Assuming that this is indeed the end of Solaris (and it certainly looks that way), it offers a time for reflection. Certainly, the demise of Solaris is at one level not surprising, but on the other hand, its very suddenness highlights the degree to which proprietary software can suffer by the vicissitudes of corporate capriciousness. Vulnerable to executive whims, shareholder demands, and a fickle public, organizations can simply change direction by fiat. And because — in the words of the late, great Roger Faulkner — “it is easier to destroy than to create,” these changes in direction can have lasting effect when they mean stopping (or even suspending!) work on a project. Indeed, any engineer in any domain with sufficient longevity will have one (or many!) stories of exciting projects being cancelled by foolhardy and myopic management. For software, though, these cancellations can be particularly gutting because (in the proprietary world, anyway) so many of the details of software are carefully hidden from the users of the product — and much of the innovation of a cancelled software project will likely die with the project, living only in the oral tradition of the engineers who knew it. Worse, in the long run — to paraphrase Keynes — proprietary software projects are all dead. However ubiquitous at their height, this lonely fate awaits all proprietary software.
There is, of course, another way — and befitting its idiosyncratic life and death, Solaris shows us this path too: software can be open source. In stark contrast to proprietary software, open source does not — cannot, even — die. Yes, it can be disused or rusty or fusty, but as long as anyone is interested in it at all, it lives and breathes. Even should the interest wane to nothing, open source software survives still: its life as machine may be suspended, but it becomes as literature, waiting to be discovered by a future generation. That is, while proprietary software can die in an instant, open source software perpetually endures by its nature — and thrives by the strength of its communities. Just as the existence of proprietary software can be surprisingly brittle, open source communities can be crazily robust: they can survive neglect, derision, dissent — even sabotage.
One thing that is still mind-boggling to me is the total number of different database engines – over 300! I know there is a constant need for better and more powerful databases, but 300? Sounds like too much to choose from.
One other thing that I find slightly surprising is the popularity of the Microsoft Access. Really? With so much to choose from, people still stay with Access? What am I not getting here?
DB-Engines.com provides some insight into some of the most popular database engines (312 of them to be precise). Nothing too surprising there – Oracle and MySQL leading the charts, but it’s nice to have the numbers and trends.
There are, of course, many different ways how the popularity can be calculated. Their method is based on the popularity of each engine in a variety of online outlets, from Google Search to social networks.
- Number of mentions of the system on websites, measured as number of results in search engines queries. At the moment, we use Google, Bing and Yandex for this measurement. In order to count only relevant results, we are searching for <system name> together with the term database, e.g. “Oracle” and “database”.
- General interest in the system. For this measurement, we use the frequency of searches in Google Trends.
- Frequency of technical discussions about the system. We use the number of related questions and the number of interested users on the well-known IT-related Q&A sites Stack Overflow and DBA Stack Exchange.
- Number of job offers, in which the system is mentioned. We use the number of offers on the leading job search engines Indeed and Simply Hired.
- Number of profiles in professional networks, in which the system is mentioned. We use the internationally most popular professional networks LinkedIn and Upwork.
- Relevance in social networks. We count the number of Twitter tweets, in which the system is mentioned.
It seems objective and representative enough to me.
Slashdot is running the story about the Google vs. Oracle court case. I thought this bit was rather brilliant:
Schwartz’s second attempt at the breakfast menu analogy went much better, as he explained that although two different restaurants could have hamburgers on the menu, the actual hamburgers themselves were different — the terms on the menu were an API, and the hamburgers were implementations.”
FairSearch.org is a group of businesses and organizations united to promote economic growth, innovation and choice across the Internet ecosystem by fostering and defending competition in online and mobile search. We believe in enforcement of existing laws to prevent anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers.
Further down on the same page is the list of companies involved. Among them, some of those that should not even be allowed to use the word ‘fair’: Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia.
So, this bunch of clowns (my apologies to the clowns) tried and failed to control the web search and the mobile markets, and now they are trying to bring Google down by joining their forces and attempting a government campaign. Pathetic! Here is what they write to the EU:
Google’s Android is the dominant smartphone operating system, running in 70% of units shipped at the end of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Google also dominates mobile search advertising with 96% of the market, according to eMarketer. The complaint says Google uses deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile.
“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system.”
FairSearch is an international coalition of 17 specialized search and technology companies whose members include Expedia, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and TripAdvisor.
Google achieved its dominance in the smartphone operating system market by giving Android to device-makers for ‘free.’ But in reality, Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone, the complaint says. This disadvantages other providers, and puts Google’s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today.
What a load of bollocks! Google Android devices aren’t all built by Google. In fact, the majority of Android devices are shipped by other companies. Are all of them producing below the cost? Of course not. That would just be stupid. Secondly, Android is very much based on the Open Source Software, Linux and such. I’m guessing that’s one of the main reasons it grows so fast and is cheaper to make. Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle are well-known foes of Open Source. But guess what, it’s not up to them anymore. People vote with the wallet. The choice is here, and people can finally buy the devices that they like, not the ones that are being shoved down their throats.
And as far the as the web search goes, that’s even more pathetic of a subject than mobile. Just build a better search engine and people will switch over. It takes nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to use a different search engine. But the truth is, Google is by far superior search engine to Microsoft’s Bing or anything else that popped up recently. Result manipulation my a$$. If people who use the search engine will lose trust in the results, they’ll just leave. But as long as it works, who cares really?
CyberNet News has a nice coverage of StarOffice / OpenOffice.org / LibreOffice history.
- August 1999 – Sun Microsystems buys a company (StarDivision) and gets StarOffice.
- October 2000 – An open source version of StarOffice, called OpenOffice.org, was released.
- … almost 10 years goes by with several major and successful OpenOffice.org releases.
- January 2010 – Oracle buys Sun Microsystems.
- September 2010 – Some members that worked on OpenOffice.org started “The Document Foundation” due to concern over the future of OpenOffice.org now that Oracle owns it. The concerns were understood since Oracle took the OpenSolaris project, which had been around for nearly 20-years, and discontinued open development of it.
- January 2011 – OpenOffice.org 3.3 released.
- January 2011 – LibreOffice 3.3 was released (based on OpenOffice.org 3.3). This is the first stable version of the product.
- April 2011 – Oracle announces that it will no longer be supporting development of OpenOffice.org.
- June 2011 – Oracle announces that they will contribute OpenOffice.org (the trademark and the code) to the Apache Software Foundation.
- June 2011 – LibreOffice 3.4 released.
- February 2012 – LibreOffice 3.5 released.
- May 2012 – Apache OpenOffice 3.4 released. Note that it’s not called “OpenOffice.org” anymore, and is instead called “Apache OpenOffice”.
GigaOm links to an excellent visualization of smartphone patents’ legal battles. It’s interesting how different is the representation of Apple and Google on this graph. However, one needs to remember, that Google has acquired Motorola’s mobile division.
This seems to be a nice update to another graph that I’ve posted a couple of years ago. Some of the lawsuits from the old chart are still here. And there is a whole bunch of new ones. I like this new updated one better than the old one, because company logos make it more readable. And this one also has references to the actual lawsuits, in case someone wants to follow.
But not only that. They are trying to figure out who is the next in line. If you have an opinion on this matter – vote in their poll. If you don’t – check the article anyway – it’s pretty cool.
As for me, I am not that well familiar with Oracle’s business, but judging by a few comments here and there, one company that they won’t buy anytime soon is EMC. If I remember correctly, because there is some personal affair going on. Or maybe that’s just all rumors and my misunderstanding of it all.