OS3G - Open Source, 3rd Generation

A (humble) attempt to publish news from the trenches where Free/Libre/Open-Source Software is brought to the mainstream -- and Francois Letellier's blog, too

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blog discontinued - on to new adventures

My mission with INRIA as executive director of ObjectWeb just ended. BTW I did my part in the inception of OW2 - a new association which will continue the work accomplished by ObjectWeb. So, I will stop blogging on OS3G - to move forward to new adventures, namely, being a freelance consultant on open-source strategies, business models, product development, marcom, etc...

It has been great fun to run ObjectWeb, and there's nothing to be ashamed of in what we accomplished. As I leave the floor to the new OW2 team, the ObjectWeb consortium is healthy, with 73 corporate members, thousand individual members, several new projects in the pipe, ...

So from now on my web site is : http://www.flet.fr and my contact address fl >at< flet.fr . See you there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Candidacy to the OW2 Board...

Well it's board election time in OW2 and I'm candidating as individual members representative. My candidacy (under the 'official' guideline) is below...


We raised expectations, dreams and ambitions in ObjectWeb which I would like to see perpetuated. I offer to leverage the lessons learned in the ObjectWeb trenches and bring continuity between the now terminated consortium and the newly incepted association.

Although OW2, as a third generation OSS organization, is very dedicated to the needs of its legal entity members, we must keep in mind that our community hails from an free/open source software background. Individuals are important.

Because I'm ending my mission with INRIA, I joined OW2 as an individual member, not bound to any one legal entity member interests in particular. I offer to represent individual members and to help maintain the balance of powers in our global community.

The motivations of individual members range from raising their professional profile to the sheer passion for technology. They contribute to the overall expertise of the community, sometimes to the code base, and often act as champions in their organizations. I offer to do my part and keep spreading the word with an OW2 board member hat on.

Applicant Bio

15+ years of experience in software design, innovative engineering and project management (and... geek background since the early days of personal computing). Served as product manager in the field of EIS/DataWarehouse for the pharmaceutical industry. Co-founded a software consultancy and served five years as an associate for global corporations. Currently terminating a mission at INRIA (the French National Research Center in Computer Science and Automation) as project manager.

Joined ObjectWeb in July 2002, as the 17th registered individual member. Contributed to running the ObjectWeb consortium and community since 2003, and to bringing it to a membership of 73 corporate members and over 100 open source projects. First worked on ecosystem development / communication. Evangelized about ObjectWeb, its values, code base and rationale in the press and in over 35 events around the world. Evolved to a position of ObjectWeb deputy executive director, and executive director in 2006.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

InTech Workshop on OSS and Biz Models

In'Tech and GRAIN are organizing this afternoon (March 29, 2007) a workshop targeted to innovative SMBs on the topic of "Open Source and Business Models".

  • 2:00 - 2:15 Introduction
    Christophe Ney, Wanager, GRenoble Alpes INcubation
  • 2:15 - 2:45 Open-source : strategies for the SMBs ?
    François Letellier, Open Source Expert
  • 2:45 - 3:45 Open Source license famillies
    Stephane Dalmas, INRIA Direction du Transfert et de l'Innovation
  • 3:45 - 4:00 Break
  • 4:00 - 4:45 L'open-source dans une société de service
    Intervenant : Alexandre Zapolsky, PdG LINAGORA
  • 4:45 - 5:30 - Open source business models : returns of experience
    Panel discussion hosted by Gilles Talbotier, Directeur Grenoble Alpes Incubation
  • 5:30 - Adjourn
Registration: http://rev.inrialpes.fr/intech/Registration

Presentations will be delivered in French.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Free Software World Conference

I'm just back from the Free Software World Conference (Badajoz, Spain). This time I regretted only taking 4 years of Spanish while in high school (all sessions were in Spanish, except some side workshops). Attendance was impressive, with an estimated 500-600 attendants to the opening session.

IDABC hosted a workshop on OSOR (the Open Source Observatory and Repository), a recently incepted project of the European Commission, DIGIT. The workshop was chaired by Francisco Garcia Moran, Director General of DIGIT. The OSOR project will implement: a pan-European information platform on OSS: continuing and improving the work of the IDABC Open Source Observatory OSO in providing news, guidance, links, contacts; a platform for uploading and downloading software produced by and for public administrations: providing registry and repository for software; a platform/forge for cross-border collaboration: providing technical, organisational, and legal support. I sitted in a panel discussion - which was for me the opportunity to convey two messages: first, bureaucracy-packed projects from the EC such as OSOR must keep in mind where OSS hail from, and make sure people scattered around the world, far from Brussels, and with limited resources (that of an individual often times) can be involved too; second, that communication is pivotal in the success of an open source project, to grow the community, reach critical mass and make it sustainable.

Workshop organizers arranged an evening chill-out event in a club right in the old town. The club was reportdely sued for not paying any royalties on the music they play. They won the case though, as they argued they only play Creative Commons music. During the party, the beamers would proect huge "Creative Commons" clips on the wall, which I originally thought were especially chosen for the occasion and the crowd (free software people). But according to my (insider) sources, it goes like this all year around. As Alexis Monville put it: "they are gonna change the world!"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

ObjectWeb village on Solutions Linux 07

This year we did not organize an ObjectWeb conference in Q107, simply because the ObjectWeb consortium agreement was over. Yet, the team arranged a village on Solutions Linux expo floor. In my experience, it was the best ObjectWeb stand/village ever on this show. This at least demonstrates that we learnt from experience and that trial and errors fine tuning eventually pays off. The nice thing with the village was its open atmosphere, with no cumbersome piece of furniture blocking sight. ObjectWeb members Sogeti, Engineering, Thales, EBM WebSourcing and Edifixio were on the village. I also had the pleasure to chair a day of conferences about open source middleware / ObjectWeb. It was a very well packed day indeed with both technical and busines oriented presentations. It ended with a refreshing presentation by Benjamin Mestrallet, who demonstrated eXo's killer WebOS.
Amongst other pearls, I especially liked this comment from Laurent Guerin, who explained out of solid field experience, that it's always very hard to explain to the CIO why it needs more time, more staff and more budget today to do the same as we used to do, 10 years ago, with 4GLs...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So What's Next?

The ObjectWeb consortium will end on Dec 31, 2006. As explained in previous entries, an association called OW2 is being incepted.

This is the opportunity for me to thank (again) many people, actually so many I cannot mention them all. Special congratulations to those who were at the orgin of ObjectWeb. Their endeavour is going a long way. Thanks to the executive committee members, who made it possible and who, day in day out, run the community and acted, often behind the scenes, to let good things happen. Thanks to the developers and contributors: without them ObjectWeb would be an empty shell.

Personnaly, the consortium being over, I will no longer serve as executive director (it really goes without saying!) On January 1, 2007, I will keep serving as project director at INRIA. Staff from the project I lead will sometimes be involved in the OW2 operations. Yet INRIA will be a member of the association, but no longer the legal representative as it used to be for ObjectWeb.

Seasons greeting. Merry Christmas, happy new year, best wishes for 2007 to all the community members and friends around!

Letter to the ObjectWeb and OrientWare Communities

Dear ObjectWeb members and partners,

ObjectWeb is about to undergo the biggest evolution since its foundation as a consortium in 2002 by Bull, France Telecom and INRIA.

ObjectWeb: Success and Evolution

The ObjectWeb story started somewhere around Grenoble in the Alp mountains in the late 90's and now spans the whole planet with active participation of members from several European countries to China to the United States to Brazil. Over the last 5 years, our community experienced tremendous growth, now counting over 70 corporate members, over 700 committers, thousands of individual members and contributors from many countries in all continents. Our middleware code base counts over a hundred projects for a total of tens of million lines of open source code.

This phase of growth brought new opportunities and new challenges. In order to better address them, the Board of Directors decided in early 2005 to start a task force with the mission of evaluating possible scenarios and implementing the most suitable of them. This mission code-named “ObjectWeb v2” has been successful due to major commitment of ObjectWeb’s community. As a result, it was decided to make the transition from the current organization, namely a consortium hosted by INRIA, to a full-fledged, non-profit independent legal entity. This new entity, whose bylaws have been approved by ObjectWeb's Board of Directors, will be incepted in January 2007 under the French law as a non-profit association headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

Creation of OW2: a Nonprofit Legal Entity

The new organization is registered under the name “OW2 Consortium” or OW2 for short. This new name is the result of ObjectWeb and OrientWare joining their forces to build a global and powerful alliance. After extensive consultation of the community, its rules of operation have been defined on the following principles:

· enhanced commitment from the members through three levels of membership: Strategic, Corporate and Individual

· deliberate market awareness with the underlying rationale to bridge the gap between enterprise developers and users

· a refined governance model promoting increased participation from the community, with three councils addressing technology, ecosystem development and operations

· possibilities to create local chapters so as to facilitate international development in a decentralized way

In Practice: What to Expect, What Actions to Take

The ObjectWeb consortium agreement is ending on December 31, 2006. OW2 Consortium is starting on January 1, 2007. Current members are warmly invited to join OW2 but memberships will not be automatically transferred. For this reason, it is very important that ObjectWeb members take the necessary actions to join the OW2 Consortium. Strategic and corporate members joining OW2 in the first quarter of year 2007, be them former ObjectWeb members or not, will be deemed Co-Founders of the association.

Joining OW2 will most likely require the involvement of your legal department. All necessary legal documents will be available online shortly and additional information is available on request. As CEO of the association, Cedric Thomas will lead the operations and be your main contact for all practical information.

No personal information will be transferred from ObjectWeb to OW2 without the explicit consent of the user. A simplified procedure will be put in place so that registered members and users of the ObjectWeb online facility can opt-in to have their personal information transferred to the association. Details are to be sent on all ObjectWeb mailing lists shortly.

From now on, new membership and new project submission will no longer be accepted by ObjectWeb. However in the short term the ObjectWeb web site and Forge will be kept up and running, so project and community activities be carried on without interruption.

We want to thank you all for having made OW2 Consortium possible. We are now counting on you to make it an even better place for great projects. We invite you all, developers, researchers, open source enthusiasts from over the world, to participate in this new and exciting endeavor. Last but not least, we would like to take advantage of this message to present you our most sincere season's greetings and wish you the best for year 2007. And long live OW2!

With warmest regards,

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Jean Pierre Laisné – ObjectWeb Chairman

François Letellier – ObjectWeb Executive Director

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ObjectWeb and Orientware merge to form OW2 Consortium

The new "OW2 Consortium" is the result of ObjectWeb and Orientware joining their forces to build a global and powerful alliance. After extensive consultation of the community, its rules of operation have been defined on the following principles:

  • enhanced commitment from the members, through three levels of membership (Strategic, Corporate and Individual)
  • deliberate market awareness with the underlying rationale to bridge the gap between enterprise developers and users
  • a refined governance model promoting increased participation from the community, with three councils addressing technology, ecosystem development and operations
  • possibilities to create local chapters so to facilitate international development in a decentralized way.

The ObjectWeb consortium agreement ends on December 31, 2006 and OW2 Consortium takes over on January 1, 2007. Current ObjectWeb and OrientWare members (along with new comers) are invited to join OW2.

Membership will not be automatically transferred. New membership and new project submission will no longer be accepted by ObjectWeb. However in the short term, the ObjectWeb web site and Forge will be kept up and running, so project and community activities can be carried on without interruption.

Monday, December 18, 2006

End of ObjectWeb Consortium Agreement

The ObjectWeb story started somewhere around Grenoble in the Alp mountains in the late 90's and now spans the whole planet with active participation of members from several European countries to China to the United States to Brazil.

This phase of growth brought new opportunities and new challenges. In order to better address them, the Board of Director decided in early 2005 to start a task force with the mission of evaluating possible scenarios and implementing the most suitable of them. As a result, it was decided to make the transition from the current organization, namely a consortium represented by INRIA, to a full-fledged, nonprofit independent legal entity. This new entity will be incepted in January 2006 as a nonprofit association under the French law headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

The ObjectWeb consortium agreement will end on December 31, 2006. Current members are strongly encouraged to join OW2, but memberships will not be automatically transfered.

In the short term, I keep my hat as project director with INRIA, but my mandate as Executive Director of ObjectWeb will end on December 31, 2006. This is an opportunity to look back to the good work done so far. Over the last 5 years, our community experienced tremendous growth, now counting over 70 corporate members, over 700 committers, thousands of individual members and contributors from many countries in all continents. Our middleware code based counts a hundredth projects for a total of tens of million lines of open source code.

I would like to thank all the people involved in this story, with special congratulations to the executive commitee (starting with former executive directors G. Vandome and C. Ney) and the team at INRIA, who has been very dedicated to its mission over the last 5 years.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Last ObjectWeb Board Meeting

On Dec 11 & 12 was the quarterly ObjectWeb Architecture meeting, held in Paris (Alcatel HQ). A board and a college meeting were held on Dec 11. They were the last such meetings to be held in the framework of ObjectWeb.

ObjectWeb is an agreement (basically a contract) which ends on Dec 31, 2006. It has been decided not to renew it... but to incept a new, independant nonprofit legal entity instead. Code-named "ObjectWeb v2" so far, this new association is to be registered by the end of the year. It will then after continue and expand ObjectWeb's activity under the name "OW2". OW2 is really a name for insider: it basically comes from the collaboration between ObjectWeb and OrientWare - two O-something-W-something names.

The last board meeting was the opportunity to look back to the tremendous progress achieved by ObjectWeb over the last 5 years. Some figures... as of today, the community counts:
  • 72 corporate members (+1 registration pending)
  • 8177 registered users in the Forge
  • 723 CVS committers
2006 was anticipated as a year of transition between ObjectWeb as it used to be and OW2. Thanks to all people involved in the Executive Committee, with the help of the Board and contribution from the members, we ran ObjectWeb in line with the then current consortium agreement. Since April 2006, 15 (+1) new corporate members joined and 15 new projects were added to the code base (again, +1 pending). This is a pretty vibrant community, which is now to be handed over to OW2 for continued expansion.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two ObjectWeb Projects Winners of Free Software Awards 2006

OpenMobileIS and SpagoBI won Gold and Silver Awards in the 'Company Management' category of the Free Software Awards 2006. OpenMobileIS is a Java Framework conceived to integrate mobile application developement business. SpagoBI is a complete suite for the development of Business Intelligence projects in an integrated environment.
The picture show Philippe Delrieu (Ubikis, left) and Marc Sallières (Altic, right) holding the awards during the cocktail reception.

Monday, November 27, 2006

European Task Force on ICT Uptake

Today was the final meeting of the Task Force on ICT Sector Competitiveness and ICT Uptake which I attended as an observer, after having participated in the works as co-cordinator of the working group on innovation and participant in the working group on IPR. Commissionner V. Reding, Directors-General F. Colasanti and H. Zourek participated in the meeting, along with representatives ("sherpas") of the industry and observers.

The discussions in WG2 (IPR), chaired by SAP, were animated to put it midly. The group came to the conclusion that IPR was too conversial a topic to reach a decent consensus. Some members in the group also felt that all opinions were not taken into account with equal openness. For instance facts tending to question the positive correlation between some forms of IPR and innovation in some sectors (software) were reported as beliefs or positions of a minority. On the other hand, commonplace statements such as the necessity of increased IPR protection for the sake of fostering innovation were depicted as reflecting a wide consensus.

It came to a point that ObjectWeb requested that all mentions of the organization be withdrawn from the topic paper, in order to avoid distortion of input - avoiding distortion being a legitimate request in our eyes that apparently was beyond reach.

I proposed that the following statement be inserted in the topic paper for this WG, which (to my knowledge) has not been performed in spite of support by several participants in the group: "Group members acknowledge that there's no wide consensus on the correlation between IPR protection and innovation. Studies performed by independant authoritative researchers came to different conclusions depending on the context. In some contexts, some forms of IP protection are beneficial to innovation and economic growth; conversely, other forms may instead act as an obstacle in other contexts. As stakes are high for Europe, one should be wary of common beliefs and generalizations. The concept of IPR encompasses many different realities, from brand protection to patents, and the ICT sector produces a full spectrum of products from information to hardware. IP protection has been developed during the industrial revolution and is still a reality in our world, but the way we want to shape it for the information age should be considered with care and with an open mind."

In addition to co-coordinating WG3, ObjectWeb contributed a position and proposals about openness-based innovation, which were echoed in the topic paper of WG3, but not in the final report of the ICT Task Force.

Here is this contribution for the records:

"Support emerging innovation strategies based on openness.

The term open innovation has been proposed as opposed to closed innovation to describe the process of “combining internal and external ideas as well as internal and external paths to market to advance the development of new technologies”. However benefits of openness in innovation extend beyond this. When dealing with innovation, the specificities of the ICT sector must be taken into account. One of the most salient is the production of both material/physical (e.g. consumer electronics) and information/digital (e.g. software) goods – and compounds of them. Material and information goods are extremely different and it is necessary to set up an innovation policy for the ICT sector that differentiate between these various kinds of artifacts. Emerging models of innovation based on openness leverage the ‘non rival’ nature of information goods and gain increased global impact while relying of continuous, incremental, peer production practices that are poorly captured by traditional innovation measurement techniques. Open source software is one example of collective work, often performed by individuals or companies and which delivers quality and sustained innovation without protection of creation being a central motivation.

  • Academic studies of innovation based on openness should be supported through adequate funding from independent sources (e.g. through instruments such as EC-funded research projects). Appropriate metrics and measurement methodologies need to be developed. Such metrics need to be elaborated in an “out of the box” fashion, so to reflect not only direct economic impact in the ICT sector, but also the enabling effects and externalities of innovation based on openness.
  • The European IPR policy should keep a balance between the need to protect innovation and the opportunity to favour incremental innovation in an open context. As examples, the burden of proof should be on proponents of new rights and registration of prior art should be facilitated so to reduce the risk on incremental innovators; for digital goods, this may be achieved by facilitating (with regulatory and technical measures) or even automating on-line registration of prior art at no cost.
  • Technical means for remote inter-personal communication, telecommuting, collaborative online work and management should be improved. This should include public incentives which would create demand for such systems and result in a pull effect on the ICT sector itself (need for broadband networks, adequate telecommunication services, etc). Open standards play a pivotal role in the development of infrastructures software in the information society: two features are essential to the deployment of the information infrastructure needed by the information society: one is a seamless interconnection of networks and the other that the services and applications which build on them should be able to work together (interoperability).
  • When dealing with information goods, and in a very much “the fab is the lab” fashion, virtual clusters should be put in place as alternative to traditional clusters. This would bring answers to the increase of transportation costs and environmental impact and give opportunities for enhanced territory management. Such virtual clusters should be targeted to great challenges and provide the necessary environment (in terms of infrastructure and services) to facilitate the leverage of open innovation.
  • In order to leverage innovation based on openness for the benefit of the ICT sector, bridges should be built between communities with grass-root structure, academia and the business world. This may be achieved through 'meta-organizations' able to federate both individual and organizations around innovative activities based on openness. The European Institute of Technology could play an important role in this. It should include a virtual, distributed unit targeted to innovation based on openness. Activities should be structured according to the best practices of current innovative communities (e.g. open source software, Wikipedia and similar initiatives, etc). Learning, research and creation would be mixed in a single overall process, innovative production be peer-reviewed and registered as prior art in real time and made available to all in an open way, so to impact the industry and civil society at large through appropriate business models.
  • In parallel, appropriate funding mechanisms should be designed at the European level to facilitate the deployment of open innovation systems, leveraging on EU public funding and debt and equity instrument of the EIB group."
Ironically enough, my feeling as one of the youngest participants in the WG on innovation was that the group was short of ideas to innovate... in an innovative way. Apart from the above attempt, I did not see any input which would emphasize on the disruptive practices that we saw happen in the last decade(s), with the arrival of 'digital natives' both as young adults and new workers. A suggestion would be to inject younger blood in future working groups on innovation, including enthustiats, volunteers, entrepreneurs who may live far from the Commission's corridors, but much closer to where the digital society is being built, and transformed, into tommorrow's information society.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

IST2006 Networking Session on ONESSI

The IST 2006 edition of the most important European event in the field of Information Society Technologies coincided with the launch of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development.

NESSI is a European technology platform aiming to provide a unified view for European research in services architectures and software infrastructures. It will define technologies, strategies and deployment policies fostering new, open, industrial solutions and societal applications that enhance the safety, security and well-being of citizens. As a founding partner, ObjectWeb contributes to the open source activities in NESSI through an endeavour called “ONESSI”.

ObjectWeb co-organized a networking session with COSS (Finnish open source competence center) about open source software and ONESSI.

to this session:
  • Morfeo, Spain
  • ObjectWeb
  • COSS, Finland
  • Linux Solution Group, Germany
  • Piedmonte Open Source Center
  • University of Szeged, Hungary
  • Politecnic University of Madrid, Spain

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bull Signs Partnership with JBoss

"French systems and services provider Bull has formed a broad partnership with JBoss that could see the Red Hat subsidiary's open-source middleware used more widely in Europe." (InfoWorld)

From a Bull perspective, this move makes perfect sense. But it also is an excellent opportunity for ObjectWeb to develop closer relations with JBoss and their community of users – as anticipated when Red Hat announced the acquisition of JBoss. As an independent, nonprofit organization, ObjectWeb – today, and ObjectWeb v2 soon – has an important role to play in the global open source middleware landscape that commercial entites cannot take in isolation. Open source is first and foremost about collaboration, simply because it's a rational, proven approach to build commons and to develop innovative strategies in the software arena. I would like to congratulate Bull for its long term commitment to open source and for paving the way today to new fruitfull collaboration on enterprise grade open source middleware. I also invite ObjectWeb members to welcome this announcement and explore new opportunities with an open mind.

And anyway, ObjectWeb is open. JBoss may very well join as a company. This would be an interesting message.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Open Source Java

Sun recently announced the distribution of Java in open source. To be more specific, it means that J2ME would be open sourced soon, J2SE in six months or so (both J2ME and J2SE Sun implementations released under GPL2 with classpath exception), and Glassfish (J2EE implementation by Sun) changed from CDDL to GPL (GPL2 w/ CP exception).

This is good news for the Java and open source communities. Distribution of J2SE and J2ME under an open source licence will undoubtedly foster the adoption of these technologies. It makes Java clearly 'compatible' with Linux - and will please all open source proponents (and users) that were a little concerned to use Java open source projects while still relying on a close source VM. Now it will be possible to have a full open source stack (e.g. Linux + J2SE + open source middleware + bespoke or OTS applications).

The choice of GPL is meaningfull, and a clear signal toward Linux - at a time when Microsoft and Novell signed a deal around virtualization technology. Java (SE and EE) can also be considered as a virtualization platform (remember 'build once run everywhere'?) from hardware independance all the way up to the Grid.

Sun has been playing with legal frameworks to ensure compatibility of open source projects to the JSRs (e.g. J2EE certification of JOnAS, JBoss, Geronimo) and now has enough experience to make sure that open source implementations of J2[SME]E remain interoperable (and compliant w/ the specs) even in case of fork. The idea is simple: you do what you want with the source code, but to call the binary 'Java' you have to have it certified. The keystone of this scheme is Sun's control over the 'Java' trademark(s).

Yet this may not be the end of the story. What will be the answer from OS communities such as Apache (with Harmony), who've been historically (and geographically) very close to Sun, and who advocate for so-called 'business friendly' open source licenses (APL*) ? What will be Sun's position wrt GPL v3?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Issuing a position to the upcoming EU consultation on RFID

The European Commission is soon to start a consultation on RFID ( http://www.rfidconsultation.eu/docs/ficheiros/JdS_RevGS.pdf) through 'your voice in Europe'. We proposed the idea of coming up with an ObjectWeb position to contribute to this consultation. Such document may typically be a four-page paper.

We are not starting from scratch.

You will find attached a report from a working group run in the framework of a study from the French Ministry of Industry. This document (in French) covers many aspects that, to me, seem fairly well aligned with ObjectWeb's (emerging) position. During the first 2006 architecture meeting, Humberto Moran (OSI) proposed to work along the line of 'privacy friendliness'. I think this is to be taken into account too.

DADVSI Law to be Voted Tommorrow

The French government has been pushing for the adoption of a law (known as DADVSI) that may significantly increase the level of legal risk for open source projects and communities based in France. The press has started to echo this kind of concerns, including wrt ObjectWeb's situation:


ObjectWeb Chairman Jean-Pierre Laisné sent a few weeks ago an open letter to all senators, expressing our concerns. Amongst others, we ask the question of keeping ObjectWeb headquartered in France, or moving to another - more 'open source friendly' country.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gartner OSS Summit, Barcelona

In Barcelona only for 1 day. Attended two presentations: one from M. Felix (Amadeus) about their use of open source, the other from Mark Driver (Gartner) about OSS Business Models. Sounds like 2005 was a transition year and today, visions on OSS business models tend to converge. There's definitely no one business model for open source. According to Mark, all other facts being mitigated, close source will not gain over open source. All other things equal, close source will never win. He lists 7 models for vendors: Consultancy, Service & Support, Packaging, Stack Integration, Patronage (aka 'Loss Leader'), Extend & Enhance (aka 'Embedded'). Jean-Pierre Laisné sat in a panel this morning.

Monday, June 12, 2006

ObjectWeb Architecture meeting, Q2-06

The quarterly meeting was in Lille this quarter - hot weather, by the way, I was not expecting that! Hot presentations too, with a first talk by Peter Andersen about PalCom. Peter was so kind as to schedule his trip to Lille only 4 days in advance when we confirmed we had a slot for him. The project aims to research and develop a new perspective on ambient computing denoted palpable computing. This sounds well aligned with ObjectWeb's scope and we feel there may be opportunities to work together.

Impressive presentation by representatives of Orientware who presented the projects they work on, including that at ObjectWeb: PKU-AS, XService, ISTX, OrientwareCCM. I would say they talked of so much technology I just can't give an account of it.

Another day well spent!

Friday, June 09, 2006

OSS2006, Como, Italy

It's definitely not a pain to go to Como (Italy) for a conference. Although I leave all year surrounded by mountains (Grenoble), I must admit Como has a very special atmosphere, due to the steep mountains around, the lake, villas, warm weather, vegetation and.. Italian pasta! The OSS2006 convention in addition brought excellent papers. I want to highlight here the paper from CALIBRE team about business models. It really brings new answers to the question of open source business models, with the concept of "whole product" and, by the way, gives good insight on the value proposition that ObjectWeb may offer to its members.
Also speznt some time sitting in a panel with Stefano de Panfilis and Brian Fitzgerald. Interestingly enough, Brian came up with this concept of OSS 2.0 - which is roughly what I call "3rd generation of open source". It seems that we are converging here - except for the version number...
This trip to Como and OSS2006 definitely was time well spent!

Monday, May 22, 2006

LinuxWorld, Sao Paulo

Gosh, it's already over 1 month since I posted my last blog entry. It's so busy in ObjectWeb these days...

I'm back in Sao Paulo for LinuxWorld, where I'll deliver a presentation tommorrow, and where ObjectWeb has a booth. I think that it's by far the most sophisticated booth we had so far, and I must here salute the organizers of the event...

Speaking of presentations. I was on the 11th in Geneva for a presentation at the LinuxDays. Worth mentionning that, speaking with various people, it turned out that the Swiss government (should I say governments) is increasingly serious about open source.

Oh, BTW: ObjectWeb is hiring. You may find the open positions on Monster too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

JOnAS Mutatis Mutandis

Red Hat announced a few days ago that it will buy JBoss. Congratulations to both companies. For sure this deal will bring the best to both, and it's bad news to their competitors. This announcement can be seen as a sign that the open source market is getting more mature as the (open source) software industry is starting to concentrate.

What does it mean to ObjectWeb? Is it bad or good news? The announcement immediately raised concerns in our community. Analysts said it is a terrible blow for JOnAS and, as a consequence, for ObjectWeb. Well, there's no denying that the announcement seems badly detrimental to JOnAS. But the terrible blow jointly hit out by Red Hat and JBoss is not first aimed at ObjectWeb. Its main targets are commercial middleware supergiants (IBM, BEA, Oracle, Novell, etc) and to a smaller extent other Linux distros. At this point, JOnAS and ObjectWeb are not in the firing line.

Red Hat Executive VP of Engineering Paul Cormier has been re-elected to the ObjectWeb board in 2006. This means that there's a privileged communication channel between ObjectWeb and Red Hat. When the acquisition is effective, we can expect this channel to extend to JBoss as well. From Red Hat's viewpoint the decision to buy JBoss makes perfect sense. This is not a technology decision; this is a business decision. JBoss means a brand, an installed base (50% of which on Windows), instant credibility in the J2EE space, a portfolio of professional services, distribution channels, a market share and a fully operational team. To ObjectWeb, it is good news that Red Hat chose JBoss over Geronimo. It confirms that Red Hat bought a company, not a piece of technology. This acquisition tells nothing against the technical quality of JOnAS.

A very common misunderstanding is to consider ObjectWeb as an ISV. Although placed on Gartner Group's Magic Quadrants, ObjectWeb is not an ISV. ObjectWeb's goal is not to compete against commercial companies. It is to produce technology and to grow ecosystems. And this is happening today. The more concentration happens in the industry, the more there's a place for organizations like ObjectWeb. Far from collapsing, ObjectWeb is experiencing nice growth. JOnAS has been around for over seven years and has been instrumental in the commoditization of J2EE. Certification of JBoss, JOnAS and Geronimo announced that this part of open source history was almost over. ObjectWeb remains as a proponent of technology independence and as a collective commoditization strategy on many fronts, with components higher in the Java middleware stack: portals, wikis, business intelligence, workflow engines, enterprise service bus, RFID and the like.

JOnAS has been deployed in production in scores of enterprises by Red Hat, and also by others. Red Hat's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Matthew Szulik declared that they have made a significant investment in the work of JOnAS and he expects that to continue. JOnAS' roadmap leads to Java EE 5. Version 4.7 stable will be out shortly. The EasyBeans project is also making headway to a full fledge EJB3 container, to be plugged in JOnAS 5 or other application servers. It is very unlikely that JOnAS disappears altogether, and this is the beauty of open source: projects can strive, evolve, merge and be taken over.

That's right, tables are turning in the world of middleware but for many reasons I don't see in the recent announcement a doomsday scenario for JOnAS but instead a full spectrum of opportunities. It will be everyone's decision to take them or not. And we, at ObjectWeb, will work to facilitate synergies. See you in a while...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Red Hat Acquires JBoss

Red Hat just announced in a press release that it will acquire JBoss for $350M. This will tremendously reinforce Red Hat's profile and position in open source middleware. It also sounds like good news to ObjectWeb: Paul Cormier (Red Had CTO) sits on ObjectWeb's Board of Directors, which means that there is a priviledged communication channel between ObjectWeb and Red Hat - a channel which was missing between ObjectWeb and JBoss, even though the two organizations would meet every now and then.
This moves significantly reshuffles the cards in the world of open source J2EE. ObjectWeb today has two implementations of the J2EE specification (JOnAS and JOnAS PKU AS recently brought by Orientware members), and an implementation of en EJB3 container (EasyBeans).
Red Hat and JBoss are two very strong brands headquartered in the US, while ObjectWeb is gaining traction and visibility in other regions of the world (Europe, China, ...). The time is good now for discussions between projects and a communication channel is open between the communities.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Engineering Answer to EC Consultation on Patents

Engineering Ingegneria Informatica sent a well put answer to the EC consultation on the European patent system, which I quote and publish with their authorization here.

"In our opinion, software and business method patents stifle innovation and on the bottom line discourage, rather than reward, investment in innovation in the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector. Therefore, we believe that the executive governments of the member states of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as "the Member States") should take the appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the applicable law by the EPO as well as NPOs. However, the introduction of a more detailed set of substantive rules could, alternatively or additionally, serve the same purpose, provided that such a set of substantive rules would represent a departure from the EPO's case law."

"A minimum requirement, which is unfortunately not met by the patent systems of Europe at present, is compliance with the existing substantive rules on what can and cannot be patented. The grant of software and business method patents has been discussed in the answer to question 1.1.
There are indications of non-compliance of the EPO with the existing substantive rules in other fields such as biotechnology.
Considering that every patent constitutes a 20-year monopoly and that monopolies are generally contradictory to the notion of a free market economy, patents must only be issued with the greatest caution.
A strict liability regime such as patent law not only protects, but also endangers those who make independent creations. In the event of a willful infringement, a patent may do justice and, absent other viable business models, may be a necessity to reward investment in innovation. However, every use of a patent in a scenario of unintended infringement discourages from investing in innovation and, by depriving an innovator of the fruits of his efforts, runs counter to the basic idea of intellectual property. The business risk of
unintended infringement also comes with a cost for an enterprise, and it adversely affects a company's ability to innovate."

ObjectWeb Architecture Meeting - cont'd

Roland Balter gave an overview and status of the ObjectWeb RFID initiative.

Tom Rose & Ron Rose presented (remotely) the Singularity RFID/Sensor Integration Platform. Singularity supported by the i-konect company (and consortium First Open) under development for 1 year. In their architecture, they implemented EPM, EPC-IS not yet implemented. i-konnect's business model assumes that middleware is becoming commodity very quickly. Specific applications are to be the vertical/commercial ones. They intend OSS to accelerate adoption. The service component bus is based on JINI, their JMS transport is JBoss'.

Humberto Moran (Open Source Innovation) delivered a presentation focused on social implications of RFID. RFID has scores of industrial applications, benefits for consumers, etc. Humberto advises to read "Spychips" to whomever is serious about doing RFID. Is RFID creating an orwelian society? A major peril of RFID is privacy violation. Humberto makes the very important point that those who create technology should know how the technology they create will affect society. Concept of "watching the watchers", in a "Trasparent Society". This has a lot to do with open source. Privacy invasion: interactive marketing, finding oneself in the news, difficulties finding a job, denial of service, targeted robbery... One has the right to forget the past - everybody has skeleton in the closet. Whilst developed economies may cope with RFID, this technology can be used by authorotarian governments to create orwelian societies and perpetuate their power. In the long term, this will impact immigration ecological impact, human rights abuses. Drivers of privacy invasion are flexibility of use, pervasiveness, connectivity and functionality (capabilities). Why some technologies do not develop in the best possible way? Because of market failures, technology failures and social/political failures. Privacy is slowly disappearing as a natural right. Humberto proposes the creation os a privacy-friendly internet of things. The best way to protect sensitive data is not to create it in the first place! It's software (middleware amongst other things) that creates the links between data - this is the place where relations are made. So that noone can tamper with privacy friendly software is make it open source. Humberto proposes the concept of "privacy friendly" goods, the same way as one can chose organis or fair trade.

ObjectWeb Architecture Meeting

The Q2 architecture meeting organized by ObjectWeb is being held today and tommorrow. The morning session was focusing on ObjectWeb projects: either existing or proposed.

Sebastien Bahloul presented FederID, an identity management project. FederID relies on InterLDAP (an identity management project written on Java on top of Tomcat), LASSO (impl. of Liberty Alliance specifications) and LemonLDAP (SSO reverse proxy).

Daniel le Berre presented SAT4J, an (AI, to use a buzzword) ObjectWeb project for satisfiability. Satisfiability is the idea to find assignments of variable that satisfy a set of clauses built from a propositional language. Satisfiability is a NP-Complete problem (proven in 1971). SAT solvers are used in production, also for "fun" (eg SuDoKu, crosswords, etc). "Commoditization" happens in SAT solvers due to standardization of input format: people can take any solver they want as long as it is designed to be embedded in other software. SAT4J is a library for Chaff-like solvers, in Java. The projects was started in 2003, its efficiency has been validated during SAT competitions, and it is designed for "end users". SAT4J may be used in a semantic web context, to work on ontology matching (eg S-MATCH project). OpenOME is an Eclipse plug-in for requirements engineering. Daniel proposes to work on a distributed/Grid SAT solver at ObjectWeb. People knowing how it can be designed on a Grid are required (eg ProActive).

Gianfranco Boccalon (Spago project leader) presented an update on Spago. Spago is evolving towards SOA (possible links with Petals, Celtix, BPEL, UDDI ...)

Dominique Leroux from Oxymel presented OFC Charts. The Oxymel company has been created by experts originating from the O2 project (object oriented database). Oxymel derives 90% of its revenue from services (10% from framework licenses). Oxymel proposes OFC Charts to ObjectWeb. OFC Charts creates graphs (SVG based on Batik): pie charts, vertical line charts, stacked bar charts, speedometer, explode pie charts, gauge charts, complex charts, etc. Oxymel wants to go open source due to customer demand.

Laurent Guérin gave us an update on Telosys, an ObjectWeb AJAX framework. Telosys is made of a client-side AJAX/JavaScript framework (DHTML or XUL), a server side framework and productivity/development tools as Eclipse plug-ins (DAL Object generator, screen builder). v1.0 is planned for end of April. Telosys is to bring best of two worlds: lightweight clients + client/server. It brings quality and productivity to the development process. To use Telosys, all one has to do is dropped telosys.jar in the project and... voila. During the dialog handled by Telosys, no assumption is made on the kind of client accessing the server: could be a browser, a rich client, another server. The JavaScript library is contained into a single telosys.js file.

The last presentation of the morning session was delivered by Alain Boulze and Adrien Louis about JOnES, a RNTL project (kicked off March 9, 2006). Alain conducts the ESB initiative at ObjectWeb, while Adrien is lead of the Petals project. JOnES aims at giving a one answer to integration problems, reusing other ObjectWeb projects. In JBI, contained distribution is considered future work. JOnES/Petals promotes a vision of a distributed JBI environment seen as a single container. JOnES follows a Fractal architecture. JOnES has the nice approach of aiming at SCA compatibility in addition to JBI, thanks to the use of Fractal.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Consultation on European Patent System

The European Commission (Directorate General for Internal Market and Services) is consulting stakeholders on their needs in relation to the legal framework and possible actions in the field of industrial property. More specifically, the Commission is consulting European players about the patent system in Europe, with the goal to make proposals to improve this system.

Many analysts consider this consultation as an opportunity for software patents lobbyists to bring back on the table their proposal to extend patentability to software.

A few months ago, the question of software patent had been fiercefully debated in the community and in the European Parliament, with intense lobbying from pro- and againt- software patents. The bottomline has been a massive rejection of the directive proposal for broader patentability of "computer implemented inventions", a mild wording for "software technologies". Along with other open source stakeholders, members of ObjectWeb have expressed their concerns about software patents. It is worth noticing that we got support in this respect from folks from outside Europe, e.g. the Apache Software Foundation.

So, today, the threat of software patents is surfacing again. I strongly encourage companies with interests in Europe to answer the consultation. A very good source of inspiration is Florian Mueller's position paper from his blog, and for French readers, the position paper from Gérald Sédrati-Dinet (FFII France), which I found very well put.

Recommended reading:

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Bright Side of Open Source

Pierre Cros (Entr'ouvert) pointed me to a blog entry from Susan Wu, Chief Marketing Officer of the Apache Software Foundation. Susan addresses the question of how the open source model has been "watered down". Between the lines, you may read that there are two sides: the bright side of open source, with the "true" open source players, and the dark side of it, with bad guys taking advantage of the wave for marketing purposes.

Quoting Gianugo Rabellino from this blog entry: "[...] we’re seeing how the status of Open Source is just too much up for grabs by anyone, and easily circumventable using a few tricks that have become “classic” as in the sentence above. I don’t really have a solution handy: I’ve been thinking about starting a new “movement” under a different umbrella which would encompass Open Source yet augment it with the most prominent value coming from community-based development, but I know this would require quite some effort and a lot of inertia to get the ball rolling."

Right, the term "open source" in its strict meaning only describes a category of licenses (which roughly matches what the FSF calls "free"). But is there more to open source than a legal framework?

As proposed by Business Week, 2005 was probably a turning point for open source. Part of the reasons was that open source players eventually became profitable and the Valley VCs not longer overlooked open source startups. The bottom line is, in the Valley and elsewhere, that any old ISV now is open source in a way or another. This is becoming ridiculous: software vendors all have "their own" open source solutions, different from other -open source- solutions from their competitors. So what's the value of open source here? Is reinvention of the wheel the open source way to go? We all doubt it.

Yet, legally speaking, all players are open source because they distribute software under an open source license.

Form an Apache viewpoint, I can understand that some old timers of free/open source software feel bitter. The Foundation was created with a couple of strict principles in mind, including meritocracy, avoidance of brand fascination, etc. What is remaining of this old meritocratic spirit when software giants buy open source credibility (cf BEA / Beehive), use open source as a dumping strategy (cf IMB-Gluecode / Geronimo - ironically enough, IBM pushes talks calling projects "true open source")? I can understand that some feel bitter.

Yet, one may wonder if open source in general, and Apache in particular would have been so successful without discreet support from the same software giants: code donations from some (Sun / Tomcat), code promotion by others (IBM / httpd), not to mention massive communication about open source from all sides. Biting the hand that's feeding open source...

Gianugo is calling for a new movement. But this movement is already around - and I call it "third generation of open source", just because I failed to find a more appropriate wording.

Third generation of open source is a collective strategy aiming a developing open source software through a collaborative process that encompasses more than just code. Because the world is a-changing, and because the business world now is taking over the open source wave.

Collaboration in an 3G open source organization may not happen at level of single projects - and one may even argue that some projects leaders come from the dark side of open source. But the ultimate goal is to have cross-projects collaboration. To bring back the value of open source at a higher level. And because the parties involved no longer are individuals, but also legal entities, a governance model that goes beyond meritocracy is needed. Such governance should be open and transparent, so that the organization be not used as a smoke screen. The open source world is to face the cold reality that open source now serves commercial interests, and it is the price to pay to become more mature and be ready for the next step: unleashing the value of collaboration at a cross-organization level. Or put in other words: yes, there are ethical reasons for going the free/open source way, but there are also sound economical motivations and, beyond, externalities in term of social welfare that policymakers take into account. The open source picture is becoming global. The genie is out of the bottle.

And it's legitimate that all try to make a living for themselves in this open source world. What's damaging to the open source movement is the propagation of urban legends from the good old days. Not values - legends.

For Japanese Speakers

Monday, March 20, 2006

So What's an "Initiative" Anyway?

ObjectWeb lately came up with several "initiatives", namely the ESB initiative, RFID initiative and ONESSI.

The existing open-source communities address technological issues in a very efficient fashion. But they leave companies alone when it comes to complementing software with all that takes to make a product: positioning, packaging, customization, training, professional services, communication, quality assurance, certification of compliance with standards, etc.

ObjectWeb came up with the concept of open source “initiative” to address these shortcomings and bridge the gap between open source projects and enterprise users.

An initiative is not an open source project. An open source initiative is a collaborative program undertaken by industry stakeholders to promote a set of technologies and bring them to the mainstream. The goal of an initiative is to federate complementary projects through the involvement of several partners from industry and research communities, so as to initiate and perpetuate innovation and business opportunities.

So. Initiatives are proactive attempts to strenghten an ecosystem through a collective strategy. They are akin to collective strategies (or better said, ObjectWeb in its entierity may be seen as a collective strategy instanciated through initiatives as a matchmaking tool). I would put initiatives in the class of "organic collectives" (see Astley, W. Graham, Fombrun, Charles J. (1983), 'Collective Strategy: Social Ecology of Organizational Environments', The Academy of Management Review)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New ObjectWeb Board of Directors

ObjectWeb's Board of Directors has been renewed. Here's the new board:

Elected Legal Entity Members Representatives

Elected Individual Members Representative
  • David Li

Seats of Right
  • Bull - Jean-Pierre Laisne
  • INRIA - Jean-Bernard Stefani
  • France Telecom R&D - Valere Robin
  • Chief Architect - Pierre-Yves Gibello (interim position)
  • Executive Director - Christophe Ney

Friday, February 24, 2006

EasyBeans: Open Source EJB3 Container

Folks from the JOnAS team started a new cool project at ObjectWeb: EasyBeans.

In a nutshell, EasyBeans is a plugable, efficient and easy-to-use EJB3 container. It can be used standalone, with a web container or in a J2EE appserver. It comes with nice deploy/redeploy features.

Compared to the previous version 2.1 of the EJB specifications, EJB 3 aims to simplify application development with EJBs. When designing EasyBeans, project leader Florent Benoit and his team focused on making the developer’s life even easier.

See JOnAS team weblog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

ObjectWebCon '06 Feedback

Damn! Time flies and it's already weeks since my last post... It's so busy at ObjectWeb these days.

Catherine Nuel, ObjectWeb's event manager who worked to organize the 5th annual conference, ObjectWebCon '06, collected feedback about the conference:
  • 68% of the attendees where from France, 32% from other countries
  • 43% were ObjectWeb members, 57% not ObjectWeb members
  • 63% came from the private industry sector
  • Quality of content was rated "Excellent" by 67% of the attendees, "Good" by the rest
  • the SOA session was the most appreciated, with 75% "Excellent" and 24% "Good"
Generally speaking, we got good feedback both from attendees and from visitors/sponsors of the ObjectWeb Village. Co-location with Solutions Linux was well appreciated too. I personnally noticed that the session about "ObjectWeb explained" (Wednesday morning) was pretty packed.

During this session, we presented plans for the future of ObjectWeb: "The ObjectWeb consortium is giving itself a makeover this year to make its open-source software more suitable for business use and to help it expand further outside Europe. [...] The changes aim to address what ObjectWeb sees as shortcomings in the way most open-source communities operate. With open-source software becoming mainstream, staff must be appointed to ensure that road maps are adhered to and to deliver software 'of a level of quality that enterprises can rely upon,' the group said. 'In an international and multicultural environment, this requires more than an informal community,' it said."

For those who did not make it to OWCon '06, we gather a photo album available online. All presentations are available online too. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

NESSI Forum - Brussels

Spent the whole day at the NESSI Forum conference in Brussels today.

Quick facts: about 340 attendees, 123 organizations (incl about 35 universities), 18 countries represented.


Opening Session

Mr Jean-Paul Lepeytre (Senior VP, Thales and NESSI Chairman) gave the welcome address. Jean-Paul thanked the European Commission for its support to NESSI. One main challenge for NESSI is to contribute to the change of the European economy toward a service based economy. In this vision, open standards and open source are to play important roles. Making Europe stronger and improving the well being of citizens are key objectives of NESSI. The first NESSI forum aims at presenting and explaining NESSI to the general public, with the second goal to provide concrete information about the way to get involved.

1st Session - service economy

Dr Jan Bosch (VP, Nokia Research center) argues that there's a major change taking place in society: an orientation towards services. Eg: from buying a train ticket online to being physically transported by train; SMS appointment cancellation and rescheduling services... Well, not suprisingly, most of Jan's examples in a way or another relied on mobile phones. Discussed socio economic trends are: faster communicatiuons, better utilization of competences and ressources transition from standalone business models to networked business organizations, transition from products to services and faster feedback cycles. Jan eventually dropped the "Web 2.0" buzzword: computing moving towards the edge of the network; platformization of software technology; software engineering evolves later binding. Ubiquitous wireless infrastructure and mobility are key enablers of societal evolution. Products become attached with invisible on-line services. Need to build and maintain trust in the network. Jan listed key technical challenges for NESSI: user interface, trust, constant change of implementations, scaling for better performance, end-user empowerment, constant change of demand and supply, market creation.

NESSI's motto is: "NESSI is about transforming the EU economy through service oriented business models" -- customer driven approach; look at customers, citizens, end users; vertical prototypes to get the horizontal issues; multidisciplinary approach; partner and learn together with Open Source (Jan sees it as a major enabler and argued that companies need to learn to become part of the open source community rather that just be users of open source); speed up using shorter iteration cycles.

Mr Joao Da Silva (Director European Commission) presented what an "European Technology Platform" is. A key function of ETP is to deliver a "Strategic Research Agenda" to steer the direction of European research for the 10-20 coming years. Beyond research funding is the idea to create a "club" of partners sharing a same vision. Jao sensor came back on the idea that computing is moving to the edge of the network, mentioning networks, RFID. Network complexity is gonna be increased by orders of magnitude. Systems working on the Internet may just not scale up. Reliability, certification may become increasingly important. "The future is bright, the future is NESSI," said Jaoa as a concluding remark. Mr Ulf Dahlsten (Director European Commission) then took the stage. He reemphasized that NESSI is about making the European economy better on innovation. To do this, it is neccasry to have a better link between the European commission and the industry, and it is a motivation for ETPs. A legal definition used by the Commission of an "European company" is having operations / research in Europe (as opposed to legal ownership -- and this is why "Big Blue" is, ironically enough, European after all). He emphasized on the fact that Europe is increasingly a deregulated world. Ulf expressed he wants to see practical results, want to see industry growing, ...

2nd session - SRA

Dr Joachim Schaper (SAP) started his presentation talking of market expectations for SOA. He said customers want to lower risks, increase process flexibility and accept complex world environments. The IT industry will transform, and NESSI will foster this change. 25 years ago, wa had integrated lines of business. The in the late 80s/early 90s, came more flexible lines of business -- it was a best of breed era. What we are looking at, Joachim argues, is more adaptative business networks (not technical networks, but the way businesses interact).

Core concepts of NESSI are explained in a high-level, synthetic "holistic view". The core services are grouped in the "NESSI framework" (mainly IT & software). On top of this framework, the "NESSI landscape" constitues a business level of services. Economic value is to be derived from these services. Engineering on the NESSI framework needs to be performed in a collaborative manner.

Core services includes an infrastructure layer (network, grid, virtualization, SOA, etc), a service integration layer (connectivity, etc) and a semantic layer (modeling business rules). Cross-cutting topics are trust & security, interoperability and management services. NESSI will, Joachim said, build on principles like trust and dependability, open standards, foster open source, comprehensive view, quality and independant implementation.

Q&A Session

Stefano de Panfilis (Engineering) was one of the responsibles for assembling the first version of the SRA. Stefano will give a presentation next week during ObjectWebCon '06, in Paris.

An attendee pointed out a major concern (that had been pointed out by Jean-Bernard Stefani during the first ONESSI workshop) is with the layered model, to create legacy / incumbent environments which are very hard to get rid of.

Question was brought up of the place of academics and SMEs and tangible results they may use. After publication of SRA v1, input from the community will be gathered to create next versions.

JP Lepeytre pointed out that NESSI is the result of unlikely collaboration between 13 players that most often are competitors to one an other. The competition between continents is outdated, Jean-Paul said. What brings the NESSI founders together is the conviction that everyone will benefit from collaborating to making Europe stronger.

Several questions were related to proliferation of standards and the dominence of US based standards bodies over standards. The answer is a greater emphasis on open standards. NESSI may ba a place where participants may discuss about standards before allocating resources to participate in standard organizations.

Last question was from a Microsoft employee, arguing there are 27,000 companies deriving revenue from non open source business models and asking what would be there place in NESSI...


2nd session cont'd

Krishna Nathan (IBM) started the afternoon. IBM's prefered buzzword today seems to be the newly coined concept of "service science". I'm not sure how much of a science it is, but this is not the point here. Krishna presented some of the evolutions that go with the shift from a product oriented economy to a service oriented economy: Invention -> Innovation; Build to forecasted demand -> Detect demand and respond; Product functions -> Value to customer; Information science -> Service science; Single discipline -> Multiple disciplines; Central innovation model -> Innovation with client. "Enterprises are deconstructing into more componentized business functions for improved productivity and flexibility -- this is being accelerated by Web Services and SOA". Krishna advocated for oepn standards enabled interoperability.

3rd session - Getting involved

Reinhold Achatz (Siemens, NESSI Vice Chairman) introduced his speech by mentioning that Siemens definitely is a software company (more developers than Microsoft). NESSI Forum will count 4 communities : ICT Industry, SME, USer, Academic & Research. Working groups are created as needed (current: SRA, Governance, New members, Forum and Communication). New working groups to be created: identify major topics and application areas, collect new ideas, invite community members and assign responsibilities. NESSI would like to establish a member states "mirror group" to coordinate research projects, national project selection, goals and research strategies. A NESSI office will be established soon; the facility has already been found in Brussels. It will be necessary to monitor projects instanciating the SRA: establish project assessment approach, project labelling approach. About standardization: need to define topics of interest, identify and liaise to relevant standardization efforts, identify interested partners and install working groups. The SRA is to be developped in volumes: Volume 1 (available) is about "Framing the future of the SO economy", Volume 2 (expected May 06) about "Strategy to build NESSI". SRA v3 will come in section, the first (7/2006) being the short term road map. The labelling process is to be defined before FP7 Launch. Somewhere in the future there would be a NESSI "reference implementation". Open source community communication is to be started now. Citizen communication would start somewhere betweeb 2006 and 2008.

Dario Avallone (Engineering) explained how to become an active NESSI member. NESSI he said is the translation of Italian "nexus": "cooperation links". It's about achieving a goal that none of the partners could achieve on its own. So why should one be involved? To make NESSI happen (contribute to the transformation of the European economy, to improve the well being of European citizen and society). Academia, research, ICT, users, policy makers, SME, SME associations should get involved. There are 3 levels of membership in NESSI: the NESSI community contribute to "participative awareness"; NESSI members contribute to NESSI (main work force); NESSI Partners (13 founders) take care of coordination. The NESSI Forum will meet at least once a year to discuss, validate and plan NESSI progress in achieving vision and goals. Each community in the forum will have a representative in the Steering Committee. Participation (becoming a member) is subject to completion of a registration process handled by the NESSI office. Online registration will start February 1, 2006 (www.nessi-europe.com). Participation to working groups will be open online starting Feb 15, 2006. In terms of governance, a Steering Committee will be composed of 13 founding plus 3 representatives for each committee (total 25 members). Application to participation in the steering committee will be open between February 15 and March 31, 2006. The Board will count 1 person for each founding partner plus 1 representative for each community (total 17). Online Board application will be open between Feb 15 and Mar 31. Governance has been structured to achieve the right balance between openness and effective coordination.

Jean-Jacques Léandi (French Ministry of Finance and Industry - directorate general to the modernization of the State) explains the challenges facing when it comes to serving a large spectrum of "users" and interconnecting information systems of various administrations. He explained that packaged solutions would not fit the bill, but tailored made systems are neccessary.

Roberto Gagliardi (Metaware, an Italian SME, a spinoff from CNR, the National Research Council) gave the view point of a innovative small European company. He said NESSI is a good opportunity for an SME such as Metaware. NESSI is democratic and has mechanisms to valorize small players. It will encourage trans-national cooperation. He argued that transforming the EU economy through service oriented business models means understanding the dynamicity of local business models. Often times, he explained, technology developpers are backed by a whole supply chain of SMEs and labs specializing in high tech domains. Open standards and open source software enhance the availability of trusted software resources by SMEs. Also, SMEs contribute in extending the acceptance on open source based services.

Pr Ian Sommerville (St Andrews University, Scotland) presented the viewpoint of an academic on NESSI. He said that a large number of funding projects over the last 20 years have addressed what NESSI is about to address. He highlighted that many of these projects never deliver business success. He mentioned Atmosphere (never heard of), a monolithic project, a waste of 100 million Euros he said. What's needed is mechanisms to bridge the gaps between industry and academia, but also between industry and industry. He appealed for the development of well founded theories to address real problems. Beware of bureaucracy and bean counting he said...

Monday, January 09, 2006

JOnAS "Missing Manual" Available!

JOnAS Live, the first "missing manual" on JOnAS is available for purchase at SourceBeat. JOnAS Live is co-authored by Stephane Traumat, a JOnAS enthusiast since the early days. Stephane has in depth expertise on JOnAS and a long track record of public presentations about JOnAS and J2EE development in general.

JOnAS' online documentation is pretty good by open source standards. Yet, JOnAS Live comes as a complement, and also as a tutorial about how to get the best of JOnAS from very simple to advanced applications. The sample chapter is a good "getting started" manual in itself.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Come to ObjectWebCon '06!

This year, the ObjectWeb annual conference is collocated with Solution Linux, one of the main GNU/Linux and Open Source software events in Europe (about 10,000 visitors). An “ObjectWeb Village” gathering conference sponsors will be featured on the main show floor. This co-location is designed to combine a mainstream mass event and a distinctive high-profile conference.


January 31, 2006
  • morning - plenary keynote sessions
  • afternoon - parallel sessions: enterprise grid and enterprise information integration
February 1, 2006
  • morning - parallel sessions: Open Source business models and focus on ObjectWeb
  • afternoon - parallel sessions: service oriented architectures and e-government
February 2, 2006
  • General Assembly of ObjectWeb members
  • morning & afternoon - parallel sessions focused on ObjectWeb projects
  • Jesus Villasanté, European Commission member – “The middleware strategy from a European viewpoint.”
  • Paul Sterne, CEO of Sterne & Co. LLC – “The evolution of Open Source business models”
  • Steve Craggs, Founder and President, Saint Consulting Limited; Vice-Chairman, Integration Consortium – “SOA Ecosystems - The Secret to SOA Success”
The ObjectWeb conference will take place at CNIT, the world-class conference hall of Paris La Défense, on January 31-February 2, 2006.

To help organizers, register as soon as possible!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Open Source Connection... Cont'd

Remember the little "conspiracy theory" I came up with on August 19, 2005? Was about the links between the people behind ServiceMix (a CodeHaus project) and Geronimo (an Apache project). Recent news is that ServiceMix has been proposed as an incubated sub-project of Apache Geronimo: exceprt from Apache's Incubator wiki (as of today):

"Currently ServiceMix is hosted at Codehaus, has a stable codebase and a large and vibrant community.

This proposal moves the existing ServiceMix community to Apache as a sub-project of Geronimo so it can better integrate with the rest of the Geronimo and other Apache communities like Axis and Synapse and to simplify the work of the community with the TCKs."

Sounds like we are in the middle of a concentration phase on the open source ESB "market". Apparently, Apache chose the model of external growth, by attracting mature projects from other communities. For example, it happened when the OSCAR project was "taken over" by Apache. Now, it's ServiceMix's turn.

Are we seeing an emerging pattern in the open source world? A pattern of external growth? Or is it a kind of fascination for the Apache brand? Is it the symptom that we'll see, in the near future, more convergence between CodeHaus and Apache?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ObjectWeb Best Use Cases Awards

ObjectWeb launched the Awards for the Best Use Cases designation to be profiled at the 2006 ObjectWeb Annual Conference.

The OWCon06 Best Use Cases Contest is a challenge that allows any professional to file one or several submissions about real world use cases of ObjectWeb components and platforms. Then the ObjectWeb members will vote fore the best use case on the following categories:

  • Enterprise Java: production use of ObjectWeb enterprise Java components and platforms
  • ISV & Integration: commercial offering or development embedding some ObjectWeb components
  • Jury's Special Prize: any use of ObjectWeb components and platforms
Make sure to let people know of your best use cases of ObjectWeb middleware!

Monday, November 28, 2005

ObjectWeb RFID Workshop, Middleware Conference

There is an ObjectWeb workshop today, at the Middleware 2005 Conference, about FRID. David Li (board member of OW representing individual members) presents a case for an ObjectWeb RFID Initiative.

RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) are small tags able to transmit unique ID through radio. They are expected to replace Bar Codes in the 10 years to come. Mandates from Wal-Mart, DOD, Target, Metro is a driver for adoption of RFID and next wave of IT business. A RFID can be attached to virtually anything, including human beings. Nokia recently introduced the RFID scanner cell phone. An application may be buying goods in vending machines while having their price imputed directly on your phone bill.

A vision of the future of RFID is an "Internet of Things"; tags everywhere, readers everywhere. It would be necessary to leverage the Internet to carry data. Current RFID tags (namely the EPC class of tags) have limited capacity of 96/128 bits to store their (unique) id. Providing a network infrastructure falls into the scope of ObjectWeb.

Exemples of applications include tags on boxes, tags in passports, fight against counterfeit drugs, livestock, pets, kids... Sounds to me that nobody wonders whether this future would be a Brave New World or just... hell.

Gartner's Hype Curve analysis puts RFID Peak of Inflated Expectations in 2004, Trough of Desillusionment in 2006 and Plateau of Productivity in 2018. Market size in 2008 is expected to be around $6.5 billion. The big players are the usual suspects: IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle, BEA and RadioActive & FirstOpen in open source. In the Java space, two JSRs have been proposed by Nokia about the reader interface.

In the architecture, data filter and transport is an important aspect, because unlike bar codes, RFIDs are constantly on and the readers keep reading information. This is somewhat similar to what happens with mobile (cell) phones. Management of RFID infrastructure extends beyond managing the reader. For instance, it would also include management of sensors to detect moting of packs/trucks transporting the goods. The information network is necessary to share information in and between organizations.

EPCGlobal is leading the current specifications. It's mainly a hardware specification, American centric (generation 1 uses 900MHz). It is infested with patents (over 250). EPC Global IS 1.0 was published in Sept 2005. It's a land of proprietary systems (IBM, Sun, SAP, offer full infrastructure). Several countries develop their own specifications: Japan UID, China RFID Group, etc. Software standards are to be developped.

Today, Wal-Mart/DoD top 100 suppliers are shipping boxes and pallets tagged with RFID. RFID is not integrated into production. Data is transported over emails. So far, we're only talking of limited pilot projects. Yet, VCs already invested $1 billion.

Several ObjectWeb projects are available that would make sense in a software infrastructure for RFID: SensorBean, OSCAR: Reader Interface; Sensor Bean: reader management; JORAM, ProActive, XQuare, OCtopus, C-JDBC: Data Filtering, transport; JOnAS, Celtix, Petals: Data Request/Legacy System Support; SNAP, ProActive: RFID Information Network.

Some countries (China to begin with) already work on a counter proposal to EPC Global's ONS. ONS is based on DNS. The problems are: it's centralized administration and control; it's controlled by the US alone; it relies on 40 year old architectures. This is an opportunity for research in Grid data and overlay network.

The goal of a RFID initiative at ObjectWeb would be to reuse existing components, attract new partners, foster OS/Standard organization cooperation and eventually start an ecosystem in this field. EPC ALE/IS is the only emerging standard in the RFID middleware area, with certification/test suite not available till Q206. The ObjectWeb board accepted the proposal for starting a new initiative in October 2005. Initial participants may include: FirstOpen, GMRC, Macnica, ScalAgent, SensorBea, Yangfan Soft. Tangfan is one of the 54 members in the Chinese RFID standard workgroup under Chinese Ministry of Information Industry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Clueless Manifesto

Talked with Cedric a couple of days ago and he mentioned the Cluetrain Manifesto (the book actually). Tonight I browsed it while having dinner alone here in Brussels, in a nice Asian cuisine restaurant named Citizen. And because I read it, I will not recommend reading it to anyone, and won't comment on it either. Those curious to know why may drop me an email.

Commissioner Reding about Internet Governance

The World Summit on the Information Society is opening today in Tunis, Tunisia, and voices in the press comment the opportunity to hold such a summit in a country that has a mixed track record about freedom of speech. It's amazing how in mainstream media the Internet equals freedom of speech, and this is great, and this freedom is every day increasingly threatened, not only by rogue governments but also by laws ellaborated in democratic countries. But this is a long and controversial story, and this post is not intended to be a flame bait.

EU Commissioner Viviane Reding published a paper in the Wall Street Journal today about Internet governance, and more specifically, in favor of privatization on ICANN, the organism in charge of domain name allocation. Mrs Reding expresses that there is "no substantive difference of views" between the EU and the US in favor of a free, stable and democratic Internet. Mrs Reding is not in favor of "fixing what's not broke" nor of calling in the U.N. Her point rather is to advocate in favor of a multilateral cooperation model where governments would directly participate in an a governmental advisory committee, building upon the existing ICANN.