Unify Tour 2007 and Open Source

This week was full with attending the demos and workshops. On Tuesday, I spent half day on the Microsoft Unify Tour 2007. I planned to be there full day but an important business meeting made me change the plan. Fortunately, the sessions should be available recorded on the Web, so I will be able to check them later. The topic was bang-on – considering that we are in final phase of large project, using distributed network of SQL Server 2005 installations with replication and location was same as usual.

The format chosen for the presenation reminded reality show: introductory video and scripted/acted sequences of implementing the Web 2.0 enabled Web site. Two speakers – Christian Beauclair and Damir Bersinic were personifying the archetype of a developer (“.. sure it works. Just give me admin access to the PDC …”) and a system administrator (” .. sure we are aware that the patch XYZ is out since last month. We are evaluating it and eventually will deploy it in 2-3 months timeframe … “) and walked the audience over very real-life like scenario. It turned up to be much better than one would expect – very convincing and often quite funny. I guess neither of them needed to act much – they just became what was their profession and passion before converting to techevangelism :-). For me personally, the IT-Pro part was more informative and the SCM 2007 looks like really nice piece of software worth looking at.

And now for something completely different (as Monty Python’s used to say): the second presentation I have attended this week (today) was on the alchemy business of open source business organized by OCRI. Couple of names caught my eye – e.g. Mike Milinkovich – executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, Dwight Deugo, assistant professor at the Carleton University and also of the Java Report fame. Too bad that the fame ended in 2001, Java report was the best Java and OOP oriented journal available. I have very high admiration for everything Eclipse and both these gentlemen were involved with the local Ottawa company which designed and created the first version of the platform – so I was curious to listen what they have to say.

From other talks – it was interesting to see the Nortel Chief architect talking about open source. Large companies of the Nortel size have always had uneasy relation with open source software and it really depended on the team and local manager how much of the open technologies was allowed in. We were lucky, had great Nortel manager who understood the value and risks. As result, we were allowed to use what was right for the task and did some pretty amazing stuff with Enhydra application server, Freemarker and Jython back in 1999-2000.

Another surprise for me was Ingres. First of all, that it is still around – and according the the presenter, doing fairly well and growing. Secondarily, that Ingres was re-opensourced – started originally as opensource project back in 1980-ies, then was commercialized and closed, lost the lead against Oracle, IBM and Microsoft and found second life in re-opening the codebase. It was probably the only way – but I am not sure whether the world really badly needs another SQL database – with MySQL and Postgresql and few others already established and available, with larger mind-share and momentum …

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