Sunday, March 05, 2006

Welcome to Canada!

Inspired by Mike Milinkovich, who alerted me to an article by Joe Winchester, I have decided to finally create a blog (why not?). The plan is to focus on modeling-related topics at Eclipse, specifically concerning the newly proposed top-level Modeling project. Hopefully, it will become a team effort with Ed and others, not unlike what Bjorn and Ward have done here.

Now, for the real inspiration for this blog entry... my recent trip to Canada to discuss said Modeling project with fellow-proposed PMC members.

Living in Connecticut, and after discovering there are no direct means by which to travel to Ottawa, I decided to drive (mistake #1). After a few hours of driving across barren upstate New York, I arrived at the border where I informed the guard I was traveling on business (mistake #2). This and a few other pointed questions won me the opportunity to speak with another guard behind door #1 at the official "Canadian Welcome Center."

Now, if you've ever questioned the motivation behind open source, or pondered the question of how a for-profit company can make $ by contributing to Eclipse... here's an exchange that may be familiar:

Border Guard: "What brings you to Canada?"
Me: "I'm going to Ottawa to meet with some folks at IBM."
Border Guard: "Do you work for IBM?"
Me: "No, I work for Borland Software."
Border Guard: "Then, why are you going to meet with IBM?"
Me: "Well, we work together on the same project."
Border Guard: "Whose product is it?"
Me: "Uh, it's an open source project at Eclipse." (mistake #3)
Border Guard: "Who sells it?" (now I'm in trouble)
Me: "Nobody, actually. It's free software." (honesty is not seeming like the best policy here)
Border Guard: "So, who pays you?"
Me: "Borland does."
Border Guard: "So, does Borland pay the IBM employees on the project?"
Me: "No, IBM pays them." (clearly, I am never getting into Canada)
Border Guard: "I'm not sure I understand. How do you make money by doing this?"
Me: "Now, that is a great question that I don't think anyone has a good answer to yet." (mistake #4)
Border Guard: "OK, so do you have a Letter of Invitation?"
Me: "No." (mistake #5)
Border Guard: "Well, you'll need to have one filled out and faxed here before I can let you pass."
Me: "OK, thanks."

I return to my car, fire up the laptop, and try to locate a number I can call to get such a letter. Of course, there is no answer. I leave a message and look for another number to try when suddenly, I see my new Canadian friend emerge from behind door #1.

Border Guard: "OK, I looked it up online and guess it's true. Next time, you'll need to have a Letter of Invitation, but I'm going to let you pass this time."
Me: "Thanks. I sure will." (thinking to myself, "Next time, I'll be a tourist.")

Anyway, the plan is to continue contributing to Eclipse and with the help of our Canadian colleagues (and border patrol), form a solid community around modeling-related activities at Eclipse. In response to Joe Winchester's article, stay tuned to the new Modeling project and this blog for more information about how and when high-level design tools will become available at Eclipse.


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