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Business Objects to Join Eclipse Foundation 78

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the getting-to-be-a-big-bandwagon dept.
daria42 writes "Business intelligence specialist Business Objects is the latest software maker to join the Eclipse Foundation, and says it will move several products onto the open source platform -- but it's not yet saying which. 'We won't fight it, we'll embrace it,' said one of the company's executives in Sydney last week, talking about the open source software model. 'One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform, rather than any of the other open source types,' she said, 'is that [Eclipse] actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components.'"
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Business Objects to Join Eclipse Foundation

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  • So, enlighten me. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TinBromide (921574)
    It looks to me like They're joining an initiative for opensource objects that offer a bit of open source but allow the real meat of thier offerings to be pay? So, adobe has been doing this for as long as i can remember with thier pdf reader, why didn't business objects join adobe :)
    • You should first enlighten us. How can you plug modules into a pdf reader? And how does pdf reader provide module management, reporting, OSGi, ...?
    • Adobe is not the same as what Business Objects is going for. If that were the case, it wouldn't take so long to open a PDF.

      This is just another instance of the business world slowly catching up with the trends and executives finally realizing that allowing people to read source code isn't going to bankrupt their companies.
  • by RandoX (828285) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:41PM (#13972898)
    Which business? And why are they objecting? Seriously, there should be at least SOME details in the synopsis.
    • LOL. "Business Objects" is the name of the company. One of the most succesfull french software companies, BTW.
    • Which business? And why are they objecting?

      It's "Business Objects" (company name) that is joining, not 'Business that objects'. But I'm pretty sure you're not the only one who misreads that headline, I had to look twice too to be sure what it said.

      And mods: parent isn't 'flamebait', it's just a somewhat confusing headline.
    • Business Objects is a company. They make absolutly horrid software.

      I am forced to use their flagship product (Business Objects) at work. It is the worst software package I've ever encountered.

      A typical 30 minutes session involves 5 minutes for it to load on my reasonably fast pc (3Ghz), opening up my recent files, restarting it several times after I get "CS, Unexpected behavior" errors and shutting it down after a waiting 10 minutes for my file to run.

      They also provide a web interface for the software I'm
      • I'm wondering what version of BO your using that has such terrible performance?

        Your last statement is kinda funny. Your company purchased BO but thought that was the only cost involved?
        • I was thinking the same thing. How could one implement a Data Warehouse and not know what the costs will be. I don't have a working instance of BO but I was impressed by the demos (granted that is not saying all that much).
          • Business Objects isn't a data warehouse. It's a data reporting tool.

            You use it to link databases together and give objects in the databases normal names. It doesn't store any data itself other than the mappings.

            Let me reiterate that I wasn't involved in the purchase so I don't know what was promised or expected. I just use it, and I know of the constant delays in setting it up. Far longer that was expected.
        • Not at all, but it was far more time to get the product up and running than we were lead to believe.

          I have to say that I wasn't involved in the decision to purchase, I'm just stuck using it.

          As to the version number: 6.5.1
    • That reminds me of a Yes Prime Minister sketch. The PM writes a response to a suggestion on a piece of paper "Balls!" (as in "Bullshit!"). Sir Humphrey suggests that it's a bit strong, so he changes it to "Round objects!". The reply comes back "Who is Round, and to what does he object?"
  • by kat11v (848737) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:43PM (#13972915) Homepage
    Interesting considering that right now they are currently hiring/hired three new patent agents (my friend in Vancouver being one of them).

    Then again maybe it's just my slightly paranoid conscience jumping to silly conclusions.

  • by njfuzzy (734116)
    Open Source is Not a Platform.

    Open Source is Not a Platform.

    Open Source is Not a Platform.
  • by digitaldc (879047) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:50PM (#13972992)
    ...but I was overshadowed by a brighter Java developer.
    • And the entire Eclipse project is eclipsed by the weight of all of these businesses signing on. Eclipse is a great tool. As more and more corporate entities become involved things will become more committee driven. This will ensure that nothing useful gets done very quickly. Design by committee tends to make things slower, more cumbersome, and less innovative. Just look at Java ;-) (Ok.. that was a low blow). You don't get the vision of the creators of Java from Java. You get the vision the creators had bas
      • Totally agree. The businesses signing on seem to be doing so to try to dump their pet marketecture into Eclipse. Look at the projects page: Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) Project? Let's be sure they are at worst plug-ins and never part of the core.
      • AFAIK simply working with Eclipse or donating money or plug-ins or whatever doesn't make you part of the steering comittees. Lots of folks use Eclipse for their products (including my company, QNX [qnx.com]).

        This is probably BO trying to generate some positive press, since Cognos has a much better product (ReportNet). I worked on the developer docs for that, too. ;-)

        I wish someone would make a studly cross-platform DTD/XSD/XSLT editor plug-in for Eclipse.
    • Maybe you should not have tried mooning them.
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:52PM (#13973010)
    The story reminds me of the old Naval urban legend of the file being passed around a shore establishment and getting fatter and fatter without getting closer to completion until somebody scrawls on the front page "Round objects". Eventually the file returns but now on the front page a senior officer has written "Please will Mr. Round state his rank and clarify his objection".

    So I have to ask: What is it about business that it objects to Eclipse?

  • by aicrules (819392) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:52PM (#13973014)
    But much like most other corporate entities that do this, while we don't know which products they will release open soruce, I'm guessing it won't be the one that they typically charge six figures for in license fees.

    I do like Business Objects though, it's a decent platform.


    • I understand your confusion on this matter. Business Objects is not saying it will open up the source code for any of their products. Instead, they're announcing planned integrations between their products and Eclipse. In the article is also a reference to Macromedia currently working on an Eclipse integration called Zorn. It's completely acceptable for Business Objects to sell closed-source products that are extensions to Eclipse. That's sort of the business model that Eclipse fosters.

      Seth
  • "One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform, rather than any of the other open source types," she said, "is that [Eclipse] actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components."

    Isn't this as much about the license of Eclipse (which is generally similar to the Apache license) than it is about the platform? The subtext I read was this:

    "One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform ... is that [Eclipse]

    • it's all up to the owner on how they want to license it, but in many ways it kills the spirit of OSS that I enjoy to begin with.

      Sorry, this is what OSS is all about. Share the developping cost. The spirit you're talking can be found in the Free Software. IBM wanted from the very beginning that companies come with their proprietary plugins. They share (a small part of) the cost but they control (more or less) the platform.
    • Isn't this as much about the license of Eclipse (which is generally similar to the Apache license) than it is about the platform?

      Actually the Eclipse (EPL) license is more like LGPL. You cannot take the Eclipse code and modified it into a closed source version. You can, however, build closed source plugins and run them in Eclipse (e.g. IBMs closed source IDE).

      (IANAL)
  • by RingDev (879105) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:15PM (#13973233) Homepage Journal
    Oh my god do I feel sorry for you. Custom reporting solutions have often been descriped as a pile of crap. Business Objects, the current owners of Crystal Reports (Formerly of Seagate, Crystal Decision, and lord knows what other companies) has long been considered the best of these options. In otherwords, they were/are the best piece of crap solution available. Microsoft (insert booing and hissing here) has finally decided to create their own reporting solution (SQL Reporting) which from what I've heard is a significant improvement over CR XI (yes, 11 versions and there are still limitations on Cut and Paste)

    -Rick
    • I haven't used it, but Cyrstal reports for Java has been around for a while. A demo of it came bundled with the last few version of jbuilder I've used.
    • Pick the pile of crap you want to die in...

      In 1998 the Data Visualization group at Microsoft showed me some real cool stuff... I don't believe any of it ever shipped, but it completely disuaded me from venturing into that pile of crap market.

      Don't forget ReportMill. Its Java, and a pile of crap too. But most enterprises I know have dumped a pile of cash into Crystal and ReportMill...
    • For anything larger than 2-3 databases, Business Objects is terrible and unstable.

      There's nothing intuitive about it's interface or it's terminology.
    • by kpharmer (452893) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:42PM (#13974806)
      > Oh my god do I feel sorry for you. Custom reporting solutions have often been descriped as a pile of crap. Business Objects, the current owners of
      > Crystal Reports (Formerly of Seagate, Crystal Decision, and lord knows what other companies) has long been considered the best of these options. In
      > otherwords, they were/are the best piece of crap solution available. Microsoft (insert booing and hissing here) has finally decided to create
      > their own reporting solution (SQL Reporting) which from what I've heard is a significant improvement over CR XI (yes, 11 versions and there are
      > still limitations on Cut and Paste)

      A few points:

      1. business objects has a meta-driven reporting platform, and is one of the top three vendors in the OLAP marketplace.

      2. it didn't get there by buying crystal reports - crystal reports is the lowest-end product in their suite

      3. the microsoft reporting solution is merely another low-end reporting solution, competes with Crystal Reports, but not the rest of the Business Object suite.

      4. the business objects BI (business intelligence) platform is very powerful, and is a reasonable tool to use if you are supporting or performing a vast amount of reporting (lets say you're a financial analyst for a large company). otherwise it's often overkill. Note: there are no cheap/free equivilents to this product - the other commercial ones are sold by Cognos and Microstrategy. These are products that are often sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      5. describing custom reporting solutions as piles of crap is about as reasonable as describing custom web sites as piles of crap. Some are better than others. The hard thing for many programmers to get their head around is that when you need to analyze a business process in order to get a good idea of what's going on:
          a. you really don't want to have to marshall a few million java objects
          b. you really don't want to have key-value pair tables in your model
          c. you really don't want to think of data as merely persisted objects
          d. you really don't want to have to use an oo database
          e. you are much more likely to drive mysql into the ground due to its lack of parallelism
          f. if you run the reports on a typical transactional data model you'll do millions of joins and the sql will suck
          g. back to f, and the performance will suck, and your server will die
          g. back to f, and the functionality of your analysis will suck due to lack of historical data and lack of integrated data from other systems

      Reporting is a discipline with its own best practices, patterns and anti-patterns. Unfortunately, most non-reporting people still think that painting reports via Crystal Reports is a neat idea. Which it hasn't been since around 1995.
      • "1. business objects has a meta-driven reporting platform, and is one of the top three vendors in the OLAP marketplace."

        True. I have not used the rest of the BI suit, so I can not comment on its quality. But the average business application developer is going to run into Crystal Reports before the run into the rest of the suit.

        "2. it didn't get there by buying crystal reports"

        True. Crystal Reports sucked before BO bought it, and while under the control of BO it has manage to achieve new levels of lesser suc
        • > Err, I'm afraid I don't follow your analogy there. Now, if there were like 4 available custom web site tool sets, and you had to pay
          > $800 per dev seat up front, and a $300 yearly upgrade fee, and those tools all sucked. Then yes, I would agree with your analogy.

          Those aren't the only options. What are reports? Well, they can be carefully formatted charts/graphs/tables that print nicely. But that sucks, most people don't care about print any more. What else are they? Tables with pagination, sort
          • "most people don't care about print any more."

            Don't I wish! If printing weren't so important here I would have long since moved this whole process to the web.

            "Key-value pair tables can't be flattned out. You can't use them as dimensions to filter or sort your queries. Well, not without a ton of sq"

            They can be flattened out at the expense of denormalizing the database. In small lookup tables, the impact is minimal, but on more complexe joins you are right, it will add complexity to the SQL.

            "oo databases pre
  • by brokeninside (34168) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:27PM (#13973364)
    The Eclipse project has been working on business reporting [eclipse.org] for quite some time. They presently have a rudimentary BIRT module (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) that, for its limited breadth and depth, is actually fairly impressive. One of Business Objects' competitors, Actuate, already has a product built on top of Eclipse [actuate.com].

    Hopefully, this shift will pan out as a move to better integration of Crystal Reports with web services without having to shell out for Crystal Enterprise. Up through the present, most of Crystal's eggs have been placed in the COM basket so that reporting is best automated through Windows programming. This is great in that you can automatically connect to a database, run a report, export the output and email the export in a few dozen lines of VBScript. But if Business Objects is moving to web services, it will offer a great deal more flexibility as automation will no longer be restricted to Windows.
    • I am a Java developer primarily, but I have been given the ultra fun task of administering reports (w00t!).

      Now, I really don't like Crystal Reports for several reasons, but when we last had an opportunity to change we found we were stuck with it due to external customers (yes, same problem as MS products, grr!). We then decided to upgrade to version 10 instead. I then had to battle through the web to find out if anyone out there had actually served out Crystal Reports using Java API's - there was VERY lim

    • Man I hope BO isn't as buggy as it used to be. Years ago I was doing CM work integrating BO into the build process and I still have nightmares of writing UNIX shell scripts to recreate the repository in Informix and then remotely trigger Designer to publish the universes using a VBA macro. We had to publish the reports and then pull them back out so BO could do it's special magic. This way we could distribute the report files to a client workstation and let the user refresh the data without having to pul
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:43PM (#13973544)
    I use to think Firefox was the big one, the computing world mover.

    Firefox is kid stuff compared to the impact Eclipse is starting to have. My entire company's development has been unified under Eclipse. Developers can seamlessly move from platform to platform. Writing extensions is trivial and only requires a moderate amount of Java experience, which most already have or can have quickly.

    Eclipse has suddenly made Linux a first class development platform. Eclipse has turned a huge number of Windows engineers into Linux engineers who write for Linux first and run Linux at home. I can't describe the feeling of freedom and cleanliness that has brought to our company.

    Thank god I will never have to touch that piece of garbage Visual Studio again.

    • Eclipse is a monstrous, horrible piece of software that I hope to never need to use again. IntelliJ forever!

      Could this be the vi/emacs argument for the 00's?
    • I used eclipse for awhile on my 2 Ghz Athlon machine with 512 Meg of ram, but it just wasn't cutting it. I would often right click on something, and have to wait 3 or 4 seconds for the context menu to appear.

      While I love the IDEA of eclipse, I can't see how it has gained such popularity, unless all developers have workstations that are significantly better than mine. As a developer, I like my tools to be snappy -- to be able to do everything with the keyboard, and no waiting. For that reason, for me, ecl
      • I don't know many developers who work on 512M machines. If that's all you have, then yes, your experience will be slow. Painfully slow. I have 2G on my box and it flies like the wind. If that is a company machine, though, I would demand more memory. No Java developer should be working on a machine with less than a gig.

        I'm also waiting for a good vi-style plugin for eclipse. To be able to jump around the editor quickly without taking my hands off the keyboard is essential -- arrow keys and pageup/pagedown

      • Eclipse works fine on 1G of ram, haven't tried on less.

        About Vi, i have used Vim for years and i had a LOT of problems moving to Eclipse at work for coding. But in the end, learning Eclipses refactoring, autofixing/completing tools made me work a lot faster even if i don't have all the functions from Vim. BUT, the editor is not bad at all when you learn the shortcuts, there is no command mode so it might feel more like Emacs than Vi(m). You should try typing ctrl-shift-l on the editor to get a keysheet, the
    • If they could only provide a C++ plugin that doesn't suck like hell...
  • The next version of the Macromedia flash IDE is also based on eclipse. In this version they have made a seperate product for application development called Flex

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