The Value of Open

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-02-28 Print this article Print

Source"> Miko Matsumura, vice president of marketing and vice president of technology standards at Infravio Inc., Cupertino, Calif., said Infravio has open-sourced its software broker or intermediary as part of the Apache Synapse open-source Web service mediation framework. "Were using open source as a traditional software company, and that is driving business our way," Matsumura said.
However, the panel seemed to split along the lines of companies that primarily license software versus those that focus on or dabble in open source.
Discussing whether brilliant young developers with new ideas would funnel them into open-source projects or try to turn them into commercial entities, Vandervoort said he believes more people would opt for the commercial world. "Like Tim Berners-Lee?" asked Steve Ross-Talbot, CTO of Hattrick Software and chair of the Worldwide Web Consortium, who was in the audience. "I dont think in the world of entrepreneurs and capitalists that will be a model well see a lot of," Vandervoort said. "In the long run, as far as looking at what you get, I think open source is more valuable," said Zaunere. "If I download [licensed] software and in two years its obsolete, I have no return on that. When you buy open-source support, the software is secondary." Chirino said he believes open-source software allows users to scale their systems more easily and cheaply because they can simply add more servers without having to worry about licensing costs. "Theres a lot of variety in how you implement Web services using open-source software," Chirino said. "You dont have to develop the middleware to do a lot of the hard work. I think open source continues to evolve and get better and better. Open source is going to continue to commoditize the lower level base." Meanwhile, regarding open-source components for SOA, Martinez asked, "What elements are well-served? Very few are well catered for in an enterprise context. What are the SLAs [service level agreements]? What are the guarantees? Who do you call? Fortunately, some vendors are stepping forward to do this and some are offering hybrid models." Matsumura said the BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) engine is an open-source component people use a lot. Matsumura also mentioned the Drools open source business rules engine, the Eclipse SOA Tools Project and the Eclipse Web Tools Project as "a pretty robust set of infrastructure" for developers to tap to build SOAs. Zaunere said his interest in open source "is really about transparency. If something doesnt work the way you need it to work, the ability to go in [and access the source code] is what drives open source." Indeed, a lot of the components in Web services stacks are open source, such as the Web server, application server and languages such as Python, PHP and Perl, he said. "The perspective we see is more about transparency and control," Matsumura said. "An open-source implementation, if standard, can replace a commercial implementation. You get transparency by being able to see the source." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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