April CTO Breakfast Report


Today we did something different at the CTO breakfast and brought a projector for 5 minute lightening demos.

  • Nathan Conger from Novell went first and showed the new SUSE Enterprise Linux Desktop. We saw Beta 10. This is available from OpenSUSE.org. Nice integrated wireless network management. Virtual desktops are a rotating cube. Windows warp when you drag them. Windows can live "on the corner" of the cube. An official DVD player will ship with the final version. Window transparency built-in. Expose-like behavior. All-in-all, pretty flashy. Support for Visual Basic macros in OpenOffice. Windows users now have to envy SUSE as well as OS X.
  • Jeff Hunsaker from SCO showed a mobile technology called Shout. Shout is an application based on a platform called Me, Inc. Shout is a way to broadcast one to many voice messages to phones (via SMS) and email addresses from your mobile phone. Other Me Inc applications include one called Vote that allows you to broadcast "polls" to a group and collect results. Another application was a mobile order entry tool. The tool connects to legacy applications (COBOL, PowerBuilder, etc.) over the phone network and uses Web services. Building other applications takes a few weeks. The Me, Inc. platform allows these applications to run across mobile platforms regardless of the underlying OS.
  • Dallan Quass from WeRelate.org (not WereLate.org). Using Google to find genealogy using last names either gives back too many results or only shows 30-50% of the available sites (when you limit it with other keywords). Dallan demoed a search engine specific for genealogy. Having a domain specific search engine gets better results and also gives better ancillary services like "what's related." The really cool thing is that the search engine allows users to use a wiki-like feature (based on MediaWiki) for influencing future results. They've extended MediaWiki to use XML blocks for storing structured data. In case you're wondering what business Dallan has doing search engines, he has a long history in search, building (and selling) the Junglee search engine in the Web 1.0 days.

Phil Burns announced that the next GeekDinner will be a first-night screening of X-Men 3.

Bruce Grant spent some time this month playing with Grails, a Rails-like framework for Groovy. Groovy is a dynamic language that has access to all of the Java Libraries because the scripts compile to JVM byte-code. I wrote about it at OSCON 2004. Bruce thought it was still too immature to be useful.

Parallels seems to have made a few people think seriously about buying a MacBook. The latest release has shared folders between the virtual machines. Scott Lemon reported that performance was "mind blowing."

We got into a discussion Tivos. Rumors of Desktop Connection for Macs in May. Roxio's Popcorn seems to be a good tool for getting video on the iPod.

Company's leak IP. It's not about how much IP you have, it's about how fast you can generate it. Patents are a form of mutual assured destruction where companies amass them in an effort to ensure they can take on anyone who tries to take them on.

Update: Richard Miller has notes from the breakfast.