the projects involved. Chisimba is an open-source MVC framework for rapid application development. I am very interested in contributing to this project.


I thought going in that this would be somehow in the same ballpark as Hypertable and CouchDB, but I was disappointed. Basically, they are using compression and some fairly neat indexing to speed up traditional database queries. The main problem is that they only have a Java API, which completely turned me off after 30 minutes. Before that, it seemed like they were getting some pretty promising results. If they add some more APIs in the future, this may be another one to take a look at.

A History of Failure

An awesome talk by Paul Fenwick from Australia, generally detailing failures in computer science and engineering going back into the 20th century and even back to Roman times. This was a wonderful presentation – he’s a really good speaker – and it poked a lot of fun at New Zealand.

All in all, I must say that this OSCON is much better than last year’s at least according to what I was looking for in the sessions. The exhibit hall is also very good this year – I’m pretty loaded down with swag at the moment.

I know someone who would have gotten a kick out of Temporally Quaquaversal Virtual Nanomachine Programming In Multiple Topologically Connected Quantum-Relativistic Parallel Timespaces…Made Easy! had they been here. He needs to come next year (you know who you are..)

Tonight, I also attended FOSCON 4: Cooking with Ruby. This was a spectacular event hosted by Cubespace. I have to say that the live coding competition was a great spectacle, and held everyone’s attention for hours. It was an epic battle between Symfony, Rails, Smalltalk/Seaside, and Drupal. The rankings ended up being the following:

  1. Rails
  2. Drupal
  3. Symfony
  4. Smalltalk/Seaside

The presentations were good as well for the most part (notes here). AND THEY HAD BEER! I had some of the best keg beer imaginable – I thought it would be crap like you usually get out of a keg, but this was real quality Northwestern hopped pale ale. My cup says Bridgeport Ales, so I’ll have to investigate. If anyone knows the exact beer that was available in the left-side keg tonight, I’d appreciate a comment. I also met some cool people, some of which are all into XMPP and ejabberd. I may have to check all of that out now…

OSCON 2008 Tutorials: A perspective

I’ve been at OSCON 2008, and I’ve been keeping pretty good notes on the tutorials I’ve attended. GitHub has a great feature if you take notes in rdoc, making nice HTML when it’s viewed online. Here’s some links to my notes:

Pro PostgreSQL

This talk was alright, but it wasn’t really tailored for people who hadn’t used Postgres extensively. Yet, I’m sure the notes will come in handy in the future.

Introduction to Django

This was an awesome talk. He went through designing an actual working application using Django. It turns out to be incredibly easy to quickly create a really cool application. I need to research this because it looks to me to be better than Rails.

Ubiquitous Multithreading

This talk was alright if you wanted to get an idea about the challenges of multi-threading and how Intel’s TBB solves some of them. It was interesting, and I learned a few things, but it would have been a better session than a tutorial (LONG!)