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July 21, 2005

SAP a closed culture

Further to what DJ has written on the subject of SAP and it's state of health, I'd like to add a feeling about the culture.

SAP has a very closed culture - as do a lot of software vendors, who believe that it is enough to open up to a select few strategic customers, with respect to enhancing internal development.

Convergence is a funny thing, because again, I read my regular new letter from Doc Searls( SuitWatch), and he made a mention of a relevent theme. It goes something like this: all the really cool and innovative stuff happens out there by a few hardcore actors - not Corporations. These few develop an idea, and figure out how to monitise it later. The key thing to note there, is that the people involved are often unattached to a commercial entity, and do not have corporate baggage weighing them down - they travel light, and fast.

The point that I'm trying to bring home here, is that SAP has no culture, and hence no strategy for engaging these "Alpha Geeks", the visionairies, out there to keep ahead of the innovation curve - leaving them to forever play catchup. I believe it shows, in the very examples that DJ laid out - both the problem of baggage (bad technology choices such as frames), and and the repeated use of other Corporations rubbish technologies to satisfy a sudden panic in recognising being left behind (ITS server based on MS IIS, or the Business Connector based on WebMethods, or J2EE - a complete white Elephant that will be repeatedly threatened by things like Rails).

There is no easy answer to this, but allready, there are signs showing that the traditional ERP sector is being tested by various combinations of Open Source - Compiere, TinyERP, OFBiz - to name a few. How long is going to be before one of these ventures manages to strike the right balance between Open Source style Open Development, and making a commercial success/ecosystem happen?

Feel free to (dis)agree :-)

Update:
Here is another article with convergent themes that says it better than I could - Motherhood and Apple Pie

Posted by PiersHarding at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

July 7, 2005

Grokster - A very sad day for America

I just read my regular news letter "Suit Watch" from Doc Searls, and what he had to say about the MGM v. Grokster case. The outcome is highly worrying as it threatens anyone who creates software that may indeed be used for illegal purposes, even if there is significant evidence of properly intended use.

Cory Doctrow has made the situation clear with these thoughts As quoted from Docs newsletter:

   "This item" is "Supreme Court Strikes a Blow Against P2P Sharing: The
   Real Victim: American Innovation", by Cory Doctorow, in Popular
   Science. Cory explains:

     The second you show a hint of "inducement," you open your company
     up to having a court pick over the bones of every e-mail from every
     engineer, every call and every PowerPoint presentation, looking for
     evidence of thought-crime: Have you had a subversive thought while
     designing this? Did it ever occur to you that you could have made
     it a little clunkier and, in so doing, made it less infringing? Two
     companies that ship the same product face different liability based
     on whether one of them had an engineer who told her manager that
     she thought she could make it harder to infringe copyright merely
     by doubling the cost of development.

This is a very sad day for America. With attitudes like this - it wont belong before the developing world countries which don't have these hangups, will be wiping the floor with us all, because they will be light weight, agile, and completely void of this kind of baggage - and so they should, if we're stupid enough to let it happen.

Posted by PiersHarding at 11:08 AM

Jabber::mod_perl 0.06 released

Announcing Jabber::mod_perl 0.06.

My thanks go out to Christopher (and the whole jabberd development team) for his patches for Jabber::mod_perl. Nice to know that it is being used.

Changes rolled out this time are:

Posted by PiersHarding at 9:43 AM

July 6, 2005

SAP::Rfc and SAP::Rfc gives SAP RFC

SAP::Rfc 1.37 for Perl, and SAP::Rfc 0.08 for Ruby have just been uploaded to their respective repositories. These are bug fixes for BCD value handling where a BCD (Binary Coded Decimal) number has 0 decimal places.

Posted by PiersHarding at 9:32 AM