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Late JavaOne 2006 Trip Report

Posted by kellyohair on June 6, 2006 at 2:11 PM PDT

Started this right after JavaOne, then got distracted... hopefully someone gets something useful out of it.
Go to

http://developers.sun.com/channel/

for the complete scoop on JavaOne 2006.

What a week, I'm tired, my feet hurt, and I think I have a headache from the after dark speaker system.
I must be getting too old for this, but I'll be back next year, what am I? Nuts?
Why do people inflict so much pain on themselves, complain about it, and then do the same thing the next year?
Because it's a blast maybe? Because it's JavaOne? Who knows?


I suppose living in the Bay Area and needing to commute 90min each way everyday makes it a little harder on these old bones.
Next year I'll get a Hotel room, maybe bring the spouse and stay the weekends before and after.
Make a little vacation out of it and avoid the 12 hours of commuting.
Maybe get one of those rooms with a big jacuzzi tub to soak in after those 10:30pm BOFs and the late night parties. :^)

So enough complaining, I'll give a little trip report on what I saw and did at JavaOne this year, with my somewhat twisted humor
(I read too many National Lampoon magazines in college).
There is NO way I could cover even a fraction of all that was
happening, so this is just a smattering of what was at JavaOne 2006.

  • Monday:

    I had fully intended to go to NetBeans Day, but plans were changed
    and I had to attend another event.
    So I don't have any report on NetBeans Day, so I'm looking forward
    to what people have to say about it.
    I've always heard good things about NetBeans Day in the past.

  • Tuesday:

    Left home at 8:15am (like every morning) to get to the Bart Station for my 60min Bart ride.
    The wife was generous enough to drive me to and from the Bart station, so I could avoid the parking hassles at the Bart Station.


    Commentary:
    They created Bart so that people wouldn't drive their cars and then they didn't provide enough parking at the Bart stations, again so we wouldn't drive our cars?
    Kind of like not providing any roads to the Bart Stations?

    Missed most of the General Sessions this year, I tried to concentrate on seeing as many technical sessions as my mind could absorb, or at least that was the plan, I severely over estimated my ability absorb though.
    I had events and meetings all week that I had to attend, so I figured I'd just fill in the week with technical sessions and BOFs, boy was I naive.
    I even used that silly schedule builder and signed up for everything, I figured it would be smooth sailing, just like the fastpass tickets at Disneyland.
    Ah, but Disneyland knows a bit more about the management of lines or as some people call them "queues", I wasn't impressed with the way the enrolled vs. not enrolled lines were handled.
    Some of these rooms were huge, and would never overflow, yet they
    insisted on completely evacuating the room prior to each talk,
    creating havoc in the hallways.
    Then they give you an evaluation form from the 1960's where you have
    to use a number 2 pencil to fill in the little dots for your
    badge number, which I could never remember, and the writing was
    so small and the rooms so dark that you couldn't read the damn thing.
    Sure seemed like a waste of trees to me.
    They should just create an online survey, send it out to the
    registered attendees after the show and ask them to fill out
    evaluations on the talks they attended, paperless, fast, modern.

    Anyway, my first Tuesday event was Lab-1205 at 11am on Java Performance Analysis, a hands on lab taught by Tom Marble and Andrew Johnson.
    They used the visualgc tool to view state of the Java heap and explained via real demonstration the impact of various good and bad heap settings on a Java application.
    More material than could fit in an hour, but well worth attending,
    it was well done. Go to

    http://java.sun.com/performance/jvmstat/

    for more information on jvmstat and visualgc.

    After the cattle drive to lunch, I tried to attend TS-3439 on Mustang, it's always a good idea to attend talks that might cover anything you may have worked on, but alas, I was
    lured to the Pavillion by the free Peets coffee provided by Siemens.
    Had a nice latte and chatted with the Siemens people about their
    GPS AV monitoring system, very interesting. Talk about Big Brother is watching.

    I did manage to attend the afternoon TS-5033 IntelliJ IDEA: Integrated Team Environment. This was an interesting talk to me, mostly because I've been currently working very hard the last 6 months on something very similar for the JDK development teams, something I'll blog about later called JPRT. The IntelliJ folks have done some good work here,
    recognizing the need to improve the total turnaround time for developers.
    They have built a system where putbacks to the source base are
    automatically detected and trigger builds/testing, they called it
    a continuous system that always kept their source repository
    "clean". I got some good ideas from this talk.

    My plan was to attend TS-3097 on JUnit, which I have started using in NetBeans lately. But apparently anything having to do with testing or JUnit appears to be very popular.
    The line was huge!
    And this was 20 minutes before the talk was to start!
    So I went to TS-3313 on IBM's VM.
    I wasn't very impressed, the talk seemed to be missing something and seemed to have been written by the marketing department.

    Now supposedly there was an unBOF at the Thirsty Bear, a place which I had never been to (yes I live in the area, but I avoid downtown San Francisco). I heard later that it was great, and I'm pissed I missed it. But for some silly reason I got some of the worst directions from people this year. I'd be told something was on 2nd and Mission, when
    it was on 3rd and Mission, or on 3rd across from the W when it was on Howard across from the W. I sure got my walking in.
    The bad directions reminded me of a trip I took to Ireland years ago,
    where we learned that you never never ever ask a drunk Irishman
    (or Irish-woman) for directions, they won't let you go until they
    have given you directions, and usually the directions are wrong.
    (My last name is O'Hair, so I can make fun of Irish people. ;^)

    In the evening there was the Pavillion Reception, which was great, lots of beer, wine, and MEAT! They were carving up big huge hunks
    of turkey and big old cow legs, good stuff.
    (My wife doesn't eat meat, so consequently I have to go out hunting
    for my own occasionally).

    Then my last event of the evening was the JDK Community party at the Argent Hotel, in a big fancy tent in the courtyard.
    Lots of beer, wine, food, and merriment.
    Rich Sands didn't get up and dance on the tables, but it was fun
    anyway. ;^)
    Talked to some people from Amazon, who had some great things to
    say about the quality of the binary snapshots, which they regularly
    download and test.
    To find out more about the JDK community go to

    http://community.java.net/jdk/
    .
    This lasted until around 10pm and I hitched a ride with a friend
    back to Livermore, saved myself $4 in bart fares. ;^)

  • Wednesday:

    Attended the Java puzzlers talk (TS-1188), the first time I
    attended this talk. As expected, Joshua and Neal did a good job,
    fooled me with those puzzlers.
    The latest Java Puzzler book is at

    http://www.javapuzzlers.com/

    Attended Mark's Integrating XML into the Java Language talk (TS-3441).
    Having recently dealt with some code that used JDOM and
    attempting to work with that code, I appreciated his points.
    Not sure what people think about changing the language for this,
    the audience seemed to have a mixed reaction.

    At the Sun PODS I ran into some old co-horts that are now in the
    Sun Studio team working on a C/C++ NetBeans plugin.
    They gave me a demo of it and I
    plan on trying to use it to build and
    browse the JDK at some point.
    I've become a NetBeans convert lately. :^)
    For more information on this NetBeans C/C++ module, go to

    http://cnd.netbeans.org/
    .

    Also while wandering the Pavillion floor,
    ran into a past manager friend of mine and he was
    interested in having us try a new set of Sun Studio compilers
    for Linux, we currently use gcc/g++ with our JDK Linux builds.
    I'll probably give these a try when I get a chance.
    For more information on these Sun Studio compilers for Linux go to

    http://developers.sun.com/prodtech/cc/linux_index.html
    .
    Why would we change our Linux builds to a non-gcc compiler?
    I don't know if we would, but if the performance on Linux
    was significantly
    better, I suspect we would seriously consider it.
    I'm not suggesting we abandon gcc builds, but allow for both,
    and decide which set of binaries we would ship based on
    performance and quality issues.

    Managed to get an invite to the SDN party at Jillian's.
    Played some pool with a few Sun co-horts, and had an interesting chat
    with an employee of the U.N.
    While there I had a chat with another former manager of mine
    (yes, I'm still on speaking terms with all my former managers).
    And he voiced his concern that sometimes the Java capabilities
    of the Sun Studio tools (for Solaris AND Linux) are often
    overlooked, especially the performance analyzer.
    I agreed, but haven't done much in the way of performance analysis
    in a while.
    In most cases, performance issues found in Java apps on Solaris
    or Linux, are pretty generic issues, so using platform specific
    tools to diagnose generic Java performance issues is perfectly
    valid in my book.
    The Sun Studio 11 tools (including the performance analyzer)
    is free and available at

    http://developers.sun.com/prodtech/cc/index.jsp
    .
    Don't be annoyed too much by the 'buy this' and 'buy that',
    become an SDN member and go to

    http://developers.sun.com/prodtech/cc/downloads/index.jsp
    .
    With Solaris
    I've heard it's a Solaris SVR4 package install, which may require
    root access, so be prepared for a formal Solaris package install.
    I assume on Linux it's just a tar ball installation, I'll find
    out soon enough.

    Ok so now you are asking
    "Is this the only time Sun employees get to talk to each other?
    At the JavaOne Pavillion?".
    Well, no, not the only way, but it is great way for the various
    Sun teams working on Java projects to demonstrate their work,
    and it's really nice for everyone to take the time and see
    what others have done.
    I always look forward to touching bases with past co-workers
    and talking about the current hot projects going on, in Sun
    and with the other companies too.
    The JavaOne Pavillion is definitely a highlight to me.

    At 10:30 we had the JDK Community BOF (BOF-0178). It was not well attended, but a huge attendance wasn't expected, especially this
    late. The number of developers really interested in working
    in the JDK is far less than the number of developers wanting to
    use the latest JDK builds.
    Several people expressed to me their great satisfaction on having the
    weekly Mustang builds available to them, and one person was
    particularly impressed with the quality of these builds.
    Although I'm sure there are a few people who might disagree
    about the high quality of the Mustang weekly builds, it was
    nice to hear at least voices saying they really liked
    having the weekly
    binary snapshots available to them.
    Once again, to find out more about the JDK community go to

    http://community.java.net/jdk/
    .

    Met up with a fellow Livermore Bart commuter and we wandered off
    to catch one of the last Bart trains.

  • Thursday:

    Attended the Jackpot talk (TS-1278), and am looking
    forward to checking
    out the Jackpot NetBeans module at

    http://jackpot.netbeans.org
    .
    Creating your own source transformers seems like a cool idea
    that could come in handy when managing large source projects.

    Sat in on the Harmony talk (TS-3752).
    They had some interesting component separations but overall
    it seems like it will be many years before thay have a fully
    functioning and well performing JDK.
    The J9 VM they were using didn't seem to give them much performance,
    or not as much as I expected it would, a bit surprising,
    but they are just getting started.

    Had to run off to some Sun meetings for the bulk of the afternoon.

    They should have a Meeting Quality Metric of some kind.
    Once a Meeting is over, it should be measured how worthwhile
    the meeting was, and if the metric is low, you sacrifice
    the meeting in a formal ceremony, declaring to never have
    the meeting again.

    Attended part of the After Dark Bash, waited in line for 20 minutes
    to get my two free beers, then gave one away and left shortly
    after that so I missed the band and most of the party.
    Maybe I'm getting too old for these kind of parties,
    the flashing lights and loud music gave me a bit of a headache.
    But everyone was having fun and there were lots of games and
    people to talk to, if you could hear them. ;^)

    At 9:30pm we had the JDK Tools BOF (BOF-0351), which we did in
    a pretty informal way, but got lots of good questions from
    an audience of about 200, a GREAT turnout for being so late.
    Sundar demonstrated jmap and jhat, and Alan talked to a few
    slides, and I just stood there and injected comments now and then.
    I hope people were happy with the give and take, we did plan
    on it being informal, and it could have been better prepared,
    but I thought it went fine. It was just a BOF after all.
    Next year maybe we can wear funny hats or do a few rehearsed
    skits about failing Java apps and trouble-shooting tools coming
    to the rescue or something. ;^)

    The JConsole BOF immediately followed (BOF-0442), but I was so tired
    I decided to get on Bart and go home. I needed some rest.
    I heard it went well, and most of the Tools people stayed for this BOF
    which was in the same room.
    I'm sorry I missed it.

  • Friday:

    After my last 60 minute Bart ride in, managed to catch the first 15 minutes of Sundar's talk on Scripting TS-1382.
    Unfortunately I had to go to another
    Sun meeting and was unable to hear the rest of this talk, basically an update on Java Scripting in Mustang.
    The room was pretty full, maybe 400-500 people maybe?
    So Java Scripting continues to be a popular topic, or it was Friday
    and a bunch of people didn't have anything else to do.
    For more on Java scripting go to

    https://scripting.dev.java.net/
    .

    Attended the DTrace Hands on Lab (LAB-9010) and had a nice time
    just playing with DTrace.
    Even though I provided the DVM agent at

    https://solaris10-dtrace-vm-agents.dev.java.net/

    getting dedicated time to play with DTrace is a different story.
    This was a good class, it provided some intro to DTrace and
    then took you right into using it on JDK 6 (Mustang) with the new
    DTrace probes provided there.
    The room was pretty full, so it seemed to be a popular topic.
    DTrace isn't for the beginner necessarily, but it is certainly
    something you want to know about if you venture into Solaris 10.
    There is nothing like it anywhere else.
    For more on DTrace try going to

    http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/dtrace-chime/java_dtrace_api/
    .

    Immediately after the DTrace class I volunteered to
    help out with the Mustang Hands on Lab (LAB-1506), which is a
    course for people interested in working on or building the Mustang
    (JDK 6) source. The class when better than last year, but it's a
    difficult class to organize. Two incidents in the class are worth
    mentioning. Several people unfamiliar with X or GNOME managed to
    kill their window manager with a few well placed fingers on the
    keyboard. I was at a bit of a loss as to what had happened, never
    having used those key strokes before (Control Shift Backspace maybe?). Luckily Peter Kessler (the fount of all knowledge :^) was around
    to explain things, now I know why I'm not a GUI person. ;^)
    The second incident involved what appeared to be a
    crash of the system somehow, and
    the immediate reaction of the student in the lab was just 're-boot',
    like it was just a common thing to happen, a simple Blue screen
    that you fix with a re-boot.
    But this was Solaris 10, and I said
    "No, let's figure this out first,
    this is Solaris and this should never happen"!
    (is this what happens when people work with Windows too long, they learn to accept system crashes and just 're-boot'? Sigh, how sad.)
    Anyway, multiple people helping in the Lab were aghast that
    Solaris 10 would do such a thing, and there was no end of Sun
    employees looking at the machine and trying to diagnose the problem.
    I'm not sure what the final resolution was, but the reaction by my fellow
    Sun employees was the same as mine,
    "Capture the core file or crash
    data and make sure we tell someone".
    This is one of the reasons I like working at Sun, and working
    with the people I work with, they really do care about quality,
    don't just re-boot, scream bloody murder and report it. :^0
    For more information on building Mustang and getting the
    latest JDK 6 source or binary snapshots go to

    https://mustang.dev.java.net/

In Summary, the conference seemed more crowded and the Sun PODs
in particular seemed really busy to me, more so than in years
past, but that's just an impression.
Everyone seemed upbeat and friendly, and it seemed like overall
a good conference.

Hope you enjoyed the long winded trip report, Looking forward to next year.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I normally skip the "Picture with Duke",
but this time there was no line, so click on this to see my picture with Duke:

Picture With Duke


Ok, one last thing... I'm sure you are asking, "Why the Aloha Shirt?".
Well, I'm not sure, once upon a time, a long long time ago, a fellow
named Bob J. used to wear them, and Sun also
used to have "Friday Aloha Shirt"
days, but as to why I continue to wear them?
To the point that it's all I wear?
I guess it's because they aren't boring, kind of the complete
opposite of a business suit.
And they look better than a printed T-Shirt. :^)

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