What I’m Reading on 05/13/2014

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What I’m Reading on 04/25/2014

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What I’m Reading on 02/06/2014

  • “Today no one dies from standard wars, not that you’d know it from Internet comments. But years, millions of dollars, and endless arguments are spent arguing about standards. The reason for our fights aren’t any different from those that drove Edison and Westinghouse: It’s all about who benefits – and profits – from a standard.”

    tags: standards

  • “People have all sorts of reasons for connecting their homes. Some people want to monitor the nanny, or keep an eye on things for security or safety reasons. Others just want to see what their pets do when they’re not around. I happen to fall into the latter camp.”

    tags: cats iot

  • “It might surprise you just how often large companies give away their code to the open source community. At that point, anyone can contribute, debug, or download the code from a repository on GitHub or the Apache Software Foundation—and then use it for themselves. “

    tags: open source

  • “He’ll arrive at the lab just in time to participate in a major new initiative aimed at doing just that. Project Lucy is a 10-year, $100 million effort by IBM to work with governments, universities and development organizations to address Africa’s grand challenges. A key element will be harnessing IBM Watson, which beat two grand-champions on the TV game show Jeopardy! IBM announced the initiative today while Chief Executive Ginni Rometty and members of her senior executive team were meeting with government and business leaders in Nigeria.”

    tags: project lucy africa ibm

  • “There are extensions that stand alone, and others that add value to existing apps and web services. Some are so useful that Chrome users should take a look and see what they are missing.”

    tags: chrome extensions

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What I’m Reading on 11/19/2013

  • “Thus, ASF can only agree to the TCK license if Oracle will amend it consistent with the 2002 side-letter referred to above — i.e. by removing or reconstruing restrictions that are incompatible with ASF’s licensing and development practices — and to make available under these terms all of the TCKs Apache has previously had access to. We would be eager to work with Oracle on these revisions.”

    tags: apache oracle

  • “The acquisition will see Microsoft pay €5.4bn to buy the unit and also license Nokia patents for the next 10 years. All of the 4,700 Nokia’s Finnish employees who work in devices and services will be transferred to Microsoft, and the country will become a new centre of mobility R&D for the company.”

    tags: nokia microsoft

  • Google is getting even more proactive about security. In a blog post on Monday, Google announced that it is expanding its Patch Reward program to pay users that uncover security flaws in Android.”

    tags: google android hack

  • “Dropbox has always had a flair for the dramatic. Its CEO and co-founder Drew Houston, for example, appeared on a YouTube clip in 2012, belting out “Rocket Man” with a pint in hand at a Swiss bar—just one of several bravura performances. The company’s offices in San Francisco—replete with swings that dangle from the ceiling, a full bar and a recording studio—are among the most decadent. And, of course, Dropbox has garnered attention for raising an incredible $257 million in funding during its five-year journey.”

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What I’m Reading on 08/09/2013

  • “Many open source projects (from phones to programming tools) have taken to crowd-funding sites (such as Kickstarter and indiegogo) in order to raise the cash needed for large-scale development. And, in some cases, this has worked out quite well. But these sites really aren’t built with open source projects in mind – they are much more general fund-raising platforms. And, as you are probably well aware, open source comes with its own benefits and challenges.”

    tags: open source community

  • “Is Apache the most important open source project? Opinions will naturally differ. Some will point out that Linux dominates the next key global computing platform – mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Others will note that Firefox has defended many kinds of critical online openness, without which the Internet would be hugely poorer. Both are enormous and indispensable successes.”

    tags: apache open source

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What I’m Reading on 08/06/2013

  • IBM‘s Irv Lustig was one of the first INFORMS members to take the new INFORMS CAP (Certified Analytics Professional) exam. In this interview recorded at the 2013 INFORMS Analytics Conference in San Antonio, Irv shares his view on taking the exam, prepping, and how the exam benefits both analytics professionals and employers.”

    tags: ibm cap exam informs

  • “The alliance, called the OpenPower Consortium, was formed to break into Intel’s server chip prowess. The move could open up new designs and alternatives to the x86 architecture. The x86 architecture is under fire in the datacenter from ARM too. For instance, HP’s Moonshot effort will offer a series of various special use processors. IBM’s OpenPower Consortium appears to be aimed at HP, which could get traction with hyperscale servers. “

    tags: ibm consortium nvidia power

  • Apache OpenOffice 4.0 is now available for download from our official download page.  Building upon the great success of the OpenOffice 3.4 release, which has seen over 57 million downloads, this major update brings exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes.    OpenOffice 4.0 features an innovative new Sidebar user interface,  additional language support for 22 languages (including 3 new languages), 500 bug fixes, improvements in Microsoft Office interoperability, enhancements to drawing/graphics, performance improvements, etc.”

    tags: openoffice apache open source

  • “This guide explains one method for creating electronic books (“eBooks”) in the ePub format using open source tools available on most popular computing platforms. ePub is the International Digital Publishing Forum’s open standard for digital book publishing, and most major electronic reading devices support it (except for the Kindle—sorry, Amazon fans!). But more importantly, formatting an electronic book as an ePub guarantees that many online eBook marketplaces will host and distribute the work.”

    tags: open source ebooks

  • “The newest generation of Mindstorms, the EV3, has capabilities that would have blown my mind back in the mid-’80s (if a set could have been sent back in time, my reaction would have looked a lot like the kid in this Onion story). First demoed at CES back in January, the EV3 set features a new controller with an ARM9 CPU with 64MB of RAM, 16MB of NAND flash storage, a USB 2.0 interface for expansion modules (like Wi-Fi), and Bluetooth. The brick runs an ARM version of Linux and is capable of driving four separate motors and receiving input from four separate sensors. It can also be linked to other Mindstorms bricks (including previous-generation Mindstorms NXT controllers) for truly large creations.”

    tags: lego mindstorms robots

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Daily links for 02/26/2013

  • “Oracle no doubt got the bang for the big bucks it paid for MySQL via its Sun acquisition. But the original developers of MySQL won’t let it die and as developers and customers begin to defect to their increasingly popular MySQL Fork — MariaDB — is it time for Oracle to hand the code over to Apache or an open source savvy organization?”

    tags: mysql oracle apache

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Daily links for 06/18/2012

  • “This Getting Started page contains a series of modules that offer step-by-step guidance on how to use the different parts of the IBM Worklight V5.0 product. The modules on this Getting Started page might include exercises. You can find the solutions to these exercises provided as code samples available next to the corresponding module. The modules on this page are available for download as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The samples on this page are available for download as .zip files.”

    tags: worklight mobile

  • “With IBM® Worklight® V5, a leading Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), IBM expands its overall mobile capabilities across its product portfolio. This series of articles introduces the Worklight platform by showing how you can build mobile applications that leverage a variety of IBM products. Part 1 describes the process of setting up a Worklight development environment and creating a simple application that will be used as the basis for iterative development in subsequent articles.”

    tags: worklight mobile

  • “IBM Worklight simplifies the development of mobile web, hybrid, and native applications across multiple mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows® Phone. It provides Eclipse-based visual development capabilities and source code enhancements to help developers accelerate development, testing, and delivery of mobile applications using open technologies such as HTML5, Apache Cordova (PhoneGap), JavaScript, and popular JavaScript frameworks such as Dojo, jQuery, and Sencha Touch.”

    tags: mobile worklight

  • “For many people, phones have become an important way to navigate the world, and mobile maps are at the core of the journey. They are often the critical element in commerce, socializing and search. So far, Google has reigned supreme in the mobile map world, with its maps on every iPhone sold so far — and, of course, on every phone based on its own Android operating system. Last week, though, Apple gave notice it would enter the battle, announcing that in the fall, its phones would no longer carry Google maps, but instead would have Apple’s own map service built in, part of its new mobile operating system. Maps are simply too important to be left to a rival.”

    tags: apple mobile map google

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The spectrum of hybrid mobile app development with Worklight

The hybrid approach to developing mobile apps offers advantages for those wishing to produce pure native apps or those that have HTML5 content.

Earlier in 2012, on January 31, IBM announced its planned acquisition of Worklight, a provider of a mobile application development platform. Several weeks later the deal closed. There’s a lot of discussion of Worklight and IBM’s Mobile Enterprise strategy here at the IBM Impact Conference in Las Vegas this week.

Worklight’s components include a Java-based server that can run on the WebSphere Application Server, developer tools that can integrate with app lifecycle products from IBM Rational, a runtime monitoring and application management console, and multi-device runtime support. For this last part, Worklight uses a hybrid approach based on PhoneGap (now incubating in the Apache Software Foundation as the Cordova project).

A hybrid approach like this is an elegant way of using open technologies and standards to span the full spectrum of mobile application development.

The mobile spectrum for hybrid

The advantages to using HTML5 is that the content (HTML), CSS (formatting and UI), and Javascript (coding logic and UI) are portable across browsers on many devices. Your HTML5 will look and operate the same on Apple iOS, Android, and other modern devices.

If you can build your app entirely using HTML5, do it. You can place it on the web or your intranet and your users can access it anytime they want. You can also update it when you wish. You can also skip the whole app store experience. This approach is based on open standards, the best way we have found to handle interoperability.

At the other end, we have Native. This uses the low level APIs and programming languages for specific devices. For example, for Apple iPhones and iPads you would usually code your app in Objective-C and link in any other libraries you need. The full power of the SDK and device is available to you.

It is also completely non-portable, albeit powerful. When you need to produce an Android version, be prepared to code the app all over again. Each version will look completely native to the device, and this is an advantage to multiplatform approaches that force apps to have a common but non-native look everywhere. (“Our app works the same and looks ugly everywhere.”)

For hybrid apps, you use only enough native code to establish the main processing loop for your app, use device capabilities like the camera, and link in any special binary libraries. You try to maximize your use of HTML5 so that as much of your app is portable. PhoneGap and hence Worklight can help make your use of native code easier to port across platforms. Throw in Worklight’s support for Javascript frameworks like Dojo, jQuery Mobile, and Sencha Touch, and you’ve got a powerful solution.

Here’s something important that a lot of people miss about the hybrid approach. If you use no HTML5 content whatsoever, you still get the app manageability, push notification framework, and security from Worklight. So you get a pure native app that is nevertheless in the same “family” as your mobile apps that do include HTML5.

At the other other extreme, even if you use no special native features and try to have your app being almost completely HTML5, you get to put your app in an app store, and you, once again, get the app manageability, push notification framework, and security from Worklight.

Worklight logoSo Worklight and its hybrid approach covers almost the entire range from pure HTML5 to pure Native.

What if you already have a source of HTML like an app server or portal and want to build a mobile app around it? You can use this content, CSS, and Javascript as the main core of a mobile app built with Worklight. So what you built in the past can be repurposed in your mobile apps.

This also means that your developers’ web programming skills are usable when building Worklight hybrid mobile apps. If you are a software developer, this is a very effective way to quickly add mobile app development to your portfolio of skills.

Some apps will use a lot of HTML5, some will use very little. With Worklight’s hybrid approach, your skills are applicable across many different kinds of mobile apps. This is important, trust me, because you won’t be building just one mobile app in the future.

Also see:

Daily links for 01/10/2012


  • “Among the more popular tools for pulling off this Web-powered multi-device strategy has been PhoneGap, an open-source mobile-development framework from Nitobi Software, which Adobe acquired in October. When Adobe announced the acquisition, the company said it planned to donate the PhoneGap code base to Apache, where the project will go by the name Project Cordova. (It was briefly named Project Callback.) PhoneGap 1.3 began shipping in December, with Windows Phone 7 support as its headline feature. WP7 joins iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Symbian and Bada in the PhoneGap-supported platform lineup.”

    tags: mobile phonegap

  • “Developers must rewrite native applications to run on iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows Phones, and BlackBerrys. HTML5 simplifies things for developers by letting them instead build apps that run in a browser accessible by any smartphone. HTML5 apps look and act similar to a native app. By 2016, 85 percent of smartphones will have browsers capable of running HTML5, Christopher said, citing a prediction made by Strategy Analytics.”

    tags: html apps mobile

  • “It seems like a fairly straightforward question: As a developer, business and enterprise, do I develop Web apps, native apps or some combination thereof? Answers to that question are anything but simple. Who is your target audience? What is the purpose of the app? There are a series of diverse questions that must be answered before jumping right into development. “

    tags: hybrid html native apps mobile

Virtual Worlds

  • “The process is simple. Applicants get a set of papers to sign — basically saying they won’t share their access codes with anybody else — and then add a few lines enabling Vivox to their opensim .INI file. The voice never actually passes through the simulator — the voice stream goes directly from the viewer, to the Vivox data centers, and back again — so there is no additional load on the region.”

    tags: opensim business voice

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Daily links for 12/20/2011

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Daily links for 10/04/2011

  • “Popular open source mobile development framework “wrapper” PhoneGap has applied for consideration to the Apache Software Foundation and contemplating a name change. In a message in PhoneGap’s Google Groups development page, Nitobi software developer Brian Leroux said that the project has “initialized the process to contribute PhoneGap to the Apache Software Foundation” and that they may change the name to Apache DeviceReady.”

    tags: apache software phonegap

  • “Adobe just made a big splash in the mobile development world today by announcing that it has acquired Nitobi, the maker of the popular PhoneGap framework. Nitobi confirmed the acquisition and added that part of the acquisition was that Nitobi continue with its application to place the PhoneGap source code in the Apache Software Foundation.”

    tags: adobe phonegap html5 mobile nitobi

  • “Nitobi makes PhoneGap, an open-source programming tool for creating Web apps that run on a variety of mobile phones. That aligns well with the cross-platform approach Adobe has favored with Flash: give programmers the ability to create what they want, and let the tools worry about the differences from one system to another.”

    tags: adobe phonegap html5 mobile hybrid

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Daily links for 09/17/2011

  • “Two weeks ago, in the wake of tropical storm Irene’s devastating flooding in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, local residents organized a MRV Flood Relief initiative. What began as a self-organized volunteer effort to match needs and help offered in our communities, using telephone, handwritten posters, and a Mad-River-Valley-Hurricane-Irene Facebook page created by the Chamber of Commerce, quickly grew into a coordinated project based in downtown Waitsfield’s Masonic Lodge. Now, two weeks later, in an effort to more effectively provide daily coordination for ongoing flood relief efforts in 10 central Vermont towns, Mad River Valley flood relief headquarters has launched a new open source web site.”

    tags: vermont flood relief

  • “The file system in Linux can be intimidating coming from other operating systems like Microsoft Windows. At first glance it may seem that there is no organisation to the files, but there is a method to this madness. After spending some more time with the file system in Linux, it will seem a lot more secure and organised.”

    tags: linux file system

  • “Despite dominating the enterprise server market, Microsoft is struggling to maintain a large presence in the world of Web servers and is seeing its market share decline. Netcraft, which surveyed more than 485 million websites this month, credits Apache with 65.05 percent of Web servers compared to 15.73 percent for Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services). This is down from 15.86 percent in August and 16.82 percent in July, but the more striking decline has occurred since June 2010 when Microsoft accounted for more than 26 percent of Web servers surveyed by Netcraft.”

    tags: microsoft server enterprise web

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Daily links for 08/22/2011

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Daily links for 07/22/2011

  • “Smartphone adoption will continue to skyrocket with or without HTML5. That said, the most used single app is the browser. As HTML5 support continues to make its way into mobile browsers and HTML5 markup proliferates across the web, the phones themselves will increase in value because they have become an “always on, always connected” doorway into a vast, rich space. The question that most people ask regarding HTML5 on mobile is about the web vs. native debate (i.e., whether consumption of native apps slow in favor of HTML5 apps). I think this is a false dichotomy. I predict that in the distinction between native apps and web apps on mobile will eventually fade away.”

    tags: HTML5 mobile

  • “Van Nest told the judge Thursday that former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz gave a sworn statement this week that he did not object to Android when it was released and that he still views it as a “positive development” for the Java ecosystem.”

    tags: google java license

  • Microsoft‘s perennial money-losing online services unit, which runs the Bing search engine and MSN Internet portal, posted a 16.5 percent increase in sales to $662 million, but its loss widened to $728 million from a loss of $688 million a year ago, as Microsoft continues to pour money into attacking Google. The unit has now lost almost $6.5 billion in the last three fiscal years.”

    tags: microsoft windows

  • “Now, the LibreOffice folks are working on their suite, and, with IBM’s renewed participation, the Apache OpenOffice project (which may or may not end up implementing the Symphony bits, although I hope they do) seems to have some new life as well. OpenOffice.org under Sun had gotten into a rut — there’s nothing like real competition to get things moving again.”

    tags: openoffice IBM apache

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IBM to donate Symphony code to Apache for consideration

Apache logoSix weeks ago I noted here that Oracle had to decided to offer the codebase for OpenOffice.org, the open source word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software suite to the Apache Software Foundation. Two weeks after that, Apache voted to accept the proposed project for incubation. Now, one month later, IBM is announcing that it will offer the Symphony source code to the Apache OpenOffice incubator for consideration. Why and what does this mean?

OpenOffice logoFirst of all, note that I said “for consideration.” Members of the OpenOffice “podling” at Apache, including folks who are IBM employees, will get to look at the changes and improvements that IBM made to OpenOffice code when it was incorporated into Symphony. If the podling members decide to use it, great! If they decide to do something else, so be it, that’s the way open source communities work.

Symphony logoThe changes affect areas of usability, performance, and accessibility. IBM’s hope is that this donation can further accelerate the development of OpenOffice as a platform for openness and innovation in the document creation and editing space. OpenOffice and software like Symphony that builds on it continue to help drive use of ODF, the Open Document Format. We’ve learned over the past few years that vendor-controlled or -dictated document formats are just a bad idea. A healthy and vibrant OpenOffice open source development community in Apache will help ensure continued adherence to the open standard as well as a codebase that can be used for desktop, mobile, and even cloud applications.

Work on Symphony will continue with the Apache OpenOffice code an essential part of its core. Just as IBM’s WebSphere Application Server (a product now very close to my heart) uses Apache open source code but has code also written by IBM, so too will Symphony continue to evolve within IBM using code from Apache. Employees of IBM will contribute to OpenOffice as part of the community. IBM will benefit from the work done by others in the community, but so too will we all.

As the core OpenOffice code gets better and better, downstream projects and products like Symphony will benefit because they can focus on the features that distinguish them and add particular value for their users. This other software might have alternative user interfaces, support different devices, or be optimized for particular consumer or enterprise applications.

I believe a strong OpenOffice community within the Apache Software Foundation benefits everyone who cares about standards and innovation for document processing. The community is growing, code is being added, the roadmap is becoming clearer. Please consider participating.

Daily links for 06/29/2011

  • “With Hudson and OpenOffice, Oracle concluded there was no meaningful revenue at risk in donating the projects but that both efforts still had indirect value, Rymer says. By pushing them off to Eclipse and Apache, Oracle could continue to influence them, he asserts, without having to take on the cultural struggles: “Oracle sees Eclipse, Apache, and IBM as having a good feel for open source politics and communications.””

    tags: openoffice hudson oracle ibm

  • “IBM® WebSphere® Application Server V8 is a major release that offers dramatic run time improvements, plus simpler and easier ways to develop and deploy applications. This article presents a high level glimpse of some of the new technical features and enhancements that make these improvements possible. This content is part of the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.”

    tags: websphere ibm

  • “IBM has released WebSphere V8, increasing the availability of application servers with support for JEE 6, which is very important.”

    tags: websphere ibm

  • “Today, however, a new platform shift is taking place.  In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments (source: Mary Meeker, KPCB, see slide 7).  This move means a new generation of consumers expects their smartphones and tablets to come with instant broadband connectively so they, too, can connect to the Internet.”

    tags: mobile

  • “The Eclipse Foundation’s Indigo release train marks the eighth year in a row that Eclipse has shipped a coordinated release of projects, with this year’s focus on the Java developer. Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, said 62 project teams participated in Indigo. The Indigo release, which shipped June 22, had 46 million lines of code released on the same day (calculated by Ohloh), 408 developers (committers) contributed code and 49 organizations collaborated on the release, Eclipse officials said. Ten predefined packages enable easy download and use, they explained.”

    tags: eclipse indigo java developers

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ApacheCon North America 2011 theme announced

I just received this news from the folks at the Apache Software Foundation:

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced “Open Source Enterprise Solutions, Cloud Computing, and Community Leadership” as the theme for ApacheCon North America.

ApacheCon is the ASF’s official conference, trainings, and expo, created to explore key issues in using and developing Open Source solutions “The Apache Way”. This year’s event takes place 7-11 November 2011 at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver, Canada, with early registration incentives available through 2 September 2011.

I keynoted at this conference last year and it is definitely worth your consideration for attendance. You can learn more at the ApacheCon website.

Daily links for 06/22/2011

  • “The lesson here is not that companies should always wait until their products are absolutely perfect before they release them. If that were the case, very few products would ever make it to market, and many of them would be too late to make a difference. The key is knowing when a product is perfect enough and when you should hold a product for improvements versus releasing it to get it in the hands of eager customers. That’s the hard part, but it’s also the thing that great companies do well.”

    tags: iPhone white apple winning

  • “As you’ve probably heard, the proposal to move OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation was approved by a wide margin.  Volunteers interested in helping with this project continued to sign up, even during the 72-hour ballot, giving the project 87 members, as well as 8 experienced Apache  mentors, at the end of the vote.  The volunteers signed up included an impressive number of programmers from OpenOffice.org, RedOffice and Symphony,  as well as QA engineers, translators, education project experts, OOo user forum moderators and admins,  marketing project members, documentation leads, etc.    The broad range of support for this new project, from volunteers as well as voters, was very encouraging.”

    tags: openoffice scarcity open source

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Daily links for 06/02/2011

  • “In a statement issued this morning, June 1st, Oracle’s Luke Kowalski, VP of Oracle Corporate Architecture Group, stated that the company was going to “contribute the OpenOffice.org code to The Apache Software Foundation’s Incubator. The company then claims that Oracle is doing this to “demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. [By] Donating OpenOffice.org to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.””

    tags: apache oracle openoffice

  • “Today, we’re releasing +1 buttons to the whole web. As a result, you might start seeing +1 appear on sites large and small across the Internet.”

    tags: google +1

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Some remarks on OpenOffice going to Apache

Earlier today, Oracle announced that they would be donating source code for OpenOffice to the Apache Software Foundation to start a new incubator project. It’s been an interesting road to get to this point over the decades, with well and not-so-well publicized twists and turns, but I’m glad we got here.

Much will be written over the next few days about this move, and all sorts of theories and opinions will be advanced about what did happen, why it happened, and what else might have happened. There are many fine free and open source licenses out there as well as hosting organizations. Be that as it may, I think the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is a great place for this project to be incubated. With luck and a lot of community participation and work, OpenOffice will soon advance to a full fledged project.

Though I had earlier heard of the Apache HTTP Server project, I really started learning about Apache about 10 years ago when IBM and others helped start projects related to XML and web services. That is, I discovered that Apache was a very significant organization for creating open source software implementing open standards.

In some sense, the value of a standard is proportional to the number of people who use it. An Apache implementation of a standard means that software, be it open source or proprietary, can start using the standard quickly and reliably. An Apache implementation of a standard immediately increases the value of the standard.

OpenOffice happens to implement a standard called the Open Document Format (ODF), something I’ve written about several hundred times in the last few years. While the incubator won’t be starting from scratch, ODF will continue to evolve and need updated implementations.

Over time, the code will be refactored and more uses will be found for it. Within a couple of years I think you’ll find greater use of ODF in other desktop applications, mobile apps, and even in the cloud. This won’t all come from the existing code base but rather also from new contributions from others working in the ASF.

ODF is not the only thing that OpenOffice supports: it’s got word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and other capabilities. Within Apache I think you’ll see advances in the user interface, functionality, performance, and reliability.

This has to be done, in my opinion, in a way that makes subsets of the code easier to use in other software. That is, and again this is my opinion, OpenOffice will get better by being more modular with well designed interfaces. I’m not dissing what is there, I’m describing how I think it will get even better and enabled for much broader adoption of the code.

I hope that OpenOffice in Apache will be viewed as a way to bring together some of the threads that have separated from the main project trunk over the last few years. Apache has a well deserved reputation for its process and high quality software. This is a place where people can get together under one virtual roof and turn OpenOffice into what people always thought it could be.

With this move, we’ll get a chance to see what empowered individuals with the right technical chops can do in a community to innovate on the current code base. I’m very excited to see what they come up with.

Also see

Daily links for 05/26/2011

  • “People often ask us what license we recommend they use for their project. We’ve written about this publicly before, but the information has been scattered around between different essays, FAQ entries, and license commentaries. This article collects all that information into a single source, to make it easier for people to follow and refer back to. The recommendations below are focused on licensing a work that you create—whether that’s a modification of an existing work, or a new original work. These recommendations do not address the issue of combining existing material under different licenses. If you’re looking for help with that, please check our license FAQ.”

    tags: fsf license apache

  • “Today I’m happy to share something we’ve been working on for a little while: “How to choose a license for your own work” is a comprehensive set of license recommendations for new projects. This page explains what factors are important to consider when making licensing decisions, and suggests specific licenses for different scenarios. If you’re starting a new project (whether it’s software, documentation, or something else related) and unsure what license to use, you just need this one link to find our recommendations.”

    tags: fsf license foss

  • “If you haven’t sent in your design yet, there is still time. The deadline for submissions is this Monday, May 30, 2011. And, there is plenty of room for more ideas. One hint for all the designers out there: Remember the theme is the 20th Anniversary of Linux. By incorporating this into your design, you will increase your chances of being among the Top 5 finalists.”

    tags: linux anniversary

  • IBM‘s server revenues grew 22.1% in the first quarter, outpacing rivals as demand for the types of high-end systems in which Big Blue specializes picked up. Total industry revenue from non-x86 servers, including Unix and mainframe systems, jumped 12.3%, compared to a 10.1% increase in revenue from sales of servers that run Windows or Linux on industry-standard chips, according to numbers released Wednesday by market watcher IDC.”

    tags: ibm hp oracle server

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Daily links for 05/16/2011

Groklaw 2.0

  • “Last month PJ announced that because SCO as we knew it is no more,” she would stop publishing new articles today, May 16, Groklaw’s anniversary. Now she’s handing the reins over to Mark Webbink, former general counsel at Red Hat, law professor, and board member at the Software Freedom Law Center, to create “Groklaw 2.0.” Here’s what she had to say about Groklaw’s past and her future.”

    tags: groklaw webbink interview pj

  • “Now that the battlefield has shifted from SCO attacking Linux to Microsoft using patents against it and from servers to mobiles, I realized that Groklaw needs a lawyer at the helm. So I asked Mark Webbink if he would take on this role, and I’m thrilled to tell you that he has accepted. He is the new editor of Groklaw as of today. Mark was General Counsel at Red Hat, as you know, and he is on the board of the Software Freedom Law Center. He is also a law professor, which as I’ll explain is a vital piece of what he has planned. Mark is a visiting professor at New York Law School where he runs the Center for Patent Innovations, oversees the Peer To Patent project run with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been active in seeking reform of the U.S. patent system, and teaches patent licensing. In addition, Mark is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law where he teaches intellectual property (patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret) licensing. Mark has access to law students at those law schools and many others. In addition, Mark has remained interested and involved in free and open source software and related intellectual property issues and he is the author of the chapter on U.S. technology law included in a soon to be released book on free and open source software law.”

    tags: groklaw pj webbink

Open Source

  • “OpenLogic analyzed which open source licenses are most used by enterprises versus those preferred by open source developers. Over two-thirds of open source projects are licensed under the GPL, which has created the impression that the GPL is the most popular open source license. However, the research examined data about enterprise usage and found that Apache-license projects were the most downloaded and most used in enterprise applications.”

    tags: openlogic gpl apache

  • “What needs to happen is pretty clear: we need more eyes on the ARM code, some determined work to clean up what is there now, and better high-level support to facilitate the addition of clean code in the future. Much of this work is already happening; the 2.6.40 kernel will certainly include a number of patches which consolidate duplicated functionality and make the code base smaller. There will be more review and guidance for embedded systems developers (who are often not full-time members of our community) as they work to get their code upstream. As the result of all this, we may well see the size of the ARM tree shrink, even as it gains functionality and supports more hardware.”

    tags: linux arm


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Land mines for open source in mobile

In a couple of weeks I’ll be giving a talk at POSSCON with a title similar to that of this blog entry. It won’t be a long talk, only twenty five minutes, but I’ll try to touch on several factors that could seriously screw up the use and success of open source in the mobile space.

For this talk I’ll be primarily focusing on application development for devices, and not whatever open source might be used on the telecommunications carrier side of things. Indeed, there is open source used there, frequently Linux, but for this audience I want to concentrate on apps for devices and the role of open source in creating them.

It’s one thing to point out such land mines but I think I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t say something about how to avoid them. That will be the topic of another blog entry.

So without further ado, here are some potential problems for the increased adoption of open source in creating mobile applications. I welcome your discussion in the comments.

  1. No GPL code allowed in apps for the Apple App Store. I know there is some debate on whether this prohibition comes from Apple or the FSF, but that makes no difference. If you use GPL code in your app and it gets discovered, I think there is a good chance your app will be pulled. Other app stores or marketplaces may have similar or different rules, and you must know what they are.
  2. Sloppy open source license compliance. I don’t care whether you are a one person app developer or a half-billion person company, you need to follow the rules around using code under a given license and, especially, mixing code under different licenses. Writing for mobile does not change that. If you are creating apps for Android, read everything you can about the Apache license and what it says you must do.
  3. The right code is available under the wrong license. This might relate back in practice to the GPL situation above for the Apple App Store, but you may really have to reinvent the wheel if you need a body of code for your app and that great stuff you found on the web or in Koders has a license that prevents your using it. By the way, if you read the code and then rewrite it, you are contaminated. Don’t expect your “originality” to hold up in court. Also don’t think that you can change a few variable names and no one will notice you reused code from elsewhere. Scanning programs are getting smarter all the time.
  4. There’s not enough money in it. Ok, let’s for a moment get past the idea that open source involves sharing and freedom and all that. Assuming you did want to get paid something for your efforts, a $0 app price won’t give you much revenue, though it may give you the love and admiration of a few hundred people and a lot of personal satisfaction. If we believe that the trend is to charge $ .99 for an app, and the app store owner takes a cut of that, how many will you need to sell to make it worth it to you? If you net $ .70 before taxes and get 1000 downloads, that is $700. Nontrivial, but is it a day job? If you get 10,000 or 100,000 downloads, that becomes a different story.
  5. Getting heard among the noise of thousands of other app developers. I think a lot of people believe that mobile creates a great new opportunity for one or two people to create a successful app and get it to the masses with very little overhead and middlemen. That’s probably true, but somehow you’re going to have to get the word out about your app. To be blunt, you’ll need to do some marketing and that might go against what you think an open source developer should be doing (you don’t have to be doing open source to believe this). You also may need help to make your app more beautiful and usable. Remember that open source, volunteering, and sharing doesn’t just relate to code, but can also include design and documentation.

Also see: More on “Land mines for open source in mobile”

Daily links for 03/08/2011

Open Source and Mobile Devices

  • “OpenLogic, Inc., the leading provider of enterprise open source software support, scanning and governance solutions, today announced the results of a scan and license compliance assessment of 635 leading mobile applications. Among other findings, the results show that 71% of Android™, iPhone® and iPad® apps containing open source failed to comply with basic open source license requirements.”

    tags: android openlogic license

  • “A review of 9,000 free and open source mobile projects contained within Black Duck’s KnowledgeBase found 3,800 mobile projects started in 2010, with 55 percent, or 1,716 projects, geared to Android, Black Duck said this week. Apple‘s iOS followed with 39 percent, or 1,219 projects. Windows, Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian, meanwhile, accounted for just 2 percent each or fewer of new projects. MeeGo accounted only for a handful of projects, Black Duck said. The company surmises that since Android is “open” — as in open source and supporting GPL code — and iOS is not, open source developers still will support the most popular platforms regardless of so-called openness.”

    tags: android ios Open Source

  • “The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0 (“Apache 2.0″), and the majority of the Android software is licensed with Apache 2.0. While the project will strive to adhere to the preferred license, there may be exceptions which will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For example, the Linux kernel patches are under the GPLv2 license with system exceptions, which can be found on kernel.org.”

    tags: Open Source android apache

  • What you need to know, and better.

    tags: android Open Source

More Open Source

  • “Digia has reached an agreement to acquire the commercial licensing and professional services components of Nokia’s Qt software group. The move will bring some diversity to Qt’s corporate backing and potentially expand the availability of consulting services for commercial Qt adopters.”

    tags: qt nokia digia Open Source

  • “The latest quarterly statistics showing US smartphone market share show Microsoft’s task with Windows Phone 7 is daunting, as the new OS is already losing ground. The latest US smartphones figures from comScore cover November of last year through the end of January, and while the figures are largely as expected the drop of market share by Microsoft is a bit of a surprise.”

    tags: android windows

  • “Version 6 of Debian GNU/Linux, the popular open-source project that bills itself as “the universal operating system,” hit the Internet on Superbowl Sunday, packing a trove of updated applications and a pair of new editions to burnish its universal billing. The distribution, which already stands out for its broad processor architecture support—spanning 12 architectures—branches out in version 6 with 32- and 64-bit editions based on the FreeBSD kernel. These new editions, while rough around the edges, open new opportunity for technology sharing among separate open-source operating systems and indicate that the project that gave birth to Ubuntu Linux continues to drive open source in new directions.”

    tags: debian linux

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 02/02/2011

  • “The big data marketplace has contracted a bit, as Yahoo is ceasing development of its Yahoo Distribution of Hadoop and will be folding it back into the Apache Hadoop project. The company announced the decision in a blog post yesterday, citing a goal “to make Apache Hadoop THE open source platform for big data” as a driving force behind its new strategy. It’s probably a wise idea, because having three free competing distributions — Yahoo, Apache and Cloudera — unnecessarily compartmentalized features and development efforts, and possibly left new Hadoop users with a tough decision in terms of which distribution to download and get to working on.”

    tags: hadoop yahoo cloudera

  • “The WebKit-powered browsers were the big winners: Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer was the big loser. Internet Explorer reached a new all-time low of 56 percent, down 1.08 percentage points from last month. Though Internet Explorer 8 continues to perform well—up 1.15 points from December—defections from Internet Explorer 6 and 7 to other browsers continue to dominate, with those versions losing 1.63 and 0.47 points respectively. The beta of Internet Explorer 9 made minor gains, rising to 0.50 percent share.”

    tags: chrome firefox ie

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/15/2011

  • “When is Hadoop justified? For a petabyte workloads, certainly. But the versatility of tool makes it appropriate for a variety of workloads beyond quote unquote big data. It’s not going to replace your database, but your database isn’t likely to replace Hadoop either. Different tools for different jobs, as ever.”

    tags: redmonk hadoop

  • “A few hundred words from Google Product Manager Mike Jazayeri announcing that Google would be supporting WebM and Ogg Theroa instead of the H.264 video codec in Google Chrome for the HTML5 video tag has lead to enormous controversy in browser and video circles. Now, Google has explained in more detail what’s its trying to do, and ends up defining the sides in the HTML5 video fight.”

    tags: google video h264

  • “Several European newspapers have been informed that they will not able to offer paid print subscribers free access to an iPad edition, according to Apple Insider. The problem – from Apple’s point of view that is – is that this subscription strategy is an end run around the 30% cut Apple takes.”

    tags: apple ipad

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 01/05/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Review of the blog for 2010 – October through December

I finish my survey of what I blogged about in 2010 as I look at the final three months of the year.

Last Time: “Review of the blog for 2010 – July through September”

Just as the third quarter of 2010 started with the buzz about IBM switching to Firefox as its defaults browser, the final quarter started fast in October with the news of IBM shifting its open source Java efforts to OpenJDK. Oracle, the new steward of Java after its acquisition of Sun,  was in the news a lot this year regarding open source, but I’ll let you find those stories yourself if you are not already aware of them.

On the sailing front, the boat finished its season a bit early as the headstay cable shredded. This spring I need to replace all the fixed rigging, but that’s a 2011 story.

I continued tinkering with the blog itself as I replaced the WordPress theme I used with a slight variation of one of the default ones provided with the software. I finally got fed up with Atahualpa, all its options, and the instability of the theme from release to release. When I finished the work to put the new theme in place, my wife confessed she never really liked the old one, something that might have spurred me to action a bit earlier.

One feature I did like in Atahulapa was the rotating header images. This doesn’t mean they spin around, it indicates that each time you view a page the theme will randomly select an image for the topmost section. I showed some code to implement this feature in a subtheme of TwentyTen.

In November I gave a keynote at ApacheCon in Atlanta called “Data, Languages, and Problems”. It was a fun talk to give and the research for it brought me back to an earlier part of my career, before Linux and before most of my involvement with open source. Every time I look at the Apache Software Foundation I’m amazed by the incredible work being done there.

I occasionally do a blog entry about cooking and on Thanksgiving Day I posted an entry on considerations when making apple pies. Two words for you: apple jack. In the pie crust. Ok, that’s six words. But try it.

winter snowIn early December I started to get the sense that news about open source was slowing down and I and then several readers offered some suggestions why that might have been so, if it was indeed the case. While it may just have been an end of the year occurrence, it will be interesting to see if and how things pick up again in 2011.

I looked again at math software for the iPad and decided that not that much had changed since my first review in July. That’s a bit like saying that the news is that there is no news, but I’m curious if downscaled versions of Maple or Mathematica will be released for the tablet in 2011. Of course, they’ll need to charge a lot less than they do for the desktop editions, so that might be giving them pause.

After speaking with several customers and partners on the topic, I posted a blog entry about open innovation. It’s clear to me that some very good work is being done by several visionary companies, but it also seems to be a field fraught with jargon and an imbalance between marketing and technology.

Just for fun, I published a piece about the basic ideas behind predictive analytics. I didn’t hear too much from readers on that one, though my sister said she found it useful in conversations about the travel industry. It’s a fascinating field with business implications as well as social and ethical ones.

I ended the year with some comments on predictions for open source made for 2011 by other people. While we wait to see if efforts started in 2010 turn out to be wild successes or spectacular failures, I can’t wait to see what gets announced that will be truly disruptive.

That’s what is always most intriguing to me as we start a new year: what will happen that we just do not expect. I hope for you and the rest of us that those surprises will be happy ones and lead to great new opportunities.

Daily links for 12/21/2010

  • Eucalyptus Systems, creators of the Eucalyptus private cloud platform, has announced a partnership with Red Hat to offer cross-cloud compatibility and expanded platform choice in the cloud. The two companies are working together to provide Eucalyptus support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Eucalyptus compatibility with the Apache Deltacloud application programming interface (API).”

    tags: Red Hat eucalyptus cloud linux

  • Google and the Ubuntu project have today released the Ubuntu Font Family to the world through the Google Font Directory.  Through the magic of the Google Font API any web designer can now pick Ubuntu from the Google Font Directory and bring the beauty and legibility of the Ubuntu fonts to their web properties.”

    tags: ubuntu fonts

  • “Intuit, developer of Quicken and QuickBooks business financial management software, announced it is unveiling a website where developers can collaborate to solve some of the company’s biggest product challenges and win a $10,000 challenge. … “The talent at Intuit is impressive, but we know that we don’t have all the answers,” said Jan Bosch, VP of open innovation at Intuit. “Our history is built on a mix of home-grown and outside development.””

    tags: intuit innovation open

  • “Less than five months after paying an undisclosed sum for Instantiations, Mountain View has announced that it will donate the source code and IP for Instantiations’ WindowBuilder and CodePro Profiler tools to the open source community via the Eclipse Foundation. According to Google, the code and IP is worth more than $5m.”

    tags: google java eclipse

  • “Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended its community with the signing of KDE as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, KDE has joined the growing list of organizations that recognize the importance of leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.”

    tags: kde oin linux

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Open source news slowing down?

I just did a tweet saying that I thought the number of news stories about open source seems to have slowed down quite a bit in the last month or so, outside of the major projects and companies. Indeed, the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was big news.

Perhaps I’m thinking that because I myself haven’t blogged much lately. The main reason for that is that I’ve been exceptionally swamped with work and, in particular, have been doing a lot of writing. (If you haven’t tried it, the no-charge Lotus Symphony word processor is quite nice, by the way.)

So let’s consider why the news might be slowing down:

  • The Apache Software Foundation vs. Oracle events are dominating the news cycles (as Tony Baer tweeted back to me, and I agree with him).
  • Students are busy with final exams (per Brian Proffitt on Twitter).
  • End of the year exhaustion (I’m certainly feeling some of that), coupled with that strange period between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US.
  • There are so many open source projects that it is harder for them to get much traction in the media.
  • Many of the big projects have done minor releases lately (I installed WordPress 3.0.3, but it is not big news).
  • Open source is become a common part of mainstream software discussions, and so doesn’t stand out as much as it used to do.
  • WikiLeaks.
  • People associated with commercial open source ventures have their heads down trying to close end-of-year deals.

Note I’m not basing my slowdown theory on any sort of formal measurements, just a feeling based on what I’ve been seeing on Twitter and in the news.

So it is December and things always pick up again in January. I love January announcements around products and industry efforts, especially if they surprise people. They are especially fun if people spend a lot at the end of one year doing detailed planning for the next, only to have an unexpected industry announcement cause them to rethink everything.

This is not to say I like having that happen to me, but it adds excitement to the IT industry, and that includes open source.

Daily links for 12/06/2010

  • “But a key player in all of this that you might not have heard of is the Brussels-based “Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace”, or ICOMP, which has been lobbying for an antitrust investigation. ICOMP is a organisation whose sole purpose appears to be to attack Google: it was set up to protest against Google’s DoubleClick acquisition and has spent the last few years churning out blog posts slamming the search giant and approaching journalists out of the blue with carefully primed stories. Why does this matter? Because ICOMP is almost entirely funded – and not always wholly transparently – by Microsoft, one of Google’s main competitors in search.”

    tags: google microsoft

  • “The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced that Google’s Wave communication platform has been accepted into the Apache Incubator – a proposal to migrate portions of the code base to the ASF was posted to the Apache Incubator wiki last month by Google and Novell employees, as well as several independent developers.”

    tags: google wave apache

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 10/22/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 10/20/2010

  • “In this article, I’ll share twenty tips that have saved me countless hours of wasted time, while making my life with Ubuntu easier in general. Some among you may have different variations of the same ideas presented here already. Despite this possibility, I believe it’s probable that there’ll be tips included that you might not have thought of yet.”

    tags: ubuntu linux Open Source

  • “Within the open source world, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has often been characterized by the permissiveness of the Apache Licence 2.0 (AL): the lack of an enforced share-alike clause, the ability to build and distribute proprietary licensed software on top of its open source projects and the licence’s clear and explicit handling if the existing software patent landscape. While this non-prescriptive and pragmatic approach is attractive to many open source projects and developers, it is only part of what lies at the heart of the Apache philosophy and the foundation’s immense success.”

    tags: apache Open Source

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 10/14/2010

  • “The criticisms made in the video are not really the point – they are mostly about OpenOffice.org not being a 100% clone of Microsoft Office, and compatibility problems with Microsoft’s proprietary formats. The key issue is the exactly the same as it was for the Mindcraft benchmarks. You don’t compare a rival’s product with your own if it is not comparable. And you don’t make this kind of attack video unless you are really, really worried about the growing success of a competitor.

    Just as it did in 1999 for GNU/Linux, Apache and Samba, the company has now clearly announced that OpenOffice.org is a serious rival to Microsoft Office, and should be seriously considered by anyone using the latter.”

    tags: microsoft openoffice.org

  • “Given Sun’s failing financial fortunes, however, the possibility that Java would end up in different hands was hardly unforeseen. The question was, and to a degree still is, what the new owner meant to the fate of the technology and the ecosystem that surrounds it. Part of our answer to came Monday, when IBM shifted its Java development efforts from the Apache Harmony project to OpenJDK. To explore the implications of that, let’s turn to the Q&A.”

    tags: oracle ibm java openjdk

  • WordPress started with good usability, but a limited architecture and feature set. Drupal started with a strong architecture, but a very developer-centric user experience. But WordPress has  been steadily improving its architecture. And Drupal has been working on its UI. They had different origins, and they have taken different paths, but they are both evolving towards CMS Nirvana. And we users get to ride along.”

    tags: drupal wordpress cms

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 10/12/2010 – OpenJDK edition

  • “Today’s announcement that IBM will collaborate on OpenJDK comes at an important time for the Java community. For years, Java developers wondered if Sun would ever open source Java. Recently, some have questioned Oracle’s commitment to open source. Today’s announcement may mean the most support for OpenJDK since its announcement with two major and well-funded sponsors in Oracle and IBM. It also appears to solidify Oracle’s commitment to an open source Java. It is certainly in IBM’s interest to have an open source Java, but it also can aid Oracle in terms of credibility in the Java community. OpenJDK offers one of those proverbial “win-win” situations for these two companies, but should benefit the rest of us “little people” as well.”

    tags: oracle ibm java openjdk

  • “Oracle and IBM have announced that they are to collaborate on the development of the OpenJDK reference implementation of the Java language. The two companies say they will make the OpenJDK community “the primary location for open source Java SE development” and have affirmed their intention to retain the JCP (Java Community Process) as the primary standards body for Java specification work. There is also a commitment to “enhance the JCP” from the two companies.”

    tags: oracle ibm java openjdk

  • “That’s not to say that OpenJDK didn’t also have its supporters. Red Hat and Canonical were early OpenJDK supporters. So why is IBM now supporting OpenJDK?”

    tags: oracle ibm java openjdk

  • “The IBM-Oracle partnership is about showing that the two largest players in Java are on the same page, said analyst Al Hilwa, of IDC.”

    tags: java openjdk ibm oracle

  • “So what’s best for the Java ecosystem? I believe that compatibility is vital, and rather than risk divergence the right thing is to bring the key platform development groups together on a common codebase. Lessons learned on Project Harmony will be of value to OpenJDK, and I know there is immense mutual respect between the IBM and Oracle engineers.”

    tags: java openjdk ibm apache harmony

  • “Today’s announcement that IBM is going to join forces and work with Oracle on OpenJDK is good news for Java, and by extension for Eclipse. All of us who live within the Java ecosystem need to recognize that this fundamentally strengthens the platform, enhances the business value of Java and offers the hope of an increased pace of innovation.”

    tags: eclipse java openjdk ibm oracle

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

IBM joins the OpenJDK community, will help unify open source Java efforts

When people talk about open source, the notion of “forking” often comes up. The idea is that some folks are not happy with the direction in which a project is going, so they take a copy of the source code, come up with a new name, and set up shop elsewhere. This is no guarantee that the newly forked project will be successful, but it functions as an important escape valve for those who have donated time and effort to a community project and want to see the work done in what they believe is the right manner.

You less often hear about what I’ll call a “reverse fork”: people developing largely similar but separate projects who decide that they instead want to work together. They can do this for a variety of reasons but it all comes down to “burying the hatchet” or otherwise resolving their differences for the sake of the project.

OpenJDK logoWith that preamble, IBM and Oracle have announced that they will work together on the newly reinvigorated OpenJDK project. As described on its website, OpenJDK is “The place to collaborate on an open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition, and related projects.” IBM will work with Oracle and the Java community to make OpenJDK the primary high performance open source runtime for Java. IBM will be shifting its development effort from the Apache Project Harmony to OpenJDK. For others who wish to do the same, we’ll work together to make the transition as easy as possible. IBM will still be vigorously involved in other Apache projects.

We think this is the pragmatic choice. It became clear to us that first Sun and then Oracle were never planning to make the important test and certification tests for Java, the Java SE TCK, available to Apache. We disagreed with this choice, but it was not ours to make. So rather than continue to drive Harmony as an unofficial and uncertified Java effort, we decided to shift direction and put our efforts into OpenJDK. Our involvement will not be casual as we plan to hold leadership positions and, with the other members of the community, fully expect to have a strong say in how the project is managed and in which technical direction it goes.

We also expect to see some long needed reforms in the JCP, the Java Community Process, to make it more democratic, transparent, and open. IBM and, indeed Oracle, have been lobbying for such transformations for years and we’re pleased to see them happening now. It’s time. Actually, it’s past time.

Ultimately this is about making Java more successful and pervasive than ever before. Java is not about any single company’s technical direction and it helps prevent lock-in. It runs on many, many different operating systems and hardware platforms. As a blatant plug, let me say Java runs exceptionally well on Linux and IBM’s System z, POWER, and Intel-based hardware. Indeed Java is one of the open standards that makes System z the amazingly interoperable platform that it is.

Java is about compatibility and always has been. It’s not been easy to maintain runtime environments that are consistent across platforms while exploiting the underlying features and performance advantages of those platforms. With this newly unified OpenJDK open source project, we can give customers the confidence they need to continue to invest in Java-based solutions knowing that they will get the best technology, the most important innovations, and the tightest collaboration among industry leaders.

We believe that this move to work together on OpenJDK is in the best interests of IBM’s customers and will help protect their investments in Java and IT technology based on it.

So to summarize my opinions on this: OpenJDK represents the best chance to provide a top notch unified open source runtime for Java; customers will benefit by having first class Java open standards developed collaboratively and constructively; and our energy will be focused on working together and optimizing our joint work, rather than wasting time on duplicative projects.

Daily links for 10/06/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Keynote at ApacheCon 2010

The Apache Software Foundation has announced the keynote lineup for their ApacheCon 2010 conference:

ApacheCon, the official conference, trainings, expo, hackathon, barcamp and meetups of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), today announced the keynote presenters and sponsors for ApacheCon North America. This year’s event takes place 1-5 November 2010 at the Westin Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia, with numerous early registration incentives available through Friday, 8 October 2010.

The conference theme, “Servers, The Cloud, and Innovation”, showcases an array of ASF-developed Open Source projects, community practices, and business solutions. Keynote addresses will be presented by:

  • Dana Blankenhorn, Linux and Open Source Writer, ZDNet – Wednesday, 3 November, 9AM
  • Daniel Crichton, Program Manager and Principal Computer Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Thursday, 4 November 11:30AM
  • Dr. Bob Sutor, Vice President of Open Systems and Linux, IBM Corporation – Friday, 4 November 12:30PM

Apache developers, users, enthusiasts, software architects, administrators, executives, and community managers will learn to successfully develop, deploy, and leverage existing and emerging Open Source technologies critical to their businesses. Hands-on trainings and general conference sessions will cover in-depth dozens of Apache products such as Cassandra, Geronimo, Hadoop, Lucene, Tomcat, and the Apache HTTP Server.

My planned keynote is called “Data, Languages, and Problems” with the abstract

Much research work over the next decade will be driven by those seeking to solve complex problems employing the cloud, multicore processors, distributed data, business analytics, and mobile computing. In this talk I’ll discuss some past approaches but also look at work being done in the labs on languages like X10 that extend the value of Java through parallelism, technologies that drive cross-stack interoperability, and approaches to handling and analyzing both structured and unstructured data.

Daily links for 10/04/2010

  • “One theme that came up repeatedly in my research for an article about what’s different about programming for cloud computing is that developers should expect to learn more about cloud computing platforms, virtualization, infrastructure operating environment, and other knowledge traditionally left to network specialists. A lot more. In fact, it may be spawning a new category of developer.”

    tags: cloud programming

  • “The Hadoop hoopla is generating increasing numbers of announcements from more and more vendors. From startups to large established players, new products and partnerships are emerging which confirm the emergence of a vibrant Big Data ecosystem evolving around Apache Hadoop.”

    tags: hadoop Open Source apache

  • “But apart from OpenOffice.org, what else is there? I dug into my own program folders and searched the far corners of the Web to come up with a cache of free and open source productivity applications for a range of desktop productivity tasks: word processing, page layout, graphics editing, illustration, task management, and more. Some of these tools are worthy substitutes for expensive commercial counterparts. All of them are available for Windows, and nearly all are available for Linux and Mac OS X as well. “

    tags: desktop linux Open Source

  • “The typical user will most likely only customize wallpapers, fonts, and the icons on the desktop. With wallpapers being the easiest of Ubuntu customization options, finding the websites to obtain them from is the tough part. There are thousands of websites on the Internet dedicated to downloading wallpapers for Ubuntu, a version of Linux.”

    tags: linux ubuntu

  • “In this article, I’ll sharing twenty reasons why I believe we will see Linux “booming” in a post-recession world. Even though it’s unlikely that the economic turmoil will prompt everyone to stop using proprietary operating systems completely, I am confident that a significant reduction in proprietary operating system usage is on the horizon.”

    tags: linux

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 07/20/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 06/10/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

10 considerations for maintaining open source in your organization

At the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) this year I did a presentation called “Asking the hard questions about open source software.” Last week I expanded on one of the areas and discussed it in the blog entry “10 elements of open source governance in your organization.”

Today I want to talk about maintaining open source once you’ve brought it into your IT infrastructure. Here’s the slide I used at OSBC:

Who will maintain your installation of the software?

  • If you are planning for your IT staff to install and maintain your software, make sure it doesn’t get orphaned when you have personnel turnover.
  • When software updates come along, you will need a plan to decide which ones to install and when, especially if major releases come along every six months or so.
  • If you customize open source code for your organization, are you prepared to propagate those changes into newer versions of the code?

So you’ve decided to use some open source code in your organization, company, or enterprise. What’s the same or different about maintaining open source versus traditional software. Here are ten things to consider:

  1. The term “maintenance” can be considered one component of “subscription, support, and maintenance” or it can be used more generally to mean “now that’ve I’ve installed this software, how do I make it do what I want, patched, and updated?”.
  2. When you outsource your datacenter, you pay to have others manage and maintain your hardware, software, data, network, and so forth. When you do it yourself, obviously you are responsible for keeping everything running correctly. You need to ensure that your staff has the skills and the resources to keep your systems going 24/7 or at least as much as you need them. For open source, they need the skills to keep the software running and they need to know where to look or who to call when there is something they cannot handle.
  3. You probably use more open source software than you realize. Many software products from IBM, for example, include open source code from Apache, Eclipse, and other projects. Your maintenance plan for this software can therefore come from your software vendor, if that is your common practice. It’s business as usual.
  4. Similarly, if you have obtained a “pure” open source “product” from a commercial company such as Red Hat, Novell, or SugarCRM, you can purchase a subscription, support, and maintenance contract from them. Partners of such open source companies may also distribute and provide first or second line support. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and from whom.
  5. “Open source software” is often too simple a phrase to describe the range of what it means. For example, it is much easier to maintain a straightforward 1000 line piece of open source code than a multimillion line project with many installation options and configuration settings. Therefore you need to understand the quality and complexity of the code you are thinking of maintaining for your organization. It might be trivial or it might be impossible for you to do it yourself. The word “impossible” should not be used near the phrase “mission critical.”
  6. If you bring software into your organization and then make significant changes to it, do you expect someone else to be able to fix it when something goes wrong? I discussed this earlier in the blog entry “On highly customizing that open source code.” Let me summarize by saying you should either 1) not make massive changes, or 2) if you do, contribute them back to the community so that your modifications (presumably improvements?) get incorporated into the project. It will make it easier for you to use newer versions and others will benefit from your work, just as you benefited from theirs.
  7. Be honest about your organization’s ability to maintain the code yourself. If you have the right people with the right skills, it could be a real win for you. If you don’t, or your people don’t have the ability to fix everything necessary, it could be a disaster.
  8. Your people may have the skills today, but will those people work for you tomorrow? Invest in training and pay attention to ensuring continuity of your ability to maintain the software.
  9. For some software, many questions about installation and maintenance can be resolved with a good search engine. Before you install the software, try some searches to learn of others’ experience with it and how easily they got problems resolved.
  10. Look at the forums at the websites from which you are obtaining the software. Are they vibrant? Do questions get answered or is most of the time spent in flaming “noobs”? It’s a bad sign if relatively simple questions just sit there with no one responding to them. Conversely, if the community is really driven to help people start and keep using the software, the project has great documentation, and, most important, the software is well architected and mostly bug-free, your comfort level in maintaining it yourself should be higher.

Let me summarize: know the scale and complexity of the open source software you plan to use; don’t get in over your head on maintaining mission critical, enterprise software; your least expensive option may be to pay for a maintenance contract from someone who deals with the software all day long, every day; and only maintain software yourself when it comes from helpful, dynamic communities that produce great code.

The Whole Series

Daily links for 05/23/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 05/18/2010

  • “Interesting news from open source content management vendor Alfresco this morning, which has launched the Activiti business process management project and hired Tom Baeyens, founder and architect of the JBoss jBPM project, and fellow architect Joram Barrez to create it.

    While the project will be led by Alfresco employees, Activiti is not designed to be an Alfresco-only initiative. Activiti will be licensed under Apache License 2.0 to encourage widespread usage and adoption. The SpringSource division of VMware is also involved, as well as Signavio and Camunda, while Alfresco plans to submit the project to the Apache Foundation.”

    tags: alfresco, bpm, open-source

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 04/13/2010

  • “Hank Williams, the country pioneer who is among the most influential singer-songwriters in music, was given a special Pulitzer Prize citation.
    The Pulitzer board awarded the late singer for his lifetime achievement, based on a confidential survey of experts in popular music.”

    tags: music, hank-williams, pulitzer

  • “So, unless things change drastically between Apple and Adobe in the next few weeks, from what I’m hearing you can expect to see Adobe taking Apple to court over the issue. It’s not going to be pretty.”

    tags: apple, adobe, flash

  • “The Apache Hadoop project develops open-source software for reliable, scalable, distributed computing.”

    tags: Apache, hadoop

  • “As massive amounts of data creates significant business challenges–and opportunities, jStart has been investigating how distributed computing might address some of those needs. Hadoop, an open source Apache project, is a technology which jStart has been leveraging with clients who generate significant amounts of data–data which is not being leveraged as effectively as it could be.”

    tags: ibm, hadoop, jStart

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 04/07/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily links for 04/01/2010

Red Hat logo

  • Red Hat, Inc. (RHT 29.27, +0.34, +1.18%) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the availability of the fifth update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5. Adding features designed to operate across physical, virtual and cloud deployments, the update offers enhanced virtualization and interoperability capabilities combined with support for important new hardware platforms. As with all Red Hat updates, application compatibility and certification with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform is fully maintained, meaning the broad portfolio of certified applications for Red Hat Enterprise Linux applies to the new update. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 is available to subscribing customers via Red Hat Network today.”

    tags: red-hat, linux

  • “The Python programming language has gained popularity as one of the components of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Python/Perl/PHP) stack. Python has seen a resurgence in programmer interest, and dynamic languages such as Ruby and Python have emerged as alternatives to languages like Java and C#.”

    tags: python, cloud, eweek

  • “Unseasonable temperatures forecast to hit 70 degrees greeted anglers today for the opening of trout season on New York’s inland waters.”

    tags: trout

  • Apple iPad

    “The first Apple iPad reviews are in and not-too-surprisingly they are all bullish on the device. Unfortunately, you’re not going to learn much about the iPad from the reviews until you take one for a spin and ponder your own personal use case scenarios.”

    tags: ipad, Apple

  • “OUR horseradish roots looked so innocent when they arrived in the mail last spring. Just little brown sticks, about eight inches long and as narrow as pencils.

    But last weekend, when we harvested the year-old roots of one plant, they were on the atomic side of hot.”

    tags: horseradish, gardening

  • “As unlikely as it sounds, some people are willingly, even enthusiastically, spending upward of $1,000 on shredders heavy duty enough to reduce personal documents and other items to the consistency of confetti — particularly during tax season, or high shredding season, when shredder sales peak every year.”

    tags: shredders, nytimes

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Hard questions about open source software

Several days ago I posted the slides I used at the Open Source Business Conference in PDF form and also provided the SlideShare version. For those who want to see the contents of the slides directly, I’ve included most of it below.

What I do not have here is one slide that I used to say that I was going to focus on the technical, community, and business aspects of open source and that I would try to stay away from ideological or philosophical issues. I knew some people would not be happy about that and, to read some of the Twitter tweets during my talk, that was indeed the case. So be it.

The second preliminary slide not included here was a partial history of some of IBM‘s involvement in open source projects within Linux, Eclipse, Apache, and other projects.

Is software good software, just because it is open source?

  • It depends of your definition of “good,” but by most definitions, the answer is “no.”
  • As of three days ago, a popular code repository listed 164,297 open source projects.
  • Statistically, you might imagine that some are better than others.
  • Your definition of “good” is critical.

Is the code well architected and implemented?

  • Great code may start with the germ of a fantastic idea, but it eventually gets rewritten one or more times to be faster, more reliable, more secure, and more extendable.
  • If you are not an expert yourself, seek independent assessments of the quality of the code.
  • The quality of the documentation and user interface are important considerations in their own rights, but may also give you an idea of how well designed the core of the software is.

Who are the founders, contributors, and users?

  • People write code and drive software projects and products.
  • Unreliable people may place the future of the software in jeopardy, and thus also your investment.
  • Work out “what if” scenarios for what you will do if the code gets abandoned, forked, or acquired.
  • Learn what other users have done with the code and about the quality of their experiences with the software and those who created it.

What is the form and governance of the community?

  • Find out if the open source code you are considering is being developed by a healthy, democratic, and meritocratic community or if it is really just a controlling company “coding in public.”
  • Learn if the community also includes documenters, graphic designers, and evangelists in addition to coders.
  • Look at the project forums, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools to get a sense of the health of the community.
  • Don’t ignore warning signs of trouble in the community and things that may make you uneasy about it.

Are there intellectual property issues involving copyrights or code provenance?

  • Ignoring legal issues with software can be one of your most expensive mistakes and can literally put you out of business.
  • Learn about open source licenses and consider hiring an intellectual property attorney as a consultant when you are considering use of software or negotiating a contract.
  • Don’t mix open source licenses unless it is legal.
  • Make sure the developers of the software you want to adopt played by the legal rules.
  • Don’t pretend to be an attorney if you are not.

Does the license suit all your future plans for the code?

  • Some open source licenses can be combined and others cannot.
  • Some open source licenses allow for free use in commercial, “closed source” applications and others do not.
  • Some open source licenses specify some restrictions when you host software-as-a-service.
  • Be especially careful if you want to use open source code libraries.
  • Understand if the software you plan to use can be hosted on either a private or public cloud.

Do you have proper legal controls and business processes in place to deal with open source software?

  • That is, what is your open source governance strategy?
  • Five years ago, it was not uncommon for that strategy to be defined as “you shall use no open source software.”
  • You need to understand the legal risks and responsibilities for any software you use, and weigh those against the business value.
  • Work out a plan that specifies what business and legal controls are in place to approve use of open source in your organization or in your products, and make sure you have a well defined escalation path.

Is the software enterprise-ready?

  • There’s been a lot of discussion about whether open source software is more secure than proprietary software.
  • Which open source software and which proprietary software?
  • In addition to security, you need to look at reliability, availability, scalability, interoperability, and performance.
  • Make sure the software is available on the right hardware platform so you can optimize the environment for your workload.

Who will maintain your installation of the software?

  • If you are planning for your IT staff to install and maintain your software, make sure it doesn’t get orphaned when you have personnel turnover.
  • When software updates come along, you will need a plan to decide which ones to install and when, especially if major releases come along every six months or so.
  • If you customize open source code for your organization, are you prepared to propagate those changes into newer versions of the code?

How easy is it to integrate the software with your data or other software you already use?

  • Does your software use recognized industry standards or does it have its own way of formatting data?
  • Are the developers of the software involved in creating the standards that will allow interoperability?
  • If you adopt the software, who will do the integration tasks?
  • Is the software certified for use on the operating system and hardware platform you plan to use?

Are benchmarks available to allow performance evaluations of the software with comparable products/projects?

  • While benchmarks can be abused, they can be important in learning if particular software is really usable in your business.
  • You might worry less about published benchmarks and more about proofs of technology and head-to-head comparisons among the software choices you are considering.
  • Consider your software provider’s response to such requests for “bake offs” when making your adoption decision.


  • First and foremost, open source software is software.
  • When it comes to business and especially enterprise use, open source software should get no immediate free pass because it happens to be open source.
  • Conversely, proprietary software should also be measured on a level playing field with open source, and get no special initial treatment.
  • All those things that you worried about when choosing proprietary software—security, performance, reliability, availability, interoperability, support, maintenance—are also areas to investigate when considering open source software.

The Whole Series

Thinking about open source: There are three types of software …

Most of these kinds of discussions that say that there are two kinds of people or ten best ways of doing something are extremely subjective and involve gross simplifications. I plead guilty here but want to make a few points about the nature of software today and how people think about it.

There’s a tremendous amount of buzz in the industry today about open source software, but there is, of course, a huge amount of use of “that other kind of software” that variously goes by the name of “proprietary,” “closed-source,” “traditional,” or “commercial” software. None of those terms work well in practice.

Let me break down software into three categories:

Continue reading

Daily links for 02/23/2010

A little overagressive on the links today, but there’s a lot going on …

  • “The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) — developers, stewards, and incubators of 138 Open Source projects — today announced the 15th anniversary of the Apache HTTP Web Server.

    The ASF’s first project became the world’s most popular Web server software within the first six months of its inception. The Apache HTTP Server today powers nearly 112 million Websites world-wide.”

    tags: software, apache, open-source

  • “Last week, eWEEK Labs published their picks for the top 25 technologies that changed the decade. They judged their selections on the impact the technologies had on the past 10 years, while also considering the affect that these technologies will have on the future of IT. Among the winners – which included innovative technologies such as the iPhone, the Blackberry, Blade Servers and Bluetooth – was our leading operating platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

    tags: linux, red-hat

  • “Write a book about building community the open source way… and write it with a community, the open source way. Meaning, open the text up, allow interested users to contribute, and see what happens.


    The book is entitled The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors and you can access the current text here and the wiki for contributors here.

    I caught up with Karsten Wade, who is leading the project, to learn more.”

    tags: open-source, books

  • “This guide is for helping people to understand how to and how not to engage with community over projects such as software, content, marketing, art, infrastructure, standards, and so forth. It contains knowledge distilled from years of Red Hat experience.”

    tags: red-hat, open-source, community

  • “I really liked Metaplace and used it as part of my virtual worlds course here at Duke last semester. I’m so relieved that the shutdown happened between semesters! I’m also relieved that I didn’t invest much time in building Metaplace-based educational environments for my students (which I was seriously considering). The rapid fall of Metaplace really underscores that any effort to invest in a platform where content (or the organization of content) is stored on a third party’s servers is a very risky proposition.”

    tags: virtual-world

  • “Find information about how Chromium works, how to participate in the development of Chromium, or just how to build it yourself.”

    tags: Chromium, open-source

  • “The 2010 OpenOffice.org Conference will take place from August 31st to September 3rd in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.”

    tags: ooocon, openoffice.org

  • “Misys Open Source Solutions (“MOSS”), a division of Misys Plc (FTSE:MSY.L), today announced a partnership with Markit, a leading, global financial information services company, to promote the Misys Environmental Registry System (“MERS”), the new carbon management emissions reporting solution that will be released March 31, 2010.”

    tags: open-source, environment

  • “Viewer 2.0 is far more organized than before, and that makes it easier to use. It brings the most important functions to the surface, while less frequently used tools are hidden in menus, available when needed but not jumping out to confuse the beginner.

    The top of the viewer now looks like a Web browser, with an address bar that contains the 3D coordinates of your avatar’s location, in a form resembling a URL. As with a Web browser, you can embed bookmarks (“landmarks” in Second Life jargon), in the horizontal space below the address bar.”

    tags: second-life, virtual-world, viewer, browser

  • “Overall, Linden Lab deserve kudos for delivering a significantly revamped viewer that should make using Second Life markedly easier for new residents in particular. Linden Lab have consistently stated their commitment to improving the user experience and this is one of the more concrete examples of how that is now being delivered. The proof of Viewer 2’s success will only come with widespread use, but initial impressions are positive. Of course, Linden Lab need to pull off a usability coup to ensure ongoing growth. Combined with potential improvements in grid performance, the horizon seems a little brighter than it has been in a while.”

    tags: second-life, virtual-world

  • “More to the point, it’s a step toward electronic textbooks, and away from the bizarre economy of print textbooks. DynamicBooks textbooks, which will accessible on an computer, as well as the iPhone (and presumably the iPad) will be much—about 50%—cheaper than print textbooks, which are sold at high prices with the expectation that they’ll later be resold.”

    tags: textbooks, macmillan, ebook

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Checking broken links in WordPress blogs

I just installed the Broken Link Checker plugin. It scans your blog entries and pages and gives you an nice report and way to fix any links that end up in the great web void rather than honest web pages.

Though I installed it for this, my current blog, I was mostly curious what it would say for my archived blog, which has over 3000 entries created over 5 1/2 years. I was nervous, in fact, because I was afraid that I would have to spend a lot of time tracking down and fixing links that were no longer valid.

The good news is that there are only 16 broken links. The bad news is that of the few I quickly checked, I can’t find web addresses that are valid and current. That is, the old content is either gone or is now so well hidden that I can’t locate it. This happens, of course, but is rather sad somehow. Some of the online articles were no longer there because they were from now defunct newspapers. A couple of MIA links were from major IT trades and, if I remember correctly, vanished after some company mergers.

Should you be thinking of moving your content, learn about “redirection,” the way to tell your site where to go when it gets a request for a page that has been moved. This can be done at several levels, from the Apache .htaccess file, to some HTML, PHP, or even via a WordPress plugin. There are other ways to do it as well, depending on how your site is built.

Think twice before casting your content, and your links, into the web void.