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Re: Compiere now #1 on sourceforge

From: Todd Boyle
Subject: Re: Compiere now #1 on sourceforge
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 19:53:04 -0700

Hi all.

Below I will just advocate more interoperability, and explain exactly why.

> > Somewhere there is a model that results in high quality,
> > highly usable business software getting built, that is
> > sufficiently timely and contemporary to keep up with,
> > and interoperate with, the commercial software juggernaut.
> Can you prove to me that Free Software is somehow not commercial?  If you
> intend to have these arguments you must do so with common terminology.
> Free Software is every bit as commercial as "proprietary" software.
> I assume you mean ...the 'propreitary' software juggernaut...

That last message contributes to my fear that GNUE, from viewpoint of a
non-developer is effectively, not different than a commercial and
proprietary product.

People who work everyday in businesses have good reason, historically,
to view software developers as an interest group who build software for
the purpose of ensuring revenue, and permanent roles for themselves.

One of the litmus tests for judging the intent of software developers is
whether they seek more to vanquish other software than interoperate with
it. I'm repeating this fact, for the good of all--not my benefit.  The
greatest need today, is communicating transactions among small businesses
and individuals.  This is where the greatest economic benefit remains
to be reaped.  Everybody already has a large choice of standalone and
vertical and workgroup software that stubbornly doesn't connect with
other vendors' or platforms' software.

It would be incumbent on GNUE developers to demonstrate the opposite --
a culture of respect for the other software in the world, especially
something like Java that is NOT a commercial monopoly.  The way you
respect the interests of the user and developer community are to
understand these interfaces and business logic, when there is such a
large new movement to a new platform like this outside Windows domination.

> If you read my emails, I stated WE TRIED TO DOWNLOAD and
> evaluate, and found we could not with out spending oodles of cash
> on non-free software!

Well you're probably right there are not probably 250000 licensed Oracle
sites in the universe let alone the open source community!  I asked the
guy whose Compiere I tested, and he said it was running on a freely
downloadable Oracle database, with limitations against commercial use.
Is that what you're talking about or the J2EE libraries?  I'm going to
guess the main problem is you don't know the Oracle RDBMS or Java well
enough to eval. the software (and if not, I certainly wouldn't blame you
for that.)

Users like me who are not coders, certainly cannot control the
depredations the Windows developer community builds into the software
for benefit of themselves, all their forced upgrades and gimmicks and
security holes that force us back to the vendor every few months.

And we will be helpless to see it or control it from the GNUE community
either.  The thing is so ungodly complicated to install and changes so
often, we are reliant forever on developers.   So owners of businesses
have to *trust* GNUE developers.  So we look for attitudinal evidences,
and evidence that the APIs or XML interfaces will be mappable or
interoperable with other platforms, things like that. We look for
evidence what standards you talk about applying.   OASIS UBL or RegRep,
for example, or ebXML business process, or UDDI/WSDL or other web
services stuff.  The OAGIS spec, or even QBXML, the Quickbooks schema.
I don't think I am alone, in waiting and watching for the GNUE roadmap
to interoperability with other software, running in other companies
around the world.

The higher-level goal of business users is interoperability, and the
long-term protection against high costs that comes from competition. GPL
for its own sake is not the user's goal.  When a GPL project is not
interoperable with other software, there is no protection for the owner
of the company against the mechanisms of churn and complexity and
support costs.  Those are stronger weapons of Microsoft today than the
legal copyright.  Your GPL protects the GNUE dev. community against
each other but does nothin' for the business owner.

We have all got a masters degree in these strategies of the software
community, thanks to Microsoft who has made an absolute chump of us for
the past 15 years, so we're not so dumb anymore.  We're past the
point of (naively) buying from reputable software companies or companies
that offer good value, only to see them bankrupted or bought out by
Microsoft overnight, without warning.  We don't want a permanent
relationship paying rent to GNUE support engineers anymore than
Microsoft. So that means we want an exit strategy-- standard interfaces.

We don't want to rip-and-replace, bet the company on GNUE so that
means it has to run alongside, incrementally awhile.  That means,
standard interfaces again. We want stuff built standard so it will
play well, and last a while.

I need GNUE to succeed. A lot of users need it.  It is one of the most
significant business software projects in existence.

I think that if any of the GNUE developers could attend the OMG/
OASIS Interop. conference in Orlando at the end of June, it would be
very good.  Here is where they left off in December 2001-- 38 reasons
and inhibitors, explaining why standards don't interoperate. These
are coming from the top people at dozens of standards bodies
and numerous TCs and workgroups, not only OMG, OASIS, HRXML, etc.



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