July 26, 2002 Archives

OSCON: Targeting Parrot

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Leon is making a great presentation on how to make programs for parrot. Larry, Damian, Chip, Allison Randal and Dan Sugalski are here too. Dan is answering questions when Leon has to draw a blank.

We are being told that it will be really easy to use Parrot as your VM if you are writing a dynamic language. And it'll be really easy to extend parrot. Exceptions are almost, but not quite, finished. We have a parrot debugger, pdb. Or you can trace with ./parrot -t run.pbc. Or you can use gdb to debug the parrot internals. Or print statements, "like the rest of us". Things still needs to be added: complete symbol tables, classes and objects, Async IO, more documentation.

"Keep up to date by reading perl6-internals or the Perl 6 summary".

Leon finished in just 30 minutes; great. Questions now ... Dan goes up to answer. :)

In other news then I'm glad I didn't go to the NetTopBox talk after reading Aaron's transcript and Leon's comments.

OSCON: mjd's Judo Talks

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I can't give any details on the Mailing List Judo talk; except to say that it was really really funny and that if you missed it, you missed it.

The Conference Presentation Judo was really funny too; and useful! If you give any kind of (technical) conference presentation, please read it. Dominus tells about how to make a tutorial teach people thing and not be boring. Did I mention it was really funny?

OSCON: State of Parrot

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Dan Sugalski tells about the State of Parrot. It's really cool; he tells about how flexible it is; the languages it already supports. Parrot already supports quite a few different platforms.

I knew that; but Parrot seems like it's in pretty good shape. Dan is a really entertaining speaker.

Parrot can count from 0 to 100M in ~5 seconds; other languages (Ruby (+200), Perl (~160), Python (~120)) takes more than 100 seconds. :-)

Next is mjd's Mailing List Judo and Conference Presentation Judo.

OSCON - Friday Keynotes

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I got myself out of bed at ~9.15 to take a quick shower and make it down for Milton's keynote at 9.30. I was here at 9.35 and the previous keynoters are still on. They blow. I don't know what they talk about, but it's really boring.

Nathan is introducing Milton know. "He is going to talk about open source, you know blah blah blah and Lord of the Rings [applause]".

Milton goes on. "How many here saw the first movie". Lots of hands up. "Okay, so how many didn't see it?" A few hands goes up.

After that he showed the new trailer for LotR II. Talk about crowd pleaser!

He tells about technical things. Each frame is 12MB. They have 20TB storage online on NetApps. Almost 300 workstations (2/3 Linux, 1/3 SGI) for the modelers and designers. They have ~1300 CPUs in the render farm.

Now he is showing lots of examples of evolving the movie from normal shots to shots with creatures. Before that he showed how "forced perspective" works to make some guys look really really tiny while having other actors be normal size.

Each CG generated creature has several GB of textures which are accessed by hundreds of machines at a time; so one of their big problems is actually read performance.

Now he is showing how they made the balrog and the fire simulation which is really hard. The balrog and the fire was getting so much data that the Linux boxes were (almost) crashing.

He shows digital doubles. We get told about what software they use and that it's for Linux (so they can use it).

Question from the audience about a scene he showed: "so this is all digital". "Yeah, this is pretty much all digital. All of it except for the shot in the end, which is a miniature".

Hehe, this is cool. Peter is doing virtual reality camera work. He walks around in a big empty room with goggles on and a camera in hand to "film" in a virtual world.

Their gcc optimized Linux version of some of the software is 3 times faster than it was on Irix. Noone listened to that though because he showed a funny scene while talking about it. He says everyone in the industry has moved from Irix to Linux in the last few years.

He shows a bunch of different tools called things like "Elf-_Sword_Agent-PrePro v. Massive-38". Very cool.

open source in vfx

perl is the primary tool. [applause] Tcl/tk they use for GUIs. mysql. apache/php. java. python.

They are all about quality; so if they get better quality buying something they do so, but he prefers open source. He thanks CPAN module authors, says it has been very important for the movie. Neato.

Someone asks if they could give financial support for open source and he tells that they are a really small company actually. Most people are just contracted for the project; and if there's no new work from Peter after they are done with LotR Weta (the company) will actually cease to exist...

Very cool keynote! People didn't even IRC much, that's how cool it was.

All busy in the sunlight
The flecks did float and dance,
And I was tumbled up with them
In formless circumstance.
        -- Leonard Cohen

This conference rocks. Way too much fun stuff to do. Way too many cool people to meet. Moving from my carefullly selected group of friend in Denmark, it takes a long time to pick up bright people who are fun to hang out with (you know who you are). The Open Source Convention is like an instant boost to the brain of fun bright people. I'm just back from Nathan's p5p party in his suite. Lots of fun people, lots of drinks, lots of laughs.


After the last talk I stayed in the room talking to Perrin, meeting Eric Hammond and Christopher Fry whom ironically is on the same floor as I am when I go to do stuff at CitySearch (although he works on the Ticketmaster part). We talked about various ways to manage session data across a large cluster or multiple clusters. Just before this was the last time I saw Chris and Kevin by the way. I wonder where they went and if they made sure to get some of the free beer later. :-D

The room we were in was used for the p5ee bof, so I just stayed there after Leon came in. It ended up just being lots of ranting about managers who gets sold on Java even when perl would be a better choice. There was not really much consensus or energy behind P5EE at all, so it seems a bit dead. It would have been nice to have Stephen Adkins and Matt Sergeant in the BOF, but Matt was elsewhere and Stephen not at the conference. Stephen has done pretty much all the work and Matt has a bunch of insight on this. Oh well.

Then I went to the weblog BOF which was fun. Low tech. Nice. People talked about why they liked the different tools. There was talk about trends in the community and things we would like to see. The last people got an explanation of TrackBacks. I need to remember to ask Rael about the log aggregator for Mac OS X that he talked about. What was the name again?

Ben and Mena Trott (of Movable Type fame) was there, but somehow I didn't really get to say hello to them. What's up with that?! Someone else said hello afterwards and while talking to him Mena and Ben disappeared. It was cute, they seemed a bit shy in there. They've made the coolest thing, they are very likeable and friendly people; I really wish I'll get a chance to say hello properly before the conference is over. They make cool stuff, I'd like to praise them some more in person.

After changing to shoes (feet in sandals got really cold as the air condition made the rooms colder and colder), I went back to the same room for mjd's BOF. I wanted to go to the Perl Foundation BoF too, gaah. At mjd's BOF we talked about random things and in particular debuggers and the perl debugger. I'd like to make a simple command line interface to the regexp debugger he made. Maybe that could be a start of getting someone else to make a cool free GUI thing. My bloodsugar got really really low, so I headed towards the bar and ordered whatever Tim Bunce had. He was there with Graham Barr, Sarathy, Gisle Aas and one more whom I in my semi drunken state right now can't remember who was. Gaah.

p5p party

After a few rounds of free beer courtesy the Aaronson Consulting group, Stonehenge and Dyndns (I think it was), we headed up to Nathans perl5-porters party. On the way out of the bar for a last drink I met Ben Hockenhull. After talking to him frequently because he does the dns for some of our perl domains it was nice to say hello. I had no idea that he was he. Someone sent me a caption for a photo where he was on. "Ah, that's him!"

Anyway, up to the p5p party I went. Lots of fun people there; too many to enumerate. Robert and I took a bunch of photos with my camera and I got to play with Nathans DV camera. Poor Nathan if he tries to edit the ~45 minutes people recorded. Or lucky Nathan as some of it is probably funny.

I finally got to meet Jeffrey Friedl, author of the Regular Expression Book. (Go buy it already; it's out in a second edition). Somehow he was a lot younger than I thought. I'm not sure what I expected, but maybe I think he's too smart *and* nice to not be really old. :-D

I also talked to Milton Ngan, operations manager at Weta where they work on the Lord of the Rings movies. It was very interesting to hear about how the problems are similar and different when your ~1000 servers are rendering movies (compared to have your server farm serve some kind of webfoo). He seemed like a really nice guy; if saleries were only higher in New Zealand I would hurry to explain to Viridiana the benefits of living there and try applying for a job. :-D

Ingy told a bit more about his roadtrip in his car. It really makes me want to not play with computers and travel around for a bit. Maybe I would bring my powerbook. Just to download the photos from my camera. And maybe I'd bring the list of dialup numbers from Speakeasy. Just to check a bit of mail and use CVS. And do a bit of work... Just a bit.

Rael Dornfest told about his dream job (which he has). It sounds like he has a bunch of fun. Lots of it is just staying on top of what's cool. I wonder if I could do that. I'm afraid I'd dig myself down in some of the coolness too much instead of staying up where you can see more of what's going on.

Jason May was there (and at the P5EE BOF). I'd like to talk to him some more too, but I don't even remember when I met him before and where he works. Maybe at last years p5p party where he worked at eBay's onllne payment thing. Hmn... Could be. Must try to find him again.

Oh, did I mention that the multimedia repository from this TPC is getting pretty cool? Check it out.

Okay, very late now. Sleepytime .... ZzZzZz....

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2002 listed from newest to oldest.

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