Omar Tazi

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Information you need to separate the signal from the noise in the Open Source Software world and occasional other thoughts on the software business.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and not necessarily those of Oracle. Omar Tazihttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08918531580818540651noreply@blogger.comBlogger83125
Updated: 14 hours 57 min ago

Eclipse JSF Tools Turns 1.0

Thu, 2007-07-12 18:54
I would like to congratulate Raghu Srinivasan from Oracle (Eclipse JSF Tools Project Lead) and his team for helping the community produce its first official release of the JSF Tools Project. A couple of weeks ago the Eclipse Foundation announced the Europa release which among other things included Web Tools Platform (WTP) 2.0 of which the JSF Tools Project v1.0 is an important piece.

JSF Tools v1.0 is a key milestone as it simplifies the development of JavaServer Faces applications in the Eclipse environment. The highlights of this release include performance improvements, a new Web Page Editor as well as a graphical editor for building HTML/JSP/JSF web pages. This release is also extensible by design, it comes with an extensibility framework that allows third party developers to come up with their own enhancements.

This release is yet another milestone in delivering "productivity with choice" to our customers. For more information on other recent activities around Oracle's involvement with Eclipse check out this blog entry.

- Download Eclipse Europa: http://download.eclipse.org/webtools/downloads/drops/R2.0
- Release notes for Eclipse WTP 2.0:
http://www.eclipse.org/webtools/releases/2.0

Another Trinidad Milestone

Tue, 2007-07-10 19:04
Last week the Apache MyFaces Trinidad team announced another milestone, the release of Trinidad v 1.2.1. This release comes with a JavaServer Faces 1.2 component library initially based on parts of Oracle's ADF Faces. Featured tags in this release include : breadcrumbs, navigation panels, panes, and tabbed panels. More tags can be found on this page. JSF 1.1 is still supported via Trinidad v 1.0.1.

Trinidad 1.2.1 binary and source distributions can be found in the central Maven repository under group id "org.apache.myfaces.trinidad". Downloads are available here.

If you need more frequent information on Trinidad, visit Matthias' blog.

Montreal, Je Me Souviens...

Tue, 2007-06-19 12:31
After a short but efficient visit to Austin last week where I had the pleasure to speak at the Austin Oracle User Group and meet wonderful and equally interesting people, I am on the road again, precisely in Montreal. One of the people I wanted to meet F2F is whurley who attended my talk in Austin and posted a great summary on his blog. BTW, nice hanging out with you whurley!

The only thing that could be misleading in whurley's summary is when he says: "Their customers already use Eclipse for Java/Java EE development..." This is not true, our Java EE and SOA customers continue to enjoy JDeveloper as a superior development environment for their enterprise Java development. That said, we do have a well defined Eclipse strategy which is centered around "Productivity with choice" whereby we want to provide some of our customers who for whatever reason choose to develop using Eclipse the same level of productivity as they could have gotten using JDeveloper. That is one reason why we are stepping up our involvement in the Eclipse community.

Today I am in Montreal to speak at the ORA*GEC conference and meet key customers and partners in the region to share our view on open source and share some very cool features in our increasingly rich SOA stack. Although French is my native language I just realized it's more challenging than I thought to present tech stuff in French. To all my friends in Quebec, I promise to do my best!

Apache Trinidad Graduates!

Mon, 2007-04-30 19:02
About a week ago and after 12 months hanging out in the Apache incubator, project Apache Trinidad received all the votes necessary from the Incubator PMC to graduate. Trinidad got 12 binding +1 votes by the Apache Incubator PMC, and two more non-binding by the Incubator community. It's been an exciting time in which we've seen more and more people from Oracle and of course outside Oracle join the community as users and even as committers. The traffic on the Trinidad mailing lists is really encouraging and the community is growing rapidly. In addition to Oracle which relies heavily on Trinidad for its own development, several companies are using including consulting shops who find the Trinidad components very useful and mature enough to build highly interactive web applications for their clients.

Trinidad is now going to be an important part of Apache MyFaces. You know where to go, we're working on the logistics to migrate the project from the incubation infrastructure to the MyFaces side of the house. Try it and let us know what you think.

Congrats to the Eclipse BPEL Designer Team!

Mon, 2007-04-30 18:40


I simply want to congratulate Michal and the BPEL Designer crew for winning the 4th prize at the popular JAX conference in Germany. Check out the news here if you can read German. Keep up the great work!

I also want to point out for those of you who don't know yet, there are other Oracle-led Eclipse plug-ins which we are really proud of:
- JSF Tools Project
- Project Dali JPA Tools

Finally we have announced last month project EclipseLink which will provide developers with world-class O/R mapping capabilities (via the TopLink product line donation).

Go ahead and try those Eclipse projects out and let me know what you think. We also welcome your participation ;)

Quick Thoughts on Flex and Open Source

Thu, 2007-04-26 18:38

Adobe plans to open source Flex, its development framework for building Flash-based web applications this should take effect when they go beta in June with the next Flex version code named Moxie (will be called Flex 3). Adobe is planning to use the Mozilla Public License or MPL. They are still planning to sell their Eclipse-based Flex Builder.

I read on CNet that "the move is also meant to appeal to open-source developers who shun closed-source and proprietary products. Adobe already offers the Flex software development kit for free and provides the source code." Also read on the same article that Jeff Whatcott, vice president for product marketing at Adobe's enterprise and developer business unit said "For some people, (open source) is a philosophical requirement, a sign of integrity and trust in a vendor, this will close that gap and address any lingering doubts they have about our openness and commitment to community."

I am sorry Jeff but this says ABSOLUTELY nothing about Adobe's openness. Flex is as proprietary and as far from open as it gets. Adobe still locks me in when I use Flex whether the source is open or not it doesn't really matter. Only one vendor defined Flex and only one vendor provides runtime for it. In my opinion, open source is not enough. We at Oracle continue to step up our open source contributions but we believe in a much more important source of openness and that is open standards to which we religiously adhere. That's what really gives you the freedom you are looking for as a user. The freedom to switch vendors down the road should you need to. So when we open sourced our reusable user interface components (Apache Trinidad), in addition to opening the source to which the community responded very positively, it was a 100% standards-based contribution (in this case the standard in JavaServer Faces).

I am not trying to take anything away from the success Flex/Flash enjoys it definitely helps build much more interactive web pages and seems to be very popular. I personally block Flash animations on my browser (Firefox) but advertisers like to use flash to make your pages look like fireworks which really annoys me. The way Oracle believes pages should be built is using JavaServer Faces (JSF) components (typically embedded in JSP pages) and if you need richer UI you do that by injecting some Ajax into it. We believe Ajax and JSF go very well together and hold such great promise that we have decided to donate our Rich Client Framework (RCF) to the OSS community. Stay tuned for a bunch of OSS-related announcements in a couple of weeks at JavaOne. Using JDeveloper (100% free), Apache Trinidad or ADF, one can build highly interactive standards-based user interfaces without knowing anything about JSF, JavaScript, XML DOM, CSS, DHTML, etc. Developers are shielded from the complexity of Ajax development… I would like to disclaim that we do support Flash as one of the rendering options for JSF components like charts. You build your JSF-based page and later you could potentially make the decision to render the chart in Flash. Because the JSF component definition is separate from the rendering you can still do that in an elegant way and we support that in ADF Faces as part of the Rich Client Framework.

To make the long story short my point in this entry is the following: Flash is not a bad thing, some people seem to like it and use it quite heavily. But open sourcing it or parts of it (especially the tooling) doesn’t make it open enough for me and the kind of people I talk to in the developer community. They understand very well that openness comes from standards not necessarily from opening the kimono and showing the code even under a friendly license like MPL.

Dial 1-800-GOOG-411

Sun, 2007-04-08 20:43

This might not be open source but it is FREE. If you are tired of being charged $1.5 by your cellular carrier for every 411 call, try Google's Voice Local Search. It is still experimental but we know what Google means by experimental or beta. It's usually pretty darn good. Although it was released earlier this month I just had a chance to try it today and I it worked just fine. About 75% of my attempts worked, when I'm not lucky I just say "back" and I get another chance. This service doesn't include residential requests but you can use it to find businesses. You can try "San Francisco California" and "Mas Sake Sushi" and it'll connect you or just say "text message" and it'll send you an sms (both free of charge).

This is a $7B/year market, more than 2.5 billion 411 calls are made every year in America. AT&T is toying with the free 411 calls but competition for this service comes from Jingle Networks which seems to have captured more than 5% of the 411 U.S. market in 2006. Another serious player is TellMe which was recently acquired by guess who... Microsoft of course.

IBM wants to finish JBoss

Thu, 2007-03-29 18:07
After losing its founder and leader to music and other personal interests shortly after being acquired by Red Hat, JBoss has a new set of issues to deal with. Marc Fleury left after sharing with his colleagues how he felt about working with Red Hat: "I am increasingly experiencing diminishing returns on my emotional and professional investments at Red Hat."

The new danger comes from outside. IBM and Covalent announced today that they had each contributed a significant amount of IP to Apache's Geronimo to help users migrate from JBoss to Geronimo. Although I personally consider this a serious attack on JBoss, Shaun Connolly (VP of product management in the JBoss division of Red Hat) begs to differ calling the IBM-Covalent initiative "uninteresting". I still think that JBoss today is far more superior than Geronimo if they play a feature war. But we all know the better products don't always win. I also believe that existing JBoss customers may not want to switch to a less performant application server if they are already in production. If it works why fix it? But I still think that when giants like IBM or Microsoft go after a much smaller company, we know how that movie ends.

Speaking of movies let's rewind the JBoss/IBM movie. Let me refresh your memory on a few events that put together are confusing to say the least:

- In September of 2003, JBoss and IBM team up to cool off the growing popularity of Microsoft's C#
- Not too long after this Marc Fleury started bashing BEA and IBM on his blog
- In May of 2005 IBM purchases Gluecode a company that employed most Apache Geronimo contributors and positions this acquisition as their entry level, lightweight application server. They later called the Geronimo-based product WAS Community Edition.
- Exactly two years after deciding IBM was nice and C#/Microsoft evil, Marc Fleury partners with Microsoft (Sept 2005). Their partnership shocked me (and I was not the only one) but I thought it was pretty clever after all. Marc described that day as his best day ever.
The idea there was that half JBoss servers were running on Windows so let's work together on making JBoss work even better on Windows and SQL Server,
Active Directory and single sign-on, etc.
- Then Red Hat buys JBoss, Microsoft becomes great friends with Novell and Fleury doesn't like working for Red Hat, fakes a paternity leave and never comes back to work. [Sorry I had to compress the story]
- Next IBM feels JBoss is kind of vulnerable and decides to partner with Covalent to hurt them even more, hence the announcement.

Concretely IBM
(which roughly employs half of Geronimo's committers) and Covalent (which already provides support for Apache's Tomcat, HTTP Server and Axis) are getting together to provide quality support for Geronimo and lure people away from JBoss. Paul Buck, director of IBM WebSphere open source said that they were going to provide a migration tool that would go through the J2EE application itself and look for any required changes at the source that we know are different between JBoss and Geronimo.

I am interested in your thoughts, do you think IBM with this move is going hurt JBoss' business in a significant way? Can somebody tell me why we never see Glassfish in these battles? It's also a Java EE open source application server but no one seems to take it seriously. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who reads this blog who uses Glassfish in the enterprise.

Oracle on The Linux Foundation Board

Thu, 2007-03-29 13:21
It's no news that Oracle has been a serious player in the Linux community. Our commitment to the Linux community started way back in 1998 when we released the industry's first commercial database on Linux. We also like Linux because we run our own IT systems on Linux and realize first-hand the benefit of lower IT costs from using Linux in a grid computing infrastructure. Additionally, Oracle's Linux kernel team contributed a cluster file system OCFS to the Linux kernel under the GPL license. OCFS2 was the first ever cluster file system in the mainline Linux kernel. Finally we recently announced Oracle Unbreakable Linux 2.0 which is a support program that provides enterprises with world-class global support for Linux.

All this to say that Oracle/Wim's nomination on the Linux Foundation board is no accident. Who better than Wim Coekaerts to represent Oracle on that diverse board?

Congrats Wim!

Apache Trinidad version 1.0.0-incubating

Mon, 2007-03-26 19:24

A little more than a year ago Oracle donated a rich set of UI components based on the JavaServer Faces specification to the Apache Software Foundation under the Apache 2.0 license. The donation was originally part of Oracle ADF and the community chose the name it Apache Trinidad. Today we’re excited to announce that we reached another milestone: the release of Apache Trinidad Core version 1.0.0-incubating.

Both binary and source code are available at the Apache Incubator Trinidad Podling page.

Live demos and release notes are also available.

Enjoy!

What is EclipseLink?

Thu, 2007-03-08 18:57
Hopefully by now most of you know that Oracle has been actively contributing resources and IP to the Eclipse community. Oracle has been an active member of the Eclipse community since its inception and a leading participant in both the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) and the Technology project. Oracle currently leads the JavaServer Faces tooling, Dali JPA tools and BPEL tools projects. Before diving into to the announcement, I would like to personally thank all the developers they know who they are who spontaneously stopped by the Oracle booth at EclipseCon'07 to tell me how much they thought Oracle is doing a better job of working with the OSS community and how much their perception of Oracle had changed.

So what’s new?

- First, Oracle is now a board member of the Eclipse Foundation.
- Second, Oracle steps up its involvement from simple membership to “Strategic Developer” status. Based on the size of our latest donation (see below) and the level of involvement required for this project and Oracle’s interest in the success of the Eclipse platform we decided to upgrade our status.
- Third, Oracle is donating its award winning Java persistence framework, Oracle TopLink, to the open source community. What’s the big deal TopLink was already donated to the JCP and project Glassfish as well as Spring 2.0? That was TopLink Essentials (TLE) not TopLink. I will post another blog entry soon explaining the difference between TLE and TopLink. Basically Oracle TopLink which has been around for 13 years is hands down the industry's most advanced persistence product with object-to-relational, object-to-XML, and Enterprise Information System data access through all of the major standards, including the Java Persistence API, Java API for XML Binding, Service Data Objects, and the Java Connector Architecture. TopLink supports most databases and most application servers and most development tools.
- Last but not least, based on this major contribution (TopLink source code and test cases), Oracle proposed an Eclipse project to deliver a comprehensive persistence platform. The project’s name is Eclipse Persistence Platform (EclipseLink). EclipseLink will be led by Oracle.

Can you provide more details about EclipseLink? (from the EclipseLink FAQ)

EclipseLink will deliver a number of components (listed below) which together will constitute a solid framework with support for a number of persistence standards. Here is a list of some planned components:
- EclipseLink-ORM will provide an extensible Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) framework with support for the Java Persistence API (JPA). It will provide persistence access through JPA as well as having extended persistence capabilities configured through custom annotations and XML. These extended persistence features include powerful caching (including clustered support), usage of advanced database specific capabilities, and many performance tuning and management options.
- EclipseLink-OXM will provide an extensible Object-XML Mapping (OXM) framework with support for the Java API for XML Binding (JAXB). It will provide serialization services through JAXB along with extended functionality to support meet in the middle mapping, advanced mappings, and critical performance optimizations.
- EclipseLink -SDO will provide a Service Data Object (SDO) implementation as well as the ability to represent any Java object as an SDO and leverage all of its XML binding and change tracking capabilities.
- EclipseLink -DAS will provide an SDO Data Access Service (DAS) that brings together SDO and JPA.
- EclipseLink -DBWS will provide a web services capability for developers to easily and efficiently expose their underlying relational database (stored procedures, packages, tables, and ad-hoc SQL) as web services. The metadata driven configuration will provide flexibility as well as allow default XML binding for simplicity.
- EclipseLink -XR will deliver key infrastructure for situations where XML is required from a relational database. The metadata driven mapping capabilities EclipseLink-ORM and EclipseLink-OXM are both leveraged for the greatest flexibility. Using this approach to XML-Relational access enables greater transformation optimizations as well as the ability to leverage the Eclipse Persistence Platform’s shared caching functionality.
- EclipseLink -EIS provides support for mapping Java POJOs onto non-relational data stores using the Java Connector Architecture (JCA) API.

Oracle's love story with Eclipse seems to be getting stronger, is JDeveloper dead?
I keep getting this question over and over. So before anybody posts it in the comments I will address it. At Oracle we believe in "Productivity with Choice". Oracle remains fully committed to JDeveloper as the IDE of choice for Java and service-oriented architecture development. That said, we are also committed to helping our customers who for whatever reason choose Eclipse for their development. So the answer is crystal clear, JDeveloper is stronger than ever and Oracle will continue to invest in making it better.

These Eclipse-related announcements are yet another proof that Oracle continues to deploy significant efforts to initiate, lead, and contribute technology and resources to the OSS community. Stay tuned for more on Oracle and OSS!

Productivity with choice

Wed, 2007-02-14 16:39
This article published in the Oracle Magazine March/April 2007 issue explains well our tooling strategy and why Oracle is committed to both JDeveloper and Eclipse to increase our customers' productivity no matter what development platform they end up using. Thanks to Rich Schwerin for putting it together:
http://www.oracle.com/technology/oramag/
oracle/07-mar/o27opensource.html

Oracle supports UC Berkeley lab to work on OSS systems

Thu, 2006-06-01 18:00
Oracle along with IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., NNT Multimedia Communications Laboratories Inc., and Nortel Networks, are pledging annual contributions of up to $170,000 for the next five years. This financial help will help the RAD lab to innovate and make its creations freely available under the open source Berkeley software distribution license. In addition, these companies are going to make some resources availble to act as consultants. In 2005 the RAD lab was launched with a $7.5M donation from Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

The projects will be focused for the most part on Artificial Intelligence based systems to help maintain large distributed computing systems used by data-intensive Internet businesses.

More on this in the press release.

Oracle's Ajax-enabled contribution coming up

Thu, 2006-06-01 17:49
On May 17th during Oracle’s general session at JavaOne 2006, Thomas Kurian announced that Oracle is about to open source yet another exciting technology. Indeed, a year ago Thomas announced at JavaOne that we were going to open source our ADF Faces components which are server-side user interface components based on the JavaServer Faces standard. Thomas also announced that same year that we were going to make Eclipse better by leading a couple of initiative. Well, Oracle delivered. Today we have open sourced ADF Faces and we are leading three different Eclipse plug-ins which are Dali (O/R mapping design time for EJB30 and JPA), JSF tooling and co-leading the BPEL design time with IBM. As for the ADF Faces components (excluding the rich client or Ajax-enabled components) they have been donated to the Apache software foundation. The project is currently waiting to graduate out of incubation and more information can be found here:
http://incubator.apache.org/projects/adffaces.html

So what’s exciting about these Ajax-enabled JSF components anyway?

Oracle has enhanced its already extensive JSF component library ADF Faces, with a set of rich and interactive components that will be part of the ADF Faces Rich Client donation to the open source community. All these components leverage extensively the technique referred to as Ajax. Ajax is a Web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by asynchronously exchanging data with the server, so that the page does not have to be entirely reloaded each time the user triggers an event. Ajax applications are typically more responsive and provide richer interactivity.

Oracle has already donated 100+ server-side (or thin-client) components to the Apache community. Additionally, Oracle will be donating a new set of rich Ajax-enabled components, which will bring the total number of donated components to 150+ JSF components.

The list below is a subset of the JSF rich component library that Oracle decided to contribute to the OSS community:

1- Table
The new table comes with the same functionality already provided by the current ADF Faces table component, plus some extra features that will dramatically enhance the end-user experience. The new table component comes with full support for asynchronously fetching data from the underlying services using the XMLHttpRequest object. The table provides scrolling through records, sorting, and single and multi-select out of the box, as well as built-in support for swapping columns at runtime.

2- Pop-up Menu
One of the coolest and most requested features in a rich and interactive end-user environment is the ability to right-click and display a popup menu at runtime. The new rich-client version of ADF Faces provides a popup component that can be attached to components such as a table. This will allow application developers to provide end-user actions via a popup menu that otherwise would have to be hard-coded in JavaScript. Now the developer experience is purely JSF/Java while the end-user gets the desired "thick-client" behavior in the browser.

3- Accordion
This is a common component in most desktop applications and helps the application developer optimize the use of real estate on the client side. The end-user can click on an accordion and display its content. The new ADF Faces component library comes with two different accordions: one that only displays one accordion at the time and one that can display multiple accordions at a time. So, now application developers will have the same type of functionality in the browser as they have in their desktop applications.

4- Tree
For most application developers the hardest Web widget to implement is a rich Tree widget. ADF Faces comes with a Tree widget that has built-in support for asynchronously communicating with the underlying services. When interacted with, the Tree component will not re-render the entire page, which enhances the end-user experience.

5- Menu
ADF Faces also comes with a "regular" menu component. This component can be used by application developers to create toolbars similar to what is used in desktop applications. The menu is leveraging Ajax and provides DHTML dropdown menus etc. From the application developer’s view there is no JavaScript needed to enable this JSF component - only JSF and Java.

With this new rich client component library application developers will be able to leverage Ajax to its fullest without writing a single line of JavaScript to get the rich desktop user experience on the browser. We are not sure yet if this donation is going to end up in Apache it is not up to us it is completely up to the Apache MyFaces community. Stay tuned!

What is SASH anyway?

Thu, 2006-02-09 19:03
One of the challenges most people I talk to have in dealing with OSS is integrating projects that were designed to work together. Many people are trying to use Struts with Hibernate and/or Spring with Hibernate and end up having integration problems…The reality is that enterprises run open source and commercial software side-by-side and will continue to do so. That’s why Oracle partnered with SourceLabs to solve this issue for Oracle AS 10g customers. SASH simply means (Struts, Apache Axis, Hibernate and Spring). SourceLabs provides services around their tested SASH stack. Oracle customers using server-side Java are now able to improve productivity, reduce operational risk, and adopt open platforms with confidence.

I find this exciting and it’s inline with Fusion Middleware’s Hot-Pluggable message (believe me it’s not just a marketing buzzword) which essentially means that we are willing to compete on industry standards and if you find a module that works better than one of the components in the Oracle stack, you can seamlessly swap it out with the equivalent module of your choice. Oracle’s middleware is engineered to work well with third-party products, including open source and IBM's WebSphere line.

To get more information and even download SASH for Oracle AS 10g, go to the SASH section on OTN.

What is SASH anyway?

Thu, 2006-02-09 19:03
One of the challenges most people I talk to have in dealing with OSS is integrating projects that were designed to work together. Many people are trying to use Struts with Hibernate and/or Spring with Hibernate and end up having integration problems…The reality is that enterprises run open source and commercial software side-by-side and will continue to do so. That’s why Oracle partnered with SourceLabs to solve this issue for Oracle AS 10g customers. SASH simply means (Struts, Apache Axis, Hibernate and Spring). SourceLabs provides services around their tested SASH stack. Oracle customers using server-side Java are now able to improve productivity, reduce operational risk, and adopt open platforms with confidence.

I find this exciting and it’s inline with Fusion Middleware’s Hot-Pluggable message (believe me it’s not just a marketing buzzword) which essentially means that we are willing to compete on industry standards and if you find a module that works better than one of the components in the Oracle stack, you can seamlessly swap it out with the equivalent module of your choice. Oracle’s middleware is engineered to work well with third-party products, including open source and IBM's WebSphere line.

To get more information and even download SASH for Oracle AS 10g, go to the SASH section on OTN.

Is this where OSS is going?

Wed, 2006-02-08 20:48
When I saw this deal today I thought it summarized pretty well where open source seems to be going. The news in itself is not very exciting but it’s yet another open source startup raising a pretty good round from top tier VCs. In a nutshell, Alfresco which offers a document management platform raised an $8M series B investment round from Mayfield and Accel (which had already led round A). This confirms that:

- Open source is more professional. Open source developers are not what they used to be (midnight hackers working from their garage). More often than not, open source developers today are professional developers employed by large vendors (like Oracle or IBM) or well-funded startups like Alfresco or Spikesource (backed by Kleiner Perkins). Additionally large vendors offer professional support for open source projects (for example Oracle, IBM, Novell and HP support Linux).

- Open source is (slowly but surely) moving up the stack. First, the debate is not limited to Linux vs. Windows anymore. Also, the target open source end user profile is changing as open source moves up the stack. With Linux and Eclipse, typical users are system administrators and developers. Open source is moving beyond infrastructure software and tools into different areas with various degrees of success. Alfresco seems to be doing a good job in document management and Asterisk seems to offer a very popular PBX/VoIP telephony system (I am a happy Asterisk user without knowing much about PBX systems).

Is open source ready for ERP or CRM? Those of us who have been around a while in this industry know full well that VCs are not always right but in the last 18 months they have been very active investors in open source based startups with services-based business models. Time will tell if they were on the money! Let's not get too excited for now I don’t see traditional commercial software going anywhere anytime soon.

Orbeon delivers an amazing mix of AJAX and XForms

Fri, 2006-01-20 16:10
Just wanted to congratulate the Orbeon crew for putting out the 3rd major release of the LGPL-licensed Orbeon PresentationServer. OPS 3.0 features an AJAX-based XForms engine. The new engine brings responsive XForms user interfaces to mainstream web browsers without the need for plug-ins.

It’s all open source and available from ObjectWeb at:
http://forge.objectweb.org/project/showfiles.php?group_id=168

Examples and documentation for OPS are available online:
http://www.orbeon.com/ops/doc/

Talking about ObjectWeb, Erik Bruchez (Orbeon’s Chief Architect) will give a talk about XForms at ObjectWebCon '06 in Paris on January 31. The talk will mainly consist of a live XForms tutorial built on top of OPS 3.0, with the goal of showing the audience that using the right platform, XForms is really cool and productive and can be used on mainstream browsers without plug-ins (if you use platforms like OPS 3.0).

I will also present at the same conference, come say hi if you’re around (see you there Erik):

Oracle and NetBeans

Thu, 2006-01-19 21:00
Following the Sun-Oracle town hall meeting last week at Oracle headquarters where Larry and Scott made a few exciting announcements, I started getting questions about Oracle's position vis-a-vis NetBeans. The reason is that Scott (and later Jonathan Schwartz on his blog) mentioned some kind Oracle "adoption and endorsement" of NetBeans.

Oracle's IDE strategy is very clear, Thomas Kurian's interview on OTN earlier this week doesn't leave much room for interpretation and at the moment Oracle's tools strategy is limited to JDeveloper and Eclipse. Here is the statement from Thomas, Oracle's Senior Vice President for Oracle Fusion Middleware:

"At Oracle, we have our own development tool, Oracle JDeveloper, which is available for free download. Our new version, JDeveloper 10
g Release 3, has an extensive list of new features and is the single biggest release we have ever done of the product…

...Because we are committed to providing developers with choice, we are also taking a leadership role within the Eclipse community. We are currently leading three different groups within the Eclipse Foundation for Java and BPEL technologies, and we are actively involved in integrating our Fusion Middleware products with Eclipse. Oracle is focused on JDeveloper and Eclipse. We certainly think Sun's NetBeans initiative is important in the marketplace, and we're watching it very closely. But as of right now, Oracle is focused on JDeveloper and Eclipse and we have no plans to adopt either NetBeans or any of its technology. Any statements to the contrary by anyone else in the industry are not true."

Is open source software more vulnerable?

Tue, 2006-01-17 19:23

Do you think that more eye balls looking at open source projects make all bugs shallow or quite the contrary that some of these eye balls looking at the code could be malicious and take advantage of the exposed code to attack your open source based systems?

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, stated: "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow". More formally: "Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone." by Eric S. Raymond in his essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

Apparently The U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security thinks otherwise. It is investing in an ambitious 3 year project aiming at improving reliability and security of widely deployed open source projects. In late 2004 the San Francisco based auditing software company Coverity found that the Linux kernel had far fewer security vulnerabilities than a typical commercial software package. According to this article, this same company was selected for this project along with engineers from Stanford and anti-virus vendor Symantec to pinpoint and fix dangerous vulnerabilities (such as buffer overflows and memory allocation bugs) in widely used open source projects such as Linux, Apache, Mozilla and Sendmail.

Can't wait to see the results of this project will confirm Linus' law or not. In my opinion, there is no general rule in this case. Open source is not safer nor is it more vulnerable than commercial software. It really depends on what we are comparing. An open source project is going to be more or less reliable based on its popularity (nobody was interested in attacking Firefox until it became successful) the governance behind it, the size of the community (the more the better)...

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