Monday, April 28, 2008

Shell scripts as Web services??

OK this is going to seem a bit weird, but yes, there's now a deployer that makes it possible to take a bash script and make it into a Web service. Sumedha Rubasinghe, Mr. Data Services in WSO2, has been having fun making this work in WSO2 WSAS. His blog says that the Windows port isn't still working but its possible (and may be on the way). This is all early code- if you find it useful and interesting, let Sumedha know and help get it right!

Very cool .. goes to show how easy it is to embed and extend Apache Axis2.

Upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04

Over the weekend I upgraded my laptop (Dell D820) to the Ubuntu release that came out a few days ago, Ubuntu 8.04. Rather than doing a dist upgrade or using Synaptic, I decided to reinstall without eating my /opt and /home partitions.

I had some initial trouble with the CD - it seems that burning the image at "auto" speed (which presumably defaults to as fast as it can) doesn't work. The installation gets just over a third of the way through and then it dies with an IO error. It does however suggest trying to burn the CD at a lower speed- so I burnt another CD (on another machine; mine was no longer booting as part of /boot and / were gone) at 4x and it worked like a charm.

Most of the stuff works out of the box - the microphone which didn't work with the older version (I stayed at last April's Fiesty Fawn release and didn't upgrade in October) is working now. However, sound controls, which worked with the LiveCD boot are not working with the installation. So there are some issues yet, but boy, I have to say this OS is getting more and more slick.

I think I could give this to my parents now and they'd be ok using it and even installing it without help. Some stuff is still not quite there (I haven't tried yet but I'm not expecting video conf stuff to work well yet for example), Thunderbird doesn't deal with Exchange invites properly yet etc. etc., but things are getting better for sure.

Update (April 28th): I tested the new version of Skype and audio and video worked without a hitch as well! Awesome .. I stand corrected :).

When I put the Ubuntu CD on a Windows Vista box at home it gave an option to install within Windows .. and basically instead of Grub it uses the Windows boot loader and installed Ubuntu in a directory in Windows without having to partition the machine. That is seriously cool.

Now Edubuntu (the Ubuntu distro which is targeted to the k-12 education community) comes as an add-on for Ubuntu. We haven't got that working on the Vista set up yet but hopefully later today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

MuleSource giving up on open source?

In April MuleSource announced that they were splitting the Mule ESB into a community edition and an enterprise edition.

Apparently the enterprise edition also has features that are available only in that version, plus the only version customers can buy support for is the enterprise edition. It also appears that the license requires you to uninstall the enterprise edition if you ever stop paying for it .. and rumor has it that the software will actually stop working if you don't continue to pay for it. Wow. WOW.

I guess what this is saying is that MuleSource is having trouble monetizing the more than million downloads they claim.

However, I'm surprised, no, shocked. Larry Augustin (who happens to be an advisor to MuleSource and also WSO2) gave a very interesting talk at the last OSBC about how to make it less difficult for customers to pay. One of his main points was about avoiding a rip-n-replace approach when getting customers to pay.

Today if you want to try Mule then you go and download their free community edition. But then if you want to buy support for it, then you have to get new bits and switch over! And of course if you ever decide to stop paying, then you have to drop back to the community edition, which has some missing features. Vendor lock-in for sure.

This is the opposite of "make it easy to pay" that Larry was advocating at OSBC.

Forcing people to pay by legal means is the hallmark of proprietary software. Open source vendors need to find a way to deliver sufficient value to customers to make them want to pay .. apparently MuleSource has failed at that and is going back to the license to force people to pay. In other words, giving up on open source.

Summary: If you want a really open source ESB then don't look at Mule any more! Ah yes, we've got one .. and BTW its the fastest around :-).

(Oh yeah, we ran into Mule's non-open source nature head-on when doing the performance analysis .. it turns out that the enterprise edition license does not allow us to publish performance numbers against it! We're familiar with that with BEA AquaLogic etc., but never expected that from Mule. Oh BTW that's a field of use restriction, which violates the Open Source Definition (item #6) .. so really, Mule is effectively no longer available under an OSI approved license and hence not at all open source.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Daniel Brum blogging

If you want to learn about the challenges of doing technical sales in a true open source company (and about other stuff that interests Daniel) subscribe to Daniel's blog:

WSO2 as a company aims to not only deliver superb software, but also innovate in how we offer support, how we respond to support requests, how we deal with leads and customers, how we do internal processes and more. Part of that is going to be that people doing this stuff will blog about their experiences and challenges. So if you want to hear more about the trenches of an open source company better keep an eye on these blogs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Paul becomes CTO of WSO2

Paul Fremantle, co-founder of WSO2, recently took over as our Chief Technical Officer, CTO. That's a role that he and I jointly played (virtually) since inception - but now with Daniel joining us for technical sales and with us beefing up our business team (more on that soon), Paul will make CTO his full-time role.

Paul's a great technical visionary and I'm thrilled to have him be our technical spokesperson as well as provide the guidance to the entire company on technology strategy and direction. I've worked with Paul now for nearly 10 years (since 1998 when he started writing an IBM Redbook about XML and XSLT and I had worked on integrating XSLT to JSP pages via BSF) and I have complete trust in his vision and judgement!

If you're not subscribed to Paul's blog then its a good time to start as he'll be doing a lot more blogging soon!

Daniel Brum (ex-MuleSource) joins WSO2

Its my pleasure to announce that Daniel Brum, most recently of MuleSource and of JBoss ESB team prior to that, has joined us as Director of Technical Sales.

Daniel brings a ton of really relevant experience (needless to say :-)) and will be helping us hone our technical sales messaging and help close customers. We're of course much bigger than an ESB company and Daniel will be helping with technical sales of our entire product platform.

We're thrilled to have him on board!