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Gaming Buzz

Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 09:56 by Mike Milinkovich

I have seen more than a few references to Tim O’Reilly‘s post on IDE buzz. I actually thought that Tim’s post was well written and thoughtfully speculative. No one can reasonably take issue with statements like:

I don’t really follow the IDE wars, but this result surprised me, so I thought I’d ask my readers if you have any ideas about this result. It could be an artifact of the Yahoo! user base, for example, with very different results if we were able to run the same exercise against Google search volume…. So I’m not sure I’d take it as the final word on the popularity of the two IDEs.

But how I’ve seen Tim’s speculations used since have not exactly been to the same level of quality, if you know what I mean.

Two things to think about:

  1. First off, Eclipse (the blue line) has now moved into the number one spot on the graph. The point here is not that Eclipse is #1. It’s that no one really knows what makes these indices go up or down, and as Tim himself points out, no one knows if there is any correlation between the numbers and actual usage. Buzz is good fun and all, but great technology, adoption, ecosystem strength, predictability and open governance are all examples of things which matter much more IMHO.
  2. Secondly, as shown by a very small experiment we tried, many of these games are easy to game. For example, on the same page as the Buzz meter, you can find a pseudo stock chart for IDEs. A few days ago, we noticed that Eclipse was not the most highly valued of the stocks. Notice that it is today. Why? Because six of us at the Eclipse Foundation went to the trouble to register accounts and use our mythological $10,000 to buy Eclipse shares. We moved Eclipse into first place and each made a tidy “profit”. The fact that just six people can do that clearly means that this market is lacking in liquidity. Which is finance-speak for it’s a sucker’s game.

The point here is not pick on any particular metric, but to hopefully make folks a little more discerning the next time they’re reading claims of greatness.