O'Reilly Radar (OSCON 2005)


Tim O'Reilly's giving the traditional O'Reilly Radar, a talk from Tim about what he sees coming down the pike and the "faint signals of the future" along with Nat Torkington, the conference chair.

One of the things that was interesting to Nat was that there was a significant interest on Mozilla, AJAX, and Ruby on Rails at the conference.

Tim mentions his "open source paradigm shift" theory (he doesn't go into detail, see the paper). The theory proposes an analogy between the rise of the PC and the path open source is on: subsystem-level lock-in (Intel on one side, MySQL, jBoss, etc. on the other), integration of commodity components (Dell vs. Apache, Linux, Mozilla, and Perl), and Network effect lock-in (Microsoft vs Web 2.0--eBay, Amazon, etc.).

Will Web 2.0 be an open systems? What do open services look like? Data is the "Intel Inside" in this world. Do we need a "Free Data Foundation" in 2010? How does the paradigm shift change out business models and delveopment practices? Who should we be watching and learning from? There are some developments with implications for Web 2.0:

  • Ruby on Rails - will it be the Perl of Web 2.0?
  • GreaseMonkey - cracks open Web sites without having to get inside the server.
  • HousingMaps.com - a mash-up of Craig's List and Google maps. This is unique because it was the first example of a Web service that wasn't just about connecting to one single service provider. Instead it was outside both and connected them in an interesting way.
  • Del.icio.us - O'Reilly uses it as a source of data about what people care about.
  • Findory - a service for managing the information stream and making recommendations based on the contents of your information stream.
  • Internet Telephony - Asterix, Skype, BroadVoice, etc. Nat tells of a hacker who has his home phone going through a Linux server and puts a whitelist on it so you can't make the phone ring between 11pm and 7am.
  • Opening up hardware, not just software - Make magazine, the Hacks series demonstrate the interest people have in this.
  • The computer book market has hit bottom and started to rebound in 2004, an indication that the industry as a whole is doing better.
  • Java books (including books on open source Java components) have picked up from a long decline.
  • Sampling skills from job boards shows that SQL is the top skill (18% of job listing list it). Perl is at 6%, equal to VB, bigger than C#.