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The Problem with Smart People

Posted by daniel on June 18, 2003 at 5:56 AM PDT

Last night at the Cleveland Java User's Group, James Duncan Davidson gave his perspective on the history of Tomcat and Ant and then opened up the floor to questions. One of the themes that came across was that significant new ideas often come from small groups of people or even a single person. Once a project is open sourced or the development team expands, the path the software takes may be unpredictable. At each point the changes may seem incremental and logical and yet a year down the road the software may have little in common with what the original creator intended. After James fought to open source Tomcat and Ant, he had to learn that he didn't control their futures any longer. We're beginning to learn the same thing about java.net.

That's the problem with smart people. You invite them to help with in one area and they end up having ideas of their own. With Java Today we invited smart people to blog on the site. The only rule we gave them was, essentially, that what they wrote had to be of interest to Java developers. We went live a week ago today and already the bloggers are advising us, publicly, of how they would like to see the site changed. Mainly the suggestions are technical. In his blog "JavaOne Recap: An Evangelist's Perspective", Bill Day looks ahead to the day he can blog and submit pictures from his mobile phone. Sue Spielman continues the discussion of welcoming non-English speakers to java.net by challenging us to provide the technical infrastructure that makes it easier.

As others get involved and start projects to support the changes they suggest, the site will evolve in ways we can't predict. You too can get involved. We have started a new project for Java Today called today . Join the project and contribute to the Java Today wiki or add your requests using the issue tracker.

Other featured Weblogs include posts from two new bloggers. Anne Thomas Manes posts and speculates about the results of a survey of web service adoption in "Another survey shows even stronger adoption." Mike Loukides follows up on Jonathan Simon's JavaSound blog from yesterday in his article titled "Another Unfinished API:javax.comm."

In Also Today, in addition to Sue Spielman's blog we feature an interview with Kent Beck that appears in developerWorks' JavaZone. Beck tells interviewer Scott Plamondon, "When I got my driver's license at 16, I was both elated and terrified; I had newfound freedom and responsibilities to go with it. Now, compare that feeling to when Microsoft sends me a new operating system. Do I have the same feeling? No, I think it's going to screw up my life for months."

Steve Mallett, the Java Today news editor has gathered the following Java Today News Headlines: "Users, vendors debate merits of open-source Java", "Treebeard version 0.8 released", "DataBrowser 3.2.0 Release", and "Linus Torvalds To Leave Transmeta".