Monthly Archive: July 2004

AOSD Update

AOSD Update. 

In my last update I was fairly up beat, my pain had declined a lot and I was feeling pretty positive in myself.  I was getting lots of exercise, sleeping ok, and coping well with the fatigue.  However just after that update I got a chest infection, this is what happened:


  1. Very quickly, as soon as I noticed that I was starting with a cold, I felt an increase in muscle and joint pain

  2. I went to the doctors 2 days after the cold started and he said I had a chest infection, probably as a result of my steroid suppressed immune system.  I started on Antibiotics that day

  3. The antibiotics got to work quickly and my muscle and joint pain subsided in perfect step with my chest infection

  4. However my fatigue levels did not subside, in fact they increased

  5. After a week the chest infection was gone, but the muscle and joint pain started to come back

  6. After two weeks all of the chest/cold symptoms have gone but the fatigue is very bad and the joint and muscle pain still comes and goes through the day.  My concentration is appalling. 

  7. I …

Drama School – Blood Brothers

Jenny, my second eldest, just completed her first week at Drama Summer School.  She was part of a great performance of Blood Brothers one of my favourite musicals.  Jenny had quite a few small parts and did very well although she did get rather over-heated as she was wearing two outfits for the whole performance.  The cast overall were great and there is some real talent in the little group. 

We get to see probably 4 performances a year by this youth group and we are really getting to know the actors quite well now, its a special plus looking forward to seeing the best of them develop and trying to spot some of the talent that we are going to enjoy in the years to come.  I was also lucky enough to get to see the individual talent show last Thursday, some of the group shows were very funny, and one of the singers was amazing, she certainly had no problems with projection!

Stephie my eldest is at the school this week, doing the rather more academic Richard III, which she is enjoying, she has spent 3 weeks researching it on the web and creating a project folder …

Open Solutions or Open Source?

Although not strictly contradictory, it makes for a nice title.  This article is about one of Microsoft’s reactions to Open Source and one way in which it is delivering on its “integrated innovation”, marketing strategy.  


The basic concept is that Microsoft takes a collection of their products, and applies them to the solution of a particular business need.   They publish for free standard architectures, processes, templates etc.  You can populate these architectures with some products of your own choice.  In a way whilst this is not Open Source it’s a sort of Open Solution. 


The concept is quite interesting to me because one of the challenges with Open Source software, due in the main to the way it is created, is how to build a coherent solution from the many different components, without some over-arching architectural vision.  Where does this vision get created in the current Open Source development model?  It happens within IBM, Red-hat and Novel etc and it probably happens in a proprietary way.  Even if all of the source for the components in the architecture are Open, the architecture itself is likely to evolve in …

How does Open Source Software come to be?

This may seem like a simple question to answer, i.e. is written, just like any other software!  It also might seem a strange sort of question to ask, but you will hopefully get my point if you read on!


NOTE: No thorough analysis supports the observations I report here.


It seems to me that the vast majority of the important Open Source Software comes to be through the following mechanisms:


  1. Cloning or reproducing in some way an existing design specification or similar.  Examples of this route being Mono(.NET), Linux(Unix) and Wine(Win32).  This technique is usually to force a product or interface into the open, by creating an alternative.

  2. Donating, i.e. some third party gifts pre-existing Open Source to the community, examples of this being OpenOffice, Zope and Niku.  This route is often taken by closed source product companies with an old product that is not generating much revenue.  The closed source community uses this old product line to, improve their image, generate services revenue, stimulate demand for optional closed source products, kill off a competitor etc.  In some cases the original developer continues to have some involvement in the development, …

Solaris and Linux

Johnathan Schwartz writes a nice article about Sun’s dilema, now resolved, about how to compete against Linux.  Linux is not a product, its a social movement that Sun applauds, so how can they compete?  He goes on to explain that in reality Linux is delieverd as many incompatible distributions, and...

Looking to the future.

My previous two posts gave two examples of projects that would have benefited from having been Open Sourced.  They happened a long time ago, when I worked for a different community and both have disappeared so there’s no problem with discussing them.  When these products were developed Open Source was just an emerging concept.  I am not going to discuss the history of Open Source, that’s been well documented already, and I am not qualified.  However I am going to start to build up a series of articles that describe some of concerns and the challenges I think the Open Source model faces in the future.  I am going to assess some of the established beliefs as documented in Open Source bibles like the Cathedral and the Bazaar and I am going to do my bit to try and help.

Lost Opportunity 1

In a previous post I described a simple networked or standalone, (depending on data definitions), document imaging processing project I led.  This system would have been perfect as an Open Source project for the following reasons:


  1. The need for such capability to be provided as infrastructure was universal.  The main constraint at the time to this happening being the high cost and complexity of the current applications.  So adoption would probably have been quite rapid

  2. The target user community tended to be very network centric, as they were often charged with distributed access to large central collections of information.

  3. My company had no interest in the software,  its interest was in an efficient way to capture and distribute its image data as efficiently as possible

  4. The system was very extensible, allowing additional storage drivers, scanner drivers, printer drivers, viewers and databases to be added by other developers.  The automatic maintenance of these components in line with new hardware advances and the increased deployment reach would have been very valuable

  5. There were many areas of potential improvement.  Some of the concepts were not fully realised, and many functional/feature improvements such as OCR were missing…