Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-04-25

  • Raising Bill Gates
    In interviews with The Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates Sr., Bill Gates and their family shared many details of the family’s story for the first time, including Bill Gates Jr.’s experience in counseling and how his early interest in computers came about partly as a result of a family crisis. The sometimes colliding forces of discipline and freedom within the clan shaped the entrepreneur’s character. The relationship between father and son entered a new phase when the software mogul began working full-time seven months ago at the Gates Foundation. For the past 13 years, the father has been the sole Gates family member with a daily presence at the foundation, starting it from the basement of his home and minding it while his son finished up his final decade running Microsoft. They now work directly together for the first time.
  • Drizzle seeks to scale up MySQL – SD Times On The Web
    Brian Aker is rebuilding MySQL in the image of the Apache Web Server. As the director of architecture at MySQL, he’s been spending much of his time over the last year studying what it is that developers actually use in MySQL. To that end, he expects to deliver Drizzle, a complete fork of the MySQL codebase, sometime next year. For now, Drizzle is developing smoothly in four-month windows. “The focus is the restructuring of the code and enabling others to write the features they actually need,” said Aker. That means tossing out most of the typical features, such as authentication and stored procedures, found in a modern database.
  • The End of Innocence at Apple: How Steve Jobs Was Able To Save the Company
    For Jobs, 1997 was shaping up to be a propitious year. Pixar, the little computer animation studio he’d bought a decade earlier, had had the second-highest-grossing film of 1995 with Toy Story, its first release. The year after that, Apple had bought NeXT, the computer startup he’d founded after John Sculley showed him the door, and brought him back as a special advisor. Now, with Apple’s latest CEO ousted and nobody left to challenge him there, he simply assumed power.
  • What the Spike in Mergers Means for the Economy | Newsweek Voices – Daniel Gross | Newsweek.com
    Multinational tech and pharmaceutical companies face a common dilemma—once you’re huge, it’s tough to consistently churn out new innovations that can add meaningfully to revenues. Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, has evolved from enfant terrible into a sort of J. P. Morgan of the software industry (right down to the giant yacht)—a consolidator rather than an innovator. In the past four years, Oracle has purchased at least four dozen companies, including PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems, Silicon Valley high fliers that had been laid low. Now Ellison is presenting an encore with Sun Microsystems.
  • IBM’s Oracle emulation strategy reconsidered
    I’ve now had a chance to talk with IBM about its recently-announced Oracle emulation strategy for DB2. (This is for DB2 9.7, which I gather has been quasi-announced in April, will be re-announced in May, and will be re-re-announced as being in general availability in June.) Key points include: * This really is more like Oracle emulation than it is transparency, a term I carelessly used before. * IBM’s Oracle emulation effort is focused on two technological goals: o Making it easy for an Oracle application to be ported to DB2. o Making it easy for an Oracle developer to develop for DB2. * The initial target market for DB2’s Oracle emulation is ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) much more than it is enterprises. IBM suggested there were a couple hundred early adopters, and those are primarily in the ISV area.
  • Some DB2 highlights
    # DB2 is getting Oracle emulation, which I posted about separately. # IBM says that it had >50 new DB2 data warehouse customers last year. I neglected to ask how many of these had been general-purpose DB2 customers all along. # By “data warehouse customer” I mean a user for InfoSphere Warehouse, which previously was called DB2’s DPF (Data Partitioning Feature). Apparently, this includes both logical and physical partitioning. E.g., DB2 isn’t shared-nothing without this feature. # IBM is proud of DB2’s compression, which it claims commonly reaches 70-80%. It calls this “industry-leading” in comparison to Oracle, SQL Server, and other general-purpose relational DBMS. # DB2 compression’s overall effect on performance stems from a trade-off between I/O (lessened) and CPU burden (increased). For OLTP workloads, this is about a wash. For data warehousing workloads, IBM says 20% performance improvement from compression is average. # DB2 now has its version of one of my favorite Oracle securit
  • Adobe Flash Platform Diversity From SAP to Facebook
    The diversity in the types of experiences that can be delivered on the Flash Platform and the developer communities that are embracing Flash continues with the announcement this week that Adobe and Facebook have partnered to release an official ActionScript client library for the Facebook platform; meanwhile the SAP Community Network site has just added a new section which provides resources for SAP developers interested in embedding Rich Islands into Web Dynpro applications.
  • The Truth is Out There: Is It At JavaOne and Oracle OpenWorld?
    Some of the questions that people will be talking about and looking for answers to at these two major conferences are: * Is 2009 JavaOne the last JavaOne? With Oracle’s OpenWorld being a huge event in its own right, will Oracle have interest in maintaining a separate and very large conference? What will JavaOne be like in the future under Oracle if the conference continues? * Will Oracle support JavaFX with the same passion and resources that Sun did? * Will Oracle support GlassFish and NetBeans with the same passion and resources that Sun did? * Will Oracle support MySQL with the same passion and resources that Sun did or is this another conspiracy theory with potential? * Will Oracle support JRuby and other largely Sun-sponsored community projects with the same passion and resources that Sun did? * What effect will this have on the Java Community Process (JCP)? * How will the life of the Java developer change?
  • Oracle suits to strap on Sun’s Java sandals
    For the first time in any of its many acquisitions, Oracle’s getting more than products and customers along with a purchase: It’s getting a cause.
  • Ballmer sees years of economic contraction
    [DBM-He’s almost certainly correct, at least with respect to Microsoft‘s revenues and profits!] Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Friday that the company expects to have to deal with a weak economy for at least the next several years. “We are planning essentially for the economy to contract,” Ballmer said at a media forum in Cologne, Germany. “That may take two, three, four years, partly depending on government policy to ease some of the pain. Then we will see growth again.” The comments came the day after Redmond-based Microsoft reported that its quarterly revenue fell from the previous year for the first time in its 23-year public history, while its profit dived 32 percent.
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