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Posts about OSCON

Important Announcement at OSCON Next Week

Flipr Antisocial Networking

Image: Logo design by Strongrrl.

A sneak peak at what I’m working on for my tutorial session at OSCON. Be there at 8:30 Monday morning for the important details. You’re sure to find my new venture exciting—perhaps the most important social media announcement of 2010. You can’t afford to miss that, can you?

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OSCON 2006 Call for Participation

I just saw that the OSCON 2006 Call for Participation has gone up. Deadline is February 13, 2006. I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to see:

  • The PostgreSQL equivalent of this presentation, in which Flickr’s John Allspaw (hi John!) offers up advice on how to configure hardware, replication, and proxies for a busy MySQL-based site. Can Slony-I scale out in the same way? How does it work? I’d love to see someone who’s had to make a busy PostgreSQL-based site scale up to massive load tell us how it was done.

  • Something about an open-source JavaScript library project. I know that there are a number of them, each with its advantages and disadvantages. I’d love to see a successful, general repository for reusable, well-tested JavaScript libraries. Me, as a Perl guy, I’m partial to the CPAN model, which has been enormously successful. Will JSAN have similar success?

I’m sure I’ll think of others in the coming weeks. What ideas do you have? Post them below!

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My OSCON 2005 Presentation Slides Posted

Kineticode has posted PDF versions of my my OSCON 2005 presentation slides. Direct links:


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Nicholas Clark

Nick Clark goes Wild!

I just had to share this lovely picture of Nick Clark, taken on the Friday night of OSCon 2004 at Matt Sergeant’s party. I honestly have no idea what Nick was doing, but it was worth it for the photo, don’t you think?

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OSCON 2004 Notes

I’m finally getting round to typing up my thoughts on my OSCon 2004 experience. I would’ve done it sooner, but I spent most of last week on the road and fixing bugs in Bricolage.

OSCon 2004 was, in a word, great! I spent every day of the week there, getting there around 8:30 each morning, and finally leaving the hotel or a party each night somewhere between midnight and 3 am. I was even there late on Sunday night, talking to folks who just came in, and late on Friday night, at a party in Matt Sergeant’s room. It was great to see so many friends there, including Casey, Schwern Jesse, Nat, Bruce, Josh, David, Elein, Dan, Nicholas, James, Arthur, Robert, Ask and Vani, my brother, Alex, and probably lots of other people I’m forgetting about.

There were more conversations between members of different communities than I can recall seeing at past OSCons, and people were generally excited and engaged. I’m told that they had the highest number of attendees since 2001. The energy at the conference was very positive, and people seemed very interested in things that other people were doing. Some of the highlights for me:

PHP on Parrot

Speakers Sterling Hughes and Thies C. Arntzen talked about how amped they are at the idea of poring PHP to run on Parrot, the virtual machine being developed for Perl 6 and other dynamic languages. The session ended up as a conversation between Sterling and Thies, on the one hand, and Larry Wall and Dan Sugalski, who were sitting in the front row, on the other. Larry assured them that any programming language community’s members would be “first-class citizens” in the Parrot world, and Dan told them that all they need do is ask for things they need and the Parrot developers would help as much as they could. Sterling wrapped up by saying something like, “I guess the real reason we’re so excited about Parrot is because we really love Perl!” That got a good laugh.


There was a bigger PostgreSQL presence than ever at OSCon this year, with lots of great discussion. There seemed to be quite a few Perl folks going to the PostgreSQL sessions, too. Dan Sugalski was suitably impressed with what’s coming up in PostgreSQL 8.0 (formerly 7.5) that he told me that he was moving up his plans for implementing pl/Parrot. A few of the core PostgreSQL folks said that they felt like people were finally being more open and exited about their use of PostgreSQL, rather than keeping quiet about this “strategic advantage.” And the features in 8.0 sound extremely promising, including Win32 support, save points/nested transactions, point-in-time recovery, tablespaces, and pl/Perl. It’s going to be a kick-ass release, no doubt about it. Watch for the beta this week.


SQLite is fast, ACID-compliant, relational database engine in a public-domain C library. It’s great for embedding into an application because it’s not a client-server application, but a simple library that stores databases in files. It’s twice as fast as MySQL or PostgreSQL because it doesn’t have the client/server overhead, and its extremely portable. Version 3.0 adds UTF-8 and UTF-16, which makes it a real possibility for use in Bricolage 2.0 (for small installations and demo servers, for example).

I was pretty amazed at what this little database can do, and not only is it open-source, but because it is in the public domain, there are no constraints on its use. It’s just one sexy library. Everybody run out and use it now! Perl users get it for free by installing DBD::SQLite from CPAN.


A year later, Dan lost the bet with Guido, and gave him a case of beer, ten bucks, and the right to put pie in his face. Dan even made two key-lime pies for the occasion! At the Python lightening talks, Guido graciously declined to pie Dan. The Pythoners seemed to think that this was very nice of Guido, but the Perlers in the audience (including yours truly), were shouting, “Get him! Give him the pie! Do it, Guido!”. As Allison commented later, it’s nice how “the Perl community takes care of its own.”

Dan later auctioned off the right for someone else to pie him in the face. Schwern ponied (heh) up the cash, a ca. $500 donation to the Perl foundation for the right, but gave it to Ponie developer Nicholas to enjoy. The event came off just ahead of the final keynote. This time Guido decided to go ahead, and he doused Dan in cream pie. Then Nicholas came out and gave Dan the dessert, so to speak. Great fun for all.

The upshot, according to Dan, is that Guido wrote a really evil test suite with seven tests exercising 75% of Python’s ops. Of the seven tests, Dan got 4 working on Parrot, and 3 of those were 2-3 times faster than on Python. Things look very good indeed for Parrot going forward. Look for the tests to be fully working on Parrot (and fast!) in the next few months.

There were parties and conversations every night, lots of great talk, good food, good friends, and, well, I just had a great time. I can’t wait until next year’s OSCon!

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Discovering Bricolage at OSCON

My presentation went off well yesterday. It was in a small room, and I was delighted to find that it was standing room only. Several people told me later that they weren’t able to even get into the room. I told Nat that next year he’d have to give me a keynote.

This is a new version of my usual presentation. It simplifies some things, and uses the new Bricolage Website for its example. I think that it was positively received. I’ve worked hard to try to make the presentation engaging, and it was nice that I didn’t lose my audience; no one left during the presentation that I noticed (although it was mighty crowded in the back!). So I’m happy with it.

I exported the presentation to PDF, and added the movie that runs at the beginning as a set of slides ahead of the main presentation content. You can download the presentation from the Kineticode Website.

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New Bricolage Website Launched!


The launch of the new Bricolage Website went off without a hitch yesterday. The lack of sleep getting it all just so was worth it, in the end. And I’m very very pleased with the new site. It looks good, it’s easy to navigate, it has really nice semantic XHTML 1.1 that degrades nicely in older browsers (check it out in Netscape Navigator 4.x or in lynx!

The new content on the site is good, too. There’s a lot more information for people who have heard of Bricolage and are hitting the site for the first time to try to learn something about it. We now explain what it is and what it’s for on the home page, and have a nice set of pages describing the benefits of Bricolage, listing the sites known to be powered by Bricolage, and providing screenshots to give folks a feel for how nice the Bricolage UI is. Special thanks to Marshall Roch for providing the new design and the home page content.

This is the first Bricolage Website to be managed in Bricolage itself. I decided to create the new site for a number of reasons, but two of the more important ones were: to have a nice example for conference and client presentations; and to be able to release the Bricolage Mason templates that generate the site. These templates have now been released and are available for download on the Bricolage Website. I’ve worked hard to try to make them really good examples of best practices in using Bricolage so that people can download them, study them, and be able to start writing smart templates for their on Bricolage implementations. So enjoy!

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Synergy at OSCON

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed OSCON this year. I knew a lot more people than last year, and thus was able to socialize more, and talk to more people about more stuff. Really a great time, with lots of cross-pollination of ideas.

My favorite moment came on Thursday. The PostgreSQL BOF was on Wednesday night, where Bruce Momjian was discussing some of the problems they’ve been having with the Win32 port, specifically with fork and exec. Now, I know nothing about C, but James Briggs suggested that the PostgreSQL guys talk to Gurusamy Sarathy about it, since he did the work on fork and exec for Perl and thus might be able to provide some advice for the PostgreSQL folks.

No one reacted much to this, but I thought it was a good enough idea that during the morning break on Thursday, I introduced my self to Sarathy and asked if he’d be willing to discuss it with the PostgreSQL developers. He said he’d be happy to. So during the afternoon break, I brought Bruce down to the ActiveState booth and introduced him to Sarathy.

Well, that seemed to go very, very well. Sarathy seemed willing not only to help them with some questions they might have, but perhaps even to contribute some work to the effort. It turns out that he views PostgreSQL as an important open-source asset, and is willing to put his code where his opinion is. He asked about subscribing to the PostgreSQL hackers mail list! He and Bruce talked for a while about the issues at hand, and there seemed to be a great deal of understanding and mutual respect. This could be a major benefit for the PostgreSQL community, and will in turn give Perlers another great OSS RDBMS that runs just about anywhere. Yay!

A similar thing happened on Thursday night. Andy Wardley of Template Toolkit fame has promised to create a TT burner for Bricolage. This will bring the total number of Bricolage templating systems to three (Mason, HTML::Template, and TT). After the action, I accompanied Dave Rolsky, one of the lead Mason hackers, into the bar where we ran into Andy. Andy started telling us that looking at adding TT to Bricolage had led him to hatch a plan to come up with a unified, foundational templating API that many or all of the Perl templating systems might one day be able to use, so that they might start to share a common feature set. And then, when one of them wanted to add a feature similar to a feature in another templating architecture, it might be able to just exploit the common API.

This seemed like a very cool idea to me, and Dave said that he would definitely be interested in participating in such an effort. I think that, if he can find the tuits, Andy may well start a project in this vein, inviting the Mason, Embperl, Apache::ASP, and other Perl templating hackers to collaborate. This could really be to the benefit of them all.

What a great conference. I can’t wait till next year when I can see some of the fruits of these meetings, the spoils of inter-community synergy, and where it will happen all over again.

My apologies for those friends I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with at the conference. All of a sudden I know so many people! See you next year.

Originally published on use Perl;


I’m off to OSCON. I just noticed that I’m going to be arriving after the State of the Onion. Crap! Well, I’m sure I can find someone to fill me in on all of the gory details.

I’m staying at the conference hotel, so look me up if you want to have a beer or something.

Originally published on use Perl;