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I just flew back from JavaPolis and boy are my arms tired

Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 18:49 by Wayne Beaton

Sorry about the lame joke, but my brain is also tired. I started my week in Antwerp, Belgium at the JavaPolis 2005 conference. I had a good time at the conference and am looking forward to attending again next year. I have to admit that I was expecting a lot more people to attend our events, but after reasoning/rationalizing through the fact that the conference actually started the day after our Eclipse in Action day, I guess we actually had a pretty good turn out.

I had a lot of fun delivering my presentation. The crowd sat in rapt attention (or was perhaps sleeping with their eyes open) as I delivered my spiel on Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP). I’m a little disappointed that the audience did not rush en mass to the stage, lift me up upon their shoulders and march me around the venue, but I guess you can’t get everything. At least not every time you deliver a talk…

After we wrapped up in Antwerp, we drove to Germany and visited a lot of people in a four-city marathon session. I have to admit that driving at 180 km/h on the Autobahn still makes me giggle like a little boy; though we did end up missing one meeting because of a pile-up.

One of the things we noticed during our visits is how little at least this small cross section of the world understand the open source development community. The short version of this story is that it is clear to me that at least some part of the Eclipse community doesn’t report bugs or request new features. Two of the companies we visited had constructed impressive applications using Eclipse RCP, with only a single bug report between them. They used my visit as an opportunity to pepper me with feature requests and bug reports, hoping that I would help to ease their pain (they had developed numerous work arounds). Apparently they had evolved a culture of not reporting bugs because the commercial vendors they use just ignore them.

It doesn’t work that way in Eclipse. Eclipse developers depend on receiving feedback though bug reports. If you use Eclipse, you should be creating bug reports when you find problems. If you don’t report them, how will they ever be identified and fixed? There’s a lot more to this story, but I’ll save the main discussion for another day…