Monthly Archive: September 2004

BlackBerry Enterprise Software v4.0

A new version of the BES has just been announced.  Loads of great features, my favorite being finally getting rid of desktop sync, which never worked reliably for me.  Worst feature no improvements in task management, and wireless task and address book management.  More details follow: BlackBerry Enterprise Software v4.0...

The future of

OpenOffice.Org have published their marketting plan.  ZDNet UK has a good article on the topic.  The full plan can be found online here.  I particularly liked the following quote:

“Microsoft, our major competitor, has a marketing budget of five to 10 billion US dollars, while we have 25 cents in a PayPal account,” said McCreesh. have identified the following target markets:

According to the OpenOffice marketing plan, the main markets for the office suite are government offices; education establishments; public libraries; small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); not-for-profit organisations (NFPs); own equipment manufacturers (OEMs) building PCs with pre-installed software; and Linux distributions looking for an office suite to bundle.

Although StarOffice has more ambitious target markets.  Overall the plan targets OOo having a market share of apprximately 50% by 2010.

Solaris vs Linux technical and philosophical differences emerge

Everyone knows that Linux is flavour of the decade, so I found this blog post very interesting as it explained why its not easy to replace Solaris with Linux or to merge Solaris capabililities into some future version of Linux.  It also illustrates one of the challenges faced by theOpen Source community in general, how to you coordinate major changes that affect hundreds of files, distributed architecture and design seems more difficult than distributed development.  The main guts of the post follows:

The main reason we can’t just jump into Linux is because Linux doesn’t align with our engineering principles, and no amount of patches will ever change that. In the Solaris kernel group, we have strong beliefs in reliability, observability, serviceability, resource management, and binary compatibility. Linus has shown time and time again that these just aren’t part of his core principles, and in the end he is in sole control of Linux’s future. Projects such as crash dumps, kernel debuggers, and tracing frameworks have been repeatedly rejected by Linus, often because they are perceived as vendor added features. Not to mention the complete lack of commitment to binary compatibility (outside of the system call interface). …

Seven rules for email

One of the researchers who works for my company produced a great guide on the uses and abuses of cummuication and collaboration technologies a few years ago.  When I first read it I was impressed but at the same time depressed at the neglect that most companies have of their basic (common) business processes.  I have continued to be interested in how companies can extract maximum advantage from simple IT infrastructure technologies by focussing on how to use their tools to best effect. 

The following post therefore caught my eye – seven rules for e-mail – it would be great to see a best practice debate on how the phone, SMS, email, syndication, IM and conferencing technologies should be used.  The seven rules above provides a good but limited start. 

As an illustration of such a debate in action, albeit on a slightly different subject, there is no better example than the getting things done forums.

Enterprise IT decision making

I am an enterprise architect, and its sometimes a challenge to balance making the right technical choice with the right choice.  David Chappell talks about this in the context of Open Source J2EE.

I’ve gotten some interesting comments from readers of my latest column in Application Development Trends. The major complaint is that I didn’t give enough weight to the role that open source J2EE technologies like Tomcat and JBoss play in this market, describing it instead as controlled by IBM and BEA

He puts this down to the fact that:

My perspective is very focused on enterprises, the people who control the large majority of IT spending. In this world, there’s some use of open source J2EE technologies, but it’s a definite minority. There are vastly more applications running on WebSphere and WebLogic, and so viewing this market as dominated by these two is accurate

Of most interest though is how he characterises the Open Source community:

In most of my interactions with open source advocates, including this one, the arguments I hear tend to be rooted in a purely technical view of the world. This probably reflects the strong technical orientation (they’re developers) and relative lack of …

The Success of Open Source

By far it’s the best study in open source I have read. Starting from social, political, and economical views, he provides real and detailed insight into how Open Source works.  Unlike The Cathedral and the Bazaar which relies more on experience, this book relies on detailed analysis, and relates Open Source to well established political science thoery. He goes well beyond describing the origins and organization of the movement but also describing business models and roles that companies have been adopting to support and work with open source software. It’s a long book, and starts to falter towards the end but its well worth the effort if a thorough understanding is important to you.

“The Success of Open Source” is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand what is open source and its relevance for today’s society.

Sun vs Red Hat starts to get a bit bizarre

In this post I pointed to a remarkably frank interview where Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer, and Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive explained their strategy to ZDNet UK.  Prior to this interview Jonathan had gone a bit over the top in one of his blogs articles where he said:

Please do not listen to the bizarro numbskull anti-Sun conspiracy theorists. They were lunatics then, they are lunatics now, they will always be lunatics. We love the open source community, we spawned from it. We’ll protect that community, that innovation, and our place in it, with all our heart and energy.

Not suprisingly if you read the post and the ZDNet article Red Hat must be feeling a bit miffed with Jonathan right now, but Michael Tiemann in his responce goes equally over the top on his blog where he says:

The open source community doesn’t do what you ask them to do unless either (a) they trust you, or (b) what you ask them to do fits into some larger goal they’ve already signed onto. Merely being pathetic doesn’t score a whole lotta points, even if you are an executive of a once-great company

There are some interesting …

Sun’s strategy laid out for all to see!

In a remarkably frank interview Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer, and Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive explained their strategy to ZDNet UK.  As I read the interview Jonathan’s blog entries started to take on a greater coherence.  I have extracted the guts of the interview here, and I have added links to a few relevant blog entries by Jonathan:


Step No. 1: Make the argument that Linux equals Red Hat. Linux has become a social force, with all of the free world supposedly cooperating to create an always improving operating system that is forever cheaper and more valuable than the old versions of Unix.

Sun’s view is that Linux is nothing more than Red Hat. The operating system is not about world peace and the charitable work of the world’s great programmers. It’s like every other operating system ever created: It’s about the foibles, greed, mistakes and engineering prowess (or lack thereof) of one vendor — in this case, Red Hat.


Step No. 2: Belittle Red Hat. By collapsing Linux into Red Hat, Sun now has a clear target. It can hammer away at a company, as opposed to …

Blogware features

In her blog kathleen describes how she decided on blogware vs TypePad.  I use blogware to host this blog and I think its great.  One of the features I like is that I often use the public view of the blog when I am browing around, finding old articles etc.  As an author on of the blog, I see some extra options, see below:

For example I see the integration the POST ARTICLE and EDIT ARTICLE links and the POST ARTICLE link automatically sets up the category for you based on where you are in the blog at the time.

The edit link is also good because you can do a search to find and old article and then edit it with a single click. I particularly like this because often when I want to send someone a link to an old article I go to my blog, search for it and then see an error I want to correct :-).

I just wish I could buy it and install it behind the firewall as well.

Tim Bray worries about WS-*

Tim and others are starting to worry that WS-* is getting out of control:

No matter how hard I try, I still think the WS-* stack is bloated, opaque, and insanely complex. I think it’s going to be hard to understand, hard to implement, hard to interoperate, and hard to secure

Now I want to make it clear that I am no expert on this, but I have followed the debate.  It seems to be that the reason that this stuff is getting so complex is so that developers don’t have to worry about it.  What the heck do I mean by that; well I mean that these spec’s are not meant to be implemented by developers, they will be implemented by the tools and libraries that the developers use.  At least that’s the impression I get when Don Box talks about Indigo.  I think he said something like, “I spent the last n years, before I joined Microsoft,  worrying about the plumbing”, then he said something like “Since I joined Microsoft I am working to make all that knowledge about the plumbing completely irrelevant”. 

My guess is that without a complete and comprehensive set of specifications, the tools …