WSO2 Interview at OSBC 2008

I met with Paul Fremantle, Co-Founder & CTO of WSO2 at OSBC 2008. Paul and WSO2 CEO Sanjiva Weerawarana both come from IBM Web Services architecture and founded WSO2 to provide an IBM level of quality of service in a simpler implementation. I was actually introduced to Paul and Sanjiva about an half-hour before our scheduled interview by our mutual friend Gianugo Rabellino. Here's some of the information that Paul provided about WSO2.

WS* for security & messaging is a major focus for WSO2, and WSO2 is filling some of the gaps we mentioned in our "suggested topics" for OSTT, especially in the area of exposing data through WSO2 Data Services and Governance in the WSO2 Registry:

  • RESTful not UDDI
  • ATOMpub
  • Social Governance: Tags, Comments, Ratings, subscribe via any feed reader to tags, versions, etc.

Independent security through WSO2 User Manager or standard APIs and applications

Fifty percent of the WSO2 developers times is spent in Apache projects, and the company is 95% engineering. This shows one of the strengths of Open Source in that the company is not heavy with GS&A costs.

As anyone reading this blogs knows, we feel that Community is the major strength of any Open Source company. The WSO2 Community provides requirements & bug fixes, primarily. One recent example of the value of the WSO2 community is where Hessian provided requirements & testing.

WSO2 is very much a platform company, much like Spring. WSO2 worked with Spring to have Apache Axis2 work as a component within Spring using Axiom (AXis Object Model).

  1. Spring WS requires Contract First
  2. The WSO2 framework for Spring allows POJO Code First

The Axis2 beta was published six weeks ago and a GRAILS contributor has already contributed a plugin to the community that is dependent upon the WSO2 web services framework for Spring.

Business models for Open Source companies are still being developed. WSO2 achieves monetization through subscription, training, developer support [email & IM] and product support. All WSO2 products fall under Apache Licenses.

In addition, WSO2 provides Open Source Development: customers pay to get customizations into the main tree of the code base of Apache projects that are important to them. This is a great way to provide support to your favorite open source project.

We ran out of time at this point. In conclusion, we feel that WSO2 is filling some of the gaps in open source products for SOA, as well as having some unique approaches in extending their business model.

OSBC 2008 Opening Keynotes

The OSBC 2008 started with a Keynote from Matt Asay. Here are some of my "takeaways"

  1. There has been a large uptick in participation at this year's OSBC from members of IT [customer-side]
  2. 2B$ invested in OSS & >2B$ given back through M&A activity in the past year
  3. Some stats
    • 71% of enterprises using OSS are expanding their use of OSS
    • 65% say use of OSS sparked innovation
    • 85% say 0SS hiqher quality
  4. Matt shows off his video editing & mashup skills. The result defies my ability to describe, you'll just have to wait for the YouTube download ;-)

The next Keynote was from Jim Whitehurst, President & CEO of Red Hat. He started with a marketing multimedia that gave some interesting facts:

  • 3000+ certified applications are available
  • Red Hat linux is certified on thousands of hardware systems

Red Hat is seen as one of the largest and most successful open source vendor, and it will be stepping up to its role as an OSS leader.

The career path at Red Hat starts in Services with promotion to Development. This reminds me of my time in aerospace, where a "proper" career path was to start in QA/Test, move to development and then "retire" back into a QA role.

Jim has never seen a company as focused on the customer as is Red Hat.

Jim went over some points that fall under Red Hat's evolving Business Model.

  1. good for customers as increase value every day through iterative innovation with stability through enterprise edition
  2. Red Hat will do a better job of involving large enterprise customers in the community
  3. Red Hat's goal is to become the defining technology company for 21st century through its work with the community

I had to skip the next keynote to prepare for my first scheduled meeting of the day.

OSBC 2008 Starting Up

Clarise and I have registered and we're just getting coffee. :p We've already run into a few folk from the Open Source Think Tank. Matt Asay's keynote starts in 15 minutes. We'll see how different it is from last year. &#59;)

The WiFi is free, the coffee is hot, and the Open Source Showcase room is filling up and the booths are already active.

We'll try to keep you up to date as it happens. But we're not going to try and live up to Coté's calling us a "blogging machine" last year. &#59;D

OSBC 2008 Starts Tomorrow

The Open Source Business Conference starts tomorrow in San Francisco. We have a fairly full schedule of interviews we're conducting and sessions that we wish to attend. But if you want to meet, let us know, and we'll arrange it. A lot is happening in the data management and analytics open source world. We'll be conducting interviews with:

And perhaps some locals, either at or after the conference. We're looking forward to seeing some old friends, like Gianugo Rabellino and Dave Rosenberg, as well. Speaking of Dave, don't forget to sign-up for MuleCon2008 starting appropriately on April Fool's day.

Thoughts on Open Source Think Tank 2008

The third annual Open Source Think Tank, hosted by the Olliance Group and DLA Piper, will be February 7 - 9 this year, at the Silverado in Napa Valley, CA. As the title states, this is a think tank, and not a conference. The schedule shows two CIO Panel Discussions, four brainstorming sessions and many hours of networking.

Attendees have been asked to think about topics they would like to see discussed, and here's what Clarise and I have bandied about.

  1. Our contention has always been that the strength of open source lies in flexibility and community. These two qualities make open source more valuable than the closed competition. How can new business models build on these strengths, and move away from licensing, subscriptions, support and other means of pushing "80% of the capabilities for 20% of the cost" as the message?
  2. SaaS is a new way of deploying and delivering software to customers, and open source leads to new ways of development of software and new business models to commercialize this software. Some companies make use of one and make money off the other, in various ways and various combinations. Mashups and SOA and "Platform as a Service" are leading to even greater re-use and innovation. What new synergies and business models can come about from these concepts?
  3. Open source software, and even hardware designs, cover many areas of business and consumer applications: operating systems, web servers, databases, reporting, productivity, web browsers, and on and on. However, there are still holes, actual and perceived. These holes exist in segments, such as Governance, in functions within an application, and in vertical/niche markets. Will these holes be filled by existing open source companies expanding their offerings, or by new companies? How does the consolidation, acquisition by proprietary companies, and leveling-off of VC funding for open source companies affect the expansion of open source to fill these holes?
  4. There is continuing resistance to open source in organizations of all sizes. From some smaller companies, we've seen two types of responses: one being that they don't have the skills to use, let alone leverage, open source software, and the other being that they gain credibility when they tell their customers that they are using Oracle, WebMethods, Weblogic, Sharepoint and other "brand" names, and that they are afraid of losing this credibility if open source is anywhere except deep under the covers. From large companies, the refusal is often more abrupt and more definite. Arguments of flexibility, security and lower cost often fall on deaf ears.
  5. Some in the open source world have blogged about the dearth of executive talent for open source companies. What talent and background make for a good open source corporate leader? At what point in an open source company's life cycle is general business acumen more important than open source commitment?
  6. It can often be difficult to find the open source project needle in the haystack of the web. It can be very frustrating to find a project that looks like a solution, only to discover that after several years, it never left the "proposal" or alpha stage. Using tagging, ranking and other Web2.0 social networking type of tools on Sourceforge.net and other forges, foundries and code repositories might help to promote and strengthen ideas and projects into the mainstream, or at least the "Long Tail".

Here are some other attendees' thoughts from their blog posts:

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889

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