“Help Saving MySQL!”

Michael “Monty” Widenius, the creator of MySQL, has asked me, among many others, to help spread the word about an imminent decision by the European Commission on the Oracle merger with Sun.

Why should you care? Monty’s view, along with others, is that Oracle has much more to gain from neglecting MySQL than it has to gain from enhancing it.

Why should you act now? It seems that “Oracle has instead contacted hundreds of their big customers and asked them to write to the EC and require unconditional acceptance of the deal.” To balance this the European Commission needs to hear voices from the other side of the story. The European Commission is due to make a decision in just a couple of weeks.

What should you do? Read Monty’s post and act on it, if you so choose.

Wishlist of PL/Perl Enhancements for PostgreSQL 8.5

I’m working with PostgreSQL for my day job, and liking it.

We’re fairly heavy users of stored procedures implemented in PL/Perl, with ~10,000 lines in ~100 functions (some of which have bloated to painful proportions). This creates some interesting issues and challenges for us.

There’s a window of opportunity now to make improvements to PL/Perl for PostgreSQL 8.5. I’m planning to work with Andrew Dunstan to agree on a set of changes and develop the patches.

As a first step along that road I want to map out here the changes I’m thinking of and to ask for comments and suggestions.

Continue reading

The Voyage

We saw Johnny Duhan in a very small, intimate, concert in Ennis last year. Last weekend we saw Christy Moore in concert in Limerick. This song, written by Johnny Duhan and sung by Christy Moore, has always struck a cord with me.

I am a sailor, you’re my first mate
We signed on together, we coupled our fate
Hauled up our anchor, determined not to fail
For the hearts treasure, together we set sail

With no maps to guide us we steered our own course
Rode out the storms when the winds were gale force
Sat out the doldrums in patience and hope
Working together we learned how to cope

Chorus:
Life is an ocean and love is a boat
In troubled water that keeps us afloat
When we started the voyage, there was just me and you
Now gathered round us, we have our own crew

Together we’re in this relationship
We built it with care to last the whole trip
Our true destination’s not marked on any charts
We’re navigating to the shores of the heart

Chorus 2x

– Johnny Duhan

Here’s a video of Christy Moore and Johnny Duhan talking about the song and singing it together.

Perl Myths and Mongers in Dublin

Last weekend I went up to Dublin to speak at OSSBarcamp. I took the train from Limerick on Friday so I’d already be in Dublin the following morning, without having to get up at the crack of dawn.

Dublin.pm

Aidan Kehoe and I had a very small but interesting Dublin.pm meeting that night. Their first since 2004! Our wide-ranging discussions that night included me trying to understand what led Dublin.pm to flounder instead of flourish. I think a key factor was the (implicit?) expectation that members should make technical presentations.

Living in the west of Ireland there aren’t enough local Perl users (that I’ve found so far) to have a viable Perl Mongers group. So I setup the Limerick Open Source meetup instead.

Here’s what worked for us: We sit around in a quiet comfy hotel bar and chat. Naturally the chat tends towards the technical, and laptops are produced and turned around to illustrate a point or show results of a search, a chunk of video etc. There’s no set agenda, no declared topics, and no presentations. And yet, I think it’s fair to say, that everyone who’s come along has learnt interesting (albeit random) stuff.

I’d like to hear from perl mongers, in groups of all sizes, what kinds of balance between the social and technical aspects of Perl Mongers meetings works (or doesn’t work) for you.

OSSBarcamp

At OSSBarcamp I gave a ~15 minute ‘lightning talk’ on Devel::NYTProf in the morning, and a ~50 minute talk on Perl Myths in the afternoon.

The Perl Myths talk was a major update to my previous version, now over 18 months old, incorporating lots of updated graphs and other fresh information.

There is so much happy vibrant productive life in the Perl community that updating the presentation has been lovely experience. I keep having to revise the numbers on the slides upwards. There are lots of great graphs and they’re all going upwards too! (Many thanks to Barbie for the great new graphs of CPAN stats.)

I’ve put a PDF of the slides, with notes, on slideshare. Best viewed full-screen or downloaded.

I made a screencast but I think I’ll hang on to that until after I give the same talk, updated again, at the Italian Perl Workshop (IPW09) in Pisa in October — I’m really looking forward to that! I’ll make another screencast there and decide then which to upload.

After OSSBarcamp last week, and before IPW09 in late October, I’ll be flying to Moscow, visa permitting, to give a talk at the HighLoad++ (translated) conference. I’ve never been to Russia before so that’s going to be an amazing experience!

Perl in five sentences

I just added a concluding slide to my updated Perl Myths talk. Having comprehensively debunked some myths with hard facts about perl and its ecosystem, I wanted to end with a slide that summarized some truths.

I liked the slide text so much I wanted to share it with you:



Perl:

has a massive library of reusable code
has a culture of best practice and testing
has a happy welcoming growing community
has a great future in Perl 5 and Perl 6
is a great language for getting your job done
    for the last 20 years, and the next 20!

 


It would make more sense after seeing the talk, but I think it stands well on its own as a summary of Perl.

Is your Perl community visible?

As I mentioned recently, I’m working on an update to my Perl Myths talk. (Which is really a review of the state of the art, state of the community, resources, and best practices. You could even call it marketing.)

In recent months, and especially while researching for this update, it’s become clear to me that the Perl community is both functioning well and growing more conscious of its own role and value.

But are the various components of “the community” sufficiently visible? Continue reading