"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

More from OOPSLA

Brian Marick writes...

In the Microsoft Research world, we're observers, consumers, secondary participants in an experience someone else has constructed for us. In Alan Kay's vision, we're actors in a world that's actively out there asking us to change it.

I wish the genial humanists like Ward and the obsessive visionaries like Alan Kay had more influence. I worry that the adolescence of computers is almost over, and that we're settling into that stagnant adulthood where you just plod on in the world as others made it, occasionally wistfully remembering the time when you thought endless possibility was all around you.


Ian Bicking said...

This seems strangely pessimistic. Kay and Ward are hardly the only people putting forward a humanist vision. Self constructed environments are what the open source community is all about. It looks a lot different than that older vision, and I think there's something we've lost -- we aren't reaching out to a new set of users in the same way. OTOH, in practical terms there's been a lot of progress, there's a lot of actual *people* involved and empowered through computers, not merely potential.

What I've read so far of OOPSLA seems to be about Microsoft, Sun, and a bit of Smalltalk holdouts. Maybe that would lead to pessimism; even if the technology is cool, the structure behind it is not very cool at all.

Patrick Logan said...

Well, to be fair, he did say "like" Ward and "like" Alan.

Also, although I would not call the Smalltalk people "holdouts", I think you have a good observation about the factions at OOPSLA and the disparity between those at OOPSLA and those at, say, OSCON. I do think OOPSLA is more of a modernist and OSCON more of a post-modernist convention.

I wasn't there, so I can only observe from afar that there was little if any discussion of Python, Groovy, REST, etc. (Well, I think the IBM guy in the debate with the dotnet guy did mention Groovy.)

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.