Sunday, May 31, 2009

SOA summer school!

We just announced out recession-busting SOA summer school! Huh?

This is the idea: many architects & engineers are out of work right now all over the world. What can we do to help? Well, unfortunately we can't offer them jobs right now, but what we can do is help them get better versed in SOA technology ... and hopefully that'll help them get a better job as the job market starts opening up again or allow them to get some consulting work etc. during these tough times.

So we've come up with a program of 8 online training courses that you can sign up for free. These courses are designed to give you a good overall understanding of all aspects of SOA:
These will be taught by the best and brightest in each of these areas in WSO2. These are people with a ton of experience in the respective areas and who know the technology inside out. If they can't help you get an understanding of these topics then no one can.

The overall content is generic - that is, not about WSO2 software. However, when we need to use a tool to show how things can be done in practice, we use our software. Of course we hope that the architects and engineers who take these courses will end up using our stuff, but we know there are other bits around that can do the job too. If these courses will help people get (better) jobs because they're know how to build service-oriented systems then we've achieved our objective.

Interested? Sign up here. The first course is on June 18th.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Talk on SOA & open source at Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

Last week I was invited to give a talk at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium's first Technical Summit, which was hosted by the Sri Lanka Navy. My talk was about the role of SOA and open source in building large scale net centric systems for defence purposes. My real objective was to try to encourage both local military as well as regional militaries to set up their own open source activity (similar to what the US govt has done with as well as to share and collaborate at least within the Indian Ocean region.
The IONS is a great idea .. all 32 (?) countries which touch the Indian ocean have a lot of common naval issues to deal with. Its wonderful to see India take leadership in setting this up and to see the kind of warm collaboration that appears to be forming. The coolest system was Singapore Navy's Information Fusion Centre (which started very recently) - a full service oriented system that allows regional cooperation and mashing up of all kinds of information sources to give them a complete operational picture.

There were 30+ attendees from 18 countries. Interesting thing to see is whether we can muster up some concrete next steps!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The war continues .. in UK!

Ah, this is so great :). The UK government, which tried its best to get us to give a reprieve to LTTE, is now its getting its hand bitten by trying to help these crazies: Police hurt as UK Tamil protests turn violent.

Look at that image .. its the BANNED LTTE flag being waved in front of the UK parliament. Yes, banned in UK.

How long do you think the British government allow an Al Qaeda protest to go on like that?? The double standard is incredible.

LTTE fans, its OVER. If you still believe what the person said in the article above:
The Tamil Tigers are our sole representative. It is not going to be over til we get our own nation that is called Tamil Ealam.
Lady, better start looking for a new representative! Please do continue the fight ... in UK, Canada, Australia and more.

We in Sri Lanka just want to live in peace and become the country we know we can be.

Whitley award for elephant conservation!

It gives me great pleasure and pride to blog about my cousin Dr. Prithiviraj (Pruthu) Fernando receiving a Whitley Award for his work!

Above: Pruthu receiving the award from Britain's Pricess Anne.

Pruthu's an amazing guy .. he's a medical doctor who's first love was always animals. I remember growing up he used to have snakes and all kinds of whacky animals as pets (much to his mother's chagrin). So after he finished his medical degree he went to the US and did a Ph.D. (in Univ. of Oregon) in animal genetics (something about scooping up elephant poop and figuring out what they had for lunch and what their favorite game was etc.). After his Ph.D. he spent a few years in Columbia as a postdoc and then came back and set up the Center for Conservation and Research. He along with his lovely wife Jenny (who's also a scientist in the center) are now the world's leading researchers in larger animal issues.

Pruthu received the award for his pioneering work on the human-elephant conflict - basically finding better ways for allowing us to co-exist. As he comments in the article, he credits the Sri Lankan people for letting the elephants survive for so long in such a small area, but at the same time we have a long way to go in finding viable ways forward for a sustainable relationship with the big guys. I've listened to him tons of times (often in between badminton games when he's killing me) go on passionately about why the common strategy of putting an electric fence simply doesn't work .. and his research done by tracking elephants by satellite transmitting collars prove that it doesn't. The work he does is incredibly cool and human .. not exactly like writing middleware :).

These awards are the crème de la crème of awards in the wildlife space. Congratulations Pruthu on being recognized so globally for your hard work!

Monday, May 18, 2009

How the West was sidelined (for the moment)

This is a GREAT article by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, on the Ministry of Defence Web site. I also had the pleasure of listening to him being interviewed by the BBC yesterday and it was hilarious how he told the BBC about UK's incompetent, illegal and annoying meddling in our sovereign affairs.

While the entire writeup is worth reading, here's a small clip (emphasis mine):

But at the same time there are also lessons the West should learn. The anger at obvious double standards was palpable amongst all our friends. Obviously we do not expect even the most idealistic country to abandon its own interests. But in sticking to them ruthlessly, the use of sanctimonious pronouncements to reach other ends is abhorrent. It is especially important that the Obama administration, which came in with such high hopes, should not be seen as just another cynical mixture as before.

Secondly, the West should not take the rest of the world for granted. Its failure to consult at all was surprising, its failure to consult neighbours who obviously have a stake in a stable neighbourhood was astonishing. The impression could have arisen that stability in our areas is not to the interest of the West, which would prefer a plethora of weak states, to allow it to maintain more easily its current hegemony, political as well as economic.

And thirdly, the West should think about the message it is sending, in seeming to want the Tigers to survive in some form or another, particularly in the light of its past blunders. After all the horrors we are witnessing now, which are attributed largely to the West, spring from its own encouragement of Taliban terrorism during the Cold War. Whatever its purposes then, there is no doubt they could have been achieved without worrying consequences had there been at least a modicum of adherence to basic principles.

Oh BTW Mr. Miliband, please do inform us when you decide to run for re-election. We will be organizing a fund raising campaign for your election .. for WHOEVER is running against you. You need to go down in history as the incompetent bureaucrat you are .. and go home soon before you can destroy the world more. Please enjoy your extravagant expense reimbursements while you can.

Independence ... again!

I was not born when Sri Lanka got independence from Great Britain in 1948, but I can now begin to imagine how people felt that day.

Today is again our independence day, version 2.0.

Its been just over 60 years since we got independence from Britain. The war with LTTE and other militant extremist groups has been going on for nearly 30 years. Today marks the end of that phase of our history - LTTE is now a done deal. Good bye. Sayanora. Ta ta.

(Well, actually, there's one senior member of the LTTE leadership who's still around. That's "KP" .. the Interpol-wanted chief weapons procurement guy for LTTE. He's now tagged their chief "international negotiator" and was in fact the guy who responded to Pres. Obama's offer to help them out. Too little too late KP. However, we probably need to execute a Mossad-style operation on KP wherever he is to make sure that he doesn't succeed in regrouping the spent force of pussy cats.)

The atmosphere in Colombo and Sri Lanka today is incredible. There are national flags everywhere and there's a genuine feeling of relief and rejoice. There are spontaneous street parties and "dan salas" happening and of course the omnipresent sound of fire crackers. Its gonna be a LOT louder tomorrow morning!

Our President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse is due to address the nation tomorrow (May 19th) at 09:30 from parliament. He's expected to announce that we have won the war and that LTTE is now finished. What he and his government has pulled off, in the face of STIFF resistence from so many of our "anti-terrorist" / western "friends" has been nothing short of incredible. Hats off to you Sir!

What our military has achieved is nothing short of incredible too. Again despite stiff, organized resitance in many quarters of the world, our military strategists (lead by the tri-forces commanders and Defence Secretary Lt. Col. Gotabaya Rajapakse (Rtd.)) and every one of those young men and women who sacrificed life and limb, have done what the "great" armies of the world have failed at doing. We've done what even the mighty Indian military could not do.

We have defeated terrorism in Sri Lanka. LTTE, which held nearly 1/3rd of the country under its control just 3 years ago, is now kaput.

Now comes the more difficult challenge - of winning the peace. We must of course start by taking total care of all of our fellow country men, women and children who will spend tonite (and many more nites) at a relief camp. They need our help to recover their severly battered lives and to establish some semblence of trust between our people so that the curse of the LTTE will never live again. Yes we do need financial and other material assistance to run these camps and to re-settle these people, but all you foreign "aid organizations" please stay the hell out. We don't need your agendas nor your fake "expertise." We took care of a million-plus people in the days after the 2004 tsunami and we can easily take damned good care of the 250,000+ people stuck in camps today. We're not a rich country - if you want to help we welcome it. However, don't offer it with conditions; keep it instead.

Taking care of people in IDP camps is just the small beginning. We have ways to go to solve the underlying problems and create a trusting sociaty.

President Rajapakse is the first leader we've had who speaks in all 3 languages. I hope tomorrow he will talk about the need to fix our differences and go on. The world is a small, highly competitive place. There is no time nor space for internal squabbling any more! We need to unite and act as one nation in order to compete most effectively and win.

Congratulations, Sri Lanka and all her people. Today we stand proud as a victorious nation. Victorious internally against a violent virus and externally against a nasty bacteria. Onward ho!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pres. Obama too tells us to stop

Thanks, Mr. Obama.

Oh and Ms. Clinton has put the brakes on Sri Lanka getting a $1.9B emergency bailout from IMF because we won't give into terrorism.

That's ok sir and madam, we'll figure our way out of this .. and you know, we'll be the better for it. I'm all for us suffering and managing on our own rather than giving into international terrorism (I was going to say pressure but this is terrorism) and giving up our freedom to them.

Let me post an excerpt from the editorial in today's Daily Island. This is highly reflective of the mood in the country about the US and UK in particular at the moment:

Isn't the US unwittingly encouraging its enemies like Al Qaeda to shift from destroying economic and military targets to hostage taking to have the US aggression stopped in Afghanistan?

No sooner had President Obama issued his statement than the LTTE welcomed it. But, true to form, it chose to remain silent on the US call for disarming and releasing civilians. Instead, it demanded an immediate UN intervention in Sri Lanka so that its leaders could escape death.

Now, what would President Obama do? The LTTE has not given a damn about his strident call! How would he deal with the outfit banned as a foreign terrorist organisation in the US? The US government has not spelt out action it intends to take against the LTTE for non compliance.

If the US could force the LTTE to disarm and let go of civilians in keeping with President Obama's wish, the humanitarian crisis will be over in no time.

How does the US propose to make the LTTE fall in line?

The Obama administration has already taken punitive action against the Sri Lankan government for defiance: It is blocking an IMF loan facility to this country for the 'crime' of not agreeing to a humanitarian truce with a terrorist group. That is the US is meting out collective punishment to a democratic sovereign state for battling terrorism, while allowing a ruthless terrorist outfit to go scot free in spite of its non compliance as well as barbaric crimes.

Is this how the US is promoting democracy in the world?

Please do read the entire editorial; its quite illuminating of how much damage has been done by the behavior of certain countries with regards how they ask us to give in to terror while they go off gallivanting into other countries killing thousands of innocent people. War crimes against Sri Lanka?? Anyone heard of George W. Bush?!

The civilians caught up in this mess are my fellow brethren Sri Lankans. Unfortunately, they've not been caught up in this only for the last few months when the world has paid attention (because LTTE has forced attention to save it from death), but rather for 30 years! We've tried to make peace with LTTE at least 3 times and each time it has resulted in Eelam War Next starting up. Finally we've been pushed to a situation where the only way to get past suicide bombs, bus bombs, airplane bombs, extortion and more is to totally destroy the LTTE. That's what my country is doing now.

Of course that's not coming at no cost. Hundreds (and maybe thousands) of civilians have probably lost their lives, many more thousands have got injured and nearly an entire generation has been tainted by the horrors of war. That's not only amongst Tamil people - Sinhalese, Muslims and every other race in Sri Lanka too has suffered! And then there's the military - most of the young men and women who die and are getting maimed for life from landmines and more are poor people who're fighting to keep our country safe. They're dying to save the currently affected civilians and to prevent future generations from being under the tyranny of a madman.

Is this the end of the problems in Sri Lanka? Of course NOT. This is simply the beginning of a historic opportunity for ALL Sri Lankans to come together and once and for all find a 21st century style, humane solution to a fight we've been meaninglessly continuing between two closely related races for 2000+ years. Enough is enough.

Sinhalese and Tamil people are both of Indian origin. We may have come from different racial origins and may speak languages that have different roots. However, we've been living together in a tiny sliver of land for 2000+ years!

This is the 21st century. The world is not local any more. The world is flat. The battle is global. There is no time to waste fighting with each other and not give simple respect and rights to everyone. In the last several hundred years the fight was continued on partly because it was helpful and supportive for foreigners who dominated us to have us biting each other's toes. After independence we went a step further and let petty short term political advantage continue the fight.

Today the world is a trivially small place. We don't have time to be bickering internally. If we don't get our act together and unite and start establishing our place in the evolving world, we'll be left FAR behind while others continue to exploit our weaknesses and get ahead. In the end ALL of our poor people will suffer- Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and more.

I hope everyone who's been vehmently arguing to destroy the LTTE will continue to vehmently argue to find a rational, reasonable, decentralization of power in Sri Lanka to enable not only Tamil people in the north and east to develop themselves, but also for the Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils in other parts of the country to develop too. We need to get together and become a stronger force in the world; internal bickering is simply playing into the hands of those that want us to keep doing that so they can make money selling us deadly weapons and more.

After that let's get together with the rest of the world oppressed by the IMF thugs and create a new truly democratic global structure. They destroyed Asia in the '97 Asian crisis (read Globalization and its Discontents by Josef Stiglitz) and when its the western system that's melting down they're doing what Asia was prevented from doing: bailing out everything from public companies to private companies to banks. Now when we're affected by that mess our soverignity must be surrendered to get help. Enough of that thuggery.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sex, the weapon against terrorism too??

I saw this story on CNN just now: Sex-starved Kenyan sues over boycott. I wonder whether this could work against Prabhakaran too??

Oh wait, his wife already lives in the UK, where his daughter is too. His son, who studied aeronautical engineering in UK, is the head of Air Tigers, the now wiped-out LTTE air force, is in Sri Lanka fighting with dad. Want to get a peak into Prabhakaran's life? Check out these photos that the military recently picked up from his albums.

On one side he's got a cushy life for his family, including studying in England and gala 21st parties (which apparently was the case for hs daughter ... probably entertained by MIA).

On the other side, he recruits child soldiers and fires off suicide killers. Nice guy.

I guess the Kenyan strategy won't work against Prabha .. he's already starving. Prolly explains his maniacal behavior?

Sri Lanka: Is this the 'endgame' for the conflict with Tamil Tigers?

This is a good article in the Christian Science Monitor about the war in Sri Lanka.

This is an amazing newspaper (its not about Chrisitian Science despite the name) - I first started reading it in 1985/86 when I was a freshman at Kent State University. That was before the Web, before proper email even really. CSM was pretty much the only paper that would have a reasonably in-depth article about Sri Lanka and about what was going on in the world, instead of the drive-by type articles found in most newspapers and now of course Web sites. I even subscribed to the print edition for a while when I was a grad student at Purdue.

Despite the ability to write arbitrary length articles on the Web, sadly most Web news articles have followed their newspaper and TV brethren and have very shallow content.

Helping a terrorist

MIA, a British-born rapper who's parents are from Sri Lanka and who's father is a terrorist in Sri Lanka, asking Oprah to "help save the Tamils".

OK so I understand a daughter's love for her father. However, as her own Wikipedia article says (link above), her father started EROS, one of the groups that has now become part of the LTTE. Here's a small except from the Wikipedia article on EROS:
In 1976, the EROS established links with the Abu Jihad of the Palestine Liberation Organization and began planning the setting up of camps to train Sri Lankan Tamils in military and guerrilla warfare. EROS even opened up their training camp for the LTTE where Prabhakaran had his initial training. The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), EPRLF and PLOTE sent their own men to the PLO's camps for training under the request of EROS, and EROS also organised for men of other groups to be sent. A number of Tamils, including many who would later form the core of the other Tamil militant groups, started their militant careers in these camps.
So MIA's dad is a "founding member" of EROS, the organization that gave birth to Prabakharan, the leader of LTTE. You want the world to save your dad and his band of criminals?? You want the British and US governments to save them? (See her comment about being within a paper airplane of Michelle Obama:
Michelle Obama gave a speech and there was mad secret service in the air so I didn't get to throw a paper plane at her saying 'stop the bombing of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.'
The LTTE is a banned organization in the UK, US, all of EU and 30+ other countries. Her father is a terrorist. Not only in Sri Lanka but in a large part of the world.

She claims the Sri Lanka is bombing Tamil people. What's really going on is that LTTE is holding a group of innocent people as mobile hostages and getting away with it. Read this article in today's Sunday Leader by Indi, who's an independent journalist in Sri Lanka and Sunday Leader (who's editor was killed a few months back) is a fiercely independent paper usually highly critical of the government, to get better sense of the likely reality.

Sri Lanka is being harassed by the "international community" for trying to save these people. Why? Because of a brilliantly executed PR campaign by LTTE supporters, like MIA, globally. Sorry MIA, your dad is a terrorist. Many people, including myself, strongly support greater autonomy for Tamil people in Sri Lanka (and in fact not just for Tamil people, but for every province outside of the western province), but the LTTE style of killing everyone who's not in agreement is not the way to get it done.

As Indi's article points out, LTTE has mastered yet another form of terrorism: mobile hostage groups, in their thousands. Its only a matter of time before Taliban and others learn the PR power of this type of tactic and do the same. Maybe then the British and US governments will learn the realities of fighting terrorism.

I wonder how the US would react if they had Osama bin Laden cornered and he took a huge number of people hostage and held them and killed anyone who tried to get away. Would the US succumb to "global pressure" and let him get away? Of course not - even this past week their errant US bombs killed maybe 100 civillians and nothing has changed - the fight goes on. In fact, Pakistan was chastised for talking and settling with maniacs! However, the west is attempting to order us to exactly that .. I guess because the LTTE doesn't threaten the west the situation is different eh? Sorry guys, we've been pushed into some unholy alliances that now don't give you the right to do whatever you want with us.

Last week the British and French foreign ministers were here to tell us to stop the war. Apparently in the meeting with our Secretary of Defence, the British FM (Millibrand) got into a HUGE argument and was basically told to get out. Such behavior is simply never done in the diplomatic world, especially by the head diplomat of a country. Apparently Mr. Millibrand acted as if we're still a British colony and he can march in and tell us what to do. Dude, that ended in 1948 .. probably before you were born? We don't play along to your whims and fancies any more.

This week those two are going to be briefing the UN Security Council on their visit. Oh great; we can expect another lecture in a few days. Luckily we have some friends in the security council who won't let us get totally raped. Funny how that veto thing works, eh?

International politics is guided by enlightened self interest. We (and many poor countries) have for a long time operated as if others countries really meant well and they wanted to help us. That is simply naive and we're now learning how to play the game of international politics. About time.

I recently blogged about how maybe we also need to start a "weapons of mass destruction" program so we get international respect. One commentor (apparently someone who knows me), wrote saying I have threatened the US and is now on the DHS terror watch list:
So you don't get support from the USA and the West so you threaten us? Good luck getting back into the USA on your next business trip. I'm sure DHS has picked up your story by now and you've likely made it onto a terror watch list with your threatening comments. A green card does not afford you any rights to re-enter as you please. You may want to remember that before you go spewing off hate comments towards the country that educated you and provided you the lifestyle which you now enjoy.
So fighting to get respect for your own country is threatening the US? That mindset is exactly what is wrong with America today: the thinking that for America to be on top it must prevent others from getting up there. I spent 16 years in the US and learnt a lot of my thinking there ... but America today is not consistent with the human rights and "do no evil" principles on which it was formed. The US government policies and actions are not consistent with the way most Americans think about their role in the world. I will write a long blog about it one of these days ..

Oh and BTW, I no longer have even a green card - I gave that up (voluntarily) nearly 3 years ago and now am on a B-1 visitor visa when I go to the US .. even easier to kick me out. (Of course the real risk to me is of being called an enemy combatant and simply being made to disappear.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why is OSGi important?

This is a great blog on why OSGi is important: it represents the next step in the evolution of modularity: assembly language -> subroutines -> classes -> modules. Note that I skipped packages as (at least in the Java world) they are not a runtime concept.

Monday, May 4, 2009

SpringSource += Hyperic

So its now official - SpringSource has acquired (assets of?) Hyperic.

I can easily see the merits of this from SpringSource's point of view: They have a great brand, great reach into the enterprise but yet nothing much that people would really pay money for. Spring Framework is great but that's a library - and people don't pay scalable subscription dollars for a library. They've introduced dmServer but that's kinda pointless .. its a server to run your stuff and the server itself is pretty bare. No dollars there. Ah, tcServer you say? Yes, people do pay for Tomcat - but that's basically Covalent's business they bought there .. not a whole lot of dollars really. Good business (and great people) for sure but not a hugely scalable business. Not a growth business.

Hyperic gives them a footprint that people need to pay for - software updates. Plus Hyperic is positioned as a delivery channel for many other companies (example MuleSource), which gives them further "foundational" footprint.

We WSO2 will not touch them for a variety of reasons .. our true open source nature (everything under Apache license, no "enterprise verison" gimmicks) being the main one; their model works best when there's a toy community edition and a real (non-open source) enterprise edition that customers need to use and get caught into. None of that in WSO2.

So I can totally see this from a SpringSource point of view.

From Hyperic's point of view? I don't get it. Seemingly, Hyperic was doing well. In that case, selling your company to another startup is not the kind of exit that founders and VCs want. On the other hand, Hyperic has been around for a long time - Javier (and others?) were part of the original Covalent (which was writing management tools for Apache HTTPD) bought the "other half" of the original VC-funded Covalent (for $1 IIRC) to form Hyperic. They since took in VC funds in the new company and was seemingly doing really well. So hopefully Javier and team get to go home with a good chunk of change :-) .. and given the investor pockets in SpringSource that would not surprise me at all. In that case, I totally get it.

The other interesting part of this acquisition is that it brings together all the parts of the "old" Covalent back together under the SpringSource umbrella :). Funny how the world turns, eh?!

Good luck to SpringSource and the newly expanded family. Hope you guys become more of a worthy opponent ;-).

I imagine my friends at MuleSource are hoping/thinking/expecting they're next? I see they're hard at work OSGifying themselves ... get it done fast guys!