Today I skipped through PlanetSUN and discovered an interesting article about the relationship between industry and university.
Sun is now a hip company, as their employees write blogs!!!1 Unfortunately the PlanetSUN is so large, that most of the content is not interesting, as a lot of them don’t write about (SUN-)technology but about private stuff, which belongs into personal blogs, but clobbers the planet.
Rob only feeds a category feed to his planet, which is a good solution, but most blogs don’t have category feeds .
In the interesting article i discovered on PlanetSUN, Bryan Cantrill wrote about his USENIX impressions. He noticed differences between the FREENIX/Open Source Track and the General Track especially the nearly absence of Industrial research in the General Track. He compared IT with traditional engineering and comes to the conclusion that Industry backing is vital for research. Finally he raises the question if an academic-dominated USENIX becomes irrelevant.
One of the comments referred to an article by Robert W. Lucky in IEEE Spectrum, Is “Industrial Research” An Oxymoron?, which bashes the industry for reducing their Research Labs.
So who is responsible for this process? In the dotcom-times it was possible to launch a successfull company with a charismatic manager and a good Marketing. The engineering part was often done by some students, that quit university. This resulted in an alienation between both both parties maybe based on the traditional difficulties between people with an academic degree and those without one.
People that are now key players in their IT departements don’t believe in the academic “publish or perish”-credo, so why should they go through the hassle of writing papers, visiting boring conferences etc.?
On the other side, people with academic background can only shake their head over some parts of the technology on which current IT industry is based, e.g. Amazons ridiculous 1-click patent, so they see the industry only as money-givers, but not as insightful partners.
The questions that remains open, what can we do against it? Is there a better way than the past industry-university cooperation, e.g. the OpenSource Model?