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perspectives on open-source and web services

Friday, December 03, 2004

2 posts in a day!

a minor effort to get some of the very justified and well-founded pressure off of my own back, and onto someone else's....

Erl responded to my open-source inquiry. I don't know if he spoke for himself, or if he really did just speak for 'some' others...

"That's not an area I'm really involved with, so I'm probably not
the best person to ask. I believe that some think open source
implementations may undermine the standardized interoperability that the
WS-* platform promotes."

in a bit of blog-magic, I will magically turn the former 'Anonymous' commentor into MATT CROUCH and hopefully get him to sink his very shrewd fangs into Erl's statements.


At 12/03/2004 4:48 PM, Blogger Matt Crouch said...

It's a fairly weak statement, in my opinion ...
"I believe that some think..." so the content has two levels of uncertainty.
And the content is kinda nebulous.

At first glance -- knowing neither jack or s___ about Erl -- it even seems FUDdy, although I couldn't level that accusation without knowing your exact question and his answer in context.

How an implementation, especially an open source one, could undermine interoperability is beyond me. You can make the implementation run on any machine, or talk to any piece of software whatsoever -- as long as you have the inclination, the source code, and the right to monkey with it.

PS: what gave me away? My unparalelled literary and philosophic powers, or just the fact that I had clearly read every post on your blog? ;)

At 12/03/2004 7:13 PM, Blogger luke said...

the philosophical powers were dripping thru the comments from the very start, and I thought I could see a couple dangling bytes from where you erased a typo caused by Otto.

my original letter to Erl was:

thanks for the continuous discussion. I just saw that OASIS approved the WS-Reliability standard (from 3 Japanese firms) in competition with WS-ReliableMessaging. at the same time, RM4GS (an open-source Java WS-Reliability implementation) was released. it seems that the firms are willing to foot the bill for drafting standards specifications AND developing implementations for the spec in order to encourage the adoption of the spec, and don't mind giving away all the work.

have you noticed any trend in this area of the competing WS-* specs? for spec developers to release open-source implementations to encourage adoption of their spec?

I totally agree...I was dumb-founded by Erl's assessment of open-source undermining interoperability.

At 12/04/2004 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, as I mentioned I am not involved with open source so I really could not provide you with an opinion. When I stated that "I believe that some think open source implementations may undermine the standardized interoperability that the WS-* platform promotes." I was recalling an article I had read some time ago in which it states: "The open source software movement, meanwhile, is not focused on pushing common technical standards, although many in the movement support such initiatives. Open source backers aim to create a market where software code is open to development and modification, which can in some instances undermine interoperability." Have a read yourself: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/30/irish_government_open_source/


At 12/04/2004 10:09 AM, Blogger Matt Crouch said...

1. Wow. Thomas Erl himself is looking at your blog, and I get to be the first to welcome him. That makes 3 and a half of us, including alter egos

2.The clarifying context is appreciated; this article hails from the heyday of "open source vs. open standards" -- a debate I never fully understood, and a dichotomy that just doesn't exist.

Let me be clear: if OS development "undermines interoperability in some instances", we need to study those instances and prevent this in the future.

But I also think esr nailed Schwartz at that time:

"The Sun Community Source License claims ownership rights for Sun of any technology derived from the reference implementation 'or the standard.' So, in Schwartz's world, a license which hangs the threat of a lawsuit over your head promotes competition more than source code that no one can take away from you.
nobody wants to be in the proprietary trap anymore, so Schwartz has been given the unenviable job of persuading the public that 'open source' is no better."

Now Jonathan Schwartz is one of my heros, but I was mystified by that argument, because all other things being equal he ought to know that "open source AND open standards" is possible, desirable, and getting damn near mandatory in a lot of sectors.

At 12/05/2004 9:06 AM, Blogger luke said...

Thanks for the comments, Thomas. I've really enjoyed the book, and also the correspondence we've had about the open-source issues.

I think there is still a bit of substance to the Open Source vs. Open Standards argument, but it has now mostly been trimmed down to the actual problem, or at least, the actual problem I would see.

I can see how some would be concerned that, because of its nature, open-source tends to fork projects and spawn new derivative projects, but I also think that normally its not a bad thing in regular-type open-source software programs.

but when we're talking about wiggity-whack open-source web services, it would not be beneficial for a certain specifications' OS implementations to fork and inadvertently create their own specifications.

this may be the concern that people carry with open-source approaches to Web Services, that it would foster deviations from the standards.

I would like to say I have an idea for consolidating the 2 great features of the development models, but I don't...yet.


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