Tagged: OpenSource

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). …

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 …

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

I have read this book of essays a couple of times, the last time as a refresher for a project I am currently working on.  I like the book, its approachable and well informed and covers the history and philosopy of Open Source well.  However it does suffer from being...

Open Document Formats – XML to you and me

This is one of the areas I am going to be looking at so its good news that there has been a recent flurry of activity around it.  here are some of the more important links.  The debate was started by the EC report into this topic which is summarised...

Get it working then make it better.

I have recently been doing some research into Open Source, its an interesting subject from so many perspectives.  That’s not what this article is about but if you want to follow up on it I recommend The Success of Open Source.  Anyway reading this book prompted me to think a bit more about daily builds.  Yes I know I already posted on this topic a few days ago but I can’t resist linking it with the Linux philosophy which can be summarised as:


“get it working then make it better”  


Now this really appeals to me for a few reasons:


  1. I am a pretty poor programmer, a reasonable designer and a pretty good architect, (hopefully :-)).  So I incline to grand concepts, but I can never get them to work in code unless I start really simply.  In fact in most cases I start with someone elses code first and hack it around until I have proved the basic concepts.

  2. My real background is in systems integration so I never expect anything to work as documented.  In fact when I started programming with VB 2, I fell found of a whole …

Superb article about the meaning of Open.

Jonathan Schwartz writes another great article about what’s important about the word Open in an IT context, he does this by comparing and constracting Open Source with Open Standards.  he goes further by showing the great work Sun has done to create reference implementations of their J2EE standard, and provide tools to verify compliance.  He provides a few real world illustrations of how the difference affects real business decisions.

Definately worth a read.


Understanding Microsoft

A lot has been written about the history of Microsoft.  This article reviews a new book that looks at Microsoft from the perspective of the changes that it has had to introduce and continues to push forward as a result of its legal difficulties and “evil empire” image.  The full article is worth reading but here are a few of the more interesting quotes:

“They need to get the outside world to learn to accept them without thinking that there’s something shady going on there all the time. That’s a very long-term process,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of cynicism out there. No matter what Microsoft tries to do, nobody’s going to turn around overnight and say, ‘Well, we accept them now as good neighbors.’ “

One of the best insights:

In simple terms, some of Microsoft’s critics might characterize the ongoing changes as an effort to shift the outside perception of the company from “evil” to “good.” But Slater said he doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think they were ever evil,” he said. “I think they were unable, or unwilling, to curb the zeal that was always part of the Microsoft culture.” He said the company …

Red Hat goes from strength to strength.

I was talking with some senior guys from Red Hat last week about their potential move beyond platforms towards solutions.  We were actually discussing collaboration solutions.  There view at the time was that their focus was to take what was available in the Open Source community and productionise it.  Its interesting therefore to see them release an application server.  When you look at the potential though to address the collaboration market Red Hat would do well to consider packaging a solution for email, IM, document management etc.  At the moment they ship the bits, but the bits don’t make a solution.  If you look at a previous post about Microsoft and their, “integrated innovation”, marketting there is probably as much scope if not more to do the same thing in the Open Source world.  Start thinking Solution guys, you seem to have Platforms and Component packaging fairly well sown up.