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Owning a chain saw

Posted by daniel on April 27, 2005 at 7:02 AM PDT

Funding for developer number 388

This weekend we got a big, wet, sloppy, Spring snow storm in northeast Ohio. We went from a week in which the temperatures were in the seventies (F not C) to one in which we got more than eight inches of snow in twenty-four hours. Not surprisingly, the trees, which were already budding, held more snow than they could support and branches came down everywhere. We lost a forty foot long branch that was a foot in diameter at the base. It landed perfectly without touching our house, our neighbor's house, or the power line.

On the other hand, the branch landed across our driveway. A branch is much heavier while it is obstructing your driveway than it seems to be when it is waving back and forth in the breeze suspended by a tree. We couldn't budge it. Our car was on the wrong side of the branch so we couldn't just leave it there until the city came to help us. In the more than forty years since I've been around, this is the first time I thought "it would be really useful to own a chain saw."

I thought back to Michael Tiemann's keynote last week at the MySQL user conference where he described a similar situation with open source projects. He was asking how much money you request to fund your project. In reality, most of the work on big projects are performed by ten to fifteen people. Their work gets you 80% of the way. But he pointed to an Apache project that reported three hundred eighty eight developers and asked how you get funding to cover nearly forty times the number of developers required to get to eighty percent. Can you really say - for x you get a pretty good system but for forty times x you get a perfect system.

As Tiemann observed, that is not how open source projects work. Developer number 388 is not sitting there twiddling their thumbs waiting to do that one task they are uniquely qualified to address. They are using your software and other software and they come up against a situation that needs addressing. If you have an open source project then maybe instead of working around their problem, they can fix it and submit the fix back to be committed to help other people.

So as I decide which tools I need, I don't look to buy and store a chain saw. That, for me, is tool number 388. When the occasion arises I can rent one or borrow one. It doesn't need to be in my toolkit of 10-15 essential tools. Fortunately, I married well. My wife has two great qualities that are relevant to this story. First, she understands the male need to own tools beyond the 10-15 essential ones and tends not to give me a hard time about it. Second, she has a father who owns a chain saw. My father-in-law drove over right away with his chain saw and made easy work of the branch in the driveway. Open source projects need developer number 388 - not every day, but at those crucial moments when nothing else will do.

Take A Trip in the Way-Back Machine with Dave Walend in today's href=""> Weblogs . " Ever want to go back in time and unmake a coding decision? Was it after a honeymoon period where you found some critical problem in something you'd bet on heavily and publicly? This happened to me recently with those seductive JDK 5 language features. Someone needed the software to work in JSDK 1.4, and I wanted to step into the way-back machine, return to August and start again. Then a fellow developer sent me a link to Retroweaver. "

Greg Murray blogs on Rich Web Applications with AJAX. He points to a document which "details the AJAX interaction model in much more detail and elaborates on some of the usecases for AJAX."

Arun Gupta provides JAX-RPC 2.0 EA on JWSDP 1.5 - Install instructions. " JAX-RPC 2.0 EA was released few days ago but supported only Sun Java System App Server 8.1 as the container. This blog tells you how to install JAX-RPC 2.0 EA over JWSDP 1.5."

Finally, John Reynolds reports on a Happy Ending to the Netbeans "Replace Dialog" tale . " My pet peave that Netbeans couldn't limit a search/replace to the selected text has been addressed. "

In Also in
Java Today
, Mr. Ed has been working exclusively with SWT for the last four months and reports on his experience in SWT Happens. His commentary is biased by his seven years of experience with Swing, but he looks at some of the "Myths surrounding SWT and Swing" and reports on his experience with performance, access to native widgets, usability, resource management, visual aesthetics and ease of adoption by developers.

Anyone familiar with Java I/O will appreciate the convenience of "chaining together" streams of input or output; it's trivial to add buffering, encryption, and compression to an outgoing stream, or to handle them when reading data. But this paradigm isn't used in Java Message Service (JMS), which has its own ways of sending and receiving data. In Enterprise Streaming, Amir Shevat shows how JMS can be wrapped by a Stream-based metaphor, meaning that "...applications can use all of the powerful capabilities of streams while still using the J2EE framework as a communications infrastructure."

In Projects and
, the Jini community has relaunched their Jini community newsletter with an issue that includes "a great Shop Talk interview with Phil Bishop, a recap of the 2004 Jini Community Contributors Award, JDP activity, [and] projects."

The JXTA community links to Joining a Peer Group with PSE Membership. Happy Geek posts that he used "the code provided in the JXTA plaform, especially the net. jxta. impl. membership. pse. pseMembershipTest class."

Kohsuke writes about the Re: JAXB 2.0 RI bundle size
in today's Forums.
"The only thing you need to redistribute is: jaxb-api.jar, activation.jar, jsr173_api.jar, and jaxb-impl.jar. You don't need to distribute jaxb-xjc.jar, unless you are interested in running XJC at the runtime, which most of you aren't."

In Re: JDK Build first impressions with Cygwin, Windows Kelly O'Hair writes " Most JDK developers don't need to go beyond building the j2se workspace, so few venture into the deploy or install workspaces. This most certainly is a cygwin issue of some kind. I suspect we still have some cygwin issues with the deploy and install workspaces we need to work out, most of our focus on the cygwin work was in the j2se workspace. "

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Funding for developer number 388