It is good to be at PASS Sql Server conference in Seattle. Most people here have this kindred Sql Server spirit. Since we all have this in common, it is easy to start a conversation with pretty much anybody. All you need to do is to smile, greet each other warmly, and share your own stories that a lot of other people can relate to. Most people are very nice, friendly, and helpful.
A couple of things to comment on:
1. Unlike last year’s conference in Dallas, the session rooms and labs are fairly close to each other. That makes it easier for people to find and go to the locations they want to;
2. PASS decided to stop printing PowerPoint slides. Instead, most slides can be downloaded before a session starts. I found this really helpful. I like to skim through files to determine if I am interested in a particular topic. The green backpack is a nice touch, since we are going “green” (paperless) this year;
3. Microsoft interactive lounge is very helpful, both to attendees and Microsoft, I hope. I talked to some senior testers from the full text search team, and got one of my issues resolved. You know, when you talk to an expert, you can get the gist of stuff without the noise in a short time. I will post some of the code snippets I got regarding full text search in a future post;
4. Steve Ballmer’s keynote is ok. He is a good presenter and very energetic. The Vista UI looks nice. At the end, the last question to him was if he would do a dance for us, like he did during a developer conference. He responded well, saying there is no music, and yelled “Go DBAs Baby” or something to that effect before leaving stage;
5. Steve Ballmer also commented on the alliance with Novell, and Microsoft’s legal trouble at the EU. I thought his responses were quite disingenuous. Regarding Novell and Linux, he indicated that Linux has infringed on Microsoft’s intellectual property and the agreement with Novell would cover SUSE Linux in case of lawsuit. The intellectual property infringement argument may or may not be true. But the table can be turned too. Can Microsoft guarantee that it does not infringe other’s, including Linux community’s, intellectual property? Initially I felt pretty positive about the alliance between Microsoft and Novell. After hearing Ballmer’s comments, I am not so sure now. It may not be worth worrying, after all. Just look at the thing Microsoft did with Sun. Now Java and Solaris are all open-source.
Regarding the EU legal issue, he responded that Microsoft is already pretty open. He went on to argue that since so many applications and device drivers are written for Windows platform, Microsoft can not be accused of not being open. That is quite disingenuous. I do agree that Microsoft has changed a lot and is definitely more open now, but Steve’s thinking is not in the right place. I also agree with Joel Spolsky and others. I think Microsoft would benefit without Steve as the CEO.