Bye bye Fred !


This blog is just about technical things, IT subjects, such as Pentaho, JasperSoft, Intalio or our own platforms (FreeAnalysis, FreeDashboar, FreeMetrics). Is this a place for personal thought … yes …

Yesterday, Fred Chichin died and a whole part of our music life has gone with Fred leaving this world (for those of you who are 40’s like me) ! For non-french people, “the Rita Mitsouko” could be compare to “Doors”, and Fred Chichin compare to Jim Morisson … but no one can be compare to anyone else, this is not a subject !

We can talk about Rita Mitsouko freedom in terms of music’s choice, and compare it to Open Source freedom … this is also not a subject. Simply … bye bye Mr Chichin and thanks for your music …

Have fun … for those who can …


FreeAnalysis embeded into Liferay

Dear Readers,

Some of you (early contributors) have already noticed that FreeAnalysis is now running under Liferay, as an IFrame. Having innovative technologies embeded into strong technologies bring immetiadly FreeAnalysis to a state-of-art position, and allow us to forecast enterprise-wide deployment, as long as offering new features such as Olap document management.

LifeRay is a cool portal, that has get quick and strong recognition from the market, leading to massive adoption in new Web2.0 application. While FreeAnalysis is also getting strong acceptance from the Olap market, by providing tools to design, deploy and use various Olap engines, it seems that our new embeded LifeRay Web Platform has reached an unforecasted level of maturity.

FreeAnalysis IFrame into LifeRay

Now, its time for us to deploy version 1. GA of the platform and provide more and more around the FreeAnalysis platform, because we want to keep providing advanced new breaking features to the Open Source BI market ! Coming back to “1.0 GA”, thanks to contributors coming from Venezuela to India, we have fixed some hiden bugs that will lead of to publish a last “Release Candidate 4” platform, before going to 1.0 GA. Then, “GA” has been postponed until the week of december 10th … but 2 weeks delay is nothing compared to unprecedent set of available usefull functions

Have Fun !

Pentaho Training in Hong Kong


I’m about to leave HongKong, were I was in charge of the first Pentaho Training in Asia, on behalf of Pentaho, for a limited but motivated number of trainees (8 skillfull people). This training was organised by Brainchild, Pentaho partner for the Asia region. I want to thank Patrick Choi for the organisation of this event, and Tom Wix, from Pentaho, for having dedicated this training to me.

This training – ETL&Olap – was really cool ! Trainees have interesting – some high – experience of Open Source technologies, and were happily surprised by the quality and features available in the Pentaho Platform. As usual, leaving after the training is always a sad moment, because you have shared so many things with those people during 4 days, and you may never see them again. This is mostly the case when training is shared with “Open Source pioners” : so much pleasure training & meeting new people … and leaving. I’m certain new questions will come in the next coming days, and we will exchange some nice mails about Pentaho & others big Open Source players.

This training was also an opportunity for me to discover Hong-Kong. So fascinating town, I really had a “coup de coeur” for this town, as never before in any other foreign town. Thanks to Patrick Choi, I have discovered Korean and Chineese restaurants … and I did survived (I was scared having some digest problems … but all was really ok).

Soon back in Europe, I will go on pushing Open Source BI and platforms, waiting for the next opportunity to come back and visit another Asian country

Have Fun,


Introduction to Intalio

Dear readers,

If you need a Business Process Management system, just have a look at Intalio. The plateform is nice to manage your enterprise process and flexible enough to integrate external processes, using Web Services technologies. Intalio is a Palo Alto company that provide an Open Source version of its platform, along with an Enterprise version for supported customers. Their Business Model is a proven one in the Open Source area, and they have good success and a large customer base.

May be some of you have no vision or knowledge of using a BPM platform : just think you have to organise some process and integrate external results (manual validation, automatic process …). Intalio does it for you, providing a designer to draw your workflow and a server to deploy it on the Web. This is the kind of software everybody has always looked for, but never dreamt to find in Open Source.

Intalio platform does more than only scheduling or organising your process : it validates the process for you, ensure the integrity of a global workflow and can embed as many Business Processes as you will never be in position to design. Next year, we are planning to integrate our servers (FreeAnalysis, FreeMetrics and FreeDashboard) with Intalio, then, I’m certain I will come back to you with more details about our future successfull integration …

Have Fun !


Who’s next ?

Oracle bought Hyperion in March, SAP bought Business Objects in October, and this week IBM bought Cognos (who just bought Applix some weeks ago)! There will be many articles and blogs about those buying – monopoly games – but let’s move forward and try to estimate the consequence on product roadmap, support and integration. Who’s the next pure player BI company to be sold : Information Builders ? Microstrategy ? Informatica ? … what will be the consequences for end users ? Will it serve the emerging Open Source BI market ?

My thinking is that Hyperion, BO and Cognos have good products and analysts, and they already knew they will loose against Open Source BI. Then, it was just time for those companies to make money, before selling. This is even not a contest. This is why they did increase their prices over the last months, just to generate more revenue without even thinking to their users. Now, their products will became “services” in larger set of applications. Being a pure player is hard : you have to exist by yourself, without any collateral support from other packages. But being a pure player is a key for having recognition and success.

What is the situation in the Open Source market ? just have a look at Kettle , now part of Pentaho BI suits. Being part of this platform has help Kettle getting recognation from the market, while taking advantages of Pentaho’s important marketing investment. But compare to Talend , pure player of the Open Source ETL, Kettle is “lost” as an ETL services in the Pentaho platform. People always tell that Open Source product can’t be bought, and that if it was the case, a new product – still Open Source – will emerge. Well, I’m not really certain this is the situation : Redhat bought JBoss … do you see any “new” JBoss branch … ok, RedHat is an Open Source product … but JBoss is now only a RedHat service …

Let’s come back to the most important : users ! What is the situation for those companies (Cognos is claiming to have 25 000 customer worldwide) ? Who cares ? Crazy world of business software, managed by financial operations. Don’t forget that ETL and reporting are the most widely used part of a BI suits … and that PDF report generation is free (using Birt, Penatho Reporting or JasperReport).

One day will come where IT Manager will dedicate an important part of their budget to support, training and integration, and another important part of this budget to support their internal users … far away from paying expensive BI Licences. This day is today : the Open Source market is now ready to undertake large migration projects, platforms have strong performance, and there are more and more resources available in the market. Everyone should keep in mind that the customer has still the choice, and Open Source alternatives are available in all areas.

Have Fun !


Some News of FreeDashboard

Well, today, just some quick notes about FreeDashboard, because I have received many questions about this new project.

Over the last 2 weeks, we have added news components, such as a consistent filter interface that allow the design of multi-linked filters, with or without automatic refresh of the result, and we have cleaned the integration of our FreeMetrics components (to embed Alerts and KPI into the Dashboard). Last good news is that this week, we will finalize the integration of FreeAnalysis report, which will leverage the usage of the 3 Platforms together, with FreeDashboard as an integration environment (development and deployment). We have made some modification in the XML document that contains dashboard definition, and reviewed some of the initial features according to some external requests.

What about packages availability ? We are not late, always forecasting to delivere something by the end of november. We will run various tests and write a “getting started” document to help developers starting with the platform. We are still accepting early tester (send a request at, and we will soon launch our new support Web site. All goes in the right direction … just keep confident and keep listen to more news soon.

Have Fun !


Meeting Mondrian

Dear readers,

Last week, I was in SanFrancisco and took this opportunity to meet Julian Hyde, Mondrian leader and promoter. It was a real pleasure to meet with Julian, to put a picture on a mail address and to be abble to share some thinkings about Mondrian and Open Source Olap market. FreeAnalysis platform is based on top of Mondrian, so our future development are currently linked with the evolution of Mondrian. Some of our customers have high expectations in terms of Olap features, and one of my objective for this meeting was to better understand how Mondrian will evolve in the next coming months.

Unfortunatly, I went out of this meeting with more open questions than answers … Julian has a lot to do, and days are only 24 hours a day, even for the most motivated person. This situation is common in many Open Source projects not sponsored by privatly held companies : maintenance is a hard job, and every project needs more resources to develop new versions along with providing support and maintenance. If all available time is spent on those subjects, which are mandatory if you want people to use and promote your software, development cycle and versions delivery process are slow down by this lack of resources. Questions to have external employees involved in open source projects is also a tricky subject to manage, and there are no right or wrong answer … just a question of honesty and respect.

I’d like to close this post by a more important information : last wednesday, during this discussion with Julian, a boat had an accident, leading to one lof the most important oil spill in San Francisco Bay. As date of this writting, 200 people were working on the cleanup and had recovered about 9,500 gallons of the oil … just to bring the relative importance of our Mondrian’s subjects

Have Fun !


Landscape of Freedom

Dear readers,

It appears that Matt Casters and its crasy super Kettle ETL software reached out an important step in their development cycle. Kettle 3.00 is about to be released, (please read Matt’s blog for additional information), and it will be the first major upgrade for Kettle since its broad adoption by the open source comunity. We are all very excited about this final release, especially since Matt’s presentation in Lyon last week. Second release candidat is already usable, and contains so many interesting new features and performance enhancements. OK, it took me some times to understand the power and interest of lazy conversion, but I’m now sold to this strategy when dealing with large number of records !

3.00 … well, it sounds like “300”, the title of the movie that tells the story of Sparte, a Greece region, engaged in a final war against Persia. 300 motivated soldiers fighting during days for their freedom against thousand of regular, not so motivated soldiers. Message behind the story is welknowned : liberty has a price, in this case the death of many warriors, and freedom can’t be achieved for free. Other message could be that motivation and personal investment can change the world !

Some centuries after this war (and unfortunatly so many others !), Open Source developers are also claiming to defend the Freedom of Software against commercial software. We can have long discussion on this subject, the concept of “liberty”, which should be included in a global package that include “respect for project, product and roadmap”, “respect for customer”, “respect for contributor” …

Is liberty the right for the creator of an Open Source project to froze his development because he has temporary no more time or interest in his project when comunity and customers are waiting for new features, enhancement and bug fixing ? For some customers, liberty is to select commercial products, simply because they can have more choice when selecting an integrator (this is the last thing to improve in our Open Source BI area : having more resources available for integration and development projects … but every day we are converting developers to our open source platform) … liberty, respect, freedom … not only words …

Price is something Open Source developers are paying every day : investment in those projects (because its definitly not a part time job) along with some financial limitation (because I know many Open Source developers who could have better job condition and higher salaries) compare to commercial software developers. But being part of some Open Source projects is more important for them than extra money … and again, Open Source software is not a synonym of free support, free training and free requests development …

In “300”, Greece recovered its liberty when other regions joined Sparte to form a more important army, just when those other regions understood that “winning against Persia was possible”. In our daily devotion to Open Source promotion, situation is the same : freedom is a concept close to knwoledge, and one of our first task is to be certain that potential customers have the knowledge that Open Source products can be a reliable answer in their IT research of a better global low cost solution.

Situation is the same for the FreeAnalysis project : Release Candidate 3 is now available, and training material will be soon available. We are always forecasting to have version 1.0 GA available for the end of november, and one of our hot subject will be now to promote the platform so that customers know that a reliable Open Source Olap alternative is now available, always the knowledge/liberty concepts !

Have Fun !