As the World Turns

Opinion: Technology is shrinking the world as companies look to China to lead growth, governments plan to adopt open source and scientists use new ways to access data about our planet.

Do you sometimes wonder if the world (at least the technology world) is passing us by? Asia is to the 21st century what the United States was to the 20th, but the speed at which China, for instance, is growing makes the late-90s boom seem relatively serene. BEA Systems CEO Alfred Chuang, who is Chinese, is a rock star in that country, as witnessed by eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft, whose report on BEAWorld is inside this week. But, beyond that, the reason the company chose Beijing for its conference last week is no secret—China is where BEA expects most of its growth to come from. At the conference, Chuang outlined the companys new portal strategy, which is based on its acquisition of Plumtree Software earlier this year.

On the other side of the globe, the IT community is no less dynamic. eWEEK Senior Editor Peter Galli was in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last week to report on the creation of the Open Source Centers of Excellence, which aim to push Linux and open-source software throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where large U.S. tech companies such as EMC and Dell already have manufacturing plants. These efforts in the Emerald Isle are in line with a global movement by governments to switch, or to give stamps of approval, to open-source software. Calling open source "disruptive," executives in charge of the Centers of Excellence say next year will be the year of "the great open-source debate." Is Microsoft worried?

Literally out of this world is NASAs Earth Observing System Clearinghouse, or ECHO. In the latest eWEEK Road Map, Technology Editor Peter Coffee examines how ECHO, developed by NASAs Earth Science Data and Information System Project, is using SOAs (service-oriented architectures) to build applications that can better use the massive amounts of earth science data collected by satellites. SOA development helped NASA relieve data access and presentation bottlenecks that were created by conventional database architectures, said Robin Pfister, lead information management system engineer for ESDIS.

Back on solid ground, Senior Editor Paul F. Roberts reports on Microsofts efforts to deliver a security model in the forthcoming Vista operating system that relies more on IP Security encryption and IPv6 protocols than on third-party contributors. Perhaps a good sign of things to come, Microsoft has stripped away so many planned features from Vista that security has become the main focal point of the client and server upgrades, due next year and the year after, which it should have been all along. However, Roberts writes, some observers say that deployment of those security features could force enterprises into making changes to the way they secure their networks, something that IT managers would not look forward to.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...