ApacheCon: Watching the Alpha Geeks

oreilly_header_part1.gif Tim O’Reilly gave this morning’s keynote address. (Actually, what’s bizarre is that he’s actually giving the keynote address right now and I’m blogging via an 802.11b WLAN.)

O’Reilly spoke about early adopters being a good predictor for technology trends. He compared the models of Napster and MP3.com (distributed vs. client-server models) and how it often takes someone to look at technology in a completely different way in order to make progress — cheap local storage and always-on networking are changing the computing landscape. He says the killer apps of today are all network applications: web, mail, chat, music sharing.

The best laugh came at the moment when he said that he thinks the phrase “Paradigm Shift” gets overused so much that it is starting to generate groans the way the phrase “The Knights Who Say Nee!” has done for years.

O’Reilly also spoke about applications migrating towards platforms. For example, instant messaging is an application (AIM, Y! Messenger, MSN Messenger) but it is becoming a platform (Jabber, AIM-iChat integration).

scrambled-sm.jpg Before the talk, I actually had breakfast with O’Reilly (the restaurant was packed and we both grabbed seats at the same table) and we talked about the world of free software. He suggested writing an article for the O’Reilly newsletter about Y! moving away from yapache (our Apache web server variant) towards a more standard Apache server. (I mentioned our weird mod_yahoo_ccgi thing which is like a crippled version of mod_so, but we invented our own because back in 1996 we had a need for DSOs before they were directly supported in the Apache server.) After the PHP news “debacle” last month, we’ll see if I can get permission to write openly about the subject.