Proud of being European

Airbus A380Yesterday the big day arrived. The Airbus A380 first shipment happened.

I cannot say if this will change the way in which civil aviation will be in the future.

But, certainly, it is the achievement of an exceptional technical challenge that the European industry took. Successful or not, it is certainly remarkable and important.

I am proud to be European today. Sometimes we are not simply followers but we keep our spirit and soul for invention and over-achievement.

Mashups, web2.0 and the SOA cake

I read a commentary around the recent Gartner 10 Strategic technologies to watch in 2008.
In this commentary, Evan Data Corp. Joe McKendrick and Software AG Miko Matsumura say, very high, that even in SOA is not explicitely spelled in the recent Gartner’s report, SOA itself is the basis for what we are building today and in the future. There are some interesting quotes from the commentary that I wanted to highlight here, as they have really a lot to do with what we do everyday.

  • The consumption patterns of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are made possible by SOA in this view.
    “The architecture has no value until it’s expressed in consumptions patterns. …The underlying service is just a generic-kind of service, but it comes to life when you put an Ajax interface in front or some kind of cool mashup in front of it. Once you’ve got a platform of business services, you can make mashups or Web 2.0 or a ton of really cool things.
  • “Turning to another goodies metaphor, …SOA is invisible in the same way the recipe for a cake is invisible. Even the most proud baker wouldn’t stop people from eating his cake while he read them the recipe. The consumers of cake or Web 2.0 applications want to enjoy them not hear a dissertation on how they were made, he said.
  • The status of SOA today is similar to where e-commerce was in the late 1990s. At that time everybody was building e-commerce applications using e-commerce tools. “Now, we’re doing the same thing with SOA. We’re saying this is an SOA project or this is an SOA tool. Today, you still use content management and application servers and Java as a language and Web interfaces, but you no longer call it e-commerce because now it’s just apps. It’s just how we do it. We don’t really think of it as e-commerce any more, it’s just the typical pattern for applications these days. I think exactly the same thing will happen with SOA.”
  • “When you say SOA no longer matters, it’s everything that SOA enables that matters, I totally think that’s right because SOA is a way to achieve certain things from an architecture and an alignment and agility point of view,”

I like all these quotes, because they really make the point!

Going back to what Gartner asserts, I obviously like the presence of the following 3 items in the top-ten list:

  1. Business Process Modelling
  2. Mashups and Composite Applications
  3. Web Platform and WOA

My readers know how much I consider “Business Process Modelling”, at the point that I did not hesitate to say that it is the glorification of any SOA, the way in which Services could become useful from a Business Point of view. I am not sure, though, that BPM will emerge (finally!!!). Not because it should not deserver a shining place, but because of the power implications it brings into a company’s organization (who owns the process owns the power….).

In this context, though, the emergence of the Mashups and Composite Applications, may slightly change the picture. “They allow you to rapidly tailor the functionality you want in one place, without having to re-create the original”  is the quote from Gartner. I still think what I wrote last year in “Composite Applications, Mashups and Portals: relay race or team spirit?” . Through Mashups and Composite Applications, the user will become an actor in the SOA. SOA will not stop anymore at the beginning of the HTTP pipe on the server…. it will continue, it will encompass the desktop.

The user will be allowed to integrate what the “portal” gives him with tools and content coming from elsewhere. The “portal” will provide the official company process and the mashup will provide the creativity, the differentiator by which a user would tailor the standard process and add his own touch !

BEA wants more money. And Sun ?

Few years ago, when I left Sun, I thought that the medium term scenario would involve some “fusion” between Oracle (Applications + database), BEA (middleware) and Sun (hardware).
In this way, the new entity would be able to compete against IBM and against MSFT (well MSFT+Dell or MSFT+HP, according to the situations).

I am reading these days that BEA just refused a friendly buyout offer from Oracle because the proposed price was seen as undervaluating BEA (I have issues understanding which evidence would support this statement… but this is not the point)! So, BEA is asking Oracle to make a better economical offer.  There is not opposition to Oracle’s initiative.

And this seems logical to me.
The scenario is simplifying.

So,  would next step really be Sun ?

Is MSFT Biometric system so easy to bypass?

I happened to read the article Le système biométrique de Microsoft piraté avec de la pâte à fixe ?. It is in French, so I provide here a quick Babelfish translation of the orginal content (I changed few little words from the automatic translation):

Exclusive: French students succeed in circumventing the biometric system of Microsoft, the FingerPrint readers… with adhesive paste!
Two students found a very original means of circumventing the security system of FingerPrint readers of Microsoft. With this intention, they employed candle’s wax and adhesive paste of a very known mark. “With the means of we had we managed to circumvent a system which probably cost million dollars of development”. Most worrying is the easiness to bypass this biometric control. They moulded a print in candle’s wax, used adhesive paste to get the positive and the game is there as a video posted on DailyMotion shows. “Our next idea is the recovery of fingerprints on glass and the exploitation of those”.

Of course, breaking security is illegal. I do not want here to spread some illegal information.
Also, having weak, breakable security systems is not a privilege of Microsoft only….

But, it is fun anyway! I mean, you invest a lot of money in securing something that your children could compromise so easily….

Trading Java ?

I could not believe it when I read Jonathan Schwartz‘s (Sun CEO and President) recent post about changing the trade name for Sun Microsystems from SUNW to JAVA.
I hear that most of the comments are hostile to this. Some of them loose even time in going in the semantic of associating the slowness of Java to a rapidly declining company.
There is some summary of the most interesting entries in Sam Ruby‘s blog.

What I think of this story it is that it is just another example of abusing of addiction (see my post on gBrowser here).

  • If Java is what Java proponents always say “an open technology”, how could it become the identifier of a private company?
    This is a great mistake in my opinions. It will benefit the ones who oppose Java, such as Microsoft…
  • this move shows no respect for all the companies (and individuals) that built the success of Java.
    Java did not become widely used for anything that Sun did. Sun’s Java products are trailing everywhere and their marketshare is far from being predominant.
    The success of Java was built by the IBM and Oracle and BEA and Open Source….
  • Given this, I fear (or hope) that this move could lead to a diaspora on Java, where at this point everybody will feel free to abandon the Logo and to perfect (wow…) the platform according to its own customer needs.

So, it is very sad to see someone counting on the popularity and addiction on something … to steal the attention of the community and impose himself as the gatekeeper (or keymaster… both of them were no so nice characters in Ghostbusters, right?).

Having a pony-tail does not equate to have all the rights!

Speculations on Google Browser (GBrowser) ?

I have read this morning an article speculating on the arrival of a new Browser on the market, a Browser labelled “Google” (or Gbrowser).
The few readers of my blog can immediately imagine that this is not the kind of news that I would have liked to hear. I personally do not like this invasion of things from Google which, under the cover of being “free for everybody”, tie us to a new monopoly (see my previous post “Internet Search should be property of no one“).
I state this even if I have no problem admitting that most of the technologies that Google, in its immense altruism, offers us are very cool and really innovative and really pushing for significant progress in the Web space.
The problem is not around how cool the presents from Google are… it is about the concept of “present” itself !

Anyway, in this specific case (GBrowser… yes, you can see that the domain name has already been registered by Google!) I think that, if the speculation actually reflects a reality, it may become something very significant, and perhaps not completely bad.

If really Google will put on the market its own branded Browser, I think that :

  1. Google will finally admit that some “footprint” is required in order to properly run today’s internet applications (this will have consequences on AJAX as we see it today, I think)
  2. Google will automatically transform what they published as “contribution” into a de-facto standard (because it will be working naturally with the new browser….)
  3. Google will create a platform onto which developers will build RIA applications

Yes, in the last bullet I wrote “RIA applications“. Because, if the Browser from Google will become true, it will obviously promote the use of Google Gears and of all the other G* things that invaded the web. A couple of months ago, I wrote my first reaction to Google Gears:

[with Google Gears] Google starts to install something else than the browser in order to keep the browser relevant”

The advent of Apollo AIR (paved by Flex) and the approaching of Vista (via Silverlight) may create serious alternatives for running applications delivered over the internet (see here and here and here for a summary of my opinion on this topic); the default mean to access to applications delivered over the net, will no more be the browser, at least when some significant experience and richness of functionality will be required.

Will Google redefine what we know today as “the browser”? Will Google remove the impedance that somehow forced the two main actors in this space (IE and Firefox) to comply (at least formally) to standards?

Again, if Google will indeed go into the Browser business, all what it gave away so far could be interpreted as a way to create “addiction, so that people will find it normal that Google will also revolutionize the browser space. After all, Google is not perceived as the “bad boys in the block“, so it is likely that this move will find only few opposers.

Despite these considerations, though, I initially wrote that this may not be a bad outcome for the web. My readers know that I consider that the browser needs a big evolution in order to support the new challenges and the execution of applications delivered over the internet. So, this move may represent a shock that will benefit the whole community.

I wished Firefox and XUL could have become this shock!!!! Perhaps they will anyway (why wouldn’t the GBrowser be based on Firefox after all?)

Of course, this is all speculation at this moment….

Firefox as a Phoenix

I am starting to digest and sediment a series of articles that recently popped out on Mozilla. The one who hit me most was Chris Messina’s Thoughts on Mozilla, but also Alex Faaborg’s Web2.0 Expo presentation. I will certainly add more comments in the next few days.
For the moment I would like to comment on the Innovation aspect.

Imho, Firefox should not bet its future on “being the best browser”. In this way it will simply set its path, in one way or the other, “on respect to something else” (notably IE).
What the user interface of Linux already did (KDE or Gnome for that matter) in trying to, first “catch” and, then, “be better than” Windows… did not produce any significant result in terms of innovation (in fact if the price wouldn’t play a role, most of the people would choose a Mac because of its interface, certainly not Linux).

So, if from the phoenix (of Firefox as we know it) could raise something new, a platform where applications delivered through the web could be executed, then, I think, it will be great. Yes, certainly, this is the domain in which Adobe and Microsoft are also directing their efforts (I tend to agree with Scoble that JavaFX is more for the mobile-phones) .
But Mozilla could consolidate the effort from the Open Source community and this would be really a great advantage.

Let’s dream about XUL+SVG ….

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