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

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dynamic Panic

Mike ("Fuzzy" to you) and Dan Creswell are working on the Jini comfort level. I think the answer is to make the Jini starter kit more comfortable. If we stay with Jini then I hope we'll be making some contributions along those lines.

Currently Jini examples are kind of scattered in terms of where they can be found, whether they run with 2.1, what spectrum of Jini/Javaspaces they cover, and whether they reflect one person's style or some community-level "best practice".

I like examples that are small, build on each other, and "just work" with some clear code. That can be a challenge with a dynamic, distributed system like Jini/Javaspaces. There is a way to go with this in general, but some candidates can be found, and we're doing some ourselves.

Back to the question though, about having a Javaspaces without Jini. Because of Java's instance/class/class-loader/serializer design, Javaspaces would not be better without Jini. How many Java systems have (or suffer from the lack of) a decent dynamic loading capability? Jini *is* such a thing that could be used in many situations.

Even a Javaspace that is used merely to pass "data-only" entries around require dynamic class loading unless you desire explicitly managing the classpaths of all the JVMs participating. Putting methods on those entries or the objects they contain just make the need for dynamic class loading more obvious.

Not to mention that Javaspaces themselve are turned into dynamically available Jini services, available through smart proxies, distinguishable by entry values, and so on.

I suppose I am more comfortable with the idea of dynamic loading right off the bat. I have written a lot of Lisp and Smalltalk code that's gone into production, and kept running right through dynamic loading of fixes and enhancements. Gemstone Smalltalk even supports bulk or incremental migration of Smalltalk instances from one class version to another while the system continues running.

Jini and Javaspaces seem to be the Java mechanism most aimed at this level of dynamicism. Are there others?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Damn Readable Information Exchange

Planet Intertwingly’s memes.json (Sam Ruby).

Hella more readbable than XML-IMHO.

A Little Is Enough

Reflecting on the man's hanging, and the current mess the U.S. and Iraq are in, I'm recalling Philip Greenspun's controversial blog post from 2003...

By the standards of wealthy Western countries Saddam’s regime was harsh. They tortured and/or killed political opponents. They controlled the press, the mosques, and the schools. If a town were restive they might kill its entire population or at least many hundreds of people from that town. This would seem like gratuitous cruelty if done by the governments of Vermont, Dijon, or Bavaria. But in the Arab world more or less every government employs the same tactics as Saddam’s Iraq.

In fairness to the defeated dare we ask whether Saddam’s regime wasn’t employing the minimum amount of violence necessary to maintain public order in Iraq? It seems quite possible that Saddam did not enjoy terrorizing his subjects but did it because he understood the divisions within his arbitrarily drawn borders and thought keeping his subjects in fear was necessary...

We haven’t figured out what level of governmental coercion will result in an Iraqi society that is both orderly and submissive to a U.S. occupation or whatever American-friendly government follows. Saddam may yet go down in history as the kindest and gentlest 21st century leader of a unified and stable Iraq.

Resilience and the Javaspaces Model

One of the good high-level programming model introductions to Javaspaces is available behind a registration wall. I was handed the PDF but since it is copyrighted yet free, I'm uncomfortable posting it for you. I'd recommend you register and get it if you are curious about a simple model meeting a common need where Javaspaces provides much less effort than, say, JMS.

I'll call it "Resilience and the Error Hospital" while the actual title has more buzz words (e.g. SOA) and no direct URL.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Great Beyond

Someone's been to the mountaintop...

Fiji has nothing on Vienna, which is purported to feature a complete overhaul of the OS, including a break in compatibility with "all applications," though hopefully Microsoft will have some Apple-esque transition schemes in place before that time comes. The fresh beginning will give Microsoft more OS-building freedom than it has had in a long time, but right now it sounds like they're a bit too excited about this: Vienna will supposedly do away with the Start Menu, toolbars and menus in favor of some sort of pie-menu interface, WinFS-to-the-core and search, potentially leaving long time users stranded with a brand new interface to learn from the ground up.

The OS will also feature beefy speech support, along with a sandbox mode for running non-managed code without risking your security. Much of this is hearsay so far, and we're really hoping Microsoft doesn't go off the deep end with Vienna, but we're still curious to see what they have up their sleeves after being cooped up so long ironing out Vista bugs.

Remember, when Apple *bought* their "new foundation" code base it was already more than 10 years old and had been in production in such places as Wall Street trading environments. Not to mention that the very core of that new foundation was many years older than that, and had the benefit of so many smart brains in multiple academic and industrial organizations around the world.

So who will Microsoft buy? This is the only viable option, is it not? (Assuming the rumor is true and the goal would be to deliver to production around 2012-2015.)

Update: On a related note, Kurt Cagle's prediction...

I think that Vista will be the denouement of the Gates’ era, and will likely prove the catalyst for some major senior level bloodletting and organizational redefinition. Part of this comes from the question of whether in Microsoft’s efforts to define the next big operating systems they kind of lost sight of the question of whether investing in a new OS was really the best strategy moving forward.

Ford: No, Not *That* Ford

From Market Watch...

Ford and Microsoft will jointly announce the Sync initiative at the Detroit auto show and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas...

While the Sync system is complex...

Enough said.

Wii-orld of Warcraft

A You Tube of some crazy hacker guy playing World of Warcraft using the Wii remote.

(You realize that WoW is *not* running on a Wii game machine, eh?)

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About Me

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.