The best way to appreciate this week's LinuxWorld Conference
& Expo (LWE) in New York is to understand what won't be
At first glance, the open source community might appear to be at
a standstill. Yes, there's a new FreeBSD, but that's about it.
There is no new Linux kernel; there's no update for Apache 2.x;
Woody (that is, Debian GNU/Linux version 3.x) is still the talk of
the Debian community; Red Hat isn't expected to announce any major
updates to v8.0 or its Advanced Server; UnitedLinux only came out
with version 1.0 in November.
No... this time 'round, those well-established open source
projects are going to have to step aside for newer initiatives to
take center stage.
"There are a slew of new initiatives that is rounding out the
core technology," said Henry L. Hall, president of Wild Open
Source. "For example, JBoss and its growing acceptance ... I think
JBoss has a lot of potential in that area."
By "rounding out" the long-time exhibitor and attendee of the
LWE show explained he means "no longer are there just components
that you plug into your infrastructure... but rather enough
applications to be able to build entire systems, if and when these
applications become mature."
Indeed, the time has come for business and IT execs alike to get
serious about the nitty-gritty of open source computing. Since last
year's LWE show when Linux made huge strides in general purpose
computing and entered the mainstream psyche in general, vendors
have been busy finding ways to use open source in databases, call
centers, automation as well as business-to-business processes
outside of the corporate firewall.
webMethods is a good example of the ongoing trend. Back in
November, the Fairfax, Va.-based software services company decided
that its integration platform needed to incorporate JBoss, a
J2EE-friendly application server that competes with the likes of
BEA Systems' WebLogic or IBM's Websphere.
Why JBoss? Well... apart from its really attractive price (it's
free, folks) webMethods chose to combine an app server and an
integration platform for the sake of its customers.
"One of the big beefs against webMethods is that it is a
proprietary platform. Over the last year, they've tried to make
their business integration tools more compatible with open
source... I think that only benefits their customers," said Dan
Green, director of the webMethods User Community.
"Customers that have business logic written in Java, therefore,
are able to use the webMethods Platform to integrate more quickly
and for less money. Their existing code won't require
To help LWE attendees better understand the full impact open
source integration can have on any business, Hall and his Wild Open
Source, along with other blue-chip sponsors like HP, Dell, Intel,
Oracle, NEC, and Sybase, have joined forces on a new exhibit called
the "Enterprise Solutions Center."
The 4,000-square foot exhibit (expected to be the largest booth
at the LWE show) will feature Acme Financial Services, a ficticious
company--not owned by Wile E. Coyote or the Road Runner--that
highlights four solutions areas: Internet, Storage, Wireless, and
Desktop. The goal is to demonstrate how open source applications
like JBoss can work in harmony with commercial (a.k.a. proprietary)
applications at any level of the enterprise.
"One of the points about integrating open source with commercial
products, of course, is that there will always be transition costs
and perhaps losses of functionality, which in some cases may
outweigh the benefits of just jumping in to a fully open source
environment. One can imagine not only the transitioning of data
formats but also the training needed for IT staff to learn a new
way of operating the systems. So the idea of having both open
source components and commercial components integrated and working
together is an important message and one that we hope to
demonstrate at the Enterprise Solutions Center."
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