Monthly Archives: November 2006

Atlassian: A company I hold in high esteem

Atlassian, makers of Jira and Confluence, is an exceptional company in my opinion.

  • They make a solid product that gives users the “I kick ass” feeling. 
  • They understand the benefit of making it easy to BUY software, instead of SELLING software to people.  You can eval their product and purchase it on your CC and expense it.  No stiff suits and long high touch sales cycles.
  • They’re open.  They have open APIs, plugins, modules, web services, work with about any app server/db, have transparent discussions about product/features/bugs in public.
  • They’re “open source — eee” without an open source license.  They are all the great things about community, openness, flexibility, and choice; they are NOT themselves open source but contribute symbiotically with code and free licenses
  • They’re HONEST about their open source stance: We contribute to core projects, give our product for free, but we are NOT open source ourselves.  It’s really quite simple, Open Source (capital O, capital S) means that the software has an OSI approved license. If it doesn’t, don’t use the term.”
  • Young, smart, energetic, smart, focused, did I mention smart?

I’d been waiting to publicly describe my regards for this company but this just put me over the edge:

any Atlassian employee can spend up to 6 paid work days a year working for non-profits or charities of their choice.

Not dogging the 20% Google employees get for any project, but WOW.  What a committment to values beyond the bits.  Really shows me that the “community” that Jira believes in is more than just lip service for software sales.  They believe it.

Kudos.  I look forward to suggesting to everyone I know to purchase your product.

Email to OSI license-discuss re: Generic Attribution Provision

From me, to Ross and license-discuss:

Socialtext which wishes to find a resolution for the attribution issue
through the proposal of a Generic Attribution Provision. A copy of
the following message is available in HTML format here:

I look forward to the conversation,

Ross, as I commented on a ZDNet thread, you’ve earned my respect (not that it matters) by bringing your license to OSI and having a real discussion about UI attribution.  I’m one of the critics of UI attribution licenses, but I’m glad someone brought it to place where forced UI attribution can be vetted to OSD in a reasonable manner.  I do hope you receive the criticism of this provision in that light.

needs than Linux. These application products could be "lost" in the
larger distributions. The obligations imposed by the attribution

I’m uncertain why copyleft licenses don’t meet the needs for “avoiding larger distrib hiding” without compensation.  Where does a license like the GPL not suit your needs?  If people are hiding it in their distributions will GPL (even with FOSS exception) not meet your needs?

provision are very similar to the reproduction of legal notices which
are found in virtually all open source licenses.

Attribution in documentation, source, and a splash screen at startup (to date approvals) are not “very similar” to a required use of a trademark that is not owned by the person fulfilling their obligations.  Redhat has sent letters to downstream vendors clearing stating their rights to not have their trademarks used.  They are quite different (more below).

However, we understand that attribution may cause problems for OSI,
particularly since different companies may have different attribution
notices and may use different "base" licenses (all recent attribution
agreements are based on the MPL).. Socialtext would like to suggest
that OSI consider an "attribution" provision which can be used for any
"modifiable" license.

I think if an attribution provision, limited to be reasonable and in line with previous approvals (docs, splash page, etc) would not be detrimental to the open source effect.  I think having it as a general provision would be beneficial in license proliferation and remove objections from these companies just writing their own licenses willy nilly.

Generic Attribution Provision

Redistributions of the [original code] in binary form or source code
form, must ensure that each time the resulting executable program, a
display of the same size as found in the [original code] released by
the original licensor (e.g., splash screen or banner text) of the
original licensor's attribution information, which includes:

(a) Company Name
(b) Logo (if any) and
(c) URLs

IMHO this allows exactly the problem with the current Mozilla Exhibit B going around.  This provision allows a “blank check” because HOW the original code attributes determines how prominent or  onerous it is.  I’m not a player in this (ie, OSI board) but I’ve suggested alternative language below that would limit to more common and appropriate attribution locations.  This is similar to what MOST people do currently (in Documentation, About Page if present, etc).  Common places to acknowledge the work that contribute to the whole application.  Remember the open source effect is TRYING to make multiple open source projects open for reuse in subsequent applications NOT limit those uses.


1. Consistent with OSD. Attribution is merely a form of notice which
is consistent with Section 4, the Integrity of the Author's Source
Code, of the Open Source Definition. Virtually every OSI approved
license requires the inclusion of copyright and other legal notices
(and frequently more elaborate information, see below). The
attribution requirement is similar to this notice requirement.

They’re similar in that they are both attribution, but they are quite dissimilar in their burden.  Let’s be clear: there is a BIG difference between a note in a splash screen, document and a badge (amount many) on EACH UI screen. 

Consider other attribution circumstances: The artist that samples (perhaps even with payment) a Beatles song attributes the original copyright and work in a page inside the CD.  Or the inside CD cover, or … The attribution clause proposed this would require the new artist to place Powered by the Beatles(tm) on EVERY customer facing “screen” such as concert posters, CD covers, websites, etc.

Rationale: Encouraging lots of improvement is a good thing, but users
have a right to know who is responsible for the software they are
using. Authors and maintainers have reciprocal right to know what

Let’s say we’re in perfect agreement that no one should try and hide the source of the source, but should users be required to know the hundred or so names of developers that contributed to the Apache web server when they go to a website?  Should someone claim they wrote it?  No.  Should someone remove license copyright notices?  No.

they're being asked to support and protect their reputations.
Accordingly, an open-source license must guarantee that source be
readily available, but may require that it be distributed as pristine
base sources plus patches. In this way, "unofficial" changes can be
made available but readily distinguished from the base source.

I don’t think the source is an issue, is it?  I’m not sure anyone is saying that there should be no attribution in source files.

	2.	Already Approved.  OSI has approved several licenses which include
attribution, Attribution Assurance License, Open Source License and
the Adaptive Public License, as consistent with the Open Source

I wasn’t around for the rationale but I’m guessing they were limited enough i
n scope, as to not limit rights but rather provide modest attribution in appropriate “give credit where credit is due” places.  I don’t think they intended approving attribution to dictate a visual logo (advertisement) on EVERY UI screen.  Perhaps others can revisit this for the benefit of everyone?

2.  Redistributions of the Code in binary form must be accompanied by
this GPG-signed text in any documentation and, each time the resulting
executable program or a program dependent thereon is launched, a
prominent display (e.g., splash screen or banner text) of the Author's
attribution information, which includes:
(a) Name ("AUTHOR"),
(b) Professional identification ("PROFESSIONAL IDENTIFICATION"), and
(c) URL ("URL").

Notice it says launched.  ie, notice of copyright NOT a UI banner on each screen.

	3.  Not a Burdensome Requirement.   Some individuals have expressed
concern that attribution requirements will result in products where
the screens are filled with logos. Yet, by their nature, licenses with
attribution will only permit the original licensor to include its logo
since the license cannot be amended by sublicensors. Many open source

Are you saying that multiple UI attribution license can not be combined? 

If they can be combined the UI filled with badges could be VERY real if enough people use badgeware.  Certainly many of the badgeware applications would look different if the open source projects they used had the same requirement.  I counted 18 for Sugar; a testament to how good open source projects can benefit everyone.  How many OSI approve licenses does SocialText use?  If you send me the list of the projects SocialText used I’m happy to create a mockup of YOUR UI if we live in a badgeware world.  You can see what the commercial viability of your software would be if those that came before believe they deserved this same right.  Do you have an splash screen or an about page for every END USER of SocialText listing all the COPYRIGHT holders you’ve used?  Remember open source projects often have MULTIPLE Copyright holders that might have different attribution clauses.  Joe Jimmy from Jersey and Susy Soody from Sarasota could probably have their picture included.

If they can not be combined (can you explain what you mean if I’ve misunderstood) then that seems to be in conflict with OSD; and VERY much against the open source effect.  Open Source strives to make it easy for people to reuse code; increases quality and decreases duplicate work.  Not being able to combine two licenses that are both OSI approved would be, well, very odd.

	4.  Applications.  The needs of "application" open source software
are different from the more traditional "operating system" open source
software. Application software is frequently distributed by third
parties with other products without any notice to end users; this

I would venture to say that infrastructure OS is more commonly distributed then applications. 

By different are you really saying better?  Somehow because you are writing code that is geared more towards end users it is worth MORE protection and recognition then everyone else?  For instance, the ~7500 lines of code that make “grep” that are used ubiquitously and with great utility; it receives no such place on the UI screen for a web application that is a few simple lines of perl code.  In all the code that comes together to display a web page or processing a record or do any number of application things why is the 5% these application companies (some php code) special?  Each took $$ and time to make, but somehow an application is special? 

I don’t understand… Please do share why widely distributed  code built using real developers and real costs ($$) are worth less than what application companies are writing. 

possible under open source licenses without attribution. For example,
the incorporation of application programs anonymously into
distributions by large companies could destroy the market for open
source application software.

Again: consider using a copyleft license if you want to prevent this.  This force you claim can destroy the market can be mitigated by a license which makes it difficult, if not impossible to embed.  Why does GPL not meet this need?

	5.  Part of a Larger Problem.  Some individuals have expressed
concern that the attribution licenses are not approved by OSI. Yet,
many other modifications of open source licenses have not been
approved by OSI, such as FOSS and Affero. OSI should address the
entire problem or can be accused of selective enforcement.

Preaching to the choir here.  The OSI reviews license.  They won’t review license that aren’t submitted by original authors.  SO… There’s no selective enforcement.  It’s a community thing.  People like me applying pressure to companies claiming to be open source but have not passed the de facto vetting to the definition of open source. 

	6.  Community Acceptance.  These licenses are used by Socialtext,
Zimbra, Alfresco, Qlusters and SugarCRM. Yet their communities have
not expressed objections to this requirement. Many of these companies
are building business models which include distribution by third
parties so the distributors do not have a problem with this approach.

Hey, Shareware with no expiration date is “beer” software.  I’m not sure you’d hear people complaining about receiving free to use software.  Oracle gives away a version of it’s database; the Oracle community isn’t complaining about that.  Calling it open source, and the connotation that it has freedoms in USE is different.  Microsoft Communities will sing the laurels of their benefactor.  Doesn’t mean it’s accepted by an open source community because people like the software you let them run for free. 

Are any of these downstream distributors able to legally use your trademarks in the distribution without some understanding or agreement from you?  All is fine and dandy when blessed by parties with a business arrangement.  Can a competitor use your code and trademark legally you have no recourse to stop them?

	7.  Consistent with Creative Commons. Creative Commons includes
"attribution" as one of the key decisions that need to be addressed in
using their licenses.

Creative Commons is applied in proper places.  ie, a note in a post etc.  If I quote from a creative commons piece I have to make a note of it somewhere.  I don’t have to place their logo on my entire website.

	8.  Not BSD Advertising Requirement. An attribution requirement is
not similar to the "advertising" requirement. It does not impose
"vague" requirements to mention the Berkeley Software Distribution in
undefined "advertising". On the contrary, it is very specific and easy
to understand and comply with.

Well, I think the original Exhibit B is actually MORE specific than the proposed Attribution Provision.  As onerous as it may be, it at least spells out the pixel size so it’s CLEAR the impact that each combined license will have.  This requirement leaves it up to the original author how onerous the provision is (pixel size, watermarks, etc).

I’d like to suggest an alternative attribution provision that provides the same “attribution to the user” but is much less onerous.  I’m no attorney so I’m perfectly willing to let it be wordsmithed by anyone on this list.  I disagree with it, but suggest it as a useful compromise and for discussion.  I’m a strong critic of UI attribution and something like the following would remove most of my objections (not that my objections are any more or less valuable than anyone elses):

Generic Attribution Provision

Redistributions of the original code in binary form or source code form, must ensure that each time the resulting executable program, a display of items (a),(b),(c) released by the original licensor on a splash screen or about page of the original licensor’s attribution information if such a splash screen or about page is present in redistribution, which includes:

(a) Company Name

(b) Logo (if any) and

(c) URL

Original Licensor grants limited use of Trademark and Logo as necessary to fulfill obligations of this provision.

Note: the “diffs” are clearer in HTML on my blog should anyone wish to review it there.

Kind Regards,


First 100 Million Rows done in the "cloud"

My good friend, Matt Casters, posted his results from what we believe to be the first 100 Million Rows of data processed by an ETL tool in the new cloud computing paradigm.  Matt Casters ran a simple 100 Million rows through Kettle on Amazon EC2.

I should really do a write up or review of EC2.  I’m LOVIN’ it and others I’ve introduced to it are LOVIN’ it too!  I just need some spare time (ha ha ha) to write it up.

Software Quality Reports for Jira 0.8.25

We’ve just released a beta cut of the Software Quality Solution for Jira.  This project, sponsored by Pentaho is a complete BI solution that reports on Jira issue data that runs on top of Pentaho.

Software Quality Reports for Jira is an analytic application; it provides classic slicing and dicing of issue data, along with helpful trend lines, custom reports, etc.  Jira does a GREAT job at operational reporting (what is assigned to me) but isn’t setup to do adhoc, complex, time series and historical reporting.  Things such as bug burndown, average days to close by product and priority, trend lines on bug balances, etc.

Here are some graphs that come “out” of the solution using the web based end user tool:

NOTE: These are reports built from the Jira installation Pentaho uses to track issues for our products, a couple of days back.

This beta release is the first public release of the solution.  We’ve had a customer using the solution, and we’ve been using it against our Jira data now for several months.  In fact, we actually wrote the Jira build PRIOR to the Bugzilla build.

At this point, the primary goal is to collect feedback and set direction to make it more useful.

  • What do you think?  Is it useful?
  • Is it worth the additional installation (Pentaho server) for reporting above and beyond reports in Jira?
  • What do you want to see next?  Dashboards, more reports, additional attributes on the Person dimension, etc?

Feedback here is fine, or email through to me ngoodman __ pentaho  — ORG.

Hope you find it useful!

Compromise: attribution "rider" on any OSI license?

I’ve just reviewed Ross Mayfields proposal for an attribution provision that can be added to any other OSI approved license and still remain OSI approved.

First off, I’d like to say that I think the spirit is right here.  Instead of approving specific attribution clauses in each of the licenses, come up with one that can be added to any license.  This DOES help with proliferation!  Well done!

However, the specific text is still too broad to limit a world where this is possible.

I’m one of the strongest critics of these licenses (I don’t really matter either).  I’m a peon who has little to benefit if these particular companies succeed or fail.  I do have a vested interest in the success of revenue generating Open Source (ie, companies that generate real $$ from OPEN SOURCE projects).

I’d think that if you limited the attribution clause to an appropriate statement to allow for headless/GUI-less uses and “reasonable attribution”

Generic Attribution Provision

Redistributions of the original code in binary form or source code form, must ensure that each time the resulting executable program, a display of items (a),(b),(c) same size as found in the original code released by the original licensor on a (e.g., splash screen or about page or banner text) of the original licensor’s attribution information if such a splash screen or about page is present in redistribution, which includes:

(a) Company Name
(b) Logo (if any) and
(c) URL

Original Licensor grants limited use of Trademark and Logo as necessary to fulfill obligations of this provision.

I think this is reasonable and in line with previous OSI approvals (ie, documentation, source code, executable startup, about box).  The trademark grant is necessary to ensure that there can’t be a royalty tied to use of the software (clearly in violation of OSD) but only so much as to comply with this provision.  Ie, if you HAVE to put their trademarked company name/logo on your about page they can’t come after YOU and required you to pay for use fo that mark or to stop using it.

Is this attribution, clearly identifying the original work fo the company and community sufficient?  This is pretty common practice in creative commons as well.  ie, Creative commons says you have to ATTRIBUTE, not that you have to attribute in EVERY PAGE of your magazine and blog.   You just have to acknowledge somewhere.  I still think this isn’t very “open source – eee” but it’d be something would remove most of my objections.

I think Exhibit B was the elephant in the room!

Over the past few of weeks, the debate on badgeware has percolated to a real public debate on if they meet the OSD. 

Great!  Finally… A real debate on whether or not “badgeware” is open source!
PS – I just picked up the term badgeware.  I like that better than my slightly one side “forced UI attribution.”

New open source project: OWBScripts

I hadn’t had a chance to post yet, but Mark made mention of it on his blog so I figure it’s about time to post about it.

OMB is the TCL based scripting language that comes with Oracle Warehouse Builder that allows you to do OWB “things” programatically (ie, without the GUI).  It is very useful for doing ETL generation, mass updates, deploying mappings, etc.  Basically, anything that you are doing repetitively is a good candidate for making into an OMB script.  OMB is a cure for “tennis elbow” from clicking hours on end in the OWB GUI.

I’ve released a handful of OMB scripts that I used on consulting gigs, presentations, articles, etc.  There is nothing spectacular here, but hey, they’re not doing me any good!  If just one or two people find them useful it was worth the time to slap the Apache 2.0 license and upload them to

The release (initial and only unless someone else out there wishes to take on the management/augementation) includes scripts to:

a) Generate base SOURCE to STAGING Truncate/Staging mappings and tables.
b) Generate base STAGING to WAREHOUSE Insert/Update mappings, tables, and sequences.
c) Install repository and the standard CIF targets (Staging, Warehouse, AreaMart).

Let me know what you think and I do hope someone, somewhere finds it useful!
PS – I haven’t used OWB for nearly 9 months.  For something I used day in day out for YEARS that’s a long time to have not even touched it!

Turn Pentaho demo into a "server"

The standard Pentaho demo download is super quick and easy: there’s no installation and it just works.  You double click start-pentaho.bat and then it’s running in http://localhost:8080.

However, sometimes you may want to share this demo with others.  Roland Bouman has a nice blog entry on the specifics of how to change the demo install into a server. 

I add the following line to my to make the hostname changing transparent. 

sed -i -e “s/http:\/\/.*:8080/http:\/\/`hostname -f`:8080/” jboss/server/default/deploy/pentaho.war/WEB-INF/web.xml

This allows one to move this “pentaho” to any system and it will startup properly with the instead of http://localhost:8080.  I download a new build of Pentaho on about a weekly basis in addition to preparing virtual machines and zipped installs for customers, partners.  This little shortcut is an absolute must for me; it doesn’t make sense in the actual code release for a variety of reasons.

Perhaps someone else will find this little tidbit useful!  Enjoy!

Command line ETL Job Execution

I know this might seem pretty obivous to those that use Kettle frequently, but there’s a VERY easy way to execute Kettle jobs at the command line. Kitchen is the command line interface and is quite convenient for executing that ETL job you’ve built. Crontab anyone? -file=/mnt/pentaho-professional/pentaho-solutions/software-quality/data/etl/jira_do_everything.kjb
kitchen.bat -file=c:\dir\jira_do_everything.kjb
kitchen.bat /file:”c:\dir\jira_do_everything.kjb” (from comments below, thanks!!!)

Does anyone use kitchen or pan and have any best practices or suggestions to offer?

On bad things happening to good people

My friend Mark Rittman recently lost his entire library of 700 blogs/articles/etc.  He’s handling it with SOOO much grace; testament to him as a gentlemen and all around great guy.  I know I personally would be furious, bitter, and livid (at least for a few weeks).

The worst part about the whole deal, the hosting company is unapologetic enough to state:

Customers who have their own backups will be able to restore their own
data. Our terms and conditions advise customers to have their own
backups in case there is a catastrophic loss. This is the first time we
have suffered such a loss.

Mark, I’m soooo sorry.  Here’s hoping you get some of it back (BI Blogs, OraBlogs, etc).