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Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

As the CEO of open source database company MySQL AB , Marten Mickos has overseen enormous growth in his company. Some even say the plucky MySQL is starting to threaten industry heavyweight Oracle, though that contest is still very much David and Goliath. At the very least, MySQL, as a major building block of the LAMP stack, earns bragging rights as the leading open source database.

In a wide-ranging interview with Datamation, Mickos talked about his company’s plans, MySQL’s competitors, and the future of the open source market.

Last year, MySQL faced a critical competitive challenge. In October 2005, Oracle acquired Finnish software company Innobase, makers of the InnoDB storage engine. A robust, enterprise-level tool, InnoDB has been distributed with MySQL for several years – and has been a key element of MySQL’s burgeoning penetration of the enterprise market.

Although Oracle stated that it “intends to continue developing the InnoDB technology,” its purchase of a key MySQL partner sent a shot across the bow of the open source database maker.

MySQL executives have made no secret of the fact that the company is developing its own alternative to InnoDB. Datamation asked Mickos about MySQL’s strategy in this regard:

Q: Since Oracle acquired InnoDB, I understand the support is as good or better and MySQL has the same contract. If that is true, why are you spending the resources to write your own?

Because we want to be in control of our destiny. We can decide the path that [MySQL] is taking, we can put our own innovations in there. There’s more freedom for us to do things.

Tech Quotes

”We want to be in control of our destiny.”

–Marten Mickos

Q: Earlier this year, MySQL AB renewed its contract with InnoDB, correct?

We have the contract for multiple years, but the storage engine’s lifetime is easily 20 years [until expected obsolescence]. Within that time frame we think it’s important for us to have our own.

Q: What about your homegrown alternative to InnoDB?

Falcon will be coming out as an alpha version in the next month.

Q: Does that mean you’ll be moving away from InnoDB in 2007?

No, no, no. We have customers who are very happy with InnoDB who will continue on InnoDB for many, many years. And we will support them fully. We have the skills to do so and we’ll have everything needed.

These storage engines have long life cycles, so you will see InnoDB and the Falcon engine living side by side for many, many years.

For example, we have the Cluster engine, which we introduced three years ago, which has been living side by side with InnoDB for three years now.

Many say as you come out with the Enterprise version, it is not open source software. I have heard there is turmoil and disagreement inside MySQL over this. What is this about?

The new Enterprise version is open source software. But there is a service component to it that is not. It’s called Monitoring and Advisory Services. It’s a service that runs, it checks your database, figures out if you have any weaknesses in it, like a missing password or if you’re running out of hard disk space.

It’s sort of a DBA [database administrator] assistant, so it does some of the DBA tasks that can be automated. It is not under an open source license.

Q: Can they run separately?

Oh sure, the database works very well without it. This is an add-on when you are a paying customer. We sell it as a service.

And, about internal turmoil, we have very strong internal debates all the time. We had it around this, we have it around every decision we make. We have 300 passionate employees who will stand up and debate.

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

I know some of the numbers but I don’t disclose them. But we have roughly one thousand non-paying users for every paying customer. And I happen to know that the ratio is changing favorably. So we see the business side growing ever faster.

Tech Quotes

“Every morning 50,000 people go to work for Oracle, and every morning 50,000 people go to download our software.”

–Marten Mickos

Now we’re getting much stronger into the enterprise, where customers will pay upfront. They will say, ‘Whatever I do, I’ll pay you because I don’t want to run the risk of being on my own.’

Q: How has revenue growth been at MySQL AB? [The privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue, but this report stated the company earned $12 million in 2003.]

It has been very encouraging. We’ve grown over the last five years, on average, about 100 percent per year.

Q: Really, one hundred percent per year?

We started small. But we are the fastest growing database company on the planet.

Next page: MySQL vs. Oracle

Q: I recently interviewed the platform architect for the city of Chicago, and she told me she uses MySQL for lower priority databases, but uses Oracle for mission critical applications. How can MySQL grow in the face of this attitude?

Many say that about Microsoft’s SQL Server as well, yet it makes $3 or $4 billion in annual revenues. What I mean is that this is not a half-empty glass, it is a half-full glass.

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

We have reached various levels of mission-criticality depending on the sector. In the Web world we are completely mission-critical – just look at Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and others. In the OEM world we are completely mission critical – just look at Nortel, Alcatel, Nokia, etc. [All powered by MySQL.]

In the so-called enterprise market we are coming up from the grassroots. Many apps are mission critical, and many are not. A third of all Oracle users also use MySQL. Sure, Oracle by tradition has the heavy ERP applications. But the big growth is elsewhere – it is in data marts, ETL, Web front-ends, e-commerce and distributed apps – and that’s where we are strong.

So we see an enormous growth opportunity here, evidenced by our sales growth. And we are specifically NOT trying to migrate Oracle apps to us. That’s an uphill battle that we happily leave to others.

So we see it as absolutely great that we are on the radar of the city of Chicago, because we never spent any marketing dollars to get in there.

Our motto is like Wayne Gretzky’s: skate to where the puck is going to be.

Look at when Toyota and the Japanese carmakers entered the U.S. market. People, said, ‘Yeah, I have a second car which is a Japanese car and it’s small one, but it’s not the big one and the main one.’ But today, who is the dominant leader in the car space? It’s Toyota, with Lexus, with big SUVs, with everything – the highest quality, the most affordable prices, and it’s just an amazing business.

Tech Quotes

“Our motto is like Wayne Gretzky’s: skate to where the puck is going to be.”

–Marten Mickos

Q: That would suggest that you do intend to go head to head with Oracle.

I think we will grow into more and more mission critical use and we do it by the day – we see it happening every day. And it’s the innovator’s dilemma here at work. I’m not saying that we’ll make the old guys completely irrelevant, but look at what happened with the main frames, and then came the minis. And the minis took all the new business and the mainframe still remain. And then the PCs came and did the same thing to the minis.

Q: And there are still mainframes.

Yes, and there will be, and it’s good business. So in the same way, Oracle will always have good business somewhere there in the back room, and in something old and classical. But the interesting thing is the new growth.

Next page: Tackling the Enterprise

Q: What about the new Enterprise version MySQL?

It’s our first [enterprise version]. It was launched a month ago. The initial reactions have been very positive. But note here that we launched the Enterprise version with [release] 5.28, which is a new version, but it was not a major new feature release. And the monitoring service that we discussed earlier is as a release candidate so it will come out as GA in about one month.

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

So the announcement happened a month ago, the product was immediately available, but in typical open source fashion we add new functionality all the time. It’s ‘release early, release often.’ We don’t sit and wait it for it, to make some big bang announcement.

Q; What does MySQL have planned for 2007?

It will be the growth into the modern enterprise. And I say ‘modern’ specifically to show that we are not trying to get the migration deals from Oracle. We’re trying to get the new applications that are being deployed. And that’s the part that is growing much more rapidly than anything else.

And we just won a big deal in Sweden. The Swedish police decided to build all their new applications on Linux, JBoss and MySQL.

Q: What will your main focus be in the years ahead?

We think we are powering the new online world. And we learned this trade in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, but it stretches into the enterprise today. So it’s online in terms of data marts, it’s online in terms of departmental, data warehousing, and e-commerce. And it’s online in terms of telephony and telecom applications. So that’s our focus very much.

We just see that with one billion people on the Internet today, and companies being more and more Internet-enabled, that’s where the big, big growth will be.

Q: So the new growth will be powering the online world. In your view, is this a different world than the enterprise world?

I think there will be an old part of the enterprise world that refuses to see the new stuff and they will continue to run on mainframes and old Oracle databases. But the new ones are the ones being built now that follow the new scale-out architecture and service-oriented architecture, and they will run on us.

Tech Quotes

“There will be an old part of the enterprise world that refuses to see the new stuff and they will continue to run on mainframes and old Oracle databases.”

–Marten Mickos

Q: What are the challenges for MySQL?

For a growth company it’s important to stay focused and just have your internal things in shape. Just managing growth – to focus the organization, keep it running very fast, and fix the problems quickly. There are always things that go wrong and then you need to fix them quickly.

I don’t want to sound too arrogant or anything, but I think out in the marketplace we’re just enormously popular. We have so many passionate customers who are just loving this.

How many complaints per year do I get elevated to me? I think I’ve had four this year – four customers who’ve had situations they had to raise to my level. And with millions of users I think it’s just amazing how well we’ve been able to serve them.

And keeping up with that takes a lot of internal work. We have a fantastic support team and we need to make sure they have the training and the manpower they need. And all that happens behind the scenes, but that’s what we’ve been spending a lot of time on.

Next page: Open Source Leaders

Q: In terms of challenges, no external challenges? They’re all internal to the company?

Externally, it’s a fantastic new world. Sure we have competitors. They will take all kinds of actions. We already see some serious actions by the establishment when they realize that the whole world is going LAMP.

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

But, you know, I just see them [the competitors’ actions] as welcome new things, they give more credibility to open source, they give us more attention. Look at Oracle – they’re distributing MySQL from their Web site. (Laughs) I think that’s just wonderful!

Q: Is that a new development?

When they announced that they’re supporting Linux, they put a Linux distro on their Web site for anybody, and it includes MySQL.

Q: What is their motivation for doing it?

Tech Quotes

“Microsoft has no way of keeping pace with what’s happening here.”

–Marten Mickos

I have no idea. You must ask them. Maybe they didn’t think of it, maybe they didn’t realize that MySQL is included, how do I know? Or maybe they think that MySQL is such a great database that it’s worth distributing. Maybe they needed to distribute a very fast database. (Laughs)

Q: Anything else to add?

I always say that I’m thankful for all the press attention we get, but I think there’s a bigger issue at hand. We have the LAMP stack but the companies around it are more than just L and A and M and P.

For this to make sense to the world and to be useful to six billion people on this planet, there needs to be applications and all kind of services on top of the LAMP stack – and those are now happening and that’s a very interesting thing.

– those guys are building very innovative new stuff on an open source platform. And they’re growing like crazy.

Everyday I get new e-mails – somebody has built some great new widget or gadget that runs on the LAMP stack. The innovative power of this ecosystem is just enormous. And Microsoft has no way of keeping pace with what’s happening here.

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The Challenges Of Open Source In Non

Open source seems to present a number of obstacles to those making technical purchasing decisions in those businesses that are classified non-profit. These could be educational institutions, government departments or religious organizations.

The interesting facet of this discussion, however, is that the same business needs exist in not-for-profit institutions as it does in for-profit ones. At the end of the day, each organization has to have money in the bank to conduct its affairs. This could be achieved by donations or by selling products or services for payment.

This article attempts to survey some of those issues facing open source in the not-for-profit sector of the business world.

The primary difference between the organizations is the way they handle their profit. In the not-for-profit sector any profits are to be used according to the aims of the organization rather than distributed to members or shareholders.

It is worth remembering that profit, as Peter Drucker has told us, is the future cost of staying in business. Thus any organization, no matter how it establishes itself legally, needs money to pay existing and future costs. Profit is essential to the health of any organization.

In this environment, Open Source is competing against other providers in the market place. If the business analysis above is accurate, then it is possible to apply the two considerations to open source.

First, is the consideration of the underlying technology itself. The Linux platform allows a company of any kind to obtain some substantial savings in licensing fees. These can amount to thousands for dollars for larger organizations.

Too many IT departments are familiar with operating systems that require constant maintenance. This is their world. It keeps them employed. To cut into this paradigm with a product that can significantly reduce maintenance costs in addition to purchasing costs, creates a problem for many. The initial problem is one of disbelief. Can Linux really save those licensing fees? The answer to this one is easy.

But the second question, can Linux really deliver maintenance savings, is a little harder to establish. Can another operating system really reduce the costs in this area? Only those who have experienced this can speak with certainty.

But the broader aspect of technology implementation is application based. People, at the end of the day, do not buy an NT or Linux server because that is what they need. Rather, they buy application software then look for a platform to run it on.

Here is the crying need in the open source market: applications. Yes there are some, and they are really good. But in other areas, the open source developers are running behind market demand.

Now you come to the real source of the issue for open source: making money. If you have to develop software which you give away, you have to have some method of recovering development and ongoing costs. In the open source market, this can only be obtained through service. This probably means, however, a longer payback time for investors. If you cannot get money immediately from sales, then you may need additional time to recover costs through service agreements.

Can this be done successfully? The answer is positive, as many open source providers have discovered. That path is not easy, but each success somewhere else makes it easier for the next person to bring open source applications to the market.

To be successful in open source, it is necessary to remember some crucial issues. One of these is the problem that in many companies business decisions are driven by the technocrats rather than the business managers. The solution to this problem is to have a compelling business case for a business to consider and apply an open source solution to its needs. When that occurs, the fear, uncertainty and doubt from the IT department will take second-place to the needs of the business.

Here are some key questions for open source suppliers and developers.

In what way does my open source application satisfy a business need?

In what way does my open source application distinguish itself from its competitors?

It does not seem reasonable to expect buyers to move into the open source marketplace unless you can answer these questions for them. When you can do this and they are convinced you have a business solution for them, then the discussion can begin on delivery platform.

At this stage, the technical people will get involved. If they are ignorant of Linux, then you’ll need to be ready to educate them. If they are fearful of losing their job because you can reduce the costs of technology maintenance, then you better have a solution to help these people.

If doing business was easy, many more people would be in business for themselves, and we’d all have less stress in our lives. It is the challenges that helps separate those who will step up to the plate to solve problems, and those who will avoid the risks involved.

In this climate, the entrepreneurial spirit is needed to carry those who make the decisions to bring open source applications into the marketplace. But it can be done.

This article was first published on chúng tôi

Best Open Source Intranet Solutions

There’s a lot of benefits to having your local communications within the confines of your office Intranet. When it comes to keeping content and communications local, there are a number of decent Linux Intranet friendly solutions to serve content to those on your network.

When it comes down to simply distributing text content to those connected to your Intranet, it’s tough to beat the simplicity and effectiveness of a wiki.

TWiki – While it might not feel as fancy as other full service Intranet products available, TWiki is a fully functional open source Intranet portal. Some of its core functionality includes:

An online collaboration platform that allows teams to work together from almost anywhere.

Project development tracking and reports.

A version-friendly document control system.

Rich text editor for users/admins.

Fully customizable themes and overall feel.

Extensions, variables and structured content put you firmly into the driver’s seat.

DokuWiki – Plaintext, no databases and low overhead on your network – this is what DokuWiki brings to the table. DokuWiki is best suited for organizations needing a simple, yet extensible wiki environment to manage important documentation.

Some of its core functionality includes:

Easy to install – no databases or other related hassles.

A clean, consistent environment for document creation and editing.

Fantastic revision handling and automatic services like “future page links” for content not yet created.

DokuWiki is ideal for anyone needing a strong documentation platform for their company, yet would rather rely on the plugin system to add-on additional functionality vs having a ton of bloat by default.

TiddlyWiki – If the idea of using a PHP-driven Wiki solution for your Intranet makes you cringe, relax – there’s a great alternative using javascript called TiddlyWiki. Now the first thing you need to know is this isn’t as robust as the other Wiki options above. At its core, it’s basically a place to store complex information. I believe this is best suited for smaller workgroups needing to get their thoughts into something better organized than a ton of stickie notes pasted around the office. What it lacks in its collaboration abilities it more than makes up for in its “Get stuff done” approach to content handling.

Some of its core functionality includes much of the same functionality found with DokuWiki, minus the PHP and collaboration option.

Sometimes a simple wiki solution isn’t enough. To address this, the following section will cover portal solutions that go beyond mere documentation management.

eXo Platform – One of the nice things about eXo is it provides a rich out of the box user experience for those looking to build up their Intranet environment. This is a collaboration tool that also provides users with document management, forums, shared calendars and shared tasks.

Some of its core functionality includes:

Collaborative workspaces designed to group users into relevant teams.

The collaborative workspaces also provided team-only access to discuss items of the day, sharing documents, run video conferences, while keeping the interactions team-centric instead of being company-wide.

Wiki functionality is also provided with eXo. This allows for documentation building for your teams and company.

Unlike the standalone Wiki options from the first part of this article, eXo is a full employee portal for your Intranet that embraces social interaction with security. – If you’re finding that eXo isn’t for you, then I’d suggest looking into chúng tôi as a solid alternative. I might even go so far as to say it’s perhaps a bit more robust out of the box. Not only does chúng tôi provide document management, collaboration and highly targeted internal communication – there are other important features to consider.

File repositories are available for sharing documents with your co-workers.

Media galleries that go beyond mere images. You can also create galleries for audio and video.

Filtering, sorting and logging – if you need to get the most from your user data, chúng tôi can help.

Notifications, RSS, tagging and content relationships.

Mindmap based sitemaps. Dynamic sitemaps are created as content and interactions are created automatically. offers just about anything you can think of to keep your Intranet content and communication exchanges humming along.

Open Atrium – If you are familiar with Drupal, then Open Atrium is going to feel very familiar to you. Open Atrium is robust enough that it feels like Drupal outright. Instead, its focus is to ensure that your ability to create, edit and distribute documentation throughout your company is made easy.

Some of its core functionality includes:

Drag and Drop file uploading.

Easy content archiving.

Draft to publishing workflow that provides ample opportunity to maximize your content flow.

Focuses on building an Intranet site that is simple or multifaceted.

At the end of the day, this is a Drupal-based release. So the focus is basically on content creation and long-term content management. If this is a focus for your company, then this might just be the solution for you.

Every company out there has different needs. Your company may need a whole suite of stuff ranging from communication to collaboration. Others, however, might just need a means of exchanging and managing their document flow. No matter your need, odds are there is a solution above that will help you to get the job done.

Why not feature closed source alternatives? Simple – because locking your company into a proprietary solution is asking for future headaches. Support evolves, companies disappear, or perhaps your proprietary option simply decides to force existing users to upgrade to an expensive alternative. No matter how you slice it, open source wins in this space. Fact is, you’re free to export your data to an alternative or pay a consultant to take it up if a project you rely on folds up shop. Even if that’s just keeping an existing release patched and secure.

Open Source Projects: 12 On The Way Up

It’s pretty wild, but there are still some people out there who firmly believe that open source is little more than a passing fad. The following list not only proves this wrong (again), it also details open source applications that are “up and coming” through the ranks of popularity, earning the respect of their peers and growing toward a broad user base.

1. Partimage

I don’t care what capacity your PC is used in, chances are that some if not all of the data on that machine is critical to your Zen-like well being. So making sure you have a ready-to-go backup might just be a plan worth implementing.

Partimage to backup and restore your XP partitions, should the need arise.

Because people are becoming so fed up with many of the closed source alternatives out there, the momentum behind Partimage has been picking up plenty of steam lately and has shown little sign of cooling off anytime soon.

Compatibility: Linux/Bootable CD

2. POPfile

I have been one of the many silent, but loyal POPFile users for a number of years now. As a matter of fact, it is one of the first email filtering programs I ever used, way back when. And looking back, it helped me to appreciate a powerful, though cumbersome, email filtering utility.

Regarding POPFile’s popularity, it has been what I call a “sleeping giant.” There are still scores of people who may have never heard of this application for filtering email with Bayesian rules. However, once they understand that it can be trained to filter any way you like (way beyond spam), those users are fans for life. So in the end, I give POPfile points for overall user retention, in addition to amazing growth.

Compatibility: Windows/Platform independent


Quanta Plus

For my money (if you’ll pardon the pun), there is no better open source Website editor than Quanta Plus. Targeted to those who want more than Nvu offers from a Website editor, Quanta Plus most definitely does not disappoint.

Even though Quanta is considered a KDE application, it will work on Ubuntu and other distros that fall back on GNOME as their default desktop environment. And even though KDE makes me gag, I simply love the simplicity of page management, link control and overall feel of the application as a whole.

Likely to be seen as most popular on the KDE (Linux) side of things, I would challenge anyone to tell me that it will not run up to par on my GNOME desktop environment. That, and the sheer number of Ubuntu users using Quanta Plus, is all the proof I need as to its value across both desktop environments. For the web designer with an affinity for open source, it’s a must have.

Compatibility: Linux

4. InfraRecorder

Here in the wide world of Linux, we have open source CD/DVD burning applications coming out of our ears. But what about for the Linux user? Recently, an application known as InfraRecorder has been picking up steam with the Windows crowd and is showing no sign of cooling off.

Designed to feel like Explorer on the XP desktop, InfraRecorder allows the casual user to feel right at home. Browse, add, and burn. It’s no wonder, why Nero among others are looking less and less attractive for casual data writing to CDs.

Compatibility: Windows

5. GimpShop

In the past, I have had people give me grief over my fascination with GimpShop and how it has succeeded in making GIMP feel a little bit more familiar to the avid Photoshop user. Functional to the core, GimpShop’s popularity has grown tremendously in recent years thanks to the power of word of mouth from the application’s fan base. That said, it is a little more cumbersome to install than its Photoshop counterpart for Windows users.

Regardless, GimpShop keeps on gaining steam and will continue making users happy with this Photoshop alternative for many years still to come.

Compatibility: Linux/Windows/Mac

6. Beryl/Compbiz

To be absolutely accurate, one might be quick to point out that Beryl is more of a desktop environment rather than an application of sorts. Nevertheless, like a smash hit application, Beryl has become something of a celebrity in both Linux and Windows circles alike.

With amazing 3D effects that far out do anything seen on Vista (OS X, even), Beryl has single-handedly attracted new users to the Linux platform who were simply so taken in by this beta desktop environment.

Still very much under heavy development, now with the merger of Compiz under its belt, Beryl is going to be gaining new followers even quicker now, despite a likely name change at some point.

Compatibility: Linux

7. Banshee

Even though I remain a Rhythmbox kind of guy, the pace at which Banshee appears to be progressing is nothing short of fantastic. It does share a lot with Rhythmbox, including plugins for extra functionality and iPod support, but in many respects, it just feels more intuitive than Rhythmbox. I believe much of its popularity stems from its amaroK-like first-run music detection wizard, which makes music importing a snap. Yes, that has to be its best feature. It’s impressive that it can stand up side by side with fantastic applications like amaroK and accomplish many of the same feats, such as smart playlists and easy CD burning.

Despite its import bugs, Banshee is on the right track and its growing development and user base are pretty clear indications of its overall success.

Compatibility: Linux

8. Jabbin

Realizing fully that I’ve touted Jabbin in the past, I would point out that its sweet spot is not so much the fact that it’s a solid communication tool, but rather its entrance into making Gtalk calls a reality. Finally, we can free ourselves from Skype’s grasp while still using a protocol for voice communication that others on other platforms are likely to be able to receive.

Strong development, even a stronger following of users adopting this communication tool, Jabbin is a welcome sight for many users who simply would rather not settle for Google’s take on the Jabber protocol.

Compatibility: Linux/Windows

9. Scribus

I have said it once and I will say it again – give this application the ability to hack out an export for MS Publisher files, and many people could dump Windows forever. That said, Scribus is always under constant development so that the end user has access to the best publishing software possible.

Why Scribus? It’s powerful, functional and can anything you would find with closed source alternatives, in my opinion. As more and more people become fed up with the consistent backwards compatibility headaches presented with MS Publisher and other similar closed source products, Scribus will grow. Its ever-growing popularity simply stems from its fantastic abilities and outstanding pricing structure – free.

Compatibility: Linux/Windows/Mac

10. Dia

Generally seen as the Linux alternative to Visio, Dia is something of a lesser known application from within the drawing community. But lately, there has been evidence that this is changing – and quickly at that.

I believe its value stems from its use over other drawing applications from within the open source world. Addtionally, since it targets Visio right away, it is not left trying to attract new users like Open Office Draw.

Compatibility: Linux/Windows


Some of you might be surprised that I did not say Cinelerra instead, but in reality, I have found LIVES to be better supported for download, easier to use and more popular overall. The application itself is much more than a mere video editor; it allows the user to go so far as to act as their own video DJ.

Compatibility: Linux

12. Akregator

This final application is one that I could have never lived without when I made the switch to Linux – Akregator. Unlike Liferea, Akregator doesn’t fall on its face when too many RSS feeds have been added to the database. It’s rock solid and perceived by many insiders as a bit of a “sleeper” app, since most users outside of the Linux world are only now becoming more familiar with it.

Much like RSS syndication itself, Akregator is an application that provides the level of RSS browsing functionality the user has come to expect, but doing so in such a way as to not confuse new users with too many confusing features.

51 Open Source Tools For The Internet Of Things

According to the market researchers at IDC, there were 9.1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed at the end of 2013. They expect that number to grow 17.5 percent each year and hit 28.1 billion in 2023, when the total IoT market could be worth more than $7 trillion.

The open source community has been at the forefront of this new trend, creating software and hardware designs that enable nearly anyone to experiment with IoT devices and applications. And the number of open source projects dedicated to IoT has been growing rapidly. Last year, we put together a list of 35 open source IoT projects, and this year, we’ve extended it to 51 tools.

Look five or ten years into the future, and which open source operating system will be dominant in the Internet of Things sector? That’s very hard to say at this point in the emerging IoT market’s life, but it’s clearly possible that one of the open source OSes on this list will be the winner. Will it be one of the already familiar names, or an underdog that is less well known? Take a look at this list and make your best guess.

The Internet of Things conjures an image of millions – billions – of sensors across a vast physical area. But this sprawling network also requires a platform to support it. And in some cases, more than one platform. The following list details some of the pioneering open source platforms in the rapidly growing Internet of Things sector.

Middleware doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it provides valuable services by enabling the connection of disparate software components. This is particularly important in the diverse world of the Internet of Things, in which a vast universe of components must be tied together. The following open source middleware IoT tools – from AllJoyn to OpenRemote – are providing unsung but highly important support.


DeviceHive is a machine-to-machine (M2M) communication framework for smart energy, home automation, remote sensing, telemetry, remote control and monitoring software and other IoT applications. It supports Java, C++, .NET, Python, Javascript, and other platforms.


Sponsored by the Open Interconnect Consortium, The IoTivity software allows for device-to-device connectivity. It is an implementation of the OIC’s standard specification. Operating System: Linux, Arduino, Tizen


InfluxDB is a “distributed time series database with no external dependencies.” That makes it ideal for collecting data from IoT sensors; in fact, it can track data from tens of thousands of sensors sampling more than once per second. Operating System: Linux, OS X

Eclipse IoT Project

The Eclipse Foundation has a long list of IoT-related projects that include standards and development frameworks. The project also offers a wealth of videos, tutorials, sandboxes and other tools to help new IoT developers get started on their first projects.


The Kinoma platform encompasses both hardware and software tools for prototying IoT devices and applications. KinomaJS, its JavaScript-based application framework, is available under an open source license. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

M2MLabs Mainspring

Based on Java and the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, Mainspring describes itself as “an open source application framework for building machine to machine (M2M) applications such as remote monitoring, fleet management or smart grid.” Features include flexible device modeling, device configuration, communication between devices and applications, data validation and normalization, long-term data storage and data retrieval. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X


This “visual tool for wiring the Internet of Things” simplifies the process of connect IoT devices with APIs and online services. It is built on chúng tôi and includes a browser-based flow editor. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X


This Java-based open source home automation software promises a vendor-agnostic way to control all the IoT devices in your home through a single interface. It allows users to set up their own rules and control their home environment. You can download the software from the site or use it through the my.openHAB cloud service. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android

The Thing System

The Thing System’s website says, “Today, you have to fight your things. They don’t talk to each other, the apps don’t work, it’s a tower of babel. Our solution — the Thing System — is open source. We’ll talk to anything, you can hack the system, it has an open API.” It supports a huge list of IoT devices, including those made by Cube Sensors, Parrot, Next, Oregon Scientific, Samsung, Telldus, Aeon Labs, Insteon, Roku, Google, Apple and other manufacturers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, others


This project promises “ridiculously simple dashboards for your devices.” It offers a widget-based, drag-and-drop development tool that makes it easy to track the data from your IoT devices. Both free and paid plans are available. Operating system: OS Independent

Exciting Printer

This unusual project makes it possible to create your own small, internet-connected printer. Want to talk to the project owners? You can send a message or draw a picture that will be printed on the Exciting Printer in their office.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Open Source Storage Takes On Raid

storage startup hopes to make a name for itself by basing its solutions almost entirely on open source technologies.

Linux and other open source technologies are found in a broad range of enterprise storage technologies, the full extent of which isn’t known because vendors don’t generally talk about their underlying platforms and analysts don’t track them. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Open Source Storage, on the other hand, is using its underlying technologies as a selling point for a trio of new RAID offerings.

The actual operating system used by Open Source Storage on the RAID solutions varies depending on the client, and the choice may extend beyond Linux. Eren Niazi, president, CEO and founder of Open Source Storage, explained that Fortune 100 clients typically use Solaris as their chosen OS.

On the enterprise Linux side, Niazi noted that some customers don’t like the price tag associated with traditional enterprise offerings, so Open Source Storage uses something called CentOS. CentOS is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux “clone” that is unaffiliated with Red Hat. CentOS uses the same basic source as Red Hat, but is supported via an open source community effort. Red Hat’s own community distribution, Fedora Core, is also a potential option for Open Source Storage customers.

Niazi noted that his firm provides OS benchmarks and customers choose based on their own needs. Custom options are also available. “If they ask us to recompile the kernels, we have a programming team that can reprogram things, create drivers and things like that as well,” Niazi said.

“All we’re doing is tailoring the software to meet customer needs,” said Niazi.”We don’t like to reinvent the wheel too much.”

Niazi said he ran into a lot of skepticism at first when he decided to launch a storage company based on open source technologies.

“When I started the company in 2001, a lot of people laughed,” Niazi said. “They said a lot of people have failed at what you are doing, you’re going to fail. We’ve now grown to millions and millions of sales.”

Although open source is the company’s core focus, that doesn’t mean Niazi will turn away a customer who wants to use Microsoft with the company’s solutions. “First, we’ll try and educate how open source will save money, but if not, we’ll still help him out,” he said.

Although Open Source Storage makes use of open source software, it’s not above patenting its own hardware technology. Niazi said the company will be launching a new patent-pending vertical patch panel that increases cooling and minimizes the required amount of cabling.

Patents have been generally looked down upon by the open source community as “non-open,” but Niazi doesn’t see any issue with patenting the new hardware product.

“The patch panel is a piece of sheet metal,” Niazi said. “It’s our design that can be used in any configuration. The only reason we patented it is we don’t want people to copy our patch panel design. But all of our hardware inside the system is open standards, the software is open standards. The only thing we’re patenting is a mechanical difference that will make us excel versus the competition.”

This article was first published on chúng tôi

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