Friday, October 28, 2011

HPTS 2011

I'm back from HPTS and as usual it was a great snapshot of the major things happening or about to happen in our industry. In past years we've had Java transactions, ubiquitous computing, transactions for the Internet and the impacts of large scale on data consistency. We've also had discussions on the possible impact of future (back then) technologies such as SSD and flash on databases and transactions.

This year was a mix too, with the main theme of cloud. (Though it turned out that cloud wasn't that prevalent). I think the best way to summarise the workshop would be concentrating on high performance and large scale (up as well as out). With talks from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft we covered the gamut of incredibly large numbers of users (700 million) through eventual consistency (which we learnt may eventually not be enough!)

Even 25 years after it started it's good to see many of the original people behind transaction processing and databases still turning up. (I've only been going since the 90s.) This includes Stonebraker (aka Mr Alphabet Soup), who gave his usual divisive and entertaining talks on the subject of SQL and how to do it right this time, and of course Pat, who instructed us never to believe a #%^#%-ing word he says as he's now back on the side of ACID and 2PC! (All in good fun, of course.)

Now it's important to realise that you never go to HPTS just for the talks. The people are more than 50% of the equation for this event and it was good to see a lot of mixing and mingling. We had a lot of students here this time, so if past events are anything to go by I am sure we will see the influence of HPTS on their future work. And I suppose that just leaves me to upload the various presentations to the web site!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where have all the postings gone?

I know I've been blogging a lot this year, yet when I look at the entry count for this blog it's not as high as I had expected. Then I realised that most of my attention has been directed at JBoss. So if you're wondering where I am from time to time, it's over here.

RIP Dennis Ritchie

It's safe to say that no programming language has had as big an impact on my career as C. It's also safe to say that no operating system has had as big an impact on my career as Unix. So for these reasons and many others it is sad to hear about the passing of Dennis Ritchie. I met him once, many years ago, when he visited the University and spoke about a range of things, including C and Plan 9. He was a great speaker, someone who helped shape the world we live in, and a nice man. Yet another sad day.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Bluestone and Steve Jobs

Amongst all of the various articles and tributes to Steve Jobs I came across this from Bob, who is one of the people that has influenced my career significantly (and positively!) over the years. So it's interesting to read the influence Steve had on Bob, Bluestone, HP and hence Arjuna, JBoss and now Red Hat (not forgetting the other companies with which Bob's been involved over the years)! Thanks Bob and thanks, indirectly, Steve.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A sad day for Apple and the world

I'm an Apple user and have been for many years (since the 1990's). I've had desktops, laptops, ipods, iphones and of course various software. I've been an admirer of Apple and Steve Jobs for just as long, so it's really sad to hear that he has passed away today. The world is a little bit darker now, but I hope his legacy lives on. My thoughts go out to his family.