When I worked at Novell the best application they deployed was iFolder, especially since I had both a desktop and a laptop computer. I setup iFolder to sync my entire documents directory so if I was on my desktop at the office or on my laptop on the road I had everything I needed right there. Sounds like new consumer services like dropbox or sugarsync right? This was in 2005 well before dropbox and sugarsync. Not only would it sync my entire documents directory I could create a shared iFolder and share documents with colleagues and have version control over the documents. It was a great enterprise solution much better then a shared NFS export or CIFS share.
I personally have an iFolder server that I’m running out of my home office and I have hacked together the ability to access my files using webdav on my iPad. It isn’t elegant but it works.
It is too bad that no one has taken the iFolder project and made it better. Novell doesn’t seem to be doing anything with the project (www.ifolder.com). It hasn’t been updated in years. It is GPL and it is truly an awesome project, it just needs to get out of the hands of Novell.
If I was more then a hobbyist developer I would take up the challenge to make iFolder an awesome project. A good chunk of it is written in C# so it needs an overhaul to another language like C++. It is a project that I hope will be revived in the hands of someone or a company that actually truly cares about their open source projects.
Ever since the Oracle acquisition of Sun, I had been on the fence on what to think about Oracle and its open source business. However when Oracle turned its back on the OpenSolaris Community and the OpenOffice community it immediately changed my mind on what I thought about Oracle. I abandoned all the projects they were supporting, I was a long time Netbeans user and I made the switch Eclipse. The day the Open Document Foundation released LibreOffice I switched.
There is still one Oracle project I still use that is Virtualbox. If I was exclusively a Linux user I would just be using KVM with Virt-Manager and I would be set but I also have a Mac and Windows Box that I like to run virtual machines on. I try to sick with OSS whenever I can but I have thought about buying VMware Workstation and Fusion but I don’t want to pay for either because Virtualbox does everything I need it to do.
So how about a fork of Virtualbox? Most of the code is under the GPL, I really think the community will support a fork of Virtualbox and I think it would be a better project without Oracle’s direction. If there was support from Red Hat or Canonical I’m sure this would have happened a long time ago but there are plenty of projects with out corporate support.
Why should it be forked? Oracle could shutdown that project like they did with OpenSolaris. Oracle’s history with Open Source should make everyone in the community that contributes to Virtualbox want to start over with a new project. I found one fork but I couldn’t find a link to the source or to the packages. The Project is called IceBox Virtual Machine by a company called Twisted Lincoln Inc. They also have their own Linux Distribution called Nexradix. I presume Icebox is in the repo’s for that distro (I haven’t installed it).
If some unknown company that is supporting an unknown Linux distribution can fork Virtualbox, the greater community should do it. Whether if that is supporting Icebox or creating a new one, it needs to happen and soon.
I’ve been in training for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 and I can say with confidence that it is the best alternative to vmware for server virtualization. Anyone that is looking for alternatives to VMware or you are using Citrix XenServer and looking to migrate to VMware, give RHEV a serious look. It has nearly every feature that VMware Enterprise has. It has multi-pathing built-in thanks to the Linux kernel no need to buy third party software.
RHEV also has some wonderful capabilities around VDI. It is much better then VMware View and it is on its way to catching up with Citrix XenDesktop. In some cases it might even be better then Citrix. RHEV supports Windows XP/7 and RHEL 6 for desktops. The protocol that it uses is called spice (www.spicespace.org). It can handle up to four monitors it runs either using the spice-client through a web browser or on a thin-client currently. It has a rich road map that I’m looking forward to seeing in future releases of RHEV 3.
Another feature RHEV has that really got me going was the user portal. It can be compared to VMware’s Lab Manager, however it can also be used by ender users to access desktops or be used by developers to build development and test environments. You can restrict how many VM’s get spun up per user and restrict their access to server resources so they only have so much CPU, memory, disk and network resources so they don’t end up hogging too many.
RHEV is a great product I can’t wait to get out in the field to help sell this to customers next month when it is released. It is in public beta, I suggest you go to http://www.redhat.com and download the beta and give it a try. If you are a Linux system administrator it just makes since to migrate your Linux workloads to RHEV since it is an environment you are very fimilar with already.
I recently just got an offer to work as an Open Source Solutions Architect for a major Red Hat added value reseller. I’m going to be blogging about every I’m allowed to speak publicly about. Nearly all the solutions are Red Hat focused but I’m looking forward to recommending other open source solutions to customers along with Red Hat’s complete product offering.
There are open source projects at are focused around the health care industry such as Mirth Connect and OpenEMR. These are very mature products. I have played with both in fact I have implemented mirth at a company I once worked for and have recommended it in the company I’m currently working for as a replacement for SeeBeyond. For some reason there should me more competing projects. We need more EMR/EHR systems and more projects that can deal with HL7 and X12.
There are a lot of propriety products out there but I feel that the open source community can do much better and I feel can make the software do much more then the current leading proprietary products. I work with software that uses a lot of open source components but the software itself is proprietary but I the company I work for would just open source it. Most of the money made on he product is on support or on professional services. This is a product that makes total since to open source and let the community help develop it. Community help equals free development and free QA.
So why are there more open source projects based around health care? The health care industry doesn’t know why open source is. So many of them are suck in the stone age of paper or line feed files from mainframes. Most are vendor locked in and can’t change the way they do business.
How can this change? There needs to be a company the comes in and totally shakes up the industry like Red Hat and SUSE did to propriety Unix systems and Windows. This company should show the health care industry the value of free and open source software and why it should adapt to the open source philosophy.