yakk is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Ian McKellar
Member since: 2000-01-19 07:10:34
Last Login: 2007-10-26 00:09:44

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Homepage: http://ian.mckellar.org/



I'm living in San Francisco, a city I love and hate in varying amounts depending on the day. I'm originally from Australia, Perth most recently. Its less dull and less relaxed here. Oh well.

I hack on GNOME when I have the time (which means its usually on the train). I've mostly hacked on GnomeVFS and related stuff.


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Java / Mono / Patents / Free Software


I think at this point or soon on an asthetic level Java and C# will be pretty much on par. The one thing that has kept me from being too interested in either language is the lack of generic collection classes. I can't bring myself to use java.util.Vector and all the casting and exception catching thats required. As far as I understand Java 1.5 has and C# 2.0 will have generics. The core libraries of these languages seem to have similar features but different designs.


One major issue with Java right now is that Sun holds a whole lot of IP over the language, the platform and even the name. You can't say "Java" on your product unless you pay Sun a bunch of money and pass a whole bunch of compliance tests. Sun also claim copyright over the core APIs interfaces. This in my opinion makes Java a non-starter even with an perfect open source implementation.

Free Software

As Miguel points out Microsoft's patent grant on the ECMA C# core doesn't protect anyone from other parties' patents. Neither would openning up Sun's Java code or IP. I don't think we can win that one. I'm sure there are patents out there that cover features of C and C++ that we just have to live with.

I don't know what the answer is moving forwards. I personality like Python but I know that whenever I start developing something of any size the lack of strict typing etc, makes it a pain.

It seems to me that the IP on C# seems a lot freer than on Java. This is because Microsoft and Sun are both power and money hungry companies but Microsoft's a bit smarter and they realise that widespread acceptance is important and getting other people to build an industry around their technology is good for them and will build power and make money for them.

What Could Sun Do?

If Sun wants to "beat C#" the first thing they need to do is to stop trying to make money of Java licensing, submit the VM spec, language and java.* libraries to an open standardization process, publish their compliance tests for free and make the kinds of IP grants that Microsoft has over C# to the core Java platform. This would put Microsoft and Sun on an equal footing. It would encourage competition in the Java space and we might see improvements to the platform happen a lot quicker.

What can I say. I miss them.

Damn Windows PC You just ate my latest post My words, my thoughts, gone

I spent about three days in Paris, visiting with my mother and staying with my aunt Christine and uncle Jean. My mum is on holidays in France and Switzerland and since its a lot closer to visit her here than in Australia I came over for a couple of weeks. Yes, thats my excuse for my little holiday :)

The afternoon that I arrived we went for a walk along the Seine, browsed the books being sold along the banks and had a coffee in the latin quarter. The streets were alive with people going about their affairs, there were children playing, people speaking more languages than i could recognise. It really felt like a living city.

The next day Christine, Mum and I went to see Versailles - the residence of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI (I think). The decadence of these kings was pretty amazing, to have build this giant castle with enormous rooms of mirrors, chandeleirs, paintings and tapistries, and to have gone to war for the sake of glory while the people starved and were taxed to death seems amazing. I think as long as the people of France can wander through Versailles nobody will suggest a return to the monarchy. The gardens were really beautiful, not gawdy like the castle, but still the work that must have gone into maintaining it while the country bled is a bit sickening.

That night we had dinner with my cousin Olivier and his partner Marc. They've got a really nice modern apartment and made an amazing dinner. My french is good enough to understand most of my family's rapid-fire conversations but not quite good enough to participate. Olivier worked as a graphic designer on the new Swiss passport so he showed us some of the work he did there. Its a really beautiful work with some clever subtleties for security. I need to renew mine.

Thursday I wandered through Paris again, partly by myself and partly with my Mum. Then we sent to a really funny show with my uncle and aunt, it was sort of a clown show, but they were a string quartet. It was an awesome mix of physical and musical comedy. And then Friday we packed up and drove to the alps.

[IMG: http://ian.mckellar.org/email/09c6cf3b29590120263bdb18516d2648-cloudyparis.jpg]


Damn Windows PC You just ate my latest post My words, my thoughts, gone

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