|By Nigel McFarlane||
|January 19, 2004 12:00 AM EST||
Software provides functionality for the benefit of real people. Most software resides in applications, not in drivers or kernels. Today the open source community needs enabling kernels like Linux far less than it needs enabling application frameworks like Mozilla. Kernels have achieved most of what they can achieve, and the game is moving on. Can this be believed?
Have you noticed that small red or aqua lizard icon on your Linux desktop? It's Mozilla, best known in the guise of a Web browser. You're going to notice that icon a lot more in the future, whether you're a programmer, an IT guru, or an end user.
When we think of open source, Linux usually comes to mind before Mozilla. That is despite the groundbreaking open source release of the Netscape source code in the middle of the '90s browser wars. After all, Linux has garage credibility (or should that be university lab credibility?), whereas Mozilla is more of a corporate escapee. But Mozilla's history is as long as GNU/Linux; Mozilla has been the internal project name for the former Netscape browser since Netscape 1.0.
So much is written about Linux, meaning the Linux kernel and associated tools, and yet the kernel source and documentation is overall not very large. The very largest open source projects are in fact all corporate gifts rather than grassroots developments. OpenOffice is the premier example at 120 MB. You might not expect Mozilla to be a massive project, but surprise, it weighs in at number 2 or 3. A hundred AOL/Netscape employees didn't work away four years over nothing. Its source is massively bigger than Apache, bigger than Perl and Tcl/Tk combined, twice as big as the biggest kernel source bundle you can find.
Except for OpenOffice developers, most of us mentally discard OpenOffice as a technology building block. This is because of its obvious end-user intent. After all, you can't build a nuclear reactor out of the GIMP. The GIMP is best left doing what it does best - manipulating images. And the same applies to OpenOffice.
It might seem that Mozilla is tarred with the same brush. After all, isn't it a Web browser first and foremost? Well, in short, the answer is no.
Larry Wall this year re-popularized the Universal Architectural Diagram in his State of the Onion 2003 speech (www.perl.com/pub/a/2003/07/16/soto2003.html). That progress report on Perl used a diagram that goes back at least as far as early IBM mainframes. In the diagram, a generic layer of technology is used as the basis for several specialist applications. Because the generic layer is common to each application, those applications are seen as having identical status. At least they are seen as members of some common group. The Universal Architectural Diagram is a very common design pattern. Java, .NET, Perl, X-Window, Pick, XML, and many others have used it to provide a generic, enabling technology layer, and a set of interesting offshoots. Even the relationship between BIOS and Windows/Linux/QNX uses this pattern, as shown by the success of VMWare and other BIOS emulators.
Mozilla is another example of the Universal Architecture. An e-mail client is not the same thing as a Web browser, and yet Mozilla supports both. The Mozilla Platform, which is a set of files shorn of any browser, is a generic basis for user-oriented, GUI-oriented, possibly networked applications. Out of that platform the Mozilla browser has been built, a highly successful browser at that. But that platform has also been used to build e-mail clients, composers, debuggers, IDEs, desktops, settops, palmtops, calendars, PIMs, chat clients, dictionaries, and educational software. That's a broad range.
Jim Gettys, of Hewlett-Packard and www.freedesktop.org fame, has recently been analyzing the technical services offered by open source Unixes that support desktop applications (http://freedesk top.org/~jg/roadmap.html). If you peruse this list, you'll see that most of the desktop technology is expressed in terms of libraries and programmer frameworks - pretty low-level stuff to some. What's missing is a very high-level, easy-to-use system for desktop GUI application development. In fact, Unix has been missing a Visual Basic-like system for a long time, with only Tcl/Tk offering any kind of easy solution. It's no wonder that desktop applications have been slow to arrive on Linux.
Mozilla is therefore well poised to be the application development framework of choice for Linux. It even comes with a bonus: Linux applications will work without change on Windows, Mac OS X, and other platforms, provided some basic portability rules are followed. They also work from local disk, across the Web, and from across the Internet.
You might ask: Why bother? Don't all good Linux hackers go armpit deep in code, as close as possible to the bare metal? And isn't Java the obvious solution for applications? Well, no, and no. Most of the comfy spots close to the open source bare metal are taken, and that kind of thing appeals only to a narrow class of programmers anyway. By comparison, there are 45,000 IT people in New Zealand (pop. 4 million) alone - that's great deal of variety. Second, Java is a very object-oriented language, and frankly, that doesn't suit a lot of people. JSP doesn't exist because Java is trivially easy to work with. Sure, Java is popular, but scripting languages are just as popular. Mozilla's easy development style suits a very big chunk of the middle ground, where all the good spots aren't yet taken, and where the code isn't too convoluted.
If you think this is unguarded opinion, then listen to Gartner (www.gartner.com). Their "Hype Cycle for Open-Source Technologies, 2003" barely remarks on core operating system features at all. That report just says applications, applications, applications, over and over. That's good news for LAMP developers (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl) if you don't mind using a browser as a GUI. Now you can go forth and Mozilla as well.
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Oct. 4, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 361
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Oct. 3, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 338
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
Oct. 3, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 311
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Oct. 3, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 557
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Oct. 3, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 597
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Oct. 3, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 359
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Oct. 3, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 131
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
Oct. 3, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 579
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
Oct. 3, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 388
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Oct. 3, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 308
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Oct. 3, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 487
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Oct. 3, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 281
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
Oct. 3, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 303
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
Oct. 3, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 634
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
Oct. 3, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 531
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgeniakhela will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgeniakhela is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing ...
Oct. 2, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 528
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, will show how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He will use a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors to web services, and cloud integration to connect accounting and data, providing a Bluetooth...
Oct. 2, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 302
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Oct. 2, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 549
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Oct. 1, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 391
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Oct. 1, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 7,341