Saturday, February 02, 2008

Open Source Meets Business - Day 3 (final)

(continued from here) The last day of open source meets business had presentations in the morning and put a spotlight on Microsoft in the afternoon.

Systems monitoring with open source

Again, a talk about Nagios. And again, Nagios was choosen for its cost effectiveness. It seems like most commercial monitoring tools charge per monitored device - customers really dislike this. Oberschwaben Klinik uses Nagios to monitor interfaces, infrastructure, services, applications and devices distributed across 200 hosts, 500 services in 6 locations. Total deployment time for Nagios was a single month:
  • 3 days initial setup
  • 1 week learning the tool
  • 2 days adaption to infrastructure
  • 3 weeks betaphase (getting the alarm thresholds right)
  • 3 days finetuning
And they only needed about one week of external consulting. Besides Nagios, the use Cacti for QoS monitoring.

Software for knowledge worker

Peter Pfl├Ąging, working for the City of Wien, pointed out that job roles have changed over the years from being topic specific towards knowledge workers, which he characterizes as
  • having many tasks
  • no applicable standards to approach problems
  • coerced to lifetime learning
  • lots of brainstorming to find solutions
  • decisions makers
and having to explain the stuff to upper management. They all face the problem of organizing information, prioritizing tasks and documentation (for themselves and others). Peter presented (his choice of) open source tools supporting this style of work on multiple operating systems.
  1. Mind maps OPML: xml data format, Freemind, DeepaMetha, WikkaWiki, Pimki
  2. Task prioritization GtD, ThinkingRock, d3/, gtd-php, (Bloggers note: Tracks)
  3. Wiki Personal Wiki, Moin Moin, TiddlyWiki
  4. Blogging Weblog with private entries, document your knowledge. WordPress, Typo, Blojsom
  5. Desktop search For Windows there is Google desktop and Copernic. On Linux Beagle doesn't have a real competitor.
You should also prevent others from changing your document by using signed pdfs. Creating pdfs is a breeze on Linux but one needs PDFcreator on Windows. Then you can use Peters PortableSigner for signing.


Here one learned about the current state of LiMux. The City of Munich choosed to develop their own 'base client' (running on Debian Linux) One thousand workstations are currently migrated (first 100 in 2006, 900 more last year) and about 5000 PCs already use OpenOffice. The base client is 'usability TUV IT certified' (Gebrauchstauglicher Basisclient) and their Linux Lernwelt learning tool won the European E-Learning award last year. The 'base client' core consist of (Debian) Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox and Gimp. Specific applications run browser-based, vintage (windows based) applications use Wine, virtualization or terminal server. The clients are managed by GOsa using FAI for deployment. GOsa itself is a set of PHP5 scripts used for deployment and configuration management (users, groups, mail, dns, dhcp, ...) using LDAP as a central CMDB. For update deployment FAI is currently used, doing inventory, license managementt, log analysis (audit) and hardware-monitoring. The upcoming version 2.6 of GOsa will support scheduled and load balanced mass deployment, replacing FAI.

Nagios at Stadtwerke Amberg

The city of Amberg suffers from an understuffed IT department and outsourced monitoring. This works fine with Nagios and the external consulting company is soo great, blah, blah, blah ...

How open is Microsoft after the EU ruling ?

This was mostly about the Samba/Microsoft agreement as detailed on Groklaw. Conclusion: with the current business model (public company, maximizing shareholder value), Microsoft will not open up too much.

Open source and Microsoft

Sam Ramji, director Open Source and Linux Strategy at Microsoft, tried to put his employer in a good light by pointing out that 50% of all open source deployments are on Windows. Half of all sourceforge projects run on Windows, 3000 are for Windows only. He continued to outline Microsofts open source strategy with Windows at its core, surrounded by OSS applications. (see also this post) A Microsoft based infrastructure (Active Directory, Systems Center, SQL Server) will grow Windows with help of OSS applications. Microsoft will develop free software to support the interface layer between the free and the proprietary world. This is done in the Open Source Software Labs (OSSL), currently established in Redmond and Cambridge, Mass. These labs focus on strategy, technical research and development of document formats, network protocols, security&identy, systems management, virtualization and application platforms. The long term goal is "respectful relationship to produce insights and technology to compete, interoperate and collaborate". Best quote (Ramji on Ballmer): "Its time to reset peoples perception of what he means when he talks"

Panel Discussion: Microsoft and open source

Dr Oliver Diederich (Heise Verlag) assembled Roger Levy (Novell), Jim Zemlin (Linux Foundation) , Paul Cormier (RedHat), Sam Ramji (Microsoft) and Dr Johannes Helbig (Deutsche Post) to discuss the relationship of Microsoft and the open source movement. The complete discussion was recorded and is available here.


jw said...

When Microsoft says "open source", they mean it in the very literal sense, that source code is available, somehow.
They never mean it in the spirit of Free and Opens source software, where we also discuss certain freedoms attributed to the software.
E.g. they consider it still "open source", when they forbid commercial use.

I am curious about the 'free software' you mentioned above. Did they really say 'free'?

kkaempf said...

OSI has certified Microsofts Public License (MS-PL) and the Reciprocal License (MS-RL), so these ones should be just fine.
Look at Port 25 for news from the Open Source Software Lab.

duncan said...

Beagle no competition? I think it has lot of good competition:

- Strigi (used in KDE4):
- Google Desktop for Linux ( )
- Freedesktop project Tracker ( )

Also check: