OSCON Day 4 -- Jabber, Chandler and a Monkey

by James Goodwill

It's 8:45 PM Thursday and I have just finished my second day at OSCON 2003. It was even better than yesterday.

I began the day with Dave Smith's Jabber Jazz session. The more I see this stuff, the better it looks. Dave presentation talked about Jabber as a whole and then described what people are doing with the Jabber protocol and server. He began with the basics (a simple IM client) and went on to some really cool stuff including Workflow, web services and probably the coolest idea, Jabber Bots.

A Jabber Bot is an application that acts as a normal user, logged into a Jabber server, listening for messages and then performs the commands that are packaged in the messages. It is extremely cool--the applications are endless.

Dave spoke of one bot in particular a Jabber X10 bot (X10 is a communications protocol that allows compatible products to talk to each other using the existing electrical wiring in your home). The concept is extremely interesting--the guy that developed the bot has it registered with a Jabber server on the network and it listens for commands that will control different appliances in his home. You should really take a look http://www.awe.com/ha/software/.

After Dave's presentation, I went to check out the OSAF's Chandler Personal Information Manager (PIM). I was extremely excited about this, but I was a bit disappointed when I saw the presentation. While there ideas sounded really great, they are a long way from having a working product. I guess I was thinking/expecting that it was further along. I think the session had some interesting points and the architecture of the product is built completely on open-source, but to me the session itself was a bit premature.

My last session of the day was Christian Gross's Using MONO. MONO (the Spanish word for Monkey) is an open-source implementation of Microsoft's .NET framework. The product, on a personal level, is extremely interesting. I have had a chance to review the .NET framework and I believe Microsoft has actually done a tremendous job. My only concern is that I don't want to lock myself into a Windows solution. The answer to this platform dependencey problem is MONO.

The session started off well enough, Christian talked about how MONO implemented most of the core .NET components. He developed and compiled a .NET application using MONO on a Linux box. He even ran the application, without recompiling, on Windows. Everything looked great, but then it took a bad turn. Thirty minutes into the hour-and-a-half session Christian started talking about .NET does and don'ts--this is not what I signed up for. If I wanted to know more about .NET, I would have picked up a book. I was there to learn about MONO. There was nothing wrong with his presentation or his style. I just think that the session title was misnamed. I will continue to look at MONO, but not because of this presentation.

Well Day 4 of OSCON is over and I am ready to go to the party at Champions. My brain is full and it is time to relax.