Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MuleCast, Blog and Books

The are number of good things happening in the Mule community at the moment. We recently started a podcast series which you can subscribe to here or get it directly in iTunes. Each episode is about 5 minutes where we talk to members of the community about all things Mule. Let me know if you have any particular topics you'd like us to cover.

Next, the team behind Mule are blogging! From the Mule's Mouth is where the core developers of Mule and Galaxy blog about what's going on with the products, in our industry, and more.

Finally, now is the time to stock up your geek library because there some great books for Mule users:

They should keep you busy when you're done watching crappy TV over Christmas. Note that Manning are also offering a 27% discount for customers that quote the promotional code: msource27. Be quick though I think this code will only work for another day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Microsoft to buy SUN

Combine poor market conditions, SUN's stock price free-falling, Microsoft's desire to break into the enterprise market and you can imagine this acquisition actually happening. The fact is there are some compelling arguments to buy SUN at this point. SUN is obviously in a bit of trouble right now, their market cap is currently less than their annual revenue. That is free money for an acquirer. Schwartz has bet the farm on a long term open source strategy and while I think this is bold and commendable, it is not well suited to the current climate; nervous shareholders need to see results before 2014. It's already likely SUN will spin off some parts of their business (read: hardware) to reduce the staggering amount of cash they are burning through, but that will only go so far, SUN may need to make more drastic changes.

If Microsoft took control of SUN I think we'd see some big changes across the board. Microsoft would inject some much needed shorter term strategy, and a lot of marketing muscle that SUN desperately needs. I think they would systematically lop off all the random projects that SUN don't make money from including Open Office. OpenSolaris, MySQL and SUN's virtualization platform would be safe.

Of course this would mean that Microsoft owned JAVA. That's a pretty alarming thought. I was on a panel a couple of days ago where I contested the value of open sourcing the JDK for the end user. However, with possibilities like this I stand corrected, open sourcing the JDK was the way to go. Even though Microsoft wouldn't screw with it, you can bet there would be a huge push back form the JAVA community. I chose Java 10 years ago to get away from Microsoft's wacky APIs and brainwashing (ironic really), I can't help be feel others like myself would be pretty uncomfortable with this.

The end result would be Microsoft having a credible enterprise story, with a business to back it up. they would also (to some degree) control the mind-share of two of the biggest developer communities, Java and .NET. There would bound to be objections from other vendors on monopolization, but since the market share and products of the two companies don't actually overlap too much these objections may be difficult to defend. Scary thought.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Mac Book Pro verdict

So after my foray with Ubuntu, I switched back to Mac with an all new MBP.
As always with Apple, with every improvement, there are always drawbacks and the new MBP is no exception.

The Good

  • Solid design. It feels a lot more robust. The form factor is more sleek too

  • SSD hard drive is lightening fast, plus I hope it will not fail me like the older SATA models

  • Keyboard feels great and I like the key spacing

  • Generally, faster hardware all round with 2.8 GHz Core Duo 2 and 4 GB ram. Makes for a good experience

  • Doesn't run anywhere nearly as hot as older MBP models

The Bad

  • The new trackpad is cool, but seems unresponsive at times. I also really *dislike* the click function. I would rather it would use a single tap only for click and use two fingers to drag items

  • The screen is glossy and there is no matte option. I am getting used to the screen but in some conditions it is awful

  • The new model is the same weight as the the older model and the its actually slightly bigger!

  • The battery and housing has a new design, so I cannot use my old backup batteries

I have no take on the battery life yet, but it doesn't seem any worse that my old MBP.

All in all, I am enjoying the responsiveness and will get used to the screen. I imagine the trackpad can be fixed with software. However, I would not have upgraded if I didn't need to, there is not enough incremental value from the old MBP model.

Monday, November 10, 2008

QCon is coming

Its QCon time again in San Francisco. This is one of the conferences that I really enjoy and the line up for this year is looking better than ever.

On Thursday, I will be doing a panel discussion with Bob Lee, Rod Johnson and Geir Magnusson discussing “How does the Open Source trend in Java affect your design and development process”, which should be a very interesting discussion.

On Friday I am co-hosting a talk with Dan Diephouse about Bringing the enterprise to the web with Mule. Folks attending the Mule session on Friday at 2pm will get the option of a 27% discount (not quite sure how we got to that random number) for the excellent Open source ESBs in Action Book plus the chance to win some Mule training.

As always I’d love to meet any Mule users at the conference, just catch me after my sessions ping me on twitter or wait for me by the beer fridge :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Taking Ubuntu like a man

I wish I could say switching to Ubuntu was a breeze, but in fact it left me uneasy and in need of a hug. In the end my resolved faltered and now I'm writing this post from my restored Mac. Migration to Ubuntu is not impossible but its not an easy path either, my problem was that I just don't have the time right now to make a cold turkey switch. The major barriers I hit are -

  • No support for WebEx or Adobe Connect (I seem to be doing webinars regularly)

  • Open Office just doesn't cut it. I didn't get around to installing Wine and MS office due to other issues.

  • Ummm... iTunes, where is the Ubuntu version? I've been a long time user of iTunes, I have an iPhone and have an AppleTV unit at home. Without iTunes I can't do much with these things. Of course the real problem is I am locked into Apple, which is not a great place to be.

  • When things go wrong in Ubuntu, it takes a while to figure it out. My first hurdle was losing WIFI, but it didn't tell me I had lost it, it just disappeared. I quickly realised that the UI for the wireless wasn't going to help me diagnose the problem so I started sifting through the command-line options. I like command line for some things, WIFI isn't one of them. Eventually, somebody told me that the saved WIFI profiles do not work properly and I had to delete them. This is basic stuff, it should work

  • I couldn't get the VPN working properly. Again, trouble shooting this was unnecessarily painful in this day and age

  • The UI looks a little dated and something has to be done about the fonts (I installed MS fonts and didn't see much improvement)

  • I didn't get around to setting up my home HP printer, but the anticipated pain was bad enough

  • Finally, Ubuntu really seems to be the third wheel of operating systems. Most software vendors only provide their software for Windows and Mac. This is real shame, but I don't have hours to spend hunting for command-line utilities that may suit my needs

All that said, I actually liked Ubuntu for many reasons, I just don't have the time to invest in migrating myself over to the platform. The selling points for me were -

  • It is lightening fast. I was running on an old ThinkPad and responsivness was great

  • Its a great development machine. All the dev tools I use (when I have time) work on it and it doesn't do anything stupid with the JDK like Apple does

  • There's a great community around Ubuntu who are very helpful and know their stuff

I've decided to keep Ubuntu on the back burner. I'm not ready to make the leap yet, but I will keep playing with it. It has loads of potential, but is just not there yet in terms of usability.