Daily links for 07/19/2012

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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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Daily links for 05/18/2012

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Daily links for 11/03/2011

  • “In the month of November, the Eclipse community is celebrating 10 years since the start of the Eclipse open source project. In November 2001, the Eclipse IDE and platform were first made available under an open source software license. IBM made the initial $40 million contribution of technology to start the Eclipse project that has now grown to technology commons with an estimated value of over $800 million. The Eclipse community has also emerged as the leading place for individuals and organizations to collaborate on innovative technology development.”

    tags: eclipse

  • “It’s hard to believe, but it has been a decade since the Eclipse platform was first made available under an open source software license. In November 2001, IBM open sourced an internal project focused on creating a common component framework for developers (and coughed up $40 million to get the ball rolling).”

    tags: eclipse

  • “The slim volume bound in vivid red cloth also includes reproductions of maps, photographs, telegrams, and letters on the battle, all from the LOC’s archives. In addition to the original text by the LOC’s David D. Mearns and Lloyd A. Dunlap, this new edition features commentary by Lincoln historian Douglas L. Wilson and retired LOC curator John R. Sellers, who discusses his experiences working with the Lincoln documents in the library’s manuscript division.”

    tags: lincoln

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So the gas meter said to the thermostat, ‘We should talk’

In the last few weeks I’ve published several blog entries about mobile, but all of them have had to do with smartphones and tablets. There’s more to mobile than just that.

For a recent strategy presentation, my colleagues and I initially thought about how to segment the mobile marketspace and we came up with four categories:

  • Consumer: The apps and the infrastructure that support them
  • Enterprise: Again, the apps and the infrastructure that suport them, this time for companies to interact with their employees, suppliers, partners, and sometimes clients (when they are not viewed as consumers)
  • Network: What happens to support mobile in cell towers and on back
  • Wireless: The so-called Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communication

It didn’t take us long to decide that that Consumer and Enterprise should be merged since many of the features offered, problems to be solved, and technology used were the same. What you are seeing around the whole Bring Your Own Device to work movement further strengthens the idea that they should be considered together.

I’m going to discuss the last area around mobile that is listed above: wireless. Amazingly, this corresponds to an announcement made today that IBM and Eurotech have teamed up to donate software to and start a working group in Eclipse.org around MQTT, the Message Queueing Telemetry Transport protocol.

Admittedly, Message Queueing Telemetry Transport is a mouthful, and it’s no surprise that the acronym MQTT is used more frequently. Whether you like the short form or long form, I and many others think it will be very significant.

If you look around your house or apartment, you see a lot of devices that are very useful but pretty dumb. My thermostat has a modicum of intelligence in that it can learn how long it takes the house to reach a certain temperature and then plan ahead, but there is no way for me to access that over the web: I can’t remotely (Greek: tele) find out what temperature it is measuring (Greek: metron).

Even worse, I can’t remotely measure the gas or electricity use and compare that to the temperature to understand the efficiency of the furnace, optimize my energy use, or alert anyone if a significant problem is detected.

For example, in a seasonal house I might combine this information to respond before the pipes freeze on a particularly cold night.

Now there ways of doing this, especially in the last example. The problem is, when devices like thermostats, fire alarms, carbon monoxide level alarms, flood monitors, clothes dryers, and even refrigerators can convey information about their state, they do it in completely different languages and formats. As they become Things on the Internet, they need to communicate effectively with each other as well as systems that can take in all the varied information and make decisions.

The web works so well because we have the HTTP, the Hypertext Transport Protocol, to move data back and forth between servers and browsers. The hope is that MQTT will do the same for machine to machine communication.

In the example above, we may have smarter houses than 10 years ago, but MQTT could help turn them into actual Smart Houses.

Another example comes from the press release:

For instance, today’s smarter cities allow existing systems to alert operators of a broken water main and report the extent of flooding in streets and subways. However they are often closed systems. An open messaging protocol can be used to openly publish these events, enabling public and private transit systems to share and monitor these critical alerts. As a result, agencies would be able to adjust traffic signals, change routes, and notify commuters of alternative routes, transportation, lodging and meals on their mobile devices.

For more information about today’s announcement see:

P.S.: A very happy 10th birthday to Eclipse.org. From a $40M software donation by IBM, the organization has grown to encompass “273 open source projects at Eclipse.org; 1057 committers located around the world, more than half in Europe; 50+ million lines of code across all Eclipse projects; 174 member companies of the Eclipse Foundation.”

Eclipse is one of the most important open source organizations and has radically changed the nature and economics of the software development world. May their second decade be as productive the first.

Daily links for 11/02/2011

  • “But at mobile application developer Big Nerd Ranch, President Aaron Hillegass has seen mobile Linux efforts before and stressed the need for a viable ecosystem. “It isn’t enough for Canonical to announce that it is making the OS available — what makes the [Apple] iOS platform so compelling is the entire ecosystem: the OS, the devices, the iTunes store, iCloud, and the iTunes application. When that ecosystem exists for Ubuntu, we will be developing apps for it and offering the relevant training and consulting to our clients.””

    tags: ubuntu mobile

  • “There’s a growing list of venues and dates, for events starting 7th November and spanning the rest of the month, but the biggest party is no doubt the one to be held at  EclipseCon Europe that opens today, 2nd November. This evening’s  keynote for the conference, is being delivered by John Swainson who will talk about the events that led to IBM’s 2001 decision to sponsor the creation of Eclipse with a donation of the people, code, and intellectual property. The creation of Eclipse marked the first time that a major IT vendor had open-sourced a strategic piece of technology and Swainson, who was the general manager of the Application Integration and Middleware Group at IBM at the time, will tell the delegates about why IBM made such a risky decision.”

    tags: eclipse birthday

  • “Internet Explorer still retains a majority of the desktop browser market share, at 52.63 percent, a substantial 1.76 point drop from September. However, desktop browsing makes up only about 94 percent of Web traffic; the rest comes from phones and tablets, both markets in which Internet Explorer is all but unrepresented. As a share of the whole browser market, Internet Explorer has only 49.58 percent of users. Microsoft‘s browser first achieved a majority share in—depending on which numbers you look at—1998 or 1999. It reached its peak of about 95 percent share in 2004, and has been declining ever since.”

    tags: browser

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Something new, something (big) blue: IBM WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Alpha

While this post definitely falls into the category of “a word from my sponsor,” I hope you’ll take a look at the software being discussed if you have at all been involved with Java and web application servers.

wasdev banner

One of the most fun parts of being in the software world is being able to get your code into the hands of developers. While you can have great big product releases with much fanfare, other times there are smaller alpha and beta drops that can surprise you if you take the time to look at them. This is one of those latter instances.

If I’m developing code, I’m not going to get it right the first time. I’ll need to fix bugs but I’ll also need to progressively add features. This means that I’ll be editing, starting up the environment, testing, tweaking, debugging, over and over again. My environment and tools need to make this fast and easy for me. When I’m done coding and testing, I need to know that what I produce will run in a production quality environment with the right security, performance, availability and other qualities of service. I need a web application environment, both runtime and tools, that gives me all this.

IBM has just released the WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Alpha. First of all, this is a shiny new thing that developers, particularly Java developers should check out. Within this is something new and different tha we’re calling the Liberty Profile. The website describes what you get with this:

The WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Alpha delivers a simplified and lightweight runtime for web applications. Incredibly fast restart times coupled with its small size and ease of use make V8.5 a great option for Developers building web applications that don’t require the full JEE environment of traditional enterprise application server profiles. Highlights of the WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Alpha include:

  • Free and frictionless download for development purposes
  • Ultra lightweight modular runtime with an install size of under 50 MB
  • Incredibly fast startup times of under 5 seconds
  • Simplified configuration for quick time to productivity
  • WebSphere Developer Tools available as Eclipse plug-ins

To get started, download the server and/or the tools.

You can learn more via articles, videos, podcasts, and samples.

We have a blog where you can learn what the IBM developers are doing with WebSphere and Eclipse. In particular, check out Ian Robinson’s entry on “Introducing the Liberty Profile.”

Finally, and this one is really important, join the community and participate in the discussions.

Sometimes products are just small evolutionary changes from what was there before. This represents something profoundly different. In my opinion, and I am far from partial, it is worth a look.

Daily links for 09/14/2011

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

Daily links for 08/04/2011

  • “The study, done by market research firm, VisionMobile took a look at Android, Eclipse, the Linux kernel, MeeGo, Firefox, Qt, Symbian and WebKit and focused on their open governance, inclusiveness, transparency, and ease of access to source code. In the “open governance index”, Android finished with a measly 23 percent. It was far and away the lowest score, Android was the only open source project to score less than 58 percent (the best score was Eclipse at 84 percent).”

    tags: android open source

  • “The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, a new collection of previously unheard songs by the country great recorded by artists such as Bob Dylan, Jack White, Norah Jones and Levon Helm, will be released on October 4th. The set, which will be issued on Dylan’s imprint Egyptian Records, was originally conceived by veteran A&R executive Mary Martin as a Dylan-centric project, but eventually evolved into a multi-artist tribute to the late singer-songwriter.”

    tags: dylan white williams music

  • “Users expect mobile services to be relevant and user-friendly and to perform well. The limitations of the medium, however, impose significant challenges to designing products that meet all of those expectations. While often underestimated, performance is a crucial contributor to a trustworthy mobile user experience. Therefore, it should be considered a key driver in the design process. In this article, we’ll discuss performance in relation to design and present seven guidelines that can help shape design decisions related to performance while accounting for the needs of end users and businesses. These guidelines are based on the experiences of our teams in designing native mobile apps for a broad product portfolio and on multiple mobile platforms.”

    tags: mobile High-Performance

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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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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

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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

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Daily links for 09/28/2010

OpenOffice.org Forks into LibreOffice

  • “The bad news is that in the same time period the OpenOffice suite could have become so much more. As with other single-company controlled efforts in the past (e.g., the Eclipse Foundation, before IBM spun it out into an independent organization), other companies that could have, and would have, made significant contributions of personnel, funding and promotion stood aside.

    Why? Because Sun maintained too much control. This reality has played out over and over during the past 30 years – when one or a few companies maintain too much control, others stay away, because they can’t be sure that the project will be managed for everyone’s benefit.”

    tags: openoffice libreoffice

  • “Robert Sutor, IBM’s VP of Open Systems and Linux, said”First and foremost, we want to see high quality and interoperable implementations of ODF, the Open Document Format, that will drive greater adoption of the standard. This will take continued innovation and collaboration in an active and broad-based open source community. It will also need products like Lotus Symphony 3, which is on track for an on-time release, that build on the great work done by both the OpenOffice and Eclipse communities. We’ve made no decisions about the new LibreOffice community and will assess how best to work with it as we learn more.”

    tags: openoffice libreoffice

  • “BROffice, Google, Novell and Red Hat are among the sponsors of LibreOffice, a community led fork of OpenOffice that is to be developed under the umbrella of a European based non-profit to be named The Document Foundation.

    While development of the new fork will focus around the developers inherited from Novell, Red Hat and Debian, the project has the support of the great majority of the community surrounding OpenOffice.org; Among those who have expressed support for LibreOffice and the Document Foundation are the Free Software Foundation, the OSI, OASIS, Canonical, credativ and Collabora and the Gnome Foundation.”

    tags: libreoffice openoffice


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Daily links for 07/20/2010

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Daily links for 06/24/2010

  • “Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, announced today that company founder Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO.  Linden Lab also announced that Mark Kingdon is stepping down as CEO.”

    tags: second-life

  • Red Hat, Inc. (RHT 30.91, -0.45, -1.44%) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the next step in the integration of its enterprise-grade server and desktop virtualization portfolio with the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2. In addition to providing the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, the 2.2 update includes new scalability capabilities, migration tools and features to expand the performance and security of the solution.”

    tags: red-hat

  • Firefox logo“Mozilla is rolling out an update of its Firefox Web browser that adds support for plugin isolation. Version 3.6.4, which includes the new feature, was officially released on Tuesday and will be deployed soon through the browser’s automated update system.

    It is unusual for Mozilla to deploy a major new feature in a minor point update, but the plugin isolation capability is a worthy exception to the rule, since it will significantly improve the browser’s stability. In the new version of Firefox, plugin components like Flash and Silverlight will run in external processes. When these plugins crash, the browser itself will not be terminated.”

    tags: firefox, flash

  • “The Eclipse project has announced the Helios release train, a major update of the open source Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) and many of its key components.

    Due to the modularity of the software and the diversity of its community, Eclipse is developed like a platform. There are a multitude of independently-developed components that supply specific kinds of functionality. The most widely-used components are collected into a set of standard Eclipse packages that are targeted towards specific kinds of development.”

    tags: eclipse, open-source

  • “The Fedex delivery man pulled up at 10:30 this morning with an iPhone 4 in his hand — there were 15 more on his truck. The packaging is elegant and simple to open. After syncing the iPhone 3GS and Stainless Shuffle to be sure iTunes was up to date, I connected the iPhone 4. The first screen to appear showed my mobile phone number and asked me to enter my zip code and last four of the social for authentication. After agreeing to the Apple and AT&T terms and conditions the phone was activated and the copying of apps plus thousands of songs and music began. I went out for an errand and when I got back the iPhone 4 was loaded with my data. The next step was to set up the Google accounts for over-the-air syncing of my 1,500 contacts plus all the calendar entries and gmail. Minutes later I was good to go. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”

    tags: iphone

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 06/09/2010

  • “Your study found that it would cost $1.4 billion for a company to build the Linux kernel from scratch today, and $10.8 billion to build an entire Linux distribution similar to Fedora 9. Can you explain how you reached those figures?”

    tags: linux, cost, fedora

  • “Due to an early emphasis on getting the right architecture for its Azure cloud platform, which went live in February, Microsoft‘s cloud service is still missing key features that are available in the company’s standalone products, said Microsoft executives at the company’s 2010 Tech Ed conference, being held this week in New Orleans.”

    tags: microsoft, azure, cloud

  • “Last week Laurent Bounin of Savoir Faire Linux in Quebec wrote in with good news.

    A Canadian court ruled the provincial government broke the law in 2006 when it upgraded Windows on 800 workstations and excluded open source from the bid.

    It wasn’t a complete victory. The decision was not reversed. But Savoir Faire got its court costs, and the government is on notice.”

    tags: open-source, canda

  • “A key finding was the continued growth of Linux as a developer desktop. “Close to one-third of developers (33 percent) now use Linux as their primary development operating system; this is up from 20 percent in 2007,” the report said.

    “In parallel, Microsoft Windows has dropped from 74 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2010,” Eclipse said in the report.”

    tags: eclipse

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Daily links for 04/12/2010

  • “But the best role model is Eclipse, formed through IBM‘s 2001 donation of its Java development software. IBM executives decided to share control when they realized “they needed Eclipse to become independent to achieve their strategic goal to have the broader Java ecosystem adopt Eclipse,” says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. Since then, the foundation has been able to attract outside participation not only through its formal processes, but also through new bottom-up initiatives created and led by outsiders.”

    tags: innovation, open, eclipse, open-source

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

Daily links for 04/06/2010

  • “The EPL and the GPL are inherently incompatible licenses. That is the position of both the Free Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation. In preparing this we consulted with the FSF to make sure we fully understood their interpretation of the GPL and how it interacts with the EPL. You may not link GPL and EPL code together and distribute the result. It doesn’t matter if the linking is dynamic, static or whatever. This bears repeating: if you or your organization are distributing EPL and GPL licensed code linked together into a single program you are almost certainly violating both the EPL and the GPL.”

    tags: eclipse, epl, gpl, licenses, open-source

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:

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