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Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Sat, 12 Jul 2003
OSCON: Robert Lefkowitz "The Missing Open Source Projects"
Lefkowitz, AKA r0ml, talked about missing enterprise scale open source apps. Enterprise apps are aimed at > 10k people and computers over a period > 10 years. Here's his list:
  • DistributedCron - you need to run 80k jobs on 10k computers, some jobs depend on other jobs, and you must notify the responsible party if their job doesn't run. Commercial versions typically mess up because they can't preserve the job stat across version upgrades. "You cannot lose telemetry while the aircraft is in flight". He noted that enterprises spend more dollars on operations then on development - this is really an operations problem, not a code problem.
  • Asset Management - This is basically a license manager. An effective open source asset manager whould help highlight how much money is our could be saved by using open source. Many firms are unable to track their asset usage. This drives them to sign enterprise wide deals for licenses, which create long term lock in for the vendor.
  • Single Sign-On - What he means here is a single sign in Linux distribution. You should sign in once, and then you are signed in for anything else in the system that needs a password. This is a combination of Kerberos, PAM, OpenSSL, LDAP, and modifications to every password using piece of code in the distribution.
  • Messaging - MQ Series, Tibco replacement.
  • Change Management - Challenge: what would it take to rev Debian stable on a weekly basis? If the systems manager needs to undo a particular update, the affected systems must automatically be upgraded. Keep the rpmdb equivalent off host. Challenge: how can I tie a CVS check in to a bug report (and the reverse). This is also about a methodology for change management. What is the open source equivalent of the SEI CMM?
  • Relationship Management - Open Source CRM. This is about keeping track of your collaborators. We shouldn't just throw software over the (fire)wall to people, we should demand a relationship with them. How can we find out what features they are using ,etc? Questions we ought to be able to answer: What % of bug reports come from employees of financial services firms? Which industries have the highest patch submission to running copies ratio? This is not just the software, it's also the marketing department to go with it.
  • Source Terminator - "Source code is like toxic waste - the less you have the better". We should aspire to create a definitive literature for particular problem domains. This doesn't mean a single solution for each domain, it means a set of definitive solutions and approaches. Once we have this we can start deleting code and merging it. Parrot is an example of this approach.
I went to both of r0ml's talks and found both to be thought provoking and entertaining.
[00:55] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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