Episode 86: Interview Dave Thomas

Filed in Episodes by on February 11, 2008 9 Comments

Recording Venue: OOPSLA 2007
Guest(s): Dave Thomas

Host(s): Markus
This episode is an interview with Dave Thomas (OTI Dave or Smalltalk Dave, not PragDave). We started our discussion with a look at the (non-)success of objects and components. We then discussed some history behine Eclipse and Dave’s role in OTI. We then compared Smalltalk and Ruby and looked at the promises of small and powerful languages such as Lisp. We also discussed the role of (static) type systems and the role of tool support for languages.

We then switched gears and looked at what is necessary to scale agile development to the level of large organizations
and how techniques from lean production and manufacturing as well as product management can play an important role.

In the last part of the interview we looked at the state of research today, and especially the relationship between industry and academia in this area.

We concluded the interview with Dave’s opinion on what it takes to be a good developer.

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  1. What is a good developer? « Blah Blah Blog | November 15, 2010
  1. Ronk says:

    The Dick Gabriel on Lisp episode (#84) was an instant favorite and so is this one. Lots and lots of sweat pearls of wisdom. And some of the one-liners I’ll be quoting for some time to come (yes, I’m a sad person ;-)).

    Here’s me hoping you continue getting this kind of folk in front of your microphone!

    \Ron

  2. Markus says:

    I like these Episodes, too, we’ll certainly try to keep getting this kind of folk :-)

    Markus

  3. jpmuncey says:

    Personally, I am not up-to-date with a lot of the “innovations” of the past five years, and subsequently it can be intimidating to sift through the tech/marketing hype. Listening to Dave Thomas effortlessly cut through all of that and show the connections back to the foundations of technology is really encouraging. The world felt a lot smaller and more comprehensible for about an hour!

    The great thing about IT is that the founding fathers are mostly still up and running. SE-radio are doing great work to bring so many of them to the microphone. Keep it up!

  4. Pete F says:

    As it happens, when I heard the Dick Gabriel interview I thought something like “it’s so great to hear from someone who absolutely knows a technology -but is NOT an evangelist -just like Dave Thomas talking staight about Smalltalk recently, on the Industry Misinterpretations and Agile Toolkit Podcasts ”

    I was delighted when Dave Thomas turned up here too.

    For my money, the ultimate “founding father” for se-radio to interview would be Alan Kay -who would certainly cut through the hype! First question: “what do you make of the term software engineering?”

    But hey -they don’t have to be a founding father. I would love to hear Armin Rigo from the PyPy project. Brilliant, cutting edge -but not intimidating.

  5. Markus says:

    I have put Armin Rigo/PyPy on the list…. that doesn’t mean much,
    however, since the list is *really* long :-)

    Cheers,
    Markus

  6. Pete F says:

    Don’t know how you are going on the $support$ SE Radio thing but two thoughts:

    1. If you have to go to advertising (I hope we can all prevent that), I would pay for an add-free version.

    2. If I were you, I would produce special “infomercial editions”, additional to the regular shows. On these shows, a vendor really wanting to get through to your listeners would basically pay to be interviewed. These shows would be clearly marked on the site, and perhaps a separate feed.

    They would get; an opportunity to go into some depth on their take of a problem, and how they believe they solve it.

    Listeners would get; the extra odd optional show.

    You would get; money.

    Ideally, vendors would appreciate that your audience would rather hear from the tech guy than the marketing guy -and they would invite a real discussion (viz. hard questions). Maybe you could offer them a gentle interviewer and a tougher one??

  7. Markus says:

    [Pete, sorry for this, I have

    > 1. If you have to go to advertising (I hope we can all prevent that), I would pay for an add-free version.

    as you can see, we currently have an ad on the top of the web page.
    That's one form of advertising.

    ALso, in two or three of the upcoming episodes we'll try out the advertising
    in the show. It will be at the end, and we're trying to be different and really
    make it interesting.

    We'll then collect feedback from the audience and see if we go on with
    that.

    > 2. If I were you, I would produce special "infomercial editions", additional to the regular
    > shows. On these shows, a vendor really wanting to get through to your listeners would
    > basically pay to be interviewed. These shows would be clearly marked on the site,
    > and perhaps a separate feed.

    hm, I am not sure. I hate these kinds of sessions at conferences, and nobody I
    know goes into these sessions. It's also a lot of work for stuff I don't really believe
    in. I'd rather have 60 seconds of well-done, and interesting promo at the end
    of an episode.

    > Ideally, vendors would appreciate that your audience would rather hear from
    > the tech guy than the marketing guy -and they would invite a real discussion
    > (viz. hard questions).

    yes, this is actually a good point..... I think I will think about this,

    Thanks!!

    Markus

  8. Jooly says:

    A very interesting interview. It taught me a tremendous amount about Rocket From the Tombs that I never knew before, while I don’t really need to hear David talk about Pere Ubu too much because they’ve been my all-out favourite band for an amazing THIRTY years now and I’ve always obsessively collected and filed information on them. I briefly met David Thomas and Allen Ravenstine after a gig in London too, and they were very cool and impressive, though David was the only one who wasn’t evasive regarding questions.
    Thecancer

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