Monthly Archives: December 2006

Badgeware CEO to community: Buy a Commercial License

My jaw nearly hit the ground when I saw one of the badgeware company CEOs actually write, what most badgeware critics already know: they want you to buy a commercial license because you find the forced UI advertising unpallatable.

From Dave Rosenberg (Mulesource) blog on “Licensing in London“:

So, if you use Mule in your software product
and sell it commercially, then you are required to either make a
licensing deal with us or keep the �powered by Mule� logo visible. Just
as so many other things in OSS are confusing, it appears that this too
has created some consternation-primarily because people want to embed
Mule in their products and couldn’t quite make sense of how the
attribution would work.

My answer was simple. You make a deal with us for a commercial license and then you do whatever you want.


At least someone is finally admitting this is one of the intents of badgeware.  Even if we disagree, it is important to say with genuine sincerity: thank you for being honest about why you use badgeware.

The bright side is at least these vendors are finally getting some pushback and having to explain their licenses.  This is important… People need to know what they’re getting themselves into: forced advertising for vendors using a license that is, arguably, NOT an open source license.  Badgeware (even **if** the OSI approves it) has implications for customers, developers, partners; in short, EVERYONE.  People need to know that this is the kind of company/project/license they are dealing with.

Pentaho 1.2 goes GA

Last December Pentaho released it’s first certified, Generally Available product. In the past year there has been an astounding number of features added to the platform. Those who keep up with the open source releases (approximately every 6-8 weeks) have been able to watch the progression piecemeal.

Pentaho announced today the General Availability of Pentaho 1.2 which represents nearly one year of Pentaho (and community) contribution.

The past 3 months Pentaho and the community at large have widdled down Bugs, hiccups, issues, etc with all this new code and arrived at something suitable for production. Pentaho users (customers and community alike) have a set of bits they can feel pretty confident using. I’m proud of this effort, and wish to congratulate all those who submitted (or fixed!) Bugs. One of the things I love about open source: everyone benefits greatly from small acts of contribution.

Happy Holidays and Thank You!

Simple Chart from CSV File

There was some requests on the Pentaho Data Integration forums for an example of how to generate a simple chart from a CSV file.

Sometimes people get so lost in the technology, that it’s tough to just do something pretty simple.  I totally get that.  Pentaho still has plenty of room for improvement on the usability, especially for people coming to the platform for the first time.

Well, here tis.

Unzip to pentaho-demo/pentaho-solutions/samples/etl/ in the sample server.

Basically, the idea is to turn a csv file (example.csv):


into this chart

The confusing part, I’m guessing from the thread, was how data gets from KETTLE to PENTAHO.

Not hard at all actually.

Pentaho initiates (ie, calls Kettles API) the Kettle transform and then “slurps” in memory records from a specified step.  It’s the UNIX equivalent of the “tee” utility where you’re just watching data arriving at a certain place.  In this example, I’ve made it even more explicit by naming the “dummy” step “for_pentaho” so that it’s clear the step that Pentaho is “slurping” the data from.

After that, it’s just a matter of building a chart like any other in the platform.

Irony in Open Source

Irony 1: 
An organization (OSI) that was formed to promote a commercial friendly form of a concept is NOW being described by some as inflexible and not suitable for “commercial open source.”  Well, keeping it real for 7 years ain’t bad! 

Irony 2:
The anti-forking license clause (forced UI attribution) may cause a fork in open source.  One of these companies has suggested that if OSI supporters don’t “shape up” and approve their licenses another organization will lilkely serve that need better.

Irony 3:
These companies believe some of their “freedom” to write software under a license of their choice is being diminished.  They believe it’s out of a philosophical opposition to companies investing in IP and then gaining revenue from that IP.  Not so.  Open Source has THRIVED alongside other models (proprietary, shared source, etc).  YOU ARE WELCOME to license software you create any way you like (shared source, proprietary, etc): that’s FREEDOM!  Just don’t be surprised if you claim to be Open Source and you’re NOT that people take notice and call it!

Where is the leadership from MySQL, Redhat, IBM, Apache, Eclipse?

These companies have fought long, hard battles to get Open Source into the corporate data centers.  It was an uphill battle, requiring education on a concept new to many people.  They couldn’t just blaze a path for themselves, they had to prove an entire business model; explain its viability, its resulting products, and value.  The developers and executives at these companies fought a hard, honest war and have established a beach head.

The Marines have blazed the trail.  No mucking around with convincing a CIO that “not just anyone can update their source automatically” and that Open Source companies can generate real value, revenue with a product you COULD use for free.  The value they’ve provided has EARNED Open Source (as a defined concept) the respect of IT purchasers/developers/users to be treated as equals.

After fighting with both hands tied behind the back (education process, incumbent vendor FUD, giving product for FREE) they’re winning their fair share of market; true to their values and they’re being rewarded for their hard work and this commitment to Open Source. 

I’m baffled.  Why are none of these leaders speaking up about people taking what THEY’VE worked for (CIOs willing to buy Open Source when it meets their needs) and turning it into something confusing, less valuable, and ultimately NOT what Open Source is? 

These companies have partnerships, alliances, webinars, back scratching, with a new breed of “open source” (term used lightly and incorrectly) companies who find no need in actually being Open Source.  I’m not dogging OS companies having partnerships with proprietary vendors; I think there’s plenty of room in the world for FOSS and proprietary code to coexist.  MySQL and SAP; no problem.  Good for MySQL, good for SAP.  I take issue with them building partnerships, sponsoring conferences, etc with companies claiming to be Open Source that are not.

These companies are short sighted if they don’t see that by offering to let these new entrants muck with, distort, nudge, and ultimately dilute the term “Open Source” that their long term prospects diminish.  Five years from now, Open Source could be identified by confusion, vendor lock-in, and ultimately probably some nasty litigation/complaints made quite public.  Picture this: Customers buy services from these new “open source” companies only to find out later they don’t have the “things” they thought made open source compelling.  For instance, the ability to customize their own GUI of an open source application (mockup here)  How about being allowed to fork a project if the original vendor isn’t providing the best service?

MySQL, Redhat, IBM, Apache, Eclipse, HP, Novell: You all have a stake in making sure Open Source is not a concept to invite scrutiny and mistrust.  You have significant influence and can help your own business stay healthy by keeping Open Source real, and healthy.  Why associate in partnerships with companies claiming to be Open Source without adhering to the same honest commitment to Open Source that you have?  You are helping companies that dilute the value of Open Source for everyone; it may, temporarily, benefit their and your bottom line but what happens when the term Open Source becomes just as useless as “100% Organic,” “Money Back Guarantee,” and “As Seen on TV?

I suppose, the final question might be, do they even know?  Are these companies taking the claim of Open Source at face value?  Open Source is a trusting environment; perhaps it was just assumed they were OSI approved (that’s the Open Source thing to do)?