open source

Apr 30 2009

Dear Oracle,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled Dear IBM , I was too late .. I was on holliday last week when people started sending me text messages , such as .. "Game Over MySQL , Long live Ingress" or "No Eclipse for IBM", etc ...

I had ideas regarding the future of certain Sun products at IBM, now the game has changed .. it'ss how they will live on at Oracle :)

Similar Questions arise .. like indeed the future of MySQL, the future of Solaris etc ...

So regarding the future of MySQL , I don't worry at all, on the contrary ..
Oracle tried buying mysql before they already have Innodb .. they didn't kill it .. the MySQL offering is complementary to the Oracle offering, now they can tackle both markets.
And as already mentionned when writing my IBM letter ..

As for MySQL, Jeremey has some good insights.. the fact that different prominent MySQL folks have left Sun will only push the MySQL development model towards more openness.
And towards an even more Redder RedHat alike model, we already have the first CentOS alike rebuilds of MySQL , so a distribution model based on the same kernel with different feature sets or focus indeed might be the future.

Further there's what Monty Said ... hang on ... nobody mentions the fact that some core PostgreSQL people are on Sun's payroll how's that going to turn out ?

A more interresting discussion is the future of Solaris one.. Oracle has always had an eye for Solaris.. one day it is their most important platform, the other day they tell the world Linux is their prime development platform, it often was a matter of who was quoted.

As for Unbreakable Oracle did a smart thing.. they learned that they should build a full operating system themselves but , so why should they want to do that with Solaris ?

LinuxWorld has an article where oracle states their idea about Linux :
What we are working to do in the data center ... is to make Linux the default for the data center OS," Screven said in a speech at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. "We want there to be no question"

They suggest a merger between Solaris and Linux is a potential alternative .. so what do we need to merge .. you'd say ZFS and DTrace ..,but do we really need ZFS ?
There has been a lot of writing already about BTRFS being the next big filesystem, maybe it could make ZFS obsolete, maybe it couldn't ..

I got no clue on what's going to happen with .. so I`m really going to keep an eye on that one ..

In my opinion the real loser in this deal .. HP .. they don't have a full stack to play with .. They have the hardware, some management and monitoring software soon to be obsolete but no Operating System, no Database, no Appserver, no Apps. So what's their next move going to be ?

Oh and if you really want to talk figures Larry Augustin has a good take on it ... the idea that Oracle could sell off some parts to Hitachi EMC etc, get MySQL and Sun for Free ... then quietly wait for RedHat .. to get Jboss who knows :)

PS. I already blogged about the impact of the acquistion on the Virtualization area over at

Apr 17 2009

The Way it is !

(thnx Tarus

Apr 15 2009

The Open Source "Channel"

RedHat announced the launch of the Open Source Channel Alliance, and different folks already commented on it ..

Frankly I think the Open Source "Channel" shouldn't exist ..

So let's take a step back and see what the "Channel" actually means.

It used to mean that a vendor didn't want to manage the logistics of shipping and delivering his product to the end user, you know .. like the big boxen used 3rd parties to provide the logistics, often that "enduser" being a local system integrator that wasn't allowed, and still isn't, to order his stuff from the actual vendor, either because he is ordering in too small quantities or any other reasons. Logistics became marketing support , offering training and sometimes presales support.

So the small/local system integrator has to order from his upstream reseller which often had to order from his country distributor, who then would order the box from the actual vendor, but in lots of cases contact between the vendor and the actual user is never made. With physical boxen to be shipped, often to locations where the actual vendor can't really have a presence this partly makes sense, however sometimes things get ridiculous, situations where a customer can talk to the vendor directly but can't order from him because of these channel partners wanting to have a piece of the cake are no expection.

When it comes down to last years' software there is no box to be shipped anymore .. yet still often 2-3 layers of boxmovers are in the channel between the vendor and the customer. So now all they do is forward the license keys , via email.

So how does a support call go ?
Yep.. sometimes it goes straight trough that same channel... slowly .. This was one of the reasons why back in 2000 I decided to drop any form of proprietary unix or proprietary software running on unix. (Back then : Solaris, Allaire Coldfusion , and the range of iPlanet products ..) I was fed up with their absolute lack of support .. never getting to speak with people that knew the product, mostly speaking with marketeers locally pushing the product .. having to call my reseller asking to put pressure on the country distributor who then might call the acutal vendor .. No thanks, not for me anymore
I wanted to talk to the people who actually created the product so Open Source was they only way forward.

So what happens when former VP's of proprietary vendors such as Citrix end up at startups such as XenSource for their next gig , what do you think happens... they want to reuse that giant network they've build over the years and have that network resell their products. So they call all their friends again and set up a channel, of higly incompetent resellers that have absolutely no clue what they are moving in side the box.

Selling a product from a product sheet, rather than helping a customer solving his problem is the typical IT Sales guy job.
He knows his spec sheets and when he doesn't know the answer he calls up on his upstream channel for more imput.
They organized roadshows and demo's for customers and try to push them the newest and latest release of a product. They are still thinking in terms of margins and uplift on a license rather than

Their "tech" staff is certified to know everything the vendor explained in the training (and nothing more) and will quickly escalate a problem they haven't seen before upstream .. (well .. not that quickly .. but you get my pain..)
Obviously this is the kind of partners the RedHat's and Open Core vendors of this world love, clueless system integrators that have to open tickets and upsell support to their customers as they can't solve the problems themselves.

So even with other companies joining the opensource channel alliance , this really isn't a good thing for the customers,

On the positive side ... more people will get offers including a limited set of Open Source, and obviously Open Core , alternatives as the channel salesdroid will add these solutions to his portofolio.

But will these people get the real benefits of Open Source ? Will they get the more suitable Open Source project for their needs ? Probaly not ...

I really don't see how any of this fits with an Open Source Philosophy , it just doesn't, it's still the Enterprise Software Vending model 1.0

Now where's my next channel partner golfday invitation ?

P.S.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent Inuits' positions, strategies, or opinions."

Apr 06 2009

Dear IBM

When you eventually will buy Sun ..

Oh nooos.. I started this post last week and now it al seems in vain :(

Steven has some clues on what could have happened, I think he is right on the spot on with his Solaris prediction ..

He wonders why IBM would spend even another dime on Solaris, actually even today I can't even see why Sun is spending any more money on developing Solaris. But even with no acquisition his prediction of the future of Open Solaris imvho is spot on:

OpenSolaris will likely live on as a purely community-based operating system. After failing to gain any real traction against Linux, I expect it to become like the BSD operating systems: useful in niches and with a strong, core group of developers, but never to become a major operating system power.

As for Sparc, well I told it before.. and given the Siemens- Fujitsu split, given that Fujitsu has the money (which is where I have no clue) and given 2 Sparc companies with completing markets , both geographically as on hardware and software level.. merging Fujitsu and Sun would make sense ...

Looking around me .. I think Netbeans has already been Eclipsed ages ago .. I once used to work with NetBeans, but today I don't know a lot of people who still use it.

As for MySQL, Jeremey has some good insights.. the fact that different prominent MySQL folks have left Sun will only push the MySQL development model towards more openness.
And towards an even more Redder RedHat alike model, we already have the first CentOS alike rebuilds of MySQL , so a distribution model based on the same kernel with different feature sets or focus indeed might be the future.

Steven has a nice follow up on what can happen with Sun now. But the obvious problem would have been be the culture clash , at least for the MySQL folks.. , I can hardly imagine al that nice code being written with no Liquor :)

Mar 17 2009

Happy 15th Birthday Linux ??

Last Friday that's march 13th, Gizmodo wanted us to celebrated the 15th birthday of Linux. Kinda weird... as about 15 years ago I was already using Linux ....

Fact is that the 1.0 release of Linux just had it's 15th birthday , but Linux itself is heading towards its 18th in september.

Getting old ..both of us :)

So when trying to catch up on my Linux Journal reading I ran into the 15 years of Linux Journal article, which makes a lot more sense than 15 year of Linux.

The fun part being Shawn's adapted Bio

In 1994, Shawn was attending his first year of college at Michigan Tech University. He skipped his engineering classes almost every day to sneak into the computer labs and play with Linux. At the time it seemed a waste of tuition, but looking back, he wouldn't change a thing.

Now pipe that trough s/Shawn/Kris/g and s/college at Michigan Tech University/KULeuven/g .. simlar story there ...

My LJ subscription is up for renewal... not sure what I`m going to do .. I haven't been reading it from front to back anymore as I used to, I`m usually running 3-4 issues behind on reading .. And by that time I can read everything online anyhow...

Mar 02 2009


Harald has a nice overview of the FUD that is being spread again by some company from RedMond ..

Now why are they targeting TomTom ? Surely because Canon and Sony and different others are to big to sue, Both my EOS400D, Ixus400 and K800i , are using a way to FAT filesystem to store files on,
I tried putting ext2 formatted disks in them but that failed :)
(Not running Linux or already having paid up might be another reason)

Harald notes that there is no difference between the FAT implementation and the TomTom implementation so why aren't they going for a bigger fish ?

I`m sure there are plenty of other companies shipping Linux based products that are allowing people to use their own Flashdisks hence using the FAT code.

TomTom is originally from The Netherlands, yet the case is
filed somewhere in the US. I wonder how the EC would react to such a suit.

Oh well.. interresting times ahead ...

Mar 01 2009

Conference Time

Grab your calendars and mark the following dates :

  • T-Dose 2009 will be held on 3 and 4 october in Eindhoven again.

    Last year we had a nice Drupal track, some great MySQL talks and , a great unplanned Cloud talk , and different other interesting talks, so this year promises also to be very interesting.
    (PS. Drupal Themers.. you might want to propose a new theme for the T-Dose site, who knows you'll even win something)

  • For the first time , 2009 will be the year that Belgium will have it's own Security Conference, BruCon has just announced Christofer Hoff as a KeyNote speaker , BruCon will take place on 18 and 19 september... obviously in Brussels ;)
  • While we mention VirtSec I obviously should plug my own upcoming VirtSec talk at the LSec Secure Virtualization seminar on next Friday 13th
Mar 01 2009

Geekdinner Antwerp Edition 2

Last Wednesday after the LSec event with Bruce Schneier and the R ans S from RSA , we already had a mini AdHoc GeekDinner in Leuven, one that pretty would have matched Philips requirements for having it called Geek dinner

Philip has been ranting this week about different events titled "Geek" not attrackting real geeks. that know hex and binary is but merely atrackting the Startup/Web crowd, now there's nothing wrong with both crowds, and I happen to be part of both but it can cause strange situations
Geekdinner.beTom K arranged a nice deal with De Troubadour so foodwise it promises to be great.

And with the list currently showing a variety of
Linux and BSD geeks, (both on Kernel and System Level it seems) the Apache geeks , some Ruby geeks, some Legal geeks, some Java geeks, etc that part should be covered ..

So I`m pretty sure that the majority of Geeks at the upcoming Geekdinner will realize there are only 10 kind of people

Still missing however from that list are the Drupal and PHP folks, the Django crowd, some Distribution geeks, some Gnome Geeks and some KDE geeks. Heck you all know I`m talking about you .. so go and subscribe here

I hope we aren't scaring away too much folks with this really Open Source oriented GeekDinner :)

PS. And yes I think it's time for Elise to organise a Real Belgian Girl Geek Dinner :)

Feb 12 2009

Tarus for president !

Just read it !

The only unrealistic part about the scenario is that I fear that most purchasers within a government agency won't be asking these questions, yet.

Feb 11 2009

Open Source does not mean Customization Heaven..

Unless you are doing it wrong.

And sadly I`m seeing more and more people doing it wrong.
To a lot of people Open Source means that they have a piece of software that does almost what they want and which they can modify to their best wishes and use internally.

So they fork locally,, they don't redistribute their code , but they aren't contributing their changes back upstream, chances are these changes wouldn't be accepted upstream anyhow as they are really customizing the code for their specific cases. At first sight this doesn't look so bad , at second sight ..

When weeks or months later the upstream project releases an urgent security fix, the local fork has deviated soo much that it can't upgrade anymore and stays with an insecure version.
Often it's worse.. a feature that could have been accepted upstream has been implemented slightly different in the local fork, the result being that newer features depending on the first one also can't be integrated anymore

Some projects are prepared for local contributions, they have a modular framework that allows you to build on top of the project while not having to touch the core of a project, Drupal and openQRM are great examples of those, but not all projects are that smart. Needless to say that when you have such a modular framework you really shouldn't be modifying the core part of the platform, unless you are fixing a real bug.

But the general rule of thumb is that when you fix bugs, make sure they are inserted upstream , or implement new features.

Now sometimes there is no easy way to get your code accepted upstream, in which case you should announce clearly that you want to contribute but you are blocked and publish the patches somewhere else ...

Don't let the community work for you, but work with the community !