As already mentioned by fellow dW bloggers Bob Zurek ("Come all ye Open Source faithful
") and Dave Klavon ("IBM delivers open source partner package
"), IBM recently announced a new effort to make it even easier for partners to successfully use open source
. As described in InfoWorld
IBM wants to encourage more of its business partners to use its open-source, low-end application server and free entry-level database by giving those companies access to IBM sales, marketing and technical expertise at no charge.
Partners who use IBM's WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) or the vendor's DB2 Express-C database will be able to directly tap IBM staff for advice on integration, scalability, testing, and support issues and won't have to pay for the privilege, IBM said Wednesday.
Such IBM feedback should help business partners bring their software based on WAS CE or DB2 Express-C more quickly to market, according to Rado Nikolov, director of strategy and emerging business, independent software vendor (ISV) and developer relations at IBM. The company will also help some partners create more buzz for their products in different geographies through free ongoing telemarketing campaigns and discounted advertising. Partners can also call on IBM sales staff for assistance in closing deals, he said.
For more details:
Personally, I am always happy to see IBM extend its open source efforts, and boosting support of partners in this fashion should certainly fuel broader adoption of open source solutions.
And speaking of open source solutions, have you heard about the new IBM "Open Client Solution" as an "alternative to vendor lock-in" and to "improve interoperability and provide more choice to run different vendors' products that work together"? Now we're talkin'! See a related CNet News.com article and the IBM press release.
Amidst all the hoopla at JavaOne (which included a keynote presentation by Erich Gamma and John Wiegand telling the inside story of Eclipse, including how its development has evolved over the past five years, from both a technical and a process perspective; check out the Eclipse keynote replay
required)), this notable item related to open, cross-platform interoperability may have slipped under many a radar:
"Open Ajax Alliance formally opens for business" (Computer Business Review)
Here's an excerpt:
As for the focus on programming models, the goal is to develop compatibility between commercial and open source Ajax tools that have until now evolved largely in a vacuum.
"If you use multiple Ajax toolkits, today they don't share the [web] page very well," said [David Boloker, CTO for IBM's Emerging Internet Technology Software Group], noting that each set of tools has different sets of event handlers and widgets.
"The lack of interoperability would cause the demise of Ajax," said John Crupi, CTO of fellow member JackBe.
In short, the members of this initiative seek to "promote Ajax's promise of universal compatibility with any computer device, application, desktop or operating system, and easy incorporation into new and existing software programs." (See the initial (Feb. 2006) Open Ajax Initiative press release
.) Open Ajax "is a consolidated development effort," said Rod Smith, IBM Vice President of Emerging Technologies. "We'll do better collectively working together toward Ajax than we can do individually." (See the related Feb. 2006 IDG News article
Note also that earlier this month the Open Ajax group announced 13 new members
: Adobe, Backbase, Fair Isaac, ICEsoft, Innoopract, Intel, JackBe, Opera, SAP, Scalix, Software AG, Tibco and XML11. These new members join an already impressive list of initial members: BEA, Borland, the Dojo Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, Google, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Mozilla Corp., Novell, Openwave Systems, Oracle, Red Hat, Yahoo!, Zend and Zimbra.
developerWorks recently published a related technical article that helps prepare developers for Open Ajax. It introduces two existing run-time tools -- Dojo and Zimbra -- which will be supported in Eclipse's Ajax Toolkit Framework (ATF). Check out Two tools bring Ajax to Eclipse's Ajax Toolkit Framework.
dW offers many more Ajax articles, including
Stay tuned to developerWorks for more details about the Open Ajax Initiative and more Ajax articles, tutorials and resources.[Read More]
This week the RSS Advisory Board voted to expand its membership to 15 members. As stated in an rssboard.org news item
The board is an independent organization formed in 2003 that publishes the Really Simple Syndication specification, helps developers create RSS applications and works to broaden public understanding of the format.
If you are involved in RSS as a publisher, programmer, educator or executive and you'd be interested in joining, please contact board chairman Rogers Cadenhead.
A friendly shout out to Chairman Cadenhead, with whom I once played some D&D-like role-playing games when we were both seniors at Berkner High School. Guess we were both doomed to geekish careers...
Note that meanwhile, several dW and IBM techies have blogged about the benefits of Atom, an alternative to RSS.
One detail of this announcement did prompt a raised eyebrow: "This proposal revises the charter to expand the board and permit deliberations on new members to take place privately, rather than on the mailing list RSS-Board" (emphasis added). Hmmm. Do closed deliberations regarding new board members make the standard any less open? Food for thought.[Read More]
IBM announced on Feb. 3 it is offering "free software and educational resources to help developers in Russia build and deploy innovative applications based on open standards and open source." The developerWorks teams are participating in these efforts via our new developerWorks Russia site: www.ibm.com/developerworks/ru/
(developerWorks also offers other region-specific dW sites
I'm happy to see IBM continue to strongly support open standards in Russia -- and across the globe -- and happy also that developerWorks can provide software and resources (including free versions of IBM middleware, IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition
and IBM DB2 Universal Database Express-C
as well as our vast collections of trial code, tutorials, how-to articles, technical forums, emerging technologies, blogs, and more.)
If you haven't yet heard about the efforts to bring an open-source approach to patents that will improve their quality, I encourage you to read Irving Wladawsky-Berger's related blog entry, "Improving Patent Quality as a Community
," which aptly describes this initiative, which "bring the spirit of collaborative innovation to the really difficult challenge of improving the quality of patents." The three elements of the patent quality initiative:
- Open Patent Review will establish an open, collaborative community review in the patenting process. The project will use regularly scheduled USPTO email alerts with links to newly-published patent applications as a way to invite the public review and feedback on prior art.
- Open Source Software as Prior Art -- the Open Source Development Lab, along with IBM, Novell, Red Hat and SourceForge, are developing an electronic system to store open source software code in a searchable format. The system will enable patent examiners and the public to review the code and identify prior art.
- The Patent Quality Index evaluates if a patent meets the standards of patentability determined by patent law. The Index, which will rank patent applications based on their clarity and substance, also will serve as a best practice tool for patent applications, holders and examiners.
See also Bob Sutor's related blog entry
(hosted on developerWorks), which boasts a rich collection of links to related articles and blogs. You may also want to read about the Community Patent Project
Today's news on the open, cross-platform standards front:
IBM is one of a dozen members of a newly formed group of universities and IT companies that has "adopted first-of-a-kind guiding principles to accelerate collaborative research for open source software." The goal: "Accelerate innovation and contribute to open software research across a breadth of initiatives, thus enabling the development of related industry standards and greater interoperability, while managing intellectual property in a more balanced manner."
"Open source software and open standards jointly developed by universities, government and industry can create a powerful platform for collaborative innovation," said Dr. John E. Kelly III, senior vice president of Technology & Intellectual Property for IBM. "These principles are based on a balanced approach to IP management and should stimulate additional joint industry and university research projects."
For more details, see:
As reported in Computerworld, The New York Times,
and elsewhere, a report based in part on input from 13 different countries suggests, among other things, that open standards would improve responses to disasters such as last December's tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, and states that government policies should "mandate technology choice, not software development models."
The report defines open standards, which it distinguishes from open source, based on six elements including the nature of its control, evolution, and availability, and explains how propriety software can exist within an open standards environment.
A road map aimed at guiding governments and companies in the development of open information and communication technologies was presented Friday at a World Bank meeting in New York by a group that included academics, government officials and industry representatives. The Open ePolicy Group contends that the adoption of open standards is vital to global economic growth and innovation.
"Responding agencies and nongovernmental groups are unable to share information vital to the rescue effort," the report recalls of the government in Thailand in the tsunami's immediate aftermath. "Each uses different data and document formats. Relief is slowed; coordination is complicated. The need for common, open standards for disaster management was never more stark or compelling."
So this is not just about economic growth and innovation. It's about survival.
Here's hoping we'll heed these lessons before the next major disaster strikes.
For more information, review and download the complete 33-page Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems
Oh, and speaking of open standards, if you haven't yet done so, check out Bob Sutor's latest dW blog, Your move to SOA should be a move to open.
IBM's been giving Geronimo a lot of attention lately. (Enough to bring me back to the blogosphere despite being in the midst of a big move from North Carolina to Texas...) Earlier this year, IBM acquired Gluecode Software
, whose products are based on the Geronimo application server. In recent months, IBM developerWorks has been publishing a series of articles on Geronimo
. Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, IBM announced it will begin providing support services for Apache Geronimo
, and also announced it has contributed its Gluecode Management Console software to the Geronimo open-source project.
I find it particularly notable that IBM will formally and fully support customers who are using pure, open-source Geronimo, as well as those who upgrade with Gluecode. "Developers that want pure open source technology can choose Geronimo, and those that want an open source-based solution with value-added features can opt for Gluecode," said Robert LeBlanc, IBM WebSphere general manager. "Now both are backed by support services from IBM." In other words, IBM will support you even if you stop short of buying the IBM enhancements and go with the open-source option.
Why? It seems IBM recognizes this as an opportunity -- not only to attract more small and mid-sized customers, but also to make money by selling support to the many Geronimo users.
As I see it, the fact that IBM is setting up a formal support structure for Geronimo signifies two things: One, Geronimo is a big, big deal with a bright, long future. (After all, IBM does continue to operate as a for-profit corporation! When for-profit companies are effectively putting bets on key technologies and business models, I for one take notice.) And two, IBM continues to "walk the talk" -- not just talk about but take tangible steps that show significant support for open standards and open source.[Read More
As we head into the long 4th of July weekend in the U.S., I am pondering not only the declaration of independence that this country celebrates, but the concept of such declarations and their effectiveness in the realm of software development. We've seen a few manifestos, including one, The Cluetrain Manifesto
, that ended up getting published in book form. And last year the Open Group solicited signatures to a "Developer Declaration of Independence" (See my previous blog entry
While such efforts may seem modest in comparison to the shaping of a country and its sovereignty, they certainly can have a substantial impact. Consider how, for example, how Linux, Java, and World Wide Web standards such as HTML and XML have blazed the path for broad adoption of open, standards-based, cross-platform development in a software world that had previously been almost exclusively proprietary, with vendor lock-in the norm.
Consider this tidbit: Recently Evans Data Corp. reported
that "Java users are more likely to make use of open source software than non-Java users," suggesting Java has promoted open source. "Eighty percent of heavy Java users (using Java more than 50% of the time) and 73% of light Java users (less than 50% of the time) use open source software for development compared to less than 45% of non-Java developers. In addition, Java users have more confidence in Linux for mission critical applications with 80% having enough confidence to use it in such important deployments compared to less than 50% of non-Java users."
If you're enjoying time celebrating Independence Day this Monday, I encourage you to envision a similar day of independence for software, and specifically software developers and other technical professionals. A world where companies and individuals can use the tools and platforms because they work best, not
because they conform to an already-adopted proprietary platform or tool.
Know of any unheralded champions of open standards? New tools or products that may further the cause of developer independence? If so, please share your comments; I'd love to hear about it.
A new article on developerWorks, Standards and specs: Naturally occurring standards
, aptly describes the nature of de facto standards, compares them to open standards, and offers advice on how to navigate when you encounter de facto standards. I especially liked these tidbits:
If you're considering getting into a field where there's a proprietary de facto standard, be aware that the vendor who controls that standard has no economic reason to make it easy for you to participate.
Support the existing formats, but make your own open, and market pressure may give you an excellent opportunity to make inroads. You may rest assured that users are not currently thinking to themselves, "I want the next product I buy to lock me in to a proprietary format forever."
Definitely worth a read for those of us who focus on open standards.[Read More