Archive for October 2006
Barely has my backside hit the office seat when I am off on a plane again, this time to the Eclipse Summit Europe.
Everytime I come to an Eclipse event I find out some new stuff. Here’s one example: in STP, we’ve been doing some work on developer support for JAX-WS, code-first web service development. Here we’ve put together an annotations view, which allows the developer to edit the parameters of an annotation with support for validation of the annotation content, hints for enums, that type of thing. At the Summit, I attended a presentation by one of the guys from the Dali project</a, which is all about the definition and editing of Object-Relational (O/R) mappings for EJB 3.0 Java Persistence API (JPA) Entities. Of course, JPA uses Java5 annotations to implement its POJO persistence, so it makes sense that Dali have invested time in creating a Java annotation view, similar to what we’ve done in STP. The next job is to see how well the two approaches can be merged.
I was going to include the STP bugzilla link here, but bugs.eclipse.org appears to be suffering some database overload at the moment — I’ll update the posting later.
Ok, this is the last entry on the Gartner OSS Summit, I promise. And, rather a regurgitation of the keynotes, etc, it’s my own impressions.
It was surprising to me to see how many of the attendees were au fait with Open Source software being used in their organizations. It was even more surprising to see how many of those who were purposefully using Open Source actually changed the source to meet their needs — unfortunately I couldn’t get any information on how many of the changers submitted patches.
Conversing with individuals that stopped by the IONA booth showed a vast continuum of experience with OSS. For example, one visitor, employed by an enormous and well-known bank, spends his time working in a group that performs risk assessments on OSS and approves it for use in the IT infrastructure. Other visitors from budget-free government organizations were keen to make progress on projects using the lack of license fee as the carrot to lure their patrons. Some others were a little frightened by the whole thing, but of course, felt reassured by Gartner 🙂
A brief aside – earlier on this year I attended a talk at Engineers Ireland on the merits, and de-merits of Open Source. The protagonists were IBM and Microsoft. I went hoping for a least a minor bunfight, if not a celebrity deathmatch smackdown. Alas, this was not to be as each side of the affair merely introduced Open Source from the perspective of their business models, which are discrete and different. However, one developer person that was there came out with a most excellent question that I will have to paraphrase:
But doesn’t that mean that a developer that does Open Source is debasing their skills and going to put themselves out of job?
It was very nearly a cola-out-the-nose incident. Unfortunately I didn’t get to catch up with the individual after the event to elicit more from him and then attempt to explain why he was barking up the wrong tree.
The overall message here is that while awareness of OSS is heading towards an acceptable level in the ‘industry’ (that’s the Silicon Valley definition of the word, not the Hollywood one), there’s still a lot of education to do at the level of the usual corporate decision-maker. Enterprising and visionary individuals continue to market OSS, but having an organization like Gartner, who really are at the top of opinion-maker peak for the traditional big-company IT development teams, pushing OSS as a good thing for business is a very powerful boost.
An open source ‘mastermind’ panel was held at the Gartner conference last week. Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Brian Behlendorf of Apache and Collabnet and Stuart Cohen of OSDL.
I diligently wrote down all of the conversation until, unused to actually using a non-keyboarded writing instrument, I cramped up 🙂
Luckily Zack Urlocker was much more diligent than I, and captured pretty much everything in a blog entry – to which I redirect you. Further analysis can be found on Ian Skerrett’s blog – Ian is the Director of Marketing at the Eclipse Foundation.
The opening keynote of the conference was given by Don Tapscott, co-author of the well-known Paradigm Shift and author of many other interesting treatises. In his presentation, he explored and explained what he termed the Participation Age, in which those of us who are privileged enough to have access to globe-spanning communications tools can join together as independent actors in a powerful peer production effort, free of hierarchies and centralized control.
He articulated the business benefits of exposing corporate information to take advantage of a peer production effort – the striking example was that of goldcorp, who revealed geosurvey data on a large area of land and offered prizes for those who could pick the strongest locations for gold. They spent $500000 on prizes, and in return were presented with locations that later product $3.5 billion worth of the metal.
He spoke of other ‘open source’ efforts – such as SpikeSource for applications, the MIT Open Courseware project and school- and text-book efforts at GlobalText and Wikibooks.
He talked about new approaches to traditional business, such as the development of prosumers that consume your goods, but also in turn produce material (extensions to goods, etc) for you.
Overall, it was a good enough keynote for the occasion, giving a broad overview of situations in many businesses where ‘open source’ has been of clear advantage and linking the individual successes with an overall trend. No explanation for the trend itself — but I suspect that it could be related to the co-option of the commons by corporate interests, viz. the purposing of the web and internet to the creation of new commons.