Today, I'm back in California, having arrived yesterday from my ApacheCon trip.
But first, two weeks ago was BSDCon. I met up with a bunch of people there and synched up some ideas we've been kicking around for a while.
I mentioned before (18 Jul 2000) that I had been talking to Jordan about sharing mode code in real time between Darwin and FreeBSD. At the O'Reily Conference, I sat down with Jordan and Charles Hannum (from NetBSD) to talk about actually sharing repositories for code like /bin/cp and /bin/ls, which we can probably agree on a common implementation. The general consensus was that this is a good thing, probably doable with some infrastructure work and a bit of political ironing, but none of us has had the time to really dig into it.
So then comes Chris Coleman and the Open Packages idea, which is a similar idea, except for the ports collections, rather than the base system software. This is a great thing, because there is already some good technology in place which can be tweaked to work accross BSDs (and other platforms as well), and the ports are already pretty neutral ground, so consensus is generally easier (though not trivial) to accomplish. So I'm very excited about this, because success here might be something we can extend further down into the system software, which for me is the jackpot. (From the Darwin point of view, most of the BSD subsystem is already a "port," since we're already drawing the code from NetBSD and FreeBSD; if we can find a way to share code uniformly accross our systems, that's just too cool.)
To make things even better, Keith Bostic gave us a great keynote at the conference, and one of his questions to the community was "Why are we sharing the code to cp?", which got more people thinking about it as well.
Last week, I was in London for ApacheCon. We started with a Hackathon, where the ASF members and some guests got together to work our some issues while we have everyone in one place. We had about 30 people sharing a 56K net connection, which was rather interesting. Mostly it was a good chance to meet everyone before the conference and hack out some code with all of the relevant experts nearby. I spent a lot of time trying to wrap my brain around libtool, and thanks to some help from Sander (from Covalent) and a kick start from Sascha, I got libtool working well enough that PHP will build on Mac OS X correctly. And, as a bonus, it even works. Rasmus hooked me up with a PHP CVS account, so I'll probably be committing the fixes this week, and I'll need to send a new patch to the libtool folks.
ApacheCon itself went very well. Duncan gave a fabulous talk about how Sun came to open source Tomcat via Apache, and the hurdles they had to get past to make it work, which I'm going to try to get him to repeat at Apple some time. It's a great success story for a big company starting an open source project well. Douglas Adams wrapped up the conference with a fun talk about the unpredicatable evolution of computing. For such a young conference (this was #3), it's going very quickly, and it's packed with good talks and all the right people there.
While we were there, I got to check out London with some of the ASF guys. Roy and Greg and I were staying in this small Bed-and-Breakfast type hotel, and we played tourist all over the city. I have to say I really liked it. The weather was pretty reasonable for walking about. The only thing that I didn't like was the itty bitty portions you get at restaurants (it's like I was on a diet for a week).