Can Ingres Challenge Oracle for SAP

Since the OracAlum event with Terry Garnett, we've had a few meetings with Ingres folk. So, the speculation such as the following, that we picked up from our lens is of particular interest to us.

If companies like Ingres succeed, in the end there will not be any single, dominant database for SAP: not Oracle, not Ingres, not DB2, not SQL Server. Which is exactly what SAP would like to see. Too much dependence on a rival like Oracle makes SAP terribly nervous about its account control. Seeing that control split amongst a host of companies is exactly the divide-and-conquer strategy SAP would like to see in its battle royale against Oracle.end quotation
-- Can Oracle be unseated as a top SAP database? by Joshua Greenbaum, in SearchSAP.com.

Something of even more interest is what was left out of Mr. Greenbaum's article: there was no mention of the Ingres RDBMS source code being released as open source. As wtih many of the other open source projects started in 2005, Ingres is still formulating its exact strategy, including final licensing plans, building its community and support options. Still, this is a very odd omission.

For those of us who have been around for more than a decade, we remember Ingres as one of the earliest and most powerful RDBMS of its time. It certainly hasn't stood still in technology in the intervening years, though neither has its intellectual sibling, PostgreSQL, nor its offshoots such as EnterpriseDB. This is of even more interest to us because of SAP's BI/DW/DM technologies. An Ingres/SAP partnership would certainly prove more of force in the BI marketplace than the MySQL/Business Objects partnership.

The next few years will be very interesting to watch. Will large, complex RDBMS software become commoditized as other infrastructure is becoming? Will Oracle become an application house, and possibly even make more of its own RDBMS technology F/OSS? I think that is a distinct possibility.

BTW, I tried leaving a comment at the SearchSAP site, but it's "create a handle" requirement is quite broken, preventing comments from being posted.

MySQL included in GSA Schedule

MySQL gets a push for government adaptation and use. Carahsoft Technology Corp was awarded a GSA Schedule that enables the company to provide MySQL's products and services. The five year GSA contract, GS-35F-0131R Schedule 70, enables the government "the ability to conveniently purchase and deploy MySQL database solutions."

Open Source Communities Mudblood or Pureblood

Growing a great community is the hallmark of success for any open source project. The community needn't be large, but does need to have a core group (or individual) of developers, a dedicated group willing to test, fix bugs, and participate in the forums, and users who are willing to document bugs, problems, use cases and desired enhancements - also most likely, within the forums.

And so, the question: does community matter? Or, rather, does the pureblood development community matter?end quotation
-- Mudblood open source | January 31, 2006 08:22 AM | By Matt Asay

It doesn't matter whether or not the open source project is "pure" or commercialized in some fashion. What does matter is how the community is treated, and how potential community members perceive the project.

There are several ways in which an open source project can be commercialized.

  1. Dual licensing, one "commercial" and one "open source"
  2. "Up-sell" commercially licensed components, features or add-ons
  3. Support outside of the forums
  4. Implementation, customization and integration services
  5. Instructor-led, CBT or On-line Training
  6. Testing and certification of the project with other software and on various platforms to form "stacks"

There are thousands of successful pure-play open source projects, that have stayed "pure" and built great technologies and wonderful communities. There are many examples of successful "commercialized" open source projects that have wisely used business models and marketing to build good products, dedicated communities and profitable companies. The commercialized projects, while fewer in number, are generally better known with more deployments than their rivals; think of MySQL vs PostgreSQL. There are many tens of thousands of open source projects that never went beyond the planning stage, never built a community.

The key to a successful open source project, commercailized or not, is building a community. One does this through communication, transparency of intent, and putting the community at the center of the business/project.

Update 20060201 10h49: There is a post at NanoBlog that is somewhat related to this discussion: The Problem with Commercial Open Source Software

OracAlumni Event: Terry Garnett of Ingres Open Source

Clarise and I attended the Oracle Alumni event, held at SAP tonight. The speaker was Terry Garnett, the CEO of the new Ingres - the corporation spun off by Computer Associate in conjunction with their releasing the source code for the Ingres database, 2005 November 07. In addition to listening to Terry's talk (not a presentation - no slides, just a conversation with a room full of fellow ex-Oracle folk), we also got to talk with Terry privately as well as with other Ingres attendees: Dave Dargo - CTO, Andy Allbritten - Senior Vice President of Support and Services and Shelley Keefe - Recruitment.

All of this is actually quite new. The company Ingres took possession of the asset Ingres from Computer Associate only two months ago, and they are still formulating many of their strategies. Terry does have an interesting perspective. He feels that the next step for the Open Sorce movement is to become business open source. Just as the PC moved from a hobbyist movement to an ubiquitous technology with multiple, focused business models, Terry sees open source moving from DIY to ubiquitous technologies with multiple, focused business models.

Look for the upcoming podcast of this session. We'll provide a link to it, when it's available.

There will be a podcast of the event a week or so afterwards,
thanks to the sponsorship of John Houghton and MobilecastMedia.end quotation
-- email from Dennis Moore, Founder of the Oracle Alumni Group

OSBI Squidoo Lens

Clarise and I have created a "Lens" on Squidoo as yet another tool to help support our Open Source Business Intelligence book project. A "lens" is basically a Web2.0 tool to aggregate content about a topic. There has been some controversy about Squidoo, in that it can be used as a feed scrape.

I wondered about that when looking at Squidoo, which in the words of John Battelle, “is either brilliant, or an AdSense honeypot scheme, or both.” I admit, it makes me shudder! In the case of say Yahoo RSS, Google RSS reader or Bloglines, the difference is that readers are making a choice, and deciding well, they want my feed. In the process, the middle men are making money, but its good, because I get readers. In straight up scraping, I get nothing out of it.end quotation
-- Om Malik in "Why Bloggers Need Google’s Help?"

Spam type feed scrapers take and publish full content from RSS/RDF/Atom feeds, without attribution or links back to the content creator, and make money off the backs of content creators from this content, usually by ad placement on their pages. Probably not much money. I can sort-of see the concern, though Squidoo provides full attribution and links to the source. One positive and interesting part of the Squidoo business model, is that whatever monies it generates, through ads, Amazon sales, etc, are shared with charities and with the lensmasters, but not with any content creators whose full feeds might be on Squidoo.

One way in which we hope to avoid any semblance of scraping, is by having only our own feeds on the lens, and only providing excerpts, even then. We may ask others if we might provide their feeds on the lens, but will only do so with their permission, and only providing linked headlines or excerpts.

We think that there is an advantage that the lens concept might have as a good resource for us. If we tried to maintain a linkblog for everything related to our subject, like standards (e.g. XMLA for OLAP), tools (e.g. Java Portlets), definitions, other blogs, the companies and communities around a project, etc, it would be huge. The lens might be a better place for it. An OPML list might be good, as well. At any rate, it might make for a good interplay with the blog and wiki and drive traffic to us.

Please visit the OSBI Lens and let us know what you think.

Reviewer Hibernation Period Almost Done

The following are taken from an email exchnage with the publisher currently looking at our Open Source Business Intelligence book proposal.

'm sorry, but things are going more slowly due to the holidays. Now, I've really only gotten one review back (it was positive). My other reviewers appear not to be coming through.

"Can you suggest a couple of reviewers? Ideally somebody from the target audience?"end quotation
-- First email

Nevermind on the reviewers...my reviewers seem to have emerged from their
holiday slumber...end quotation
-- Second email

Dang! I hope it was the holiday cheer that put them out, and not the proposal itself. :>> At least the one reviewer who was awake liked the idea. :idea:

Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership Questions

James, thank you for the comment on the preceding post.

Sadly though, they can't provide the answer to the following questions asked at http://duckdown.blogspot.com/2005/12/outstanding-questions-for-industry.html regarding open source to their readers..end quotation
-- Comment from James

Not being an industry analyst, per se, I didn't answer this when I first saw it on your blog, Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership Also, I'm not sure who "they" are, but I feel as though the gauntlet has been thrown down. :) So, here are the questions from Outstanding questions for Industry Analysts on Open Source with my poor attempts at answers.

  1. How can human resource departments find talented people from the open source community so I can support open source internally?
    The same way that they do for any other set of skills. We've been lucky in having a great recruiter, Cheri Ruiz, who has worked for us at IASC and previously at CapTech. She knew how to bring in talent that fit well with our team. We also abhor the current methods of quickie interviews. We bring folk in for at least half-a-day. They go through technical interviews, and then some group socializing - lunch or coffee, something out of the office for an hour with the team with which they'll be working. This has been my best practice for hiring since my first management position 26 years ago.
  2. Which corporations whose business is not technology are currently contributing to open source projects?
    I think it's hard to find companies that are contributing to open source projects in general, let alone non-tech companies. There are, of course, the big names that have been doing so for some time, such as IBM, HP, Sun, Oracle, etc, mostly to Linux, and not a wide range of Open Source software projects. This also gets into one of your other questions concerning best practices for contributing.
  3. Which open source projects are pervasively implemented in my particular industry vertical?
    Actually, this is one area in which you'll have problems finding open source solutions - industry specific software. Most open source software is pretty horizontal, and general in its focus.
  4. Where would I expect to see non-commercial open source projects beat proprietary vendor products?
    Mostly in infrastructure software, such as operating systems, web servers, email servers. application servers, and the like. One user facing exception is Firefox. The rise of BI software (see the linkblog in the sidebar) this year, as well as some enterprise packages such as Compiere and SugarCRM, may result in some different answers to this in 2006 and 2007.
  5. What are some "best practices" for corporations who would like to contribute to the open source community?
    Hitting that PayPal button is always nice. &#59;) Assinging a tech writer to produce and contribute documentation would be a great boon to many open source projects. And, as mentioned in other comments to James' post, assigning a developer as a go-to person for bug fixes and enhancement certainly serves the long tail aspect of open source development.
  6. How can corporations participate in creating open-source industry analysis?
    This is a good question. The analyst community isn't that interested in open source, as the open source projects can't afford to pay them, as the commercial vendors do. But... if enough CIO's, VPITs, etc show the interest, the analysts will have to come around; demand and get supplied.

James, thanks for asking.

Update: Some additions to number 4, which I forgot since I was using one of them at the time. Open source software for blogging, wikis, CMS and portals is very good, very mature, and generally equals or beats COTS software. We use b2evolution for blogging, MediaWiki for wikis, Mambo for CMS. There are also some other interesting open source projects for collaboration that don't exist in COTS, such as dotProject and TUTOS.

Open Source Will be the Most Discussed tech Issue

One of the most discussed "communications/computer technology impacts society" issues in 2005 main stream media was undoubtedly blogging, and the related read-write web topics of Web2.0, podcasts, vlogs, and tagging. Shel Israel predicts that the topic of 2006 will be Open Source.

9. The technology issue most discussed will no longer be the blog, but open source and its impact or disappointment on technology development o all levels everywhere.end quotation
-- Shel Israel "10 More 2006 Predictions"

I think one caveat to this is to consider the circle of conversation to which you're pointing. Is it main stream media in the main, or just the technology snippet that is often thrown out to prove they're cool? The majority of people don't have a blog, don't understand what makes a blog different from any other web site, and don't see any of the social networking or consumer-as-producer, read-write web, semantic web, Web2.0, etc. stuff having an impact on their life yet. I think that the same applies to open source software, content, intellectual un-property and other open movements. But they will.

Miss Rogue discovered this over the holidays.

Over dinner tonight with my parents, there was a little lightbulb moment for both of us... For me, it was, "Gee, otherwise, nobody in the real world gives a shit about open source, social networks and my so-called life online stuff." Even my parents, who I would think would be fascinated by it. Ha.end quotation
-- Tara Hunt "The Trouble with Normal"

Societal and behavioral changes take decades, if not generations, to become fully ingrained; be it the roads and aqueducts of the Romans, the telegraph, telephone, radio, railroad and automotive technologies that ushered in the 20th century, or the command, control, communications, computation and intelligence technologies that are ushering in this century.

But I'm very glad to see Shel recognize the importance of Open Source. As Web2.0 and Open Source become better defined by the early adopters, and as these philosophies resolve real business and personal issues, we'll see the resulting technologies, behavior and business models become integrated into the daily lives of the main stream.

But let's all try to have fun as we work towards that goal.

Nicholas Goodman

I recently came across the blog of Nicholas Goodman, a BI professional who writes about open source tools, Oracle Warehouse Builders, and other BI topics.

I commented on his post about KETL vs KETTLE.

Check him out.

Open Source: Closing thoughts of Vladimir Stojanovski

Over the past five years, our research into open source BI components has shown few projects supporting BI, and no BI suites, until recently. Bee is the oldest of the open source BI suites, starting in 2002. Five years ago, there was one open source project developing an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool - Jetstream, one for reporting - JasperReports, one for analysis - Mondrian. Of the open source Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS), none were optimized for very large databases, or for querying, until this year. There are now over 25 open source projects supporting every aspect of BI, from ETL to the user Portal, including reporting, on-line analytical processing (OLAP), advanced analytics and data mining, workflow, and dashboards. Six of these can be considered BI suites, with all but Bee having launched this year.

Vladimir Stojanovski has written a five-part article in his blog at ITtoolbox. Part of his conclusion is quoted below.

Call me shortsighted, but then this nomer could also apply to the CRM/BI industry indiscriminately (except for the brave souls at places like SugarCRM [see post Open Source: CRM and Business Intelligence (Part 2 - SugarCRM)] and Pentaho [see post Open Source: CRM and Business Intelligence (Part 3 - Pentaho, et al)]). The industry is finally being forced to take Open Source seriously not necessarily because we think it is a great movement, but because our clients are forcing us to do so. An increasing number of companies are adopting Open Source in fundamental areas such as operating systems (Linux), database platforms (MySQL, PostgreSQL), application servers (JBoss), and web servers (Apache). This foundational platform is then forcing itself onto enterprise-class applications, such as CRM.end quotation
-- Open Source: Closing thoughts, I think... (Part 5) by Vladimir Stojanovski

As shown in my opening paragraph, the open source movement is responding to the interest in open source solutions for enterprise applications, particularly, BI. You can check out the links in the side column of this blog for a list of open source BI suites and tools being developed. We'll be continuing with our research and use of open source BI solutions over the past year, and I think it will be some time beyond that before we, or Vladimir, or anyone else, actually writes the final Closing Thoughts on open source BI.

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At the beginning, The Open Source Solutions Blog was a companion to the Open Source Solutions for Business Intelligence Research Project, and book. But back in 2005, we couldn't find a publisher. As Apache Hadoop and its family of open source projects proliferated, and in many ways, took over the OSS data management and analytics world, our interests became more focused on streaming data management and analytics for IoT, the architecture for people, processes and technology required to bring value from the IoT through Sensor Analytics Ecosystems, and the maturity model organizations will need to follow to achieve SAEIoT success. OSS is very important in this world too, for DMA, API and community development.

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