Hey, Red Hat - Open-source help still lousy?

"Zealots" wanted


Why bother?

The most frequently cited example of users jumping in an setting up a community effort - quoted by Whitehurst last year - is that of the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) project. That was initially donated by JP Morgan Chase with Iona Technologies and Red Hat and is now backed by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Börse Systems, and Goldman Sachs.

Why bother when people like IBM, Microsoft, and Tibco already offer message queuing? Because, AMQP tackled more specific needs of financial services.

And why did these companies - some rivals - come together? Because, while important, it was considered a waste time and money developing message queuing in-house. And for all that effort, the work conferred no competitive advantage. This actually turned into a positive plus when it came to working with rivals on the project in the community.

The Eclipse Foundation is now home to a project with similar characteristics. Swordfish is an open-source Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) effort, due this summer, based on a major code contribution from Germany's Deutsche Post.

Swordfish uses Deutsche Post's Sopera open-source enterprise service bus (ESB), technology that was spun out by the postal giant into a separate company also called Sopera and that was re-written under an Eclipse Public License.

Deutche Post turned to open source because the ESB was critical to running the messaging in its mailing division but was expensive to maintain and develop. Eclipse, meanwhile, delivered Sopera and Deutsche Post a ready-made community.

Of course, there already exists a perfectly serviceable open-source ESB from the ever-popular Apache Software Foundation (ASF) called ServiceMix, with a community around that. So why didn't Deutsche Post use this, given the popularity of Apache's other projects?

Ricco Deutscher, Sopera's chief technology officer, told us ServiceMix is good, proven technology but that Sopera has been proven in really large mission-critical deployments and offered features such as a registry repository and "central configuration." Also, the project carries with it a lot of accumulated end-user knowledge on how to build ESBs.

The plan at Eclipse is to add service and business activity monitoring via Swordfish, features that will find their way back into the main Sopera product. Long-term the idea is to challenge IBM's WebSphere and Oracle's WeLogic, closed-source, monolithic - Swordfish is based on OSGi - and relatively expensive middleware suites. Sopera starts at a $5,000 per CPU.

Since Deutsche Post went open source, others are also using Sopera with customers including European aerospace giant EADS and environmental charity Greenpeace in the UK.

"This is the starting point for development in Eclipse of a full-service repository," Deutscher said of Swordfish.

Eclipse could provide a ready made system of participation for other end-user projects. There's just the fact Eclipse is largely a vendor shop - and often the same vendors on different projects - that, like most other open-source efforts, is light on end users. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • It's the flu season – FluBot, that is: Surge of info-stealing Android malware detected

    And a bunch of bank-account-raiding trojans also identified

    FluBot, a family of Android malware, is circulating again via SMS messaging, according to authorities in Finland.

    The Nordic country's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC-FI) lately warned that scam messages written in Finnish are being sent in the hope that recipients will click the included link to a website that requests permission to install an application that's malicious.

    "The messages are written in Finnish," the NCSC-FI explained. "They are written without Scandinavian letters (å, ä and ö) and include, for example, the characters +, /, &, % and @ in illogical places in the text to make it more difficult for telecommunications operators to filter the messages. The theme of the text may be that the recipient has received a voicemail message or a message from their mobile operator."

    Continue reading
  • AsmREPL: Wing your way through x86-64 assembly language

    Assemblers unite

    Ruby developer and internet japester Aaron Patterson has published a REPL for 64-bit x86 assembly language, enabling interactive coding in the lowest-level language of all.

    REPL stands for "read-evaluate-print loop", and REPLs were first seen in Lisp development environments such as Lisp Machines. They allow incremental development: programmers can write code on the fly, entering expressions or blocks of code, having them evaluated – executed – immediately, and the results printed out. This was viable because of the way Lisp blurred the lines between interpreted and compiled languages; these days, they're a standard feature of most scripting languages.

    Patterson has previously offered ground-breaking developer productivity enhancements such as an analogue terminal bell and performance-enhancing firmware for the Stack Overflow keyboard. This only has Ctrl, C, and V keys for extra-easy copy-pasting, but Patterson's firmware removes the tedious need to hold control.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft adds Buy Now, Pay Later financing option to Edge – and everyone hates it

    There's always Use Another Browser

    As the festive season approaches, Microsoft has decided to add "Buy Now, Pay Later" financing options to its Edge browser in the US.

    The feature turned up in recent weeks, first in beta and canary before it was made available "by default" to all users of Microsoft Edge version 96.

    The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) option pops up at the browser level (rather than on checkout at an ecommerce site) and permits users to split any purchase between $35 and $1,000 made via Edge into four instalments spread over six weeks.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021