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NYSE Opens Up About Giving Up Control

Things are really heating up in anticipation for the Sixth Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit taking place April 3-5, 2012. Earlier this week, we talked to Gerrit Huizenga about Linux and cloud computing, and Amanda McPherson shared a peek at the behind-the-scenes work that will take place at The Linux Foundation's Member Legal Summit on April 2.

We also had the opportunity to talk to NYSE Technologies' Head of Global Alliances Feargal O'Sullivan. He will be a keynote presenter at the Collaboration Summit and will be talking about "Open Middleware Standards for the Capital Markets and Beyond."

Can you give us a bit of a teaser on your keynote presentation and tell us how NYSE Technologies identified an opportunity to open source its messaging API and help create the OpenMAMA project?

O'Sullivan: We considered open sourcing our Middleware Agnostic Messaging API for a number of years before finally making it happen late last year. One of the major reasons to do so was to allow our community of users to help develop the additional middleware 'bridges' we wanted to support faster than we could on our own. Of course, we were concerned about losing control of the process and, quite frankly, about opening our revenue generating Market Data Platform to increased competition.


The change came around January 2011 when we first presented the idea to our Technical Advisory Group. We proposed it as part of our overall strategy of building a community around an open infrastructure platform with common standards for capital markets participants. The idea received unanimous support and a level of enthusiasm that took even us by surprise. What it told us is that the industry suffered from 'vendor lock-in' due to proprietary APIs, which stifle both competition and innovation, as well as increasing total cost of ownership.


OpenMAMA returns choice to the user, forcing vendors to compete on features and value, which is better for everyone.


What is your biggest lesson learned that you can share with others who might be considering open sourcing technology?


O'Sullivan: Our biggest lesson learned was not to try to go it alone! When we first engaged The Linux Foundation, we had little experience in open sourcing software. We quickly learned that for OpenMAMA to be successful it needed the neutrality and credibility of being a truly open source project. That isn't as simple as it sounds; had we chosen the wrong license, or hosted OpenMAMA on a server in one of our data centers, it would have seriously undermined the project. Without the benefit of The Linux Foundation's experience, we wouldn't have known any better until it was too late.


What do you consider the advantages of open sourcing this technology?


O'Sullivan: OpenMAMA's true value lies in its agnostic architecture, which allows developers to code to a single API while enabling administrators to switch between supported middleware platforms to meet the requirements of the environment where the application is deployed. However, before being open sourced, MAMA only supported middleware platforms that made commercial sense for NYSE Technologies to develop. This meant leaving out other valuable middleware platforms because we didn't have the time or resources to support each one. Open sourcing unlocks the full potential of the API by giving control to the end users. Ultimately, OpenMAMA will make NYSE Technologies' clients happier and our products more functional.


How is the OpenMAMA project doing? Can you give us some updates?


O'Sullivan: So far, the OpenMAMA project has demonstrated a level of success that even we are finding hard to believe. Our approach was to open the C portion of the API at the launch in October 2011 and then contribute the remaining functionality in April 2012. In parallel we formed the OpenMAMA Steering Committee comprised of users, vendors and direct competitors, to govern the project. This gives the committee time to form a cohesive group and set the direction of the project, while in parallel giving the technical working groups time to evaluate the code and decide what their priorities are for the roadmap. On April 30, when we contribute the final pieces of the API, and when everyone gathers for The Linux Foundation's Enterprise End User Summit (which we are hosting at the New York Stock Exchange this year), the community will be fully prepared to take this project forward.


We're definitely looking forward to visiting your space in April! Can you tell us more about your decision to host this year's Enterprise End User Summit and why the event is a priority for your organization?


O'Sullivan: We at NYSE Technologies have always been keen users of open source technology. Furthermore, it is well known that the entire capital markets community heavily depends on Linux and other open source initiatives. So we see this as the perfect venue to release the final pieces of the OpenMAMA stack and to continue advocating its value proposition to all interested participants.


That, and everyone loves a party!

More details on O'Sullivan's keynote, as well as the other keynote presentations and sessions can be found on The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit website. If you're not already attending, you can still request an invitation.

 

Thunderbird 11 Released: Lots of Fixes, Frustratingly Few New Features

Though it gets much less attention than its browser sibling, Thunderbird is still plugging away. Since it's on the rapid release cycle, it's also pushing out releases pretty regularly, with fewer new features per release. With Thunderbird 11, it's a very short list of new goodies but a long list of fixes.

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Patents, Legal Collaboration and our Legal Summit

Unfortunately legal issues, specially patents lawsuits, are much in the news. From Yahoo suing Facebook to the ongoing battles surrounding Apple and other mobile device providers, my RSS and social media feeds seem to have more and more articles about legal issues everyday.

Wired published a great article today from an ex-Yahoo developer on how his work was weaponized for a patent war.

He writes: "I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it." This case, among other similar ones, points out the need quite urgently for reform of our software patent system. When companies struggle, especially large ones, it's often easier to litigate than innovate.

But amid the patent wars there has been some good news. OIN last week announced they are expanding their patent pool to cover other important projects such as KVM, Git and others projects.

As SVN writes: "Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the OIN’s broad Linux Definitions." Keith Bergelt of OIN will be speaking at our upcoming CollaborationSummit on this Linux definition. Keith will take people through the changes in the definitions, as well as the updating of the 1000s of packages already included in their coverage. This is important stuff and I'm very happy to feature Keith as a speaker.

We are continuing our active role in the legal landscape by marshaling the power of collaboration with our members. Before next month's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we will be holding our Linux Foundation Legal Summit, where counsels and attorneys from our members come together with our legal experts and others from around the industry to plot the best defense for Linux and free software. There is power in collaboration; certainly with software but also with legal issues. It's a core part of our mission to enable this legal collaboration and spear head programs, like our Open Compliance program, that simplify and improve legal matters in our community. And as mentioned above, we also have a track on legal and compliance issues at the Collaboration Summit. This year Bradley Kuhn was kind enough to assist me in creating the track and I'm happy to say we have a who's who of leaders in the open source legal industry.

We are featuring
-- Aaron Williamson of the SFLC on the Evolving Form of Free Software Organization
-- Bradley from the Software Freedom Conservancy on GPL Compliance
-- Richard Fontana from REd Hat will talk about the Decline of the GPL and what to do about it
-- Karen Sandler from the GNOME Foundation will talk about real world trademark management for free software projects

And on day one of Collaboration Summit we will have a keynote on the SPDX project, one of the best examples of collaborative legal issues. You can read details about full the schedule of Collab Summit.


I hope to see many of you there.

 

Can Linux Win in Cloud Computing?

Gerrit Huizenga is Cloud Architect at IBM (and fellow Portland-er) and will be speaking at the upcoming Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in a keynote session titled "The Clouds Are Coming: Are We Ready?" Linux is often heralded as the platform for the cloud, but Huizenga warns that while it is in the best technical position to warrant this title, there is work to do to make this a reality.

Huizenga took a few moments earlier this week to chat with us as he prepares for his controversial presentation at the Summit.

You will be speaking at The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit about Linux and the cloud. Can you give us a teaser on what we can expect from your talk?

Huizenga: Clouds are on the top of every IT departments list of new and key technologies to invest in. Obviously high on those lists are things like VMware and Amazon EC2. But where is the open source community in terms of comparable solutions which can be easily set up and deployed? Is it possible to build a cloud with just open source technologies? Would that cloud be a "meets min" sort of cloud, or can you build a full fledged, enterprise-grade cloud with open source today? What about using a hybrid of open source and proprietary solutions? Is that possible, or are we locked in to purely proprietary solutions today? Will Open Standards help us? What are some recommendations today for building clouds?

Linux is often applauded as the "platform for the cloud." Do you think this is accurate? If not, what still needs to be done? If so, what is it about Linux that gives it this reputation?

Huizenga: Linux definitely has the potential to be a key platform for the cloud. However, it isn't there yet. There are a few technology inhibitors with respect to Linux as the primary cloud platform, as well as a number of market place challenges. Those challenges can be addressed but there is definitely some work to do in that space.

What are the advantages of Linux for both public and private clouds?

Huizenga: It depends a bit about whether you consider Linux as a guest or virtual server in a cloud, or whether it is the hosting platform of the cloud. The more we enable Linux as a guest within the various hypervisors, and enable Linux to be managed within the cloud, the greater the chance of standardizing on Linux as the "packaging format" for applications.

This increases the overall presence of Linux in the market place and in some ways simplifies ISV's lives in porting applications to clouds. As a hosting platform, one of the biggest advantages for cloud operators is the potential cost/pricing model for Linux and the overall impact on the cost of operating a cloud. And, the level of openness that Linux provides should simplify the ability to support the cloud infrastructure and over time increase the number of services that can be provided by a cloud. But we still have quite a bit of work to do to make Linux a ubiquitous cloud platform.

What is happening at the Linux development level to support the rapidly maturing cloud opportunity? What does the community need from other Linux users and developers to help accelerate its development and address these challenges?

Huizenga: I'll talk about some of the KVM technologies that we need to continue to develop to enable cloud, as well as some of the work on virtual server building & packaging, DevOps, Deployment, and Management. There are plenty of places for the open source community to contribute and several talks at the Collaboration Summit should dive further into the details as well.

What do you make of Microsoft running Linux on Azure?

Huizenga: Anything that lets us run Linux in more places must be good!

More information about Huizenga's talk can be found on The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit schedule. If you're interested in joining us, you can also request an invitation to attend.

   
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