December 6, 2013
Python is one of the many programming languages available. Programmers rely on already existing libraries and open source to help them create new projects. Bitbucket points our attention to “Whoosh-Python Search Library” that appears to be a powerful open source solution to satisfy you search woes.
The article states:
“Whoosh is a fast, featureful full-text indexing and searching library implemented in pure Python. Programmers can use it to easily add search functionality to their applications and websites. Every part of how Whoosh works can be extended or replaced to meet your needs exactly.”
What can Whoosh do? It has fielded indexing, fast indexing and retrieval, a powerful query language, the only production quality pure Python spell-checker, pluggable scoring algorithm, and a Pythonic API. Whoosh was built to handle situations where the programmer needs to avoid creating native libraries, make a research platform, provides one deeply-integrated search solution, and has an easy-to-use interface.
Whoosh started out as a search solution for proprietary software. Matt Chaput designed it for Side Effects Software Inc.’s animation software Houdini. Side Effects Software allowed Chaput to release the library to the open source community and many Python programmers probably consider it an early Christmas gift.
Whitney Grace, December 06, 2013
November 13, 2013
Basho has released a technical preview of Riak 2.0, the company announced at the Ricon West developers’ conference last month in San Francisco. Several key improvements have been made to the open source distributed database: additional Riak data types; the option for strong consistency; full-text search integration with Apache Solr; more flexibility in security administration; simplified configuration management; and the option of storing fewer replicas across multiple data centers. See the article for details on each of these changes.
The press release emphasizes that this is not the final release of Riak 2.0, and that Basho would like users’ feedback:
“Please note that this is only a Technical Preview of Riak 2.0. This means that it has been tested extensively, as we do with all of our release candidates, but there is still work to be completed to ensure its production hardened. Between now and the final release, we will be continuing manual and automated testing, creating detailed use cases, gathering performance statistics, and updating the documentation for both usage and deployment. As we are finalizing Riak 2.0, we welcome your feedback for our Technical Preview. We are always available to discuss via the Riak Users mailing list, IRC (#riak on freenode), or contact us.”
Riak is developed by Basho Technologies, who naturally offers a commercial edition of the NOSQL database. They also offer Riak CS, a cloud-based object storage system deployable on top of Riak. The company positions their enterprise version as the solution for companies whose needs go beyond the traditional database or who have wrestled with scalability constraints within relational databases. Founded in 2008, Basho is headquartered in in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and maintains offices in London, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Washington D.C.
Cynthia Murrell, November 13, 2013
October 25, 2013
According to “Greed is Good: 9 Open Source Secrets to Making Money, the creation of open source software is not always seen as solely a charitable act. While it is true that many programmers have been performing many acts of pure charity, in the form of contributing long and hard hours of work to create open source software, many companies have utilized open source software as another money-making asset.
One of the uses for open source software is to strengthen a company’s marketing arsenal. Some companies choose to release products as an open source package to attract users and to spread the word about their offerings.
MySQL reportedly says it is not important to focus on how many people get a free product. Instead, energy should be focused on the “upsell”:
“The trick is to make sure that the moneymaking features are compelling enough to support the rest of the product. They should be a small part of the product but crucial for the folks who will pay. Sometimes the extra may be a feature that increases stability for enterprise clients that want their software to run smoothly 24/7. Others offer privacy and force users of the open source version to broadcast their work to the world. These small features are supporting hundreds if not thousands of companies today.”
Many may see this article as disillusioning to the tenets of open source philosophy that were developed without such corruptible factors, like money, in mind. While the article may beg readers to question if the philosophy of open source has been tarnished, we hope that is not the case and that a less greedy crowd of open source pioneers remain.
Megan Feil, October 25, 2013
October 22, 2013
Business Process Management is a missing function in SharePoint, and one that many users supplement with an add-on. Intalio is now offering an open source option, which is featured in the Globe Newswire story, “Intalio brings the power of open source BPM to SharePoint.”
The article begins:
“Intalio, the leading provider of solutions for businesses to build modern, agile business process applications, and Swiss partner JPL Informatique, announce the release of the Intalio|bpms Portlet for Microsoft SharePoint Web Parts. SharePoint users benefit from the automation power and functionality of Intalio|bpms, the leading open source BPM solution, natively integrated with their enterprise application portal architecture.”
This is just another example of an additional area in which SharePoint does not fully function or meet users’ needs and expectations. Most organizations have to supplement their SharePoint deployment with multiple add-ons in order to meet their needs. Stephen E. Arnold, of ArnoldIT, is a longtime search industry leader and expert. He recently wrote that only 6% of SharePoint users find their SharePoint deployments successful. For that reason, he covers many SharePoint alternatives and add-ons, and Intalio might just go on the list.
Emily Rae Aldridge, October 22, 2013
October 21, 2013
I will be giving my last public talk in 2013 at the upcoming Search Summit. I am revealing some data about the trajectory of commercial search versus free and open source search. My focus is not just on costs. I will address the elephant in the room that few of the sleek search poobahs elect to ignore—management.
As part of my preparation, I read an interesting public relations and positioning white paper from Oracle. The essay is “The Department of Defense (DoD) and Open Source Software.” You should be able to locate a copy at the Oracle Middleware Web page. But maybe not. Well, take that up with Oracle, Google, and whoever indexes public Web pages.
The argument in the white paper is that open source is useful within the context of commercial software. The premise is that a commercial company develops robust products like Oracle’s database and then rigorously engineers that product to meet the tough standards imposed by the US government. Then, canny engineers will integrate some open source software into that commercial solution. The client—in this case the Microsoft loving Department of Defense—will be able to get the support it needs to handle the demands of global war fighting.
There are three fascinating rhetorical flourishes in the white paper. These are directly germane to the direction some of the discussions of commercial and proprietary versus free and open source software have been moving. I will give a couple of case examples in my talk in early November 2013, and I assume that the slide deck for my talk will find its way into one or more indexing services. I won’t plow that ground again. Below are some new thoughts.
First, the notion that commercial and proprietary software is better than open source software is amusing. I think that any enterprise software is rife with bugs and problems that can never be fixed because there is neither time, money, or appetite to ameliorate the problems. I was at a meeting at the world’s largest software company when one executive said, “There are a couple thousand bugs in Word. Numbering is one issue. We will maybe get around to fixing the problem.” That was six years ago. Guess what? Numbering is still an interesting challenge in a long document. Is Oracle like the world’s largest software company? Oracle has some interesting features in its products? Check out this sample page. Make your own decision. Software has been, is, and will be complicated stuff. The fact that people correlate clicking a hot link with “simple” just adds impetus to the “this is easy” view of modern systems. No software is better. Some works within specific parameters. Push outside the parameters and you find darned exciting things.
Second, the idea that a large bureaucracy can make decisions based on cost benefits is crazy. Worldwide bean counters and lawyers work to nail down assumptions and statements of work that are designed to minimize costs and deliver specific functionality. How is that working out? If I read one more after the fact analysis of the flawed heath insurance Web site, I may unplug my computer and revert to paper and printed books. I did a major study of a government site in 2007. Guess what? The system did not work and still does not work. Are there analyses, reports, and Web pages explaining the issue? Sure. What’s the fix? People either go to a government office and talk to a human or make a phone call in the hope that the human on the other end of the line can address the issue. The computer system? Unchanged. My report? Probably still in a drawer somewhere.
Third, the idea that a publicly traded company cares about open source is amusing. Open source is simply a vehicle to reduce costs to the publicly traded company and generate consulting revenue. The fact is that most of the folks who embrace open source need some help from firms specializing in that open source product. I can name two companies, each with more than $30 million in venture funding, that have a business model built on selling proprietary software, consulting, and engineering services. Open source sure looks like a Trojan horse to me. Why does IBM embrace Lucene yet sell branded products and services? Maybe to eliminate some software acquisition costs and sell consulting.
A happy quack to http://goo.gl/lxKb6I
On one hand, Oracle is correct in pointing out that free and open source software looks cheaper than commercial and proprietary software in terms of licensing fees. Oracle is also correct that the major cost of software has little to do with the license fee.
On the other hand, Oracle adds some mist to the fog surrounding open source. When open source vendors have to generate revenue to pay back investors or build out their commercial business, the costs are likely to be high.
Open source software begins as a public spirited effort, a way to demonstrate programming skills, and a marketing effort. There are other reasons as well. But in today’s world, software is the weak link in most businesses. Systems are getting less reliable, despite the long string of nines that some companies use to prove their systems are wonderful. But like the optical character recognition program that is 99 percent accurate, the more content pushed through these system, the more the errors mount. Xerox continues to struggle with error rates in a technology that was supposed to be a slam dunk.
Net net: Read the Oracle white paper. Then when you work out a budget, focus less on the sizzle of open source and more on the basic management skills it takes to make something work on time and on budget. Remember. Publicly traded companies and open source companies that have taken money from venture capitalists have to generate a profit or they disappear.
The basics are important. The Oracle white paper skips over some of these in its effort to put open source in perspective. Any software project requires attention to detail, pragmatism, technical expertise, and money.
Stephen E Arnold, October 21, 2013
October 21, 2013
Here is something new from Gigaom: “Stanford Researchers To Open Source Model They Say Has Nailed Sentiment Analysis.” Richard Socher and a team from Stanford have created a computer program that can classify the sentiment of sentence with 85% accurately. They tested the model on movie reviews with a positive or negative tone. Even more amazing is that Socher and his team are making the project available to everyone. Why not capitalize on it instead? After all, companies have been trying for years to analyze social media and would pay the big bucks for said technology.
What makes Sucher’s project different from other sentiment software is that is reads whole sentences rather than just words.
“The team then built a new model it calls a Recursive Neural Tensor Network (it’s an evolution of existing models called Recursive Neural Networks), which is what actually processes all the words and phrases to create numeric representations for them and calculate how they interact with one another. When you’re dealing with text like movie reviews that contain linguistic intricacies, Socher explained, you need a model that can really understand how words play off each other to alter the meaning of sentences. The order in which they come, and what connects them, matters a lot.”
Socher hopes to reach a 95% accuracy, but the technology will never be 100% accurate because of jargon, idioms, odd word combinations, and slang. The project is making landmark strides in machine learning, logical reasoning, and grammatical analysis.
It means better news for online translators and speech technology, but commercial sentiment analytics vendors may see a decline in their profits.
Whitney Grace, October 21, 2013
October 5, 2013
Open source most likely has a solution for all of your software needs, including a vocabulary server to manage controlled taxonomies, thesauruses, and, of course, vocabularies. The great news is that one exists and it is called TemaTres. Some open source software has the misfortune of never being updated by its developers, but it was recently updated, “TemaTres 1.7 Released: Now With Meta-Terms And SPARQL Endpoint.”
Here is what you can expect in the newest release:
· Now you can have a SPARQL Endpoint for your TemaTres vocabulary. Many thanks to Enayat Rajabi!!!
· Capability to create and manage meta-terms. Meta-term is a term to describe others terms (Ej: Guide terms, Facets, Categories, etc.). Can’t be use in indexing process.
· New standard reports: all the terms with his UF terms and all the terms with his RT terms.
· Capability to define custom fields in alphabetical export
· New capabilities for TemaTres API: suggest & suggestDetails,
· Fixed bugs and improved several functional aspects.
Most of the changes came in part from the dedicated TemaTres community who helped diagnosed what needed to be fixed and offered ideas for improvement. If only the rest of the open source community could follow TemaTres’s example.
Whitney Grace, October 05, 2013
September 23, 2013
We love open source, not just because they offer free software and save us money, but also because the community downright rocks. Here is another reason open source rules from Datamation: “50 Noteworthy New Open Source Apps.” Datamation likes to compile a list of open source apps every once in a while to help its readers be knowledgeable about the latest projects because new ones pop up everyday. When they were making the list they found these interesting trends:
Browse through the list and you will find everything from database tools to Web development, which takes up more than half the list. Beyond basic development tools, there are apps for fonts, games, videos, task management, and forums. Some of the apps require a little code savvy, while others can be downloaded with zero to none. We love useful lists here and this is one of the best we have found.
Whitney Grace, September 23, 2013
September 20, 2013
As Android gains market share, eWeek ponders, “Is Android Really Open Source?” At the core of the question is the core of the Android operating system—the very ability to boot. It’s like walking out the door without your car key—you won’t get far without that little piece. Writer Sean Michael Kerner explains:
“You see, there is Google Android, the project that Google builds and shares with its handset partners, then there is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The two are not exactly the same. One of them includes proprietary technologies that are not available as open source (guess which one?)
“Jean-Baptiste Quéru, the maintainer of AOSP abruptly quit his post this week, throwing into question the viability of Android as an open-source effort.
“‘There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support,’ Quéru stated in a G+ post.
“The challenge that Quéru is referring to is the ability of AOSP to boot on the Nexus 4 and 7 devices. Apparently there are some proprietary bits that silicon vendor Qualcomm is not making available as open source, without which AOSP will not boot.”
Kerner sees this as an issue that goes beyond Android. Mozilla, for example, must be considering the same thorny question as it sees the launch of Firefox OS phones. Though a legacy of proprietary components inevitably complicates the mobile OS landscape, the inclusion of proprietary code within the very kernel required to even boot the device does seem particularly egregious. Kerner hopes for the emergence of a vendor who will “build a ‘pure’ open-source hardware platform from silicon on up.” We shall see.
Cynthia Murrell, September 20, 2013
September 6, 2013
Open source is cutting across the world as solution revolution. It is making technology cheaper and more widely available. It could have positive far reaching consequences in education and aerospace technology, but all revolutions need a little help getting off the ground.
“Open source projects need all the help they can get. If not with funding, then with volunteers contributing to open source programming and free tools they can brandish. Search engines tuned with algorithms to find source code for programming projects are among the tools for the kit bag. While reusing code is a much debated topic in higher circles, they could be of help to beginner programmers and those trying to work their way through a coding logjam by cross-referencing their code.”
Makeuseof.com points to the article, “Open Source Matters: 6 Source Code Search Engines You Can Use For Programming Projects” that lists code search engines to help developers out in their projects. Ohloh Code is one of the largest code search engines with over ten billion code lines in its system. It allows users to search by different code classes, but currently it does not support regular expressions. SearchCode searches through open source communities such as Github, SourceForge, and CodePlex. Amazingly, a single person maintains it. For those who have code with special symbols, Google and other engines cannot cut it. That is where Symbol Hound sniffs around the Net for odd character.
There are a few more code search engines described in the article, but head on over to read it on your own. Code search engines are indicative of the open source mentality-share and spread the wealth.
Whitney Grace, September 06, 2013