Saturday, January 29, 2011

codemash microsoft shills ???

codemash is a tech conference that happens down the road at kalahari each january. each year i'm tempted to go, but it's seemed too microsoft centric for my taste. looking at #codemash i saw lazycoder wrote: With the #WebMatrix launch event at #CodeMash, does CodeMash become just another MS event? Or can it retain it's uniqueness & independence?, and later: Or more generally: is there a connection between vendor involvement and lack of variety at a conference?. the codemash people vehemently denied it, and he ends up retracting the statement, but it prompted me to finally sit down and try to quantify the MS influence ...

the core organizing committee (commentary is mine, based on reading the first few pages of the twitter feeds and blogs, following prominent links, and quick google searches for each of them):

  • Jim Holmes, President, Board of Directors
    sharepoint, .NET, some C# (though it looks like he's at least familiar with java)
  • Brian Prince, Vice President, Board of Directors
    windows azure, silverlight, ASP, and hosts windows bootcamps
  • Jason Gilmore, Secretary, Board of Directors and co-chair, speaker committee
    PHP, mysql, web apis
  • Dianne Marsh, co-chair, speaker committee
    founded SRT: .NET, Visual Studio, C#, microsoft MVP
    mentions a bunch of non-MS tech in passing ... guava, scala, google tools
  • Jason Follas, Sponsor Coordinator
    Twitter Bio: .NET and WoW... Is there anything else in life?
  • Mike Woelmer, VIP Coordinator
    Twitter Bio: Software consultant at SRT Solutions, C# developer
  • Darrell Hawley, Jack of All Trades
    Twitter Bio: C# Developer and Python enthusiast; Blog: C# MVP
  • Jeff Blankenburg, Graphics
    works for microsoft pimping the zune
of the bunch, only jim and dianne acknowledged java. didn't notice anything about linux or android, don't remember seeing anything about iOS (though i'm not an iOS dev, so i could have missed something). lots of C#, .NET, microsoft MVP, and azure. some windows phone 7. 5 guys that are outright pro-MS, 1 pure web play, and 2 generalists that appear to lean towards MS technology

looking at the sessions, 36 .NET sessions. 15 Java sessions, of which most are really Scala or Groovy. and not one mention of linux as a platform (several speakers bio's mention it), vs dozens for windows. the first sentence or 2 in the java sessions abstracts:
  • The rumors of the death of Swing have been greatly exaggerated
  • Java developers are typically hamstrung when it comes to rapid application development and prototyping
  • Are you a Java/Scala/Clojure developer? Are you jealous of all your Ruby buddies using Cucumber to write clean, readable acceptance tests?
  • The state of Java web development is in pretty sad shape
for the most part negative towards Java. the .NET blurbs are much more positive, including this charmer: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is an extremely powerful and flexible framework. the numbers and the tone lean heavily toward .NET and various windows tech.

the codeplex guys responded to the critical tweets that prompted my "investigation" with this defensive tweet: @lazycoder Why does one launch event turn us into MS shills? I think we've got the chops and history to prove we're remaining independent.

no. one launch event doesn't prove anything. but a history of pro-microsoft and anti-linux and anti-java bias does. ignoring and painting Java in a negative light, completely ignoring linux as a platform, a microsoft launch event, and a committee that's loaded with MS technologists does. and denying that bias makes it worse

codemash should either fess up and admit that they're a microsoft-centric conference or acknowledge that they've failed to maintain a proper balance, add a bunch of non-microsoft technologists to their committee and present a balanced view of the technology landscape in the coming years

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