Where Do Developers In The Software Industry Spend Time Online?


Dare Obasanjo

I spend a lot of my time on discussion sites aimed at the technical crowd, specifically Slashdot and Kuro5hin. I have slowly come to realize that although the quality of technical discussion is high on both sites I am missing out on a segment of the software developer population. Both sites seem to consist of a readership that is primarily pro-Linux and pro-Open source. Yet as anyone knows there is more to the world of software development than Open Source and *nix and in fact there is more software development targetted at non-Unix platforms and that are closed source than there are Open Source or *nix software projects. So my question is "Where are the discussion sites that these developers frequent?"

Below are the details on the two posts/articles in recent memory that have got me to asking this question.

CORBA (and Component Architectures/distributed computing in general)

A little while ago Miguel De Icaza had a round of seminars on why *nix needs a component architecture to enable code reuse on a larger scale than is currently practiced. Details of these seminars were posted to slashdot and both times his comments were met with vitriol and flame. I was surprised at this considering that component object models have the same advantage that object oriented programming have over structurd programming except that the code reusability is language independent and on a larger scale.

Also there are a large number of developers already using component programming in the software industry but I saw very few posts from them in the thousand or so generated by both postings of Miguel's comments on Slashdot. What was even more amazing is that in later articles comments like this one which claim that GNOME is the only successful CORBA project abound. The fact that this person (a college student) had made this error was not surprising to me since lots of people get their news from one source alone and believe that they are fully informed. What surprised me was the fact that the post was moderated at (+5 insightful) even though a.) GNOME's Bonobo architecture is not yet successful and b.) There have been several dozens of successful CORBA projects which total several million lines of code and whose effects are felt by several million people.

So where do the developers of these products hang out online?


The second incident that got me to thinking about this issue recently and in fact inspired this article is this story that was submitted yesterday to kuro5hin. In this article the author brings up old arguments about Java that have long since been squashed in Java developer circles and a bunch of suppositions on Java's lack of penetration in the mainstream (whatever that means?).

Java is used by almost every major player in every major industry in the U.S. and beyond. Personal Java runs on the myriad embedded systems with their own JVM and even American Express credit cards. Java servlets and JSP run myriad websites from mail.com to First Union . Enterprise Java Beans and it's associate web server platforms has spawned a cottage industry of server platform developers that include IBM, Bea, Allaire and more. Yet I only see one post to that article pointing out that for all intents and purposes Java is mainstream and that post happens to be mine.

So where do the developers of these products hang out online?

My purpose in posting this is not to deride the people whose comments and articles I have linked to, Lord knows, there are many things I know nothing about and will seem completely unkowledgeable about to an expert (e.g. the Linux kernel, XSLT, C#, COM, configuring Apache etc). Instead I would merely like to have a balanced mental diet. Currently Slashdot and kuro5hin satisfy my need for discussion on Linux, Open Source and Technology culture in general but I am sure there are other forums where people who are immersed in other technologies/development models abound in which I would like to partake from and feed my desire for knowledge.

I tried ZDNet but left because there were way too many Microsoft apologists both in the talkbacks and in the actual articles. I respect the technical ability of Microsoft 's developers but am ashamed by the business practices of the upper management, reading comments that embrace the despicable practices of Microsoft's upper management daily soon became too much for me and I stopped reading it. Also they often post factually incorrect articles (especially vis a vis the MSFT vs. DOJ trial) and refused to print my talkback posts correcting their errors.

© 2000 Dare Obasanjo