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: 39 min 58 sec ago

Another Oracle Donation to Open Source

Wed, 2005-12-21 19:38

This is exciting news web developers who believe in J2EE, so buckle up!

I am pleased to announce that Oracle is contributing 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. What it will be called in the future is yet to be determined by the Apache MyFaces community.

What's in it for Oracle?

We like to get behind technologies we believe in. We think JSF holds great promise and Apache MyFaces is a great JSR-127 implementation. By supporting JSF and MyFaces we are hoping that more vendors are going to join us and strengthen the Faces community.

Why should I care?

I would say wait till you try it. This is going to give a big boost to the JavaServer Faces technology as well as the MyFaces project. The donated code comes with great functionality out of the box. How would you like to have high quality capabilities such as: file upload support, client-side validation, partial rendering of a page (AJAX-style), data tables, hierarchical tables, color/date pickers, progress indicators, menu tabs/buttons, internationalization and accessibility? This donation starts with more than 100 components which have already been thoroughly tested and come with high quality documentation.

How about tools?

Oracle developers are also leading the Eclipse JSF tooling project, we are going to make sure that this plug-in works well with MyFaces and its components to help J2EE developers develop and deploy great looking web applications using open source technology donated by Oracle.

After several months of effort, I'm very excited to see this donation go forward. We know that our donation is being placed in very good hands, and we look forward to seeing more components "blossom" as part of the Apache MyFaces project.

I'm Back!

Wed, 2005-12-21 19:29

I would like to apologize to my readers for being so quiet for the last couple of months. I've been too busy and on the road quite a bit. I had a chance to speak at the Gartner Open Source Summit in Florida as well as ApacheCon in San Diego. I hope you like the news in my next blog entry!

EuroOSCON 2005

Mon, 2005-10-17 05:20
I just landed a couple of hours ago in Amsterdam after a rather smooth flight from SFO through Chicago O'Hare. I came here to attend EuroOSCON 2005. I am looking forward to this conference where I will also be speaking on Wednesday and reconnecting with all my OSS buddies. I am sure a lot of people are wondering what Oracle is doing for open source, my presenation will touch on this of course but I will also be at the Oracle booth answering questions. Feel free to stop by if you're around.

What did Oracle and Zend Announce this Week?

Thu, 2005-10-13 18:21

Earlier this week, Oracle and Zend announced general availability of Zend Core for Oracle. This is exciting news, yet another sign that Oracle understands OSS and how commercial software can complement open source. Oracle is doing all it can to help developers out there with the performance, reliability and robustness they need. Let me try to shed some light on this announcement by answering some of the questions I have been getting.

Who's Zend anyway?
Zend is really the PHP company. They have Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski on their payroll, they are Zend's founders and also the original developers who helped PHP founder Rasmus Lerdorf rewrite a new PHP parsing engine in 1997. Andi and Zeev created the very popular open source Zend Engine. Zend's products are used by 8,000 companies worldwide including Lufthansa, Avaya, Sprint, HP and Boeing.

What's Zend Core for Oracle?
Zend Core for Oracle provides out-of-the-box IT organizations with a stable, high performance, easy-to-install and supported PHP development and production environment fully integrated with the Oracle Database. Without Zend Core for Oracle customers had to download all the pieces individually (Apache server, PHP, Oracle DB…) and cobble it all together. This was a very tedious, unpredictable experience that serious enterprises did not want to go through. Zend Core for Oracle is a one stop shop where you get one install file and you know it's going to work and if god forbid, it doesn't you get support from Zend (for PHP-related issues) and Oracle (for database-related issues). Safe feeling, isn't it?

Why should I care? LAMP is FREE!
This is the most frequent question and the answer is very simple. If free was the only criterion, then why is Geronimo not everywhere and why is Oracle still showing strong DB and application server sales, etc.? The truth is, people care deeply about more important things. We worked with Zend to do this because their customers as well as ours wanted us to deliver a solution like Zend Core for Oracle. There are 18 million websites out there written in PHP, scripting languages are too popular today for Oracle to ignore them. Zend is the leader in PHP deployments. It's also important to note that 25-30% of their customers run on Oracle (not all of them are LAMP worshipers). Oracle and Zend noticed that many already had their data in Oracle databases when they started using PHP to write web application. They enjoyed the quick turnaround and easy to deploy experience they got out of PHP. Others come from the LAMP stack and want more stability, performance, security and reliability and moved to Oracle DB. Also organizations with a significant investment in Linux and Oracle now have the option to deploy PHP apps on top of these databases and worry less about the issue of drivers then they may have seen in past. Zend Core for Oracle delivers an updated PHP OCI8 driver, which both companies have worked hard to make more reliable and stable for Oracle Database-driven Web applications.

Have you heard of OPAL? Well it's an acronym just like LAMP but it stands for [Oracle, PHP, Apache and Linux]. Believe me, it is more popular than you think. Zend Core for Oracle is an OPAL system - technically an OPA, it also runs on IBM AIX, Sun Solaris and Windows (currently still in beta).

Bottom line: The real challenge for open source software is to provide the ease of use and a clear chain of accountability that IT organizations require for mission-critical systems. Zend Core is a good answer to that.

What happened to Oracle's commitment to Java/J2EE?
Today, you cannot think ONE language. This is the SOA age. Web services don't care what flavor the portal or the back-end business or persistence logic is written in? We don't need to pick a winner, we support open standards and interoperability. Also, we make sure we keep our finger on the pulse. Scripting languages particularly PHP are very popular, our customers use them, therefore we need to provide them with a pleasant/seamless experience to their job. We are more committed to Java/J2EE than ever, our app server is the fastest growing J2EE container in the market, our tools support the latest Java and J2EE specifications as soon as they are out (and most of the times before – EJB3.0 basis or RI in Glassfish for example).
PHP is actually interoperating quite nicely with Java on various levels. First we have been supporting PHP for 2 years in the Oracle application server. One can write a PHP page and deploy the HTML file on the Oracle container and it will be parsed and rendered seamlessly. Second, PHP5 (unlike PHP4) has great support for SOAP, this means Java can call PHP-based web services and vice versa. Also using BPEL PM, users can orchestrate Web services such that PHP-based partner links can call Java-based services. Finally there is a JSR we are planning to support as soon as it’s ready. It's JSR-223, Oracle and Zend are part of the expert group. It essentially allows Java to call scripting languages and vise versa. With all this in place in the Oracle stack, people could rapidly write PHP pages (if they choose not to use JSF or they already have existing PHP code) and easily talk to back-end business logic written in Java that makes DB calls.

OK, I'm interested where do I start?
I recommend the PHP technology Center on OTN (Oracle Technology Network). In there you'll find a bunch of links to useful resources including upcoming events, installation guides, articles, blogs, best practices and last but not least a link to download Zend Core for Oracle. Zend also has a page on their website specifically for people who are interested in Zend Core for Oracle: www.zend.com/core/oracle. Finally I will be speaking at OSCON next week on this topic. So if you're planning to be there, feel free to drop by the Oracle booth and ask all the questions you want. If you are in the bay area I highly recommend attending the Zend/PHP Conference. Definitely check out Oracle's Ken Jacobs (aka Dr DBA) who will talk about Zend Core for Oracle and the relationship between Zend and Oracle.

Microsoft Befriends Foe and Takes Aim at iTunes

Wed, 2005-10-12 23:20

Yesterday (10/11/05) Apple announced record numbers and amazing profits. A third of Apple's revenue comes from iPod sales. So Apple takes the music/media business very seriously. Today Steve Jobs unveiled a new video iPod along with a new complementary version of iTunes that allows people to buy music videos. To top all this Walt Disney and Apple Computer have reached an agreement under which ABC and Disney Channel television shows will be available for download from iTunes for $1.99 per episode. Apple is clearly on a media roll.

All this is beautiful, Right?

Not really. Microsoft astutely chose this moment to settle its problems with RealNetworks in a two-part deal under which Microsoft pays $460M in cash to RealNetworks to settle the antitrust claims and $301M in cash to support RealNetworks' music and games efforts. Microsoft will recoup money by earning credits (amounts were not disclosed) for each Rhapsody subscriber referred through MSN. RealNetworks will support MSN Search and Microsoft will be a huge channel for RealNetworks music and also assist in the performance of RealPlayer on Windows. Here is another big win for RealNetworks: users of MSN Messenger will be able to play music from the Rhapsody catalog of 1 million songs while chatting. More details on this deal can be found here.

Bottom line:
Apple has iTunes the leading online music store, as well as iPod the leading digital music player. I hate to say it but the benefit of the M$FT/RealNetworks alliance is interoperability and openness. The truth is that Apple's strategy is based on customer lock-in (in fact I am one of those locked-in customers). Apple does all it can to make sure people who buy music via iTunes play it on the iPod. Can they continue to do this and maintain market leadership? Microsoft and RealNetworks beg to differ. Let’s see how all this media business unfolds and what role will Yahoo and AOL play in this battle. So stay iTuned... or not.

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