Reflections after OSCON

by Kurt Cagle

I'm sitting in a quiet coffee shop on the mist-shrouded Oregon coast, taking a much needed break from family in the wee morning hours to put down some thoughts on the recent O'Reilly Open Source Conference in Portland. I'll be heading back to Victoria over the next couple of days, nursing my poor, ailing Saturn back to the island and no doubt stopping in Seattle to indulge my daughter's mania for all things Japanese anime related. She tells me that she's a dedicated Otaku, regaling me with the plot-lines from half a dozen Japanese comics, many of which she's now reading (more or less) in the original Japanese ("They always get the translations wrong, Dad!" she says with the conviction that only a fourteen year old teenager can have).

The conference itself was immensely enjoyable, and very eye-opening. I did get a chance to meet with Simon St. Laurent (an old friend and acquaintance that I haven't seen in nearly a decade) and hung out with M. David Peterson, Kevin Farnham and James Turner, all of O'Reilly, spent some time talking business with Jason Gilmore and Terry O'Donnell, Managing Editors of Apress and DevX respectively, and sat in on some very good presentations (and hopefully gave a good one, though its always hard to tell when you're on the stage side of the presentation).


Andy Lester
2007-07-30 23:26:23
Why wouldn't Perl be popular at OSCON? Perl is still widely used, even if PHP and (especially) Ruby in the form of Rails dominate the ink used by the press.

Kirrily Robert is working right now to take the pulse of the Perl community at The results should be enlightening, and I suspect will quash a lot of the conventional wisdom of Perl being on its way out.

2007-07-31 08:29:15
Excuse me, O'Reilly sprang into prominence because of the Perl book? I think you're forgetting (or, perhaps, you're too young to recall) their quite excellent X-Windows documentation. And the first edition of the camel book was crap.
Kurt Cagle
2007-07-31 12:36:03

True on both counts, but if you ask anyone what the most famous O'Reilly book was, I'd bet that they will mention the Perl book. The X-Windows documentation was very good, but while I'm not too young to recall it, I was much more enmeshed in the multimedia space at that time, and so didn't really encounter the X-Windows docs until considerably later.

-- Kurt