With this edition of "some things Bob has been reading and thinks you should look at too, especially if they say nice things about IBM", I've started to add some comments on the articles or the general situation described therein. I won't annotate everything, just things that I think deserve some extra remarks.
- IBM launches Power chip alliance
- Fujitsu, IBM to team on network standards
- BEA loses top sales executive
Charlie used to work for us as well. I wish him luck in whatever he does next.
- The Might of XML
It should come as no surprise to people that XML is verbose because, after all, we've been using it for more than seven years. Nevertheless the developments cited in the article are quite interesting. People haven't been standing still on this and it has driven a fair amount of research. One of the nice things about XML is that it compresses very well and this often alleviates space problems when transmitting it. Everyone pretty much agrees that the universal value of the XML syntax outweighs the potential slowness in processing, though you need to be smart about it. The primary rule is to not parse when you don't have to, which means that you employ lazy parsing and quit when you get what you need, and avoid repeatedly parsing the information. Also, if you are only ever parsing XML that belongs obeys one schema, you can have optimizing parsers that are quite fast. Finally, XML is not a religion or a cult: don't use it if it is really the wrong technology for your application. That said, you owe to yourself to prove that it isn't what you need (don't be an anti-XML bigot).
- Sun and Microsoft: Lots of Talk, Few Deliverables
- Microsoft and Sun's difficult dance
I think we all knew this was going to be tough and they have the burden of demonstrating that their agreement has a real technology and "we can make the IT world a better place" component, versus one where only legal and economic disputes were settled. They seem to be proceeding with care, but the scope of their original announcement will keep pressure on them to deliver something substantive. In other words, the clock is ticking and people's interest won't just fade away.
- Sun open-source license could mean Solaris-Linux barrier
Everyone knows there are many open source licenses, right? Nevertheless, I think people are justifiably nervous that fragmentation might occur if Sun gets too far away from the Linux model of the world. That said, the market will ultimately decide the victor, and whether there is more than one. Personally, I'm betting strongly on Linux. This reminds me of the brouhaha that happens ever single time two vaguely competing Web services specifications are released. People are not stupid and the specification that has the most support wins. And then we get on with our lives.
- GPL 3 to Take on IP, Patents
This is relevant to the previous articles about Sun and how they will license Solaris. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a related column in eWeek: "It's About Time the GPL Was Revised". I haven't seen a count recently, but it would be interesting to see the break down of use of the various open source license among the thousands of open source projects that were out there. That is, while there may be more that fifty licenses, are five of them responsible for 95% of the projects? I'll have to dig on this. Let me know if you've seen the stats.