EclipseCON 2006

Overview

EclipseCON 2006 was held at the Santa Clara Convention Centre, smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.

Last year, apparently the wireless availability was lacking, and erratic at best. This year was much better (although I had issues – mostly related to my wireless card and the software that runs it.)

The presentation materials were done up on USB keys. The nice thing about USB keys is that we didn’t have to lug around a big binder full of materials (especially coming back on the plane) and they figured that they saved about 35 trees by not using paper. Plus, you have a nice 256Mb USB key to use afterwards!

The following facts were presented at the wrap-up of the conference:

  • 1407 attendees were present
  • 469 companies were represented
  • 399 speakers presented
  • attendees came from 36 different countries
  • wireless was able to handle 507 simultaneous users
  • 255,208 website hits over the 4 days, 29490 of which were from EclipseCON wireless users
  • 128 Mb of presentation materials were handed out on USB keys

Fun facts:

  • 155 lbs. of shrimp were eaten at the sponsored gatherings
  • 22,500,000 calories of cookies were provided
  • 643 gallons of coffee were drank
  • 4 people actually registered on Christmas Day (even the other developers called these guys geeks)
  • the funniest recommended presentation track

Day by day summaries:

Interesting News

<More here later>

Highs

All of the keynote speakers were excellent presenters, and had very interesting and applicable messages.

The lunches (provided by the conference centre) were delicious.

Lows

The one problem with the Santa Clara Convention Centre is that it is really in the middle of the valley. Unless attendees rent a car, the day is very full (8:30 am until 5:00 pm, plus exhibitors, BOFs, awards ceremonies, sponsored receptions, impromptu get-togethers on after 5:00), and it is almost impossible to get anywhere in time to do much during the week. San Francisco is about 45 miles away, so close to an hour with no traffic. For the same reason, eating tends to be expensive as attendees will most likely be eating at the hotels for the meals that aren’t provided.

Summary

The one recurring theme throughout the conference was the direction in which software development is headed. The general impression is that most software will be free, and most likely open-source. Many companies are beginning to realize that rather than having a huge development team re-inventing the wheel each time a new project is started, it makes more sense to devote a few employees to open source projects. This way, a collaboration can take place with employees of other companies as well as other developers, who are all trying to accomplish the same thing. This not only makes developing more efficient overall (less money and time spent overall by all companies involved), it allows technologies to adhere much more closely to standards, as companies are not all developing their own proprietary tools with their own APIs that end up not being reusable by anyone else. I agree wholeheartedly that this is an attractive route as well as logical, and it appears that many companies are starting to realize this. Companies are beginning to shift away from product development, putting effort into collaboration, and moving there sources of revenue generation to the installation, configuration and customizing of software. Most people at the conference with whom I spoke figured that the pendulum is going to swing this way in the next 10 years. We as a company had best be prepared for this: even if we don’t embrace it or operate that way ourselves, we must be ready to deal with an industry that utilizes open source software to the fullest extent.

The presentation content (slides, source, etc) can be browsed at eclipsezilla. This is a Bugzilla-driven site, where presentations are listed as bugs, and attachments (the actual presentation slides) are present for most of them.

This is definitely a convention that we need to be attending. I would recommend one or two from the office heading down that way, and ideally we would be presenting something at this one as well.

Links of Interest

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