I just stumbled across this piece from news.com. The following quotes got me pondering (aloud) about Open Source and Databases. There certainly still seems to be confusion about the ultimate goals of Open Source - Is it a bootstrap mechanism or a freedom initiative? Obviously, each vendor has their own specific motivations, but I continue to cringe on behalf of neophyte end-users and decision makers that don't quite understand the dynamics in play here (by this I mean it ain't a $0.00 free beer style deal however you cut it, long term).
Putting an existing product into open source is not a surefire recipe for stimulating usage or sales, said Michael Olson, president and CEO of Sleepycat Software, which offers its own open-source database.
I didn't know that this was the prime reason for making products Open Source. What about Freedom?
"Just releasing something under an open-source license doesn't suddenly mean that you have people who care and will contribute," Olson said.
They care and contribute with what in mind? And for what purpose? I guess Freedom right? Anyway why has a conclusion been drawn re. IBM's motives here?
"From a technical point of view, Cloudscape is a good database, but it's all Java, and developers usually want to work with a full-blown server, which is why we haven't seen much of these products," said Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing at open-source-database company MySQL.
MySQL is now a full-blown DBMS server? Especially now that there is an Open Source DBMS of some potential relevance that has been developed in Java. Huh?
The funny thing about the commentary here is how it unveils the complex relationships across what I increasingly refer to as "Developer Religions". It also shows MySQL (Open Source & GPL) on the receiving end of its own tactics/strategy (ramp up usage via Open Source strategy).
The disparity between MySQL and Cloudscape is not as severe as the disparity between MySQL and many other full blown -closed source- enterprise level DBMS engines (Virtuoso, Oracle, SQL Server etc..).
I would certainly like to see what MySQL has to say about Open Source Ingres, especially as this isn't Java only, and it is certainly a full-blown dbms engine.
Another interesing point from the comments sequence is the fact that Java and Open Source don't quite gel, and in this particular case MySQL is happy to use the 'C' vs Java argument to makes its case (hence the "but it's all Java" salvo in the commentary) an example of the next line of conflict should Java become completely open source; "All Java" Open Source may not be as good as C/C++/C# Open Source :-).
'Stunned' Apple rails against Real's iPod move Threatens to silence attempts to play music on the iPod using RealNetworks' Harmony software.
Since last fall, I've been recommending Bloglines to first-timers as the fastest and easiest introduction to the subscription side of the blogosphere. Remarkably, this same application also meets the needs of some of the most advanced users. I've now added myself to that list. Hats off to Mark Fletcher for putting all the pieces together in such a masterful way.
What goes around comes around. Five years ago, centralized feed aggregators -- my.netscape.com and my.userland.com -- were the only game in town. Fat-client feedreaders only arrived on the scene later. Because of the well-known rich-versus-reach tradeoffs, I never really settled in with one of those. Most of the time I've used the Radio UserLand reader. It is browser-based, and it normally points to localhost, but I've been parking Radio UserLand on a secure server so that I can read the feeds it aggregates for me from anywhere.
Bloglines takes that idea and runs with it. Like the Radio UserLand reader, it supports the all-important (to me) consolidated view of new items. But its two-pane interface also shows me the list of feeds, highlighting those with new entries, so you can switch between a linear of scan of all new items and random access to particular feeds. Once you've read an item it vanishes, but you can recall already-read items like so:
If a month's worth of some blog's entries produces too much stuff to easily scan, you can switch that blog to a titles-only view. The titles expand to reveal all the content transmitted in the feed for that item.
I haven't gotten around to organizing my feeds into folders, the way other users of Bloglines do, but I've poked around enough to see that Bloglines, like Zope, handles foldering about as well as you can in a Web UI -- which is to say, well enough. With an intelligent local cache it could be really good; more on that later.
Bloglines does two kinds of data mining that are especially noteworthy. First, it counts and reports the number of Bloglines users subscribed to each blog. In the case of Jonathan Schwartz's weblog, for example, there are (as of this moment) 253 subscribers.
Second, Bloglines is currently managing references to items more effectively than the competition. I was curious, for example, to gauge the reaction to the latest salvo in Schwartz's ongoing campaign to turn up the heat on Red Hat. Bloglines reports 10 References. In this case, the comparable query on Feedster yields a comparable result, but on the whole I'm finding Bloglines' assembly of conversations to be more reliable than Feedster's (which, however, is still marked as 'beta'). Meanwhile Technorati, though it casts a much wider net than either, is currently struggling with conversation assembly.
I love how Bloglines weaves everything together to create a dense web of information. For example, the list of subscribers to the Schwartz blog includes: judell - subscribed since July 23, 2004. Click that link and you'll see my Bloglines subscriptions. Which you can export and then -- if you'd like to see the world through my filter -- turn around and import.
Moving my 265 subscriptions into Bloglines wasn't a complete no-brainer. I imported my Radio UserLand-generated OPML file without any trouble, but catching up on unread items -- that is, marking all of each feed's sometimes lengthy history of items as having been read -- was painful. In theory you can do that by clicking once on the top-level folder containing all the feeds, which generates the consolidated view of unread items. In practice, that kept timing out. I finally had to touch a number of the larger feeds, one after another, in order to get everything caught up. A Catch Up All Feeds feature would solve this problem.
Another feature I'd love to see is Move To Next Unread Item -- wired to a link in the HTML UI, or to a keystroke, or ideally both.
Finally, I'd love it if Bloglines cached everything in a local database, not only for offline reading but also to make the UI more responsive and to accelerate queries that reach back into the archive.
Like Gmail, Bloglines is the kind of Web application that surprises you with what it can do, and makes you crave more. Some argue that to satisfy that craving, you'll need to abandon the browser and switch to RIA (rich Internet application) technology -- Flash, Java, Avalon (someday), whatever. Others are concluding that perhaps the 80/20 solution that the browser is today can become a 90/10 or 95/5 solution tomorrow with some incremental changes.
Dare Obasanjo wondered, over the weekend, "What is Google building?" He wrote:
In the past couple of months Google has hired four people who used to work on Internet Explorer in various capacities [especially its XML support] who then moved to BEA; David Bau, Rod Chavez, Gary Burd and most recently Adam Bosworth. A number of my coworkers used to work with these guys since our team, the Microsoft XML team, was once part of the Internet Explorer team. It's been interesting chatting in the hallways with folks contemplating what Google would want to build that requires folks with a background in building XML data access technologies both on the client side, Internet Explorer and on the server, BEA's WebLogic. [Dare Obasanjo]It seems pretty clear to me. Web applications such as Gmail and Bloglines are already hard to beat. With a touch of alchemy they just might become unstoppable.
Software that lasts 200 years I just posted a new essay that grew out of my exposure to the state of Massachusetts' work on open source and open standards, as well as from my thinking about open source and software development business models in general.
It looks like the structure and culture of a typical prepackaged software company is not attuned to the long-term needs of society for software that is part of its infrastructure. This essay discusses the ecosystem needed for development that better meets those needs.
Read "Software That Lasts 200 Years".
InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill spoke with James Gosling at the 2004 JavaOne Conference last week about Java, including the current open source controversy. Gosling: "Part of me feels like we already have open sourced [Java]. If you go to the java.sun.com Web site, you can download all of the sources and you can build your own copy of J2SE and you can edit it and play with it and do all kinds of stuff. There's a catch, though, which is that if you want to redistribute it, you have to pass the test suites, and the test suites are all about compatibility. And so many people in the open source community believe that the compatibility test requirements mean it's not open source right there. We feel like we're sort of surrounded by many conflicting interests, and trying to make all these different parties happy is just nutty. There are researchers at universities that just want to play. There are platform vendors that want to be able to do whatever they want. There are platform vendors who sort of maliciously believe that interoperability is a bad thing. There are developers who really value having a stable, reliable system. There are all these constituencies and you try to figure out how many there [are] in these populations. The size and importance of the community that values stability and compatibility and interoperability seems to be the largest. The population that is the sort of open source zealots tend to be the loudest.
InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill spoke with James Gosling at the 2004 JavaOne Conference last week about Java, including the current open source controversy. Gosling: "Part of me feels like we already have open sourced [Java]. If you go to the java.sun.com Web site, you can download all of the sources and you can build your own copy of J2SE and you can edit it and play with it and do all kinds of stuff. There's a catch, though, which is that if you want to redistribute it, you have to pass the test suites, and the test suites are all about compatibility.
And so many people in the open source community believe that the compatibility test requirements mean it's not open source right there. We feel like we're sort of surrounded by many conflicting interests, and trying to make all these different parties happy is just nutty. There are researchers at universities that just want to play. There are platform vendors that want to be able to do whatever they want. There are platform vendors who sort of maliciously believe that interoperability is a bad thing. There are developers who really value having a stable, reliable system. There are all these constituencies and you try to figure out how many there [are] in these populations. The size and importance of the community that values stability and compatibility and interoperability seems to be the largest. The population that is the sort of open source zealots tend to be the loudest.
The long and short of this interview is another perspective on the inextricable, and increasingly subliminal, linkage of *FREE* and Open Source. Of course Open Source doesn't imply or mandate *FREE* software, but that's the perception (which we know is reality most of the time).
How does this relate to the Gosling Interview you might ask? Well, passing the test suite and attaining certification isn't *FREE*, and this is obviously because the cost of providing such a service is significant. Thus, Java + Source Code Availability still doesn't match Open Source expectations.
Speaking of Channel 9, today we put up a video of Robert Green, of the Visual Basic team. He demos the new data features in the next version. Cool stuff. I've been noticing a trend that our viewers seem to like demos and tours. So, I'll try to get more of those up.
That reminds me, would it be interesting for the five guys on the Channel 9 team to give you a walking tour of Microsoft's main campus?