Eclipse Ecosystem

A blog devoted to promoting the Eclipse ecosystem

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Eclipse buzz at MySQL UC

Last night at the Exhibitor's reception Matt and I were asked several times - "I've heard so much about Eclipse this week. What is it?"

It got me thinking - the audiences I usually interact with pretty much always know alot about Eclipse, usually more than I do. But the MySQL UC has a more diverse audience than I'm used to (it's not all Java developers, there's a lot of PHP developers, DB Admins, people who do a lot of reporting, hardware gurus, ERP/CRM apps users, etc).

So, where did the Eclipse buzz come from? It was mentioned in the keynotes, and Tim O'Reilly included the Eclipse logo with the LAMP logos (with the Apache feather, Perl camel, Linix Penguin, etc). Maybe he should call it the AMPLE stack :). But I think it's really because of the pervasiveness of Eclipse in all the sessions - such as Gavin King's SEAM demo, Scott Ambler's Agile talk including agile database content contributions to the Eclipse Framework Project, Andi's PHP demo, Krishna's BIRT demo, Jim's talk about Open Source Tools for MySQL Development (lots on Eclipse plugins), Max's talk about JSF and Ajax (with Eclipse) for MySQL Development, etc.

- Don

Monday, April 24, 2006

See you at MySQL UC this week!

I will be at the MySQL UC this week splitting my time between some events and manning our pod in the dot-org pavillion. I realized last week prepping for this that the damned MBA pushed pretty much all common sense out of my head, so if you want to see something technical, come when my colleague Matt Ward is in the pod :) Someone from BIRT will be on hand from 10am-noon on Wednesday, and we'll likely have some PHP and DTP stuff to show as well. Drop by and say hi!

Some of the Eclipse Members you can find throughout the Exhibit Hall this week include MySQL, Actuate, Business Objects, Embarcadero Technologies, HP, IBM, JasperSoft, Novell, Red Hat, SugarCRM, Unisys.

- Don

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Community in action - Making up for bad company decisions

As part of a move to a new house recently, my wife and I divied up a splurge budget. She gets new "sitting room" furniture, I get a new HDTV and HD-PVR. I think it's a fair deal.

Having had two Bell ExpressVU (BEV) PVRs on standard def TV for a couple years without any real problems, I rushed out and plunked down my $600 cash on the "9200 BEV HD PVR". I kept it in the box awaiting the arrival of my new TV.

Then something sad happened. While searching for the optimal way to connect and configure the 9200, I came accross this thread on It indicated that not only would my PVR not work, but Bell Canada knew it would not work when they sold it to me - yet took no action to warn me otherwise. As an HD Tuner, the box works fine (it's fantastic in fact), but the PVR capabilities are essentially non functional.

If I had not known about this in advance, I would easily have lost hours trying to troubleshoot the problem as possibly being a dish, wiring or TV problem. Thanks to the community that sprung up around the problem, I knew exactly what would happen and knew exactly how to respond.

[rant]Sorry to rant, but shame, shame, shame on Bell Canada. It's very clear from numerous sources that they knew of this problem since the second week in March. It's also very clear that rather than do the right thing - warn people plunking down $600 that the device has a firmware bug and may be weeks/months to be fixed - they stuck their head in the sand. Even almost six weeks later they are still selling defective units, and pleading ignorance on the phone. When you use the magic words "hey, I know there is a known problem here", they relent that you're right, and start offering compensation offers. Absolutely shameful.[/rant]

Now that that's off my chest, there are a few good points here. First, notice how far the community has come in debugging and fixing this problem - even though it often involves voiding a warranty on a $600 electronic device. The aforementioned thread on links to how to replace the hard drive with a functioning unit on your own! Multiple people have actually ordered old WD hard drives on Ebay and swapped out the Maxtor drive that seems to be causing the problem (likely no fault of Maxtor, it's likely a misconfiguration by BEV).

Moreover, as of last night a group has found a way to connect to the drive and are seeing if they can somehow find the right settings to fix the problem. Theories are that BEV has somehow left on a noise-reduction feature in the drive which is killing the seek times. I am putting even odds as to who finds a "soft" fix first (meaning not having to replace hardware) - Bell or the Community. At least the community is providing us daily progress reports. :)

The bottom line is that if you don't embrace and support your community, one is going to form around it - and likely in a negative way such as this. Many companies are scared to open up and embrace community because competitors can use the information against you.

Eclipse is a great example of that as there are many competitor marketeers who troll our bug reports and blogs daily to jump on us working out issues. The difference is - the community sees right through that, and supports groups willing to have an open conversation about itself.

- Don

Friday, April 14, 2006

Using an extension cord with this device may cause death.

My wife and I have spent that last couple weeks settling into a new house here in south-west Ottawa. We bought a new toaster to match the darker kitchen, and the toaster came with a bold red warning label: Using and extension cord with this device may cause death. That's a pretty blunt and extreme warning, no? Almost to the point of being a dare.

It got me thinking about how to raise error and warning messages in software that will grab attention. Joel Spolsky migh suggest putting a picuture of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the window. I'm guilty of shutting down warning windows without reading them and then trying to figure out what went wrong through logic and deduction (which usually fails) :-). It then occurred to me the ultimate way to grab attention in a warning: "Failure to read this warning and take corrective action may cause impotence".

Now, where did we pack those extension cords...

- Don