Wow Oracle and BEA Sun and MySQL

Oracle finally buying BEA Systems was expected. Once the Emerald City on Redwood Shores starts annexing a neighbor, it gets what it wants. A price has been reached and is being reported as 8.5 BILLION US dollars.

Sun Microsystems has announced that it is purchasing MySQL and will be competing with Oracle, IBM and Microsoft in the RDBMS market. Have I been living in a fog? Well, yes, since I live on the San Mateo Coast &#59;) but I hadn't heard any rumors about this at all. In Jonathan Schwartz's words Sun is "Helping Dolphins Fly". Some other opinions are more along the line "Extinguishing the LAMP". The purchase price is ONE BILLION US dollars, which, I think, makes MySQL the first open source company to break the billion dollar ceiling.

My own take on the former is that Oracle needs BEA to really make the transition to being the lynchpin for SOA and MDM. And since my career has been moving in this direction as well, I'm glad that it's finally happened. Though being an OrAlum myself, I do have sympathy :>> for some of the BEA folk with whom I've worked recently, and our HR consultant, who is also now a BEA, soon to be Oracle, employee.

And looking at it in that light, Sun's Glassfish and MySQL make a great open source platform for SOA and MDM. And since I've been much more focused on open source than closed the past three years, I'm really excited by this news.

Sun has been a great company since its inception. I've never been employed by them, but they have been a customer and partner over the years. And while I think that Scott McNealy is one of the all-time best corporate leaders, Jonathan Schwartz has brought Sun into the open source world with great strategic and tactical moves.

I think that watching Sun move MySQL forward in the Enterprise will make for a fantastic learning experience over the next few years.

These two moves may finally move SOA and MDM from hype through to mainstream adoption.

FLOSS Catalogue and SME Guide

Carlo Daffara of Conecta, with the help of Roberto Galoppini of Acme Solutions and Pamela Jones of GrokLaw, has recently published the FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) guide consisting of an introduction and catalogue of open source software useful to SME organizations. Actually, the catalogue is helpful to organizations of all sizes and types, listing and describing open source software by category, as so.

  1. Infrastructural software
  2. ERP/CRM
  3. Groupware
  4. Document management
  5. Content management systems
  6. VoIP, conferencing and messaging
  7. Graphics and CAD
  8. Desktop
  9. Engineering and manufacturing
  10. Vertical business applications
  11. Elearning applications

The FLOSS Guide and Catalogue first came across my feed reader in a post by Roberto Galoppini but there was so much information there that I set it aside and never got back to it. It took a recent email exchange with Roberto to remind me to return to it.

This catalogue is very useful. We discovered 5 open source solutions related to data management & analytics that we hadn't found before. We've added DBDesigner 4, RKWard, Apatar, Jitterbit, Power*Matchmaker to the list of open source solutions that we track.

Of the 50-plus projects that we've been following for the past few years, the FLOSS catalogue only lists FirebirdSQL (Infrastructure), MySQL (Infrastructure), PostgreSQL (Infrastructure) [née and once again Postrgres], R Project (Engineering and Manufacturing), Pentaho (Vertical Business Applications), SnapLogic (Vertical Business Applications), and Talend (Vertical Business Applications).

You can find all of the above in our linkblog in the side column.

We also saw SAPDb/MaxDB in the catalogue, but need to learn more about it, and its suitability for DW before we add it. MaxDB is the database management system developed and supported by SAP AG. It has its focus on the requirements of SAP customers and SAP applications and can be used as a less expensive alternative to databases from other vendors for your own or third-party applications as well. It will be interesting to see if MaxDB is optimized in any way for reporting, OLAP, data mining or other BI analytics, now that SAP is adding Business Objects to its portfolio.

While many of the projects that we follow are small, new or somewhat obscure, we were surprised that SpagoBI and Spagic, JasperSoft, Ingres, LucidDB, Weka, Mondrian, Mule, KETTLE, jPivot, PALO and the BEE Project, were missing. Perhaps Carlo can get them into the next edition. &#59;)

Roberto, thank you for getting me back to the FLOSS Catalogue and Guide. It's great stuff.

Hibernate Tools for Eclipse 3.1

I'm currently on a gig at a very interesting SaaS company. We're introducing and creating agile methods, creating a new SOA with MDM and recreating the applications in the new architecture. One snag that we hit is that the company is using WebLogic 9.2 and the most recent Hibernate Tools won't work with the WebLogic WorkShop, which is based on Eclipse 3.1.

Can anyone point me to an archive where I can find Hibernate Tools for Eclipse 3.1? The team can't find it anywhere. What's up Hibernate? Use the latest or forget it? XX(

On a related note, I want to give Kudos and a huge hoozah to Martin Ying, Principal Consultant with BEA Systems, Inc. He's accomplished an incredible amount in the four days he's been here. I heartily recommend Martin to anyone wanting to get started with developing in WebLogic Workshop. He's amazing. Thank you, Martin.

Bayon is Back

When I met with John Sichi back in August he let a cat out of the bag. When I was speaking to Nicholas Goodman in late September, he confirmed the cat, and now he's announced it.

Bayon Technologies is back, and Nick has gone from Pentaho employee to Pentaho partner. We at IASC welcome Nick back to the land of consulting and look forward to working with him in the future.

Actuate Launches BIRT Exchange

From a press release:

ACTUATE LAUNCHES BIRT EXCHANGE

Developer Community Site Serves as a Dedicated Resource for Eclipse BIRT and the Actuate BIRT Product Line

Actuate today announced the launch of BIRT Exchange (www.birt-exchange.com), a dedicated resource for the Eclipse BIRT developer community and the Actuate BIRT product line. The growth of the Eclipse BIRT developer community and BIRT’s increased use in enterprise deployments has created demand for supported products and services based on Eclipse BIRT.

BIRT Exchange provides a dedicated site where developers can learn about support and services for Eclipse BIRT, download Actuate BIRT products and participate in the growing Eclipse BIRT ecosystem. Developers can share code and expertise with peers, helping to accelerate the flow of knowledge and information within the community.

Available on BIRT Exchange:

· Demos — a collection of self-running learning tools on everything from AJAX interactivity for BIRT reports, ad-hoc reporting with BIRT templates, spreadsheet reporting, using sub-reports, parameters and parallel reporting

· DevX — a dynamic content hub where BIRT developers can quickly find, share and discover useful BIRT-related technical information including code snippets, report designs, technical tips and tutorials. DevX makes it fast and easy for developers to search, upload, download and rate content items

· Documentation — official documentation for Eclipse BIRT and Actuate BIRT products

· Searchable forums — on Eclipse BIRT and the Actuate BIRT product line, including a mirror of the Eclipse BIRT newsgroup, which is also searchable

· Software downloads and detailed product information — for Eclipse BIRT and the Actuate BIRT product line, enabling rapid report deployment, spreadsheet reporting and ad-hoc end user reporting

· Support Resources — information on support, services and training available for Eclipse BIRT and the Actuate BIRT product line

· Wiki & Blog —facilitates an active dialogue among the BIRT developer community

ATTRIBUTABLE QUOTES:

· Virgil Dodson, Java Reporting Evangelist at Actuate Corporation –“Eclipse BIRT and the Actuate BIRT product line are a powerful combination of tools that let Java developers spend their time doing what they do best: creating innovative and impactful applications. BIRT Exchange gives developers a place to share and learn from peers about the latest and greatest technology and techniques for adding reporting to their applications, so that they can more easily meet their end-users’ reporting needs.”

· Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation – “BIRT has been one of the most popular and successful projects at Eclipse since its initiation by Actuate in 2004. BIRT has successfully grown a large community of developers around it, and has helped extend the Eclipse ecosystem into enterprise reporting.”

· Mark Lynd, President, Firescope – “When we first used BIRT to embed reporting within the Firescope platform, we were under time pressure and needed to quickly come up to speed and to understand our different options. BIRT Exchange would have saved Firescope a lot of time and frustration and made life easier. This is going to be an invaluable resource for any BIRT developer.”

RESOURCES:

· Ask BIRT video

· BIRT 2.2 video with indexed menu

· Interview conducted by Michael Coté, RedMonk

· BIRT on Ohloh

· Actuate Del.icio.us page

· Summary of Actuate’s 2007 Open Source Software Survey

· BIRT Exchange Screenshots

· Eclipse BIRT web site

· BIRT Exchange blogend quotation

John Sichi of LucidDB

Earlier today, I met John Sichi for coffee at the Half Moon Bay Coffee Co. in the Stone Pine Center. John is also a Coastsider and very involved in open source data management & analytics. We spoke of many things: our histories, folk we know in common such as Julian Hyde and Nicholas Goodman and some Oracle alums, happenings in the open source BI world, Pentaho, JasperSoft, SpagoBI, and lots of good story telling.

Mostly though, we spoke of LucidDB, LucidEra, & metadata management. I've been asked not to blog about some of things we discussed, so I'm just going to be safe and say that I am very impressed with what LucidEra is doing in BI SaaS. I'm also looking toward including the amazing capabilities of the column-store open source LucidDB in some engagement, somewhere, as soon as I can.

CT2007 W08 BI Strategy

We've completed presenting at Campus Technology 2007. Rather than a normal stack of slides in Keynote or PowerPoint, we presented our mind about six topics:

  1. What is BI?
  2. Roadmap
  3. Management
  4. User Involvement
  5. Open Source Solutions for BI
  6. Economics

Yep, rather than taking notes and brainstorming using mind maps, we presented using a mind map.

Our conclusion from preparing this presentation and from listening to our audience of around 20 folk, is that the key to a cost-effective strategy for BI is User Involvement and Open Source. More than just the open source solutions however, is what we learned from open source projects in managing the core and extended project teams, as well as all possible stakeholders as a community.

Update: Here's a PDF of our handout as well. As you can see, the handout was supplemental and background material for the mind map.

CT2007 Cost-Effective BI Handout

We would love to hear your thoughts, after traveling around our mindmap.

Alfresco Liferay CMS and Portal Meetup

Just helping to spread the word...

[Luis is] very pleased to see the amount of interest in our humble get-together. We have 26 members in our group of which 17 have said they're journeying to Ontario for our first Meetup.

Here's a quick update as to where we stand:

We have a venue and preliminary hotel and transportation information up on the site. We're working on possibly obtaining some group rates, so please refrain from booking a hotel, though we do suggest you purchase plane tickets to Ontario airport (ONT) as soon as possible as those never go down in price.

Transportation and Hotel Details may be found at:
http://web.meetup.com/44/pages/TransportationAndHotel/

The list of suggested discussion topics is also growing. Not all these topics are set in stone and may be reshuffled depending on attendee interest.

Agenda details may be found at:
http://web.meetup.com/44/pages/MeetUp_Agenda/

This promises to be a fun and educational event, but we need YOUR help to ensure it succeeds. Please feel free to the meetup group and use its mailing list to connect with others, offer suggestions and feedback.

We also encourage you to spread the word about the meetup among your friends and colleagues.

If you have a blog or know someone who does, feel free to post about us to help spread the word.

The following link is probably the best one to share with others.
http://web.meetup.com/44/calendar/5819483/

Alfresco + Liferay: West Coast Community Meetup

Join us on July 18th, 2007 in Ontario, California for our first CMS and Portal community event. Learn more at: http://alfrescoliferay.osmeet.com end quotation
-- Luis Sala in Alfresco Fresh Talk

Perst Added to OSS Linkblog

And from this email, copied with permission, here's why:

Here's the connection --

You are correct that as an embedded database, Perst is not an Enterprise
database such as Oracle or DB2 and is not likely to serve as the main
repository for a data warehouse or business intelligence system.

However, Perst's high performance, its minimal RAM and CPU footprint, and
its pure Java construction make it an important component in systems that
optimize and manage business intelligence, data warehousing and other
enterprise applications. Its job is typically that of managing metadata or
providing a real-time cache, and the open source Perst plays this role in at
least two high-profile commercial software packages that are critical to
business intelligence and data warehousing systems' success:

* GigaSpaces embeds Perst to provide persistence for applications that
are deployed and optimized using the company's highly scalable,
self-managing distributed solution. Perst's all-Java architecture was a good
fit to provide maximum portability across diverse enterprise platforms, and
to take advantage of advanced Java capabilities. (see
http://www.mcobject.com/pressroom.php?step=3&article=76)

* Wily Technology, a division of CA(NYSE: CA), uses Perst in its
industry enterprise application management solutions to store real-time
event data sent from remote agents, and to create a repository of
performance data, to enable analysis and optimization of enterprise
applications (including business intelligence and data warehousing). Wily
credits Perst with lending a 10-fold increase in data storage performance.
(see http://www.mcobject.com/pressroom.php?step=3&article=72).

(And really, on http://press.teleinteractive.net/oss under "Linkblog" in the
Databases section, you list BerkeleyDB and Firebird -- those aren't exactly
enterprise databases either - BerkeleyDB even bills itself as "The world's
most popular embeddable database engine").

Any chance of the open source Perst joining the open source DBMSs on that
list?

Ted Kenney
McObject
www.mcobject.com

end quotation
From: Ted A Kenney
Subject: RE: TeleInterActive Network: Perst open source database
Date: 2007 June 6 09:29:36 PDT
To: Joseph A. di Paolantonio

From OSBC2007 SF Is freedom the right approach to BI

Clarise and I met with Gabriele Ruffatti and Grazia Cazzin, from Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A. to discuss, and as Clarise wrote, get demos of SpagoBI [a full BI suite], and see the new Spagic EAI tool that was announced at OSBC2007, and the Spago framework [think Spring, only different].

Once he returned to Padova, Italia, Gabriele sent out some thoughts that came to him after participating in the open source business conference. He kindly gave me permission to publish them here.

"I attended Eben Moglen’s speach at the last Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco (May, 22nd). Hearing so many times: “stand up for freedom”, I thought: "I’m here now to promote free (in Europe we say libre as well) open source projects in different domains (Spago, java framework; SpagoBI, Business Intelligence; Spagic, SOA environment; Spago4Q, a Business Intelligence domain specific solutions) at an event mainly presenting commercial open source". While there, I’ve promoted new enhancements of SpagoBI, the Business Intelligence Free Platform, comparing it to other commercial open source choices such as Pentaho and Jasper and I’ve thought again: "what is the key differentiator? Stand up for freedom…"

"A participant said to me: “Guy: you’ve made a mistake. SpagoBI is not the Business Intelligence Free Platform; it’s the Free Business Intelligence Platform”. Was he right? I think no. This is the key: SpagoBI is a free platform, commercially supported, offering a new choice despite many other commercial open source products claiming more effectiveness to the market.

"What I mean by "commercial open source product" is: a solution claiming to be open source, claiming to have a community supporting it, but offering closed add-ons for enterprise adoption with a proprietary approach to the market (i.e.: acquisition of projects and IPs to strengthen its stack, dual licensing approach, aggressive marketing). Is it effective for the BI domain? Yes, probably it is.

"What I mean by a "free platform" is: free design, free collaboration, free assembling, free adoption. Not just because the license (SpagoBI adopts the GNU LGPL license), but because the efforts are in the software development improvement direction rather than in marketing proposition, in collaborations with different projects and solutions instead of acquisitions, in integrations with many free, open source, and also closed solutions to achieve the most effective solution for the user, maintaining a totally free code base core, instead of closed specific add-ons. Is it effective for the BI domain? I really don’t know, but the market, or a very new market knows the answer.

"Stand up for freedom. Is it “against” a wide commercial adoption? Is it “against” the growth of a strong business ecosystem? I know that Europe, Asia and South America are looking for free/libre software; Public Administrations are looking for free/libre software; new domain specific applications can be built thanks to free/libre software (Spago4Q is a just a first sample of it). At OSBC in USA, I’ve heard not only of commercial open source packages, but also of “building the right solution with an assemble mindset, opposite to a buy mindset”. It’s just a new choice: with an open mind, you can build open applications offering freedom to invent, to share your own knowledge, to assemble the right solution for people’s needs."
end quotation
-- Is freedom the right approach to the Business Intelligence domain? from Gabriele Ruffatti, Director - Architectures & Consulting, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, S.p.A.

F/LOSS - Free/Libre… Open… "Free as in speech, not as in beer" is well known. But how open is open? This is a question that continues to be debated in terms of whether or not a company is truly open source, pureblood or mudblood. Andy Astor puts forth the rationale behind EnterpriseDB's strategy around openness [NB: EnterpriseDB is a company that is sometimes cited as a company using open source without being open source]. We tend to be fairly liberal in our acceptance of what is an open source company [including EnterpriseDB], while the market for enterprise open source defines itself and "commercial open source" has more denotation than connotation within that market, and I rather like the direction being taken in Commercial Open Source, cited above, by Carlo Daffara. Others may be more stringent in accepting a company as truly F/LOSS or not.

Most open source projects avoid locking their users into their product by following or providing open standards and open APIs, and/or using a plug-in, or framework, stack or platform architecture. Such an architecture allows the users and the projects community to more easily customize the product to suit their unique needs, and to more easily give-back to the project, without necessarily becoming an approved committer to the core code. We're currently following 47 open source projects that provide components that can be used to build solutions for data management and data analytics, data warehousing and business intelligence. We're following 5 open source BI suites, most of which use or can use the same core components. JasperReports for the reporting engine and Mondrian for the OLAP engine are common but not all-pervasive. All five suites provide a convenient stack of components that work together "out-of-the-box", but provide varying facility for including additional or replacement engines and components. We're still working out what is the real differentiator among all these tools, but Gabriele has a very good point: the more freedom, the more openness, the better.

Personally, I've been working in data analysis for nigh onto thirty years. The reason that we've been looking for open source solutions for decision support, data warehousing, data mining, BI, GIS, EAI, BPM, [insert latest hyped term here], etc, is that this area requires more customization and user involvement than any other enterprise application. The beginning of this millennium saw a trickle of open source projects addressing BI needs, and 2005 saw an explosion in the number of projects. Open source BI provides the flexibility that is always needed in satisfying the user needs for data analysis, visualization and sharing. The greater the freedom, the greater the openness, the greater the flexibility… the easier it is to satisfy the users. This is why data management, analytics and BI is going to be one the most successful markets for enterprise open source, bar none.

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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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