Editor's Note from the Road: Blown Away
Feb 15, 2006, 03:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
How to Help Your Business Become an AI Early Adopter
By Brian Proffitt
Coming in to the Open Source Business Conference, I was
obviously expecting a lot of suits. And I certainly got them. But
what I have been completely blown away by was the sheer amount of
buzz generated at this show.
Have I been subverted by booth babes? Overloaded with giveaway
goodies? No and no. First off, there are hardly any boothes
actually here. The layout of the show floor right away strikes you
as different. There are tables around the edge of the large
convention room, where the vendors reside. But in the center of the
room are tables and chairs where attendees, speakers, and vendors
can just sit.
And boy do they talk. A lot. These people are hearing the news
from the vendors and actually discussing with them what they heck
it means. (They certainly asked questions of SugarCRM when
Microsoft announced their technical partnership.) They listen to
the problems others are having and they volunteer solutions.
Now "buzz" may not be the best term, because it implies form
without substance. And, to be sure, there's some of that here, but
I have been very impressed with the quality of the discussions I
have been hearing here.
I mentioned that last weekend's SCALE conference down in LA was
a perfect opportunity for business folks and end user/developers to
interact, and I still believe that. But this show demonstrates the
power of the think tank, where ideas feed on each other and create
an energy that will carry the open source business community
forward for quite some time.
Here's an example: today I scheduled three formal interviews. I
ended up getting pulled aside by various attendees and vendors and
picked up enough material for nine stories. At least.
Some of the really exciting stuff I have seen and heard
There's XML11, which is a
project out on SourceForge that is working on a way to create AJAX
things in AJAX is really really hard. XML11 proposes letting
developers code Java in the IDE of their choice and then
Now this is still in the prototype phase, but after talking with
the project lead, Arno Puder, I have to say there is some really
strong potential in this project. And they can use some additional
bodies to refine the project. Currently the code translations are
widget-based, so complex AWT apps aren't possible. But if more
coders join in, I don't see why this limitation has to remain.
Another very interesting product was rPath's rBuilder. This is a software
build tool that can be used by independent software vendors to
custom build their application on a custom Linux distro and
distribute it. So SugarCRM or Alfresco will use this to roll a
perfectly configured version of their product and the operating
system underneath it--all on one CD.
Yeah, yeah, this is just a fancy form of certification, right?
No, it actually inverts the application certification model. Red
Hat certifies for apps by trying to get them to build to the lowest
common denominator of Linux. If an app needs a component that Red
Hat doesn't want to offically support, then the app is out of
With rBuilder, the ISV can make a Linux distro that perfectly
fits their needs. On their terms, not the distro company's. In
their words, they are helping to create software appliances for ISV
There's more, and I'll cover it in near future articles. People
here are ready to leverage open source in brand-new ways, and we
are all going to reap the benefits.