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Business

Could Microsoft co-opt Linux? I have read a number of articles and blog entries speculating about whether or not .NET will catch hold on Linux and on what it would mean if it did. Much of the speculation centers around whether Microsoft will put out its own version of .NET for Linux, but there is also a lot of discussion of Mono, Ximian’s version of .NET on Linux, which has been released...
on Sep 2, 2003
"Java is indeed very powerful, flexible and scalable, but it is pretty hard to do simple things with it!" " is far more practical to this job than Java" "We should only use Java to more complex tasks" "There is no point in using Java if your product is going to be small" Have you ever heard any of these sentences before? You probably have. And I have to agree some things are just too hard to do...
on Aug 26, 2003
Java takes a language-specific approach to solving problems, .NET takes a platform-specific one One of the striking differences between Java and .NET is that Java is, fundamentally, a programming language and .NET is not. .NET is a framework that supports many languages. There has been a lot of identification of C# with .NET, but C# does not equal .NET, and you don’t need to use C# in order...
on Aug 22, 2003
Standards, and corresponding monopolies, can occur naturally Believe it or not, there are times when I feel some empathy for Microsoft. After all, I myself was once a small-time monopolist. My first company, Astrogamma, had a product called FENICS that provided foreign exchange (FX) options pricing and risk management functions for traders. FX options are a particular kind of financial...
on Aug 21, 2003
I just got a phone call from a perfectly nice woman who proceeded to ask me about my company’s IT needs. While on the surface this could have been any number of solicitation calls that I get on a regular basis; this one really struck a nerve from the get-go. The gist of her pitch was to tell me how the company she works for reduces the costs of software development for many Fortune 500...
on Aug 19, 2003
Single points of failure can be entire systems. Prevention may lie in "fencing in". For those of you on the West Coast, I can assure you that it was pretty dark here in New York last Thursday evening. A little after 4pm, suddenly all our lights, air-conditioners, phones, etc., in our office shut down. The UPS alarms started ringing, letting us know we were operating on battery power. We...
on Aug 19, 2003
Cory Doctorow has just published an essay titled Trademarks over on the O'Reilly Network that the executives at Sun should all read. Why should they read it? Because of the following analogy that Cory makes: Ask a lawyer for a 100 percent assurance of trademark protection and he'll give you plain advice: pay me to send a nasty letter to everyone who utters your name without due care and...
on Aug 15, 2003
Mr. Big Shot at AverageCorp has just given a four sentence vision statement of a new software project. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to understand what in the world he's talking about and make him happy with the resulting software. This blog entry will self destruct in 30 seconds.... This entry is a follow-up to my Fundamental Problem with Extreme Programming, the great comments...
on Aug 13, 2003
Software vendors are in a better position than enterprises to have the full-time user champions that Extreme Programming requires In his post, Fundamental Problem with Extreme Programming, Greg Vaughn argues that getting the level of business person involvement in software projects that XP demands is not realistic in practice. I have to agree with Greg's pessimistic view on how hard it is to...
on Aug 13, 2003
From MS to Apple: Don't hate me because my computer is beautiful. I now own an Apple. Its a nice 17" PowerBook. I still own an XP P IV 2GHz laptop and a few desktop PC's, but the Apple is used for 99% of my work. Why an Apple? Because it is as close to Linux as I can get without having to install it myself. Linux is cool, but I like something I can blame a real company for glitches. Imagine...
on Aug 12, 2003
Microsoft makes money from Windows desktops, not from browsers In response to the the latest installment of my Java vs. .Net series, a number of you responded with a focus on ASP.NET. ASP.NET is Microsoft's way of delivering browser-based DHTML applications. Yes, ASP.NET is an important part of .NET, but I actually do not think that Microsoft is interested in promoting browser-based DHTML...
on Aug 12, 2003

Community

It was interesting at LinuxWorld (back near the start of August) to see how many people from Microsoft were attending. Indeed, at both my session and the one with Sterling Ball, a show of hands revealed a row or more of Microsoft employees (sticking together for mutual protection?). Josh Ledgard was there, and while I must have been speaking a bit fast (I've never worked for MSFT, I was just an...
on Aug 30, 2003
I recently attended a presentation on a study corelating the mode of interactions (face to face, phone, email) between participants with the distance between them. The study used geographic distance and reported that people geographically close to each other would use face to face communication and that they would start using phone and email as people got farther away . This may be correct for...
on Aug 25, 2003
I've seen lots of arguments on the merits of weak typing. It encourages flexiblity. It lets me write code faster. I don't worry about the details until later. I can do cool runtime tricks. I don't buy it. I use a strongly typed language because the code it produces is more robust. Typing solves a slew of common programming errors all at once. It ensures that my code will always do exactly what I...
on Aug 15, 2003

J2SE

While crusing through the AWT/Swing documentation for another project I ran across a method I never knew existed: Toolkit.setLockingKeyState(int keyCode, boolean on). It's been there since 1.3 (which is what, 3 years old now) but I never noticed it before. Hmm, I thought. What could I use that for. Well, lately I've been doing database apps that sometimes have long access times, so why not create...
on Aug 28, 2003
While working on another project I came up with a silly idea. How could I force windows to remain completely on screen and to snap to the screen edges? A simple form of window snapping. Since you can receive an event every time the window is moved it's easy to create a Component Listener to do it. import java.awt.*;import java.awt.event.*;public class WindowSnapper extends ComponentAdapter {...
on Aug 22, 2003
Have you noticed that I do a lot of complaining? Today I am wondering why Java has no direct support for alpha levels on windows or non-rectangular shapes. Every windowing system in the world seems to support this. Sun has done a good job moving toward support of multiple monitors, unusable screen real estate, and so forth. Why not this feature that would allow Java apps to be a little more...
on Aug 12, 2003

Performance

The August issue of the Java Performance Newsletter was published, here is the content list All the latest Java performance related news and articles Kirk Pepperdine's roundup of performance discussions over the last month. This month Kirk covers micro-benchmarks, adaptive JVM advantages, McCabe Complexity, the shelf-life of tips, obfuscation, and more. Javva The Hutt rambles through...
on Aug 27, 2003

Open Source

Several years ago I was working on a system for modelling and simulating social pressure. The idea was that actions have repercussions and that I could build dynamic ecosystems staffed with characters of differing social power. The pressure system would stimulate social interaction between criminals, the wealthy corporate elite, impoverished citizens and various authorities in a cyberpunk RPG...
on Aug 20, 2003

Deployment

So, I've done the nice Java thing and deployed my applications as executable jars, with properly formatted manifests, and, um... well, I'm feeling a little underwhelmed. Let's face it, those don't look like applications. Nothing about them stands out in a folder and says hey, double-click me! Oh sure, I could use an application to create an "installer" for my application. That would wrap my...
on Aug 18, 2003