OSCON – Days 2 and 3

I realize I'm a tad late with my OSCON writeups, but I suppose I'm not as "agile" as some others when it come to blogging about conferences. 🙂

What I wasn't expecting at OSCON, were sessions on how to market your software, or more importantly how to make money off of your software. Don't get me wrong, a lot of us are in the business of selling software and/or hardware, but, I didn't think that sessions at OSCON that spoke about how to sell your software would be popular.

One of my favorite talks on Day 2 (7/27) was that of Rasmus Lerdorf's, on PHP and Web 2.0. Rasmus did an almost all demos session, and all the demos were extremely simple in nature and it was easy to see how he'd put them together. And they weren't "blah" demos - these were some really good lively mashup-like demos. Rasmus has his slides up over here. Apart from delivering a stellar session, I felt like I instantly bonded with Rasmus when he said he disliked SOAP. Haven't heard very many people say that out loud before. This session was *packed* - it was standing room only.

Christian Wenz did a phenomenal job of delivering a session Atlas. It was one of the few Windows tracks at the conference, and Christian established that his upcoming book is going to be an absolute must-read.

As far as marketing to developers goes, I also attended a lively discussion on "Marketing to Dilbert: How to Invite Developers Into Your Project". The session was well done with active participation from the audience. Microsoft hardly even came up in this talk which was kind of surprising considering several companies' marketing campaigns were being talked about. Apple was the clear winner when it came to a company that markets its products really well, and everyone seemed to agree. The one positive about Microsoft that was pointed out, was about our blogging practices, and how we've gotten really transparent as a company with our blogging.

The Google Web Toolkit session was another absolutely packed session. This session was just an overview, and having tried out most of the examples on the GWT site, I didn't gain much value from the session. They did talk briefly about Google Code Hosting, but I'm still having a tough time figuring out why someone wouldn't just use SourceForge, even if the project had something to do with Google. Apparently some of the guys who worked on SourceForge now work on Google Code Hosting. If its features like 'search' that Google would've wanted to incorporate in to SourceForge's hosting site, I'm sure they could've made that happen.

I also happened to attend a session on "Roadmap to Free .NET developer tools". It was sparsely attended, and in some ways, thankfully so. Nothing personal, but, Lee Fisher didn't do all that grand a job talking about the tools. While the presentation did open eyes about the free tools out there, anyone would've really been overwhelmed by the number of tools that Lee spoke about. And his presentation style, sorry to say, just plain sucked. Saying something like, "you'll figure out how much it costs because you'll notice it in your credit card bill" is NOT a valid answer to a question like "how much does something cost". I'm hoping the .NET and its developer crowd doesn't come across as misrepresented by this session. It could've been made a lot more practical, if a few free tools were picked and were used as examples for development in .NET, like sIDE for example. And Lee could've ended by listing *some* of the tools that he has personally used, so that he could talk to them better. Demos first, links later.

We hosted a small dinner at an awesome peruvian restaurant in Portland - supposedly one of the best peruvian places around. We had lively discussions, and some of the folks from Port25 joined us as well. IronPython and RubyCLR were also represented. For the most part, I spent my time talking with Bart Massey and his students. I love practical people who're just practical. There are times when you have to get emotional about certain things, but explaining practically why you dislike some things or what you would like to see done differently makes a conversation worth participating in. That's how our dinner-time discussion with Bart Massey was. Hopefully we'll have some pictures up soon.

So, that's that. OSCON's a wrap. I loved it. And I was telling a friend that this has to be one of the best conferences attended in a while. I didn't miss the trays in the hallways that contained 30 different types of cheese and 80 different types of dressing. I enjoyed all the hallway discussions. And it was the first conference where I saw children.

Here are some links about people talking about Microsoft's presence at OSCON -

PS: I had an awesome time hanging with Jason, Tim and Woody in Portland. These guys rock!

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