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Should IBM's SOM/DSOM Be Open Sourced?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-made-it-great dept.

Operating Systems 157

Esther Schindler sends a note about two journalists for very different publications (herself one of them) urging IBM to open-source, not all of OS/2 — they've consistently refused to do that — but instead one of its most powerful features: SOM, the System Object Model. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes at desktoplinux.com, "IBM, I'm told by developers who should know, still has all of SOM's source code and it all belongs to IBM. It's because IBM doesn't have all the code for OS/2 and some of it belongs to Microsoft that IBM open-sourcing OS/2 has proven to be a futile hope." And Esther Schindler takes the developer angle in a blog post at CIO.com: "Could the open-source community use a library packaging technology that enables languages to share class libraries regardless of the language an application was written in? I dare say it could, especially since the code to accomplish that goal was written (and shelved) more than ten years ago. All it takes to make that code available is to ask IBM to release SOM and DSOM as open-source." What are the business issues that would convince IBM to assent?

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Don't fuck with the First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22366688)

I'll pee in your butt!

If I have to...

Re:Don't fuck with the First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22366710)

Your place or mine?

-- Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda

Re:Don't fuck with the First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22366838)

thats hot!

yawn... (-1, Offtopic)

jm007 (746228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366722)

.... borrrrrring

To late? (1)

dryeo (100693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366738)

While SOM is very powerful and would of made a great addition to the Linux desktop I think it may be to late now as the common Linux desktop environments are quite entrenched. If only IBM had done this 10 years ago Linux could of had something to set itself apart.

Re:To late? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366880)

Set itself apart from what exactly?... Unix (variations) has used/had/does have SOM... and so has Apple, however Steve Jobs ended that "idea" when he returned to Apple... Microsoft has a very similar concept COM+

Seems more like it would bring Linux into this "group" rather than make it "special" for having SOM.

Re:To late? (2, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367204)

Set itself apart from what exactly?... Unix (variations) has used/had/does have SOM...

You must mean AIX - or you are predicting the future when IBM open sources SOM so your statement comes true...

and so has Apple, however Steve Jobs ended that "idea" when he returned to Apple...

You mean Taligent? Which was an IBM & Apple co-project?

Microsoft has a very similar concept COM+

You mean MS markets something they pretend is very similar, but any programmer who has used both will tell you they are light years apart, and that no matter how many ++++++++ MS adds to the end of COM, or how many times they change the name of OLE, it still will be light years behind SOM/DSOM.

You ARE on the right track with all of your comment - your just heading the wrong direction...

Re:To late? (1)

jockm (233372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367354)

> You mean Taligent? Which was an IBM & Apple co-project?

No he was referring to OpenDoc [wikipedia.org] another IBM/Apple co-project which was all based on SOM/DSOM.

Re:To late? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367450)

No he was referring to OpenDoc another IBM/Apple co-project which was all based on SOM/DSOM.

Oooops! Long night for me... yes I mean OpenDoc. :-) Thanks for correcting that for me.

-Rob

Re:To late? (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368274)

I distinctly remember Mac OS 8 & 9 having an extension called "SOMobjects", which was used by/for a lot of different things, not just OpenDoc.

Re:To late? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367548)

I never said that they did it without IBM's help, however, if it was all (As in Linux, Microsoft, Apple, Sun?) based on IBM's SOM, then it could be benificial to everyone, and the entire computer industry (interoperability).

Nor did I say that I thought COM+ was good, infact its caused me many headaches both in developing my own software, aswell as other peoples software...

My point was basically that im not sure why the Linux Community as a whole hasnt put more effort into this, even if they had to go through corporate routes, like the more closed-source distro's (some might bitch and yell about that but it would also force/inspire the open source community to try their own)

Re:To late? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22370340)

or how many times they change the name of OLE

This sort of response is typical of those that don't really understand the Microsoft stack.

COM is not OLE renamed. COM is the basic transport structure that OLE, and other MS technologies, are based on. OLE is the name of a specific set of COM interfaces involving such things as Compound Documents, Automation, In-place activation, etc.. OLE also describes a lot of things that don't technically involve COM.

Other examples include ActiveX, DirectX, COM+ (despite it's name, it's not a new version of COM, it's just a specific set of interfaces like the others I mention), OLEDB, etc..

So, in the sense that both COM and SOM are the transport layers of the technology, they are roughly equal, even if their implementations are very different. Other technologies get built on these layers.

Open vs. Close (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367312)

Open source software promotes Competition.
Closed source software promotes Collusion.
Choice is yours...

Re:Open vs. Close (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368558)

If only someone on slashdot could filter out the above stupidity. That's the third article I've read this one. It contributes absolutely nothing to the topic being discussed.

Anonymous coward: SHUT UP!

SOM sucks ! Fragile OS/2 Desktop proves it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367424)

SOM was a joke. Lots and lots of hyperbole about how this was so much better than the way Windows desktop works, but SOM was SOMe fragile crap. If something broke, and things ALWAYS broke, links would be dead and there was nothing you could do but hope running a third-party randy-dandy object fixer thing would get you going again. It was a complex nightmare to use even when it was working. It WAS OS/2 after all. It made RMB (right clicks), context menus, and icon links, nothing less than brain surgery. How and why this was considered a great white hope is beyond my brain to figure. I dumped OS/2 i 1999, after nearly a decade. Three years too late.

Re:SOM sucks ! Fragile OS/2 Desktop proves it (3, Informative)

jzhos (1043516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367538)

For those who do not know much about SOM, this wikipedia link compares it to MS COM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_System_Object_Model/ [wikipedia.org] .

The following quote supports the parent's point

The most notable difference between SOM and COM is support for inheritance -- COM does not have any. It might seem odd that Microsoft produced an object library system that could not support one of the most fundamental concepts of OO programming, but they did have their reasons. The main issue is that it is difficult to know where a base class exists in a system where libraries are loaded in potentially random order. COM demands that the programmer specify the exact base class at compile time, making it impossible to insert other derived classes in the middle (at least in other COM libraries).

SOM instead uses a simple algorithm, looking for potential base classes by following the inheritance tree and stopping at the first one that matches; this is the basic idea behind inheritance in most cases. The downside to this approach is that it is possible that new versions of this base class may no longer work even if the API remains the same. This possibility exists in any program, not only those using a shared library, but problem can become very difficult to track down if it exists in someone else's code. In SOM only solution is extensive testing of new versions of libraries, which is not always easy.

Re:SOM sucks ! Fragile OS/2 Desktop proves it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368440)

But with COM you could use aggregation to resemble inheritance with the additional benefit of more control over the individual functions etc...

Re:To late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368918)

s/would of/would have/

s/could of/could have/

I can repress most of my Grammar Nazi tendencies, but whenever I see this, I just want to bang my head against the wall. It's just plain bloody ignorant, and there's no bloody excuse for this whatsoever.

Hint: You don't say, "I of gone to the store", do you?

Who needs the code? (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366756)

If the great innovation offered by SOM is basically a design pattern or interface technique, do we really need IBM's source code? It seems to me that the great thing about SOM is the idea of how something is done, and that we could pretty quickly write our own implementation of that idea. No?

Re:Who needs the code? (4, Interesting)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366886)

If the great innovation offered by SOM is basically a design pattern or interface technique, do we really need IBM's source code? It seems to me that the great thing about SOM is the idea of how something is done, and that we could pretty quickly write our own implementation of that idea. No?

Sadly no - on all counts. In over a decade and a half, no one (but maybe Apple) came close. DSOM/SOM hasn't been worked on in many years, and still, with kludge after kludge, MS cant come close. (some of) The Linux community wanted the WPS open sourced just because of how powerful it was - even though I dont think they even realized that it meant also open sourcing SOM/DSOM. With many attempts at numerous windowing environments, though the Linux community has made both some pretty and some pretty useful windowing environments, they still haven't come close...

And of course, SOM/DSOM is far more than the WPS... (just a requirement for the WPS to work).

Also, saying SOM/DSOM is just "the idea of how something is done" is like looking at cars, bicycles, sneakers and skateboards and calling the car engine "an idea of how something moves" - it is far more than that. It is a technology that allows anyone on almost any language, to interact with and integrate with any other device, network resource, app, GUI or OS that is SOM/DSOM enabled. Almost 8? 10? years of little to no development on SOM/DSOM and there is still nothing half as powerful for any PC based operating system. Yeah, MS can keep writing inelegant, bloated (which is a massive understatement when compared to SOMObjects of better capabilities) kludges to achieve some of the functionality on a limited scale...

SOM/DSOM is truly what most OO programmers truly want - even if they dont know it (which would simply be because they dont understand it, or love VB that much).

Who needs the SUN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367534)

According to this Sun has something similiar [wikipedia.org]


I believe OSS abandoned COBRA as well.

Re:Who needs the SUN? (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367690)

I guess you meant CORBA [omg.org] , and no, even if OSS was an entity (perhaps you meant OSI [opensource.org] ) it is far from abandoned.

Linux doesn't need it. It has D-BUS (4, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367800)

Linux already has more more powerful D-BUS system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBUS). It's already a base for PolicyKit, HAL daemons, soon it will be used in Upstart and so on.

It's MUCH MUCH easier to use than COM or SOM. And I still remember working with OpenDoc, so I don't really share good feelings toward SOM.

D-BUS != COM/SOM (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368278)

As far as I'm aware D-Bus is a message passing bus for interprocess communication... not a object binding library.
I think the main difference, in terms of approach, is that D-Bus can't communicate with libraries, but with running applications or daemons. Am I right?

Re:D-BUS != COM/SOM (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368318)

It can be used for intraprocess communication, but is not really the best tool for it.

It's much easier to use GObjects or KParts or your favorite component tool. And then use D-BUS to connect all of them together (for drag&drop, for example).

Re:D-BUS != COM/SOM (1)

fast penguin (910736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369490)

GObject is a library that adds some semantic sugar and utilities to make developing in C object oriented like. I don't know what GTK+ developers can use that is equivalent to KParts. I think Bonobo or maybe GtkPlug?

Re:D-BUS != COM/SOM (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369692)

GObjects take the same niche as non-OLE2 COM objects in Windows. GNOME Bonobo is roughly the same as OLE2 and automation in Windows. Bonobo is now deprecated and GNOME team plans to move away from CORBA to D-BUS (http://live.gnome.org/DoYouKnow) and other solutions.

COM/SOM/CORBA are just plain too hard to use, so they are becoming obsolete very fast.

Re:Linux doesn't need it. It has D-BUS (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368856)

D-Bus is an interprocess communication layer. It doesn't do you any good if you want to embed one visual component inside another, or save a compound document etc. So while it might be great and all, it's only part of the puzzle.

Anyway, COM isn't hard to learn - it's actually incredibly simple. It's all the OLE2 related stuff that makes a mess of programming visual components. Steer clear of automation, OLE and it's pretty easy to knock up stuff in COM.

Re:Linux doesn't need it. It has D-BUS (2, Interesting)

sjvn (11568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369610)

D-BUS is great. D-BUS is wonderful. But, DBUS and SOM do entirely different things. DBUS is meant to be a universal IPC (interprocess communication) mechanism for the Linux desktop. See http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS4449390454.html [desktoplinux.com] for more details. SOM's a set of object libraries. You would use them together. In fact, D-BUS, since both the GNOME and KDE communities have embraced its use, would make an ideal interface for SOM. Or, in other words, DBUS would enable applications to more easily access the power of SOM objects.

Steven

Re:Linux doesn't need it. It has D-BUS (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369808)

What use is SOM then? You can write D-BUS services directly in your native language (most D-BUS language bindings have their own IDL and proxy compilers).

SOM is more comparable with KParts and Bonobo. KParts have already evolved quite a bit ahead of SOM and Bonobo is slowly evolving too.

Objective-C bridging? (1)

Jimithing DMB (29796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367826)

Not ever having used SOM I can't compare it directly but it seems to me that the basic idea is to have an object model with a hard to break ABI (i.e. you can add methods without breaking it) and interoperability with other languages.

Apple has distilled various Objective-C bridging efforts into a common bridge library that is now used by PyObjC (which predates the Apple/NeXT merger) and RubyCocoa and is slated for use with .NET. By virtue of being able to mix Objective-C into a C or C++ file (more or less simply by changing the extension from c to m or from cc/cpp to mm) you instantly get interoperability with C and C++. If you absolutely need to call Objective-C from plain C or C++ you can use the underlying objc_msgSend call.

Both the PyObjC and RubyCocoa bridges allow you to implement Objective-C classes in Python or Ruby so as long as you can stomach writing your interface declarations in Objective-C you can get most of the way there to the holy grail of cross-language object interoperability.

If you think about it, it's not much different from any other object model it's just that Objective-C happens to have a direct implementation in Objective-C whereas COM and SOM don't. The biggest downside of course is that you do need an Objective-C compiler and the only one is GNU. Then again, GNU is a decent enough compiler and runs on almost all platforms so it's not a huge deal. If you have really performance-critical code paths you can always write them in plain C with your vendor compiler and link to them.

object models... (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368014)

there are already a lot of object models out there.

There's various incarnations of CORBA on linux, COM on windows, XPCOM which is used for firefox components, DBUS on Gnome and now KDE.

Component software is a Good Thing(tm), but all the various implementations essentially do the same thing, which is to allow a cross language interface to be specified in a way that doesn't require wrapper libraries to be written. Also, it is common to include some kind of remote procedure call specification.

>>In over a decade and a half, no one (but maybe Apple) came close.
Funny story, Apple uses COM.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that apple doesn't have a component model (you have to use wrapper libraries or objective-c++). In a few instances where this is a pain (plug-ins) they just use com.
http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2004/04/16/com_osx.html [macdevcenter.com]

It should be noted that Apple's com implementation is *very* basic and not really meant for developing cross platform COM libraries like the article suggests.

Re:object models... (1)

maestroX (1061960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369106)

There's various incarnations of CORBA on linux, COM on windows, XPCOM which is used for firefox components, DBUS on Gnome and now KDE.
.. and OpenOffice, which also has his own version.

The beauty of SOM/DSOM is/was that it's fast (unlike CORBA), stable, elegant (no dll-hell), well thought-out and very extensible.

I've seen various incarnations of object models in KDE/Gnome alone, why start over everytime and set yourself years back? It took the Gnustep several years to implement an existing standard.

Re:Who needs the code? (1, Insightful)

LLKrisJ (1021777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368376)

Sadly no - on all counts. In over a decade and a half, no one (but maybe Apple) came close. DSOM/SOM hasn't been worked on in many years, and still, with kludge after kludge, MS cant come close. (some of) The Linux community wanted the WPS open sourced just because of how powerful it was - even though I dont think they even realized that it meant also open sourcing SOM/DSOM. With many attempts at numerous windowing environments, though the Linux community has made both some pretty and some pretty useful windowing environments, they still haven't come close...
I use this quote but to me, one thing stands out in reading nearly all posts in this thread;

SOM/DSOM was apparently a very powerful system with some advantages which supposedly make it a desirable tool to have within the Linux environment.

Apparently _nobody_ (this is important) has been able to recreate anything even remotely like it independently from IBM. So _nobody_ succeeded in doing this and yet everybody seems to be very happy to just take some cheap shots at MS for creating their 'kludge' COM+ attempts.

I can't help but feel that that's just stupid. At least they have tried to do something, even if their solution has shortcomings.

People should stop with this whole MS = evil, Linux = good crap. Software platforms should be rated on merit and unless the Linux community comes up with a good solution in this particular case the should probably turn it down a notch or two with their criticisms already..

Re:Who needs the code? (3, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368668)

The trouble with being a habitual criminal is that no-one trusts you ever again. That's where MS = evil comes from and is not likely to stop until they show a consistent period of obeying the law and playing within the rules. Since that is antithetical to the MS corporate culture MS = evil will continue to be held as an opinion irrespective of whether WinXP isn't as god-awful as Win98.

nobody has really tried (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368876)

Yes, SOM/DSOM had some good points. However, it was also pretty horribly complex. Especially to implement, and even in many ways to use. As a result, almost all other approaches have gone for something simpler rather than trying to recreate it. One of the better ones IMO was NeXT's Portable Distributed Objects (PDO), which was so dirt-simple to use that NeXT engineers developed an infamous reputation in the 90s for writing letters to the editor in response to CORBA articles showing how to do the same thing in PDO in some ludicrously small fraction of the code. It was also incredibly fast. GNUstep has a reimplementation of PDO, though I don't think it's broken out into a nicely reusable library (I could be wrong).

Basically: weighing all the pros and cons, nobody else reached the conclusion that writing their own version of SOM/DSOM was the best option available, so they all did different things. I don't know if this was necessarily the right conclusion, but it's hardly that SOM/DSOM is some magical bit of code that nobody else could've reimplemented had they wanted to.

Re:nobody has really tried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22369732)

Amen. SOM/DSOM was maybe the only ORB that fully implemented CORBA at its time and the end result was really more of a case study that you don't want to do that unless you really really have to.


This is a class example of needing some good use cases and requirements. People wanted to have SOM to do OLE like things, they wanted compound apps. In OLE land, that's essentially solved by having an API that basically let's one app paint in another app's window and the provide some intelligence as to how and what needs painting, it's very simple and lean. It's a hacky solution to a fairly simple problem. CORBA basically landed the man on the moon and tried to distill all of the possible object semantics down to a common level.


If you've ever really fired up SOM, you'd know that they could opensource it but you'd never see it in use on any successful project. Most of the SOM fans simply know the feature matrix and don't do much more than that, because if you used it, you probably advocate killing it.

Re:Who needs the code? (2, Informative)

Simulacrus (1003107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368672)

It is a technology that allows anyone on almost any language, to interact with and integrate with any other device, network resource, app, GUI or OS that is SOM/DSOM enabled. Almost 8? 10? years of little to no development on SOM/DSOM and there is still nothing half as powerful for any PC based operating system.


Smalltalk / Squeak has been doing something similar for years. Anything in the system can message anything else. System components / GUI elements can be freely inspected, subclassed, modified - and all on the fly while the system is running. Of course, this means that all source is very literally open (other than virtual machine primitives).

Where's the 'notgonnahappen' tag? (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366800)

Srsly, folks. This is IBM we're talking about. They aren't foolish or desperate enough to give up complete control of one of the more useful features of an OS that they've already declined to open up. And MS is involved here... puh-lease. Not gonna happen. Give it up.

Re:Where's the 'notgonnahappen' tag? (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366844)

I dunno. IBM isn't really in the OS market anymore, at least, not the regular mass-produced OS market - the big-machine Z/OS UNIX mainframe stuff and the like is an entirely different matter altogether (and probably wouldn't be substantially affected by such an offering anyway). Giving something like this to Linux+friends, if it helped, could boost Linux and be seriously annoying to Microsoft. And IBM likes Linux - certainly a lot more than they like Microsoft. It could happen. Maybe.

IBM Open-sourcing Experience (3, Insightful)

fsckr (965056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366814)

IBM has been pretty good at taking sucessful closed source technologies and open sourcing them (think eclipse, webspere community ed, jikes and all the patents they've made available to the os community). I think IBM's genius has been in fostering communities to ensure that the technologies are well supported.

That said, SOM & DSOM are old tech from the dinosaur mainframe days. With so many distributed apps using more flexible interoperating technologies (SOAP, XMP-RPC etc) I don't really think open sourcing D/SOM will make that big of a difference to most new application developers.

Re:IBM not so open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367154)

IBM may be the best friend that the open source community has, but they are still interested in IBM's interests. A case in point is IBM's Rational Clearcase. If you look at the supported systems [ibm.com] you will see only commercial Linux offerings. Redhat, Novell, and SUSE. Notably missing are CentOS, Ubuntu, and other free Linux in the x86/x86_64 platforms. If IBM is so pro-open source, why are they not supporting FOSS Linux on thier commercial packages?

Re:IBM not so open (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367272)

In what way is Red Hat not FOSS? All the cod in the Red Hat distro - that is why Centos can exist. I think Suse is all FOSS as well.

Re:IBM Open-sourcing Experience (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368654)

think eclipse

I used to work within IBM, and here is the story I got from a senior developer...

Eclipse was a rogue project within IBM whose purpose was to take down MS Visual Studio 97. When it became obvious that there was absolutely no way that Windows developers who were used to the speed, ease of use, and rather decent integration with Windows of VS97 would shell out money for a Java-based IDE with its own oddball help system, poor integration with the Win32 toolchain, and most importantly was slow as molasses even on decent hardware, IBM decided to in essence use the $30+ million in sunk costs to buy goodwill in the F/OSS community. (And Eclipse really needed that OSS shot in the arm: NetBeans was killing it in the Java IDE landscape.)

Licensing and open source (5, Insightful)

dryeo (100693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366822)

One of the advantages of SOM is that it allows a closed source environment to be extended. Don't like the file dialog, subclass it with a better one. Or a recent example, need transparent png bolted on your 10 year old OS, well create a few new classes and use Cairo to display them. Suddenly you have modern transparent icons, transparent widgets on the desktop etc.
Unluckily with GPL you can get into issues of whether closed source or just incompatible licensed libraries can be added. One of the ideas behind SOM/DSOM was that anyone could write a DLL and extend the WPS. Now it seems that in free software land you often have to worry about incompatible licenses.
If IBM ever does open source SOM/DSOM I hope it is with something liberal like the LGPL. Don't have to think about issues with linking and the important source stays open.

Re:Licensing and open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367382)

One of the advantages of SOM is that it allows a closed source environment to be extended. Don't like the file dialog, subclass it with a better one.

Sounds like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect-oriented_programming [wikipedia.org]

Re:Licensing and open source (2, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368852)

I would note that you can do all those things on Windows with COM. In fact that's how transparent PNG support was added to Internet Explorer, and is why you have to invoke them in such a funny way (MS could have done a better job of the IE/COM integration in the images department).

Its already there (3, Funny)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366870)

Could the open-source community use a library packaging technology that enables languages to share class libraries regardless of the language an application was written in?

Its called .NET or Mono

Re:Its already there (2, Insightful)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366928)

You have no clue. They are not in the same class at all.

Re:Its already there (3, Informative)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367274)

.net and mono are functionally equivalent to a SWIG [swig.org] wrapper - a bit easier to deal with, but similar nonetheless.

this is a bit different. for one, it allows you to redefine how an API is implemented. imagine a generic database API. instead of programming to a client library, all software can be written to a single standard API that then has its guts replaced with a simple call to be database specific. need to move from mysql to postgres and have 30-40 different maintenance programs and scripts that are programmed to deal with the API? simple, replace the guts of the API with the postgres API, and you're back in business. no need to write wrappers or even recompile.

Re:Its already there (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368964)

And nothing stops you from implementing that in COM (where the "interface" aspect is very much a part of the concept) or .NET. In fact, that's the way ADO data access worked in Windows, to continue your example. That doesn't magically solve the issue of incompatible DB syntax. I think there were some plans on implementing a version of Gecko that exposed the MSHTML interfaces, but I don't think they ever got close to actually finishing it.

Author (0, Offtopic)

MrMunkey (1039894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366906)

I know this off-topic, but I find it hard to read anything by the author after the recent comments she posted in response to this article: http://comments.cio.com/node/176250?page=4 [cio.com]

Disclaimer: the issue with the posts was the level of professionalism, not necessarily the stances on PHP.

Re:Author (0, Troll)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366996)

http://xkcd.com/137/ [xkcd.com]

professional enough for you asshole?

Re:Author (0, Offtopic)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369228)

About my stance on PHP and on most people who defend it, if all you know is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I strongly advise the most vocal PHP fans to try to learn other languages, as most of them seem to have a very limited background. It's good and I am happy they can solve any problem they have, from distributed web applications sharing JSON messages to shell scripting and GTK applications, but no tool fits all roles. It's also not about web frameworks. Let them learn Ruby and Python. Let them grok MVC. Throw in some Lisp, Smalltalk and, while they are at the job, let them give a look at how things are done in C and try to compare C++ to Objective-C. Download the SICP videos from MIT and watch them (if they don't get something, they can always hit "rewind").

And her response could indicate she is under some stress. Maybe a project that is not going right, maybe something completely outside the scope of the discussion (maybe even outside her professional life) made she give the emotional answer we saw to the unlucky anonymous coward who crossed her way.

It's incredibly rare to find someone who knows something else making a strong instance for PHP. Any language and platform deserves better than fanboys defending it.

Still not clear how it will help? (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22366940)

I could be wrong...but I am not too sure I understand how SOM, another kind of Object Model, simplifies building an Operating System.

Linux Desktop environment use bonobo implementing some of its services to achieve reusability and that too is not universal. (Gnome uses it). And, though not often, messed up interfaces could prove to be counterproductive.

IMHO, a good disciplined approach could produce solid architecture, providing robust environment. Though unrelated here Apache mesmerizes me, how it could achieve many concepts of OO.

Re:Still not clear how it will help? (2, Informative)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369114)

Linux Desktop environment use bonobo implementing some of its services to achieve reusability and that too is not universal. (Gnome uses it).

No, Bonobo failed and is being phased out: http://live.gnome.org/Bonobo [gnome.org]

Why are all the geeky girls so... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367020)

rancid? I mean come on when was the last time we had a model-like geekess in our midsts?

It's the best outcome (3, Interesting)

jsse (254124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367042)

The good things about OS/2 I described before [slashdot.org] is blessed by the wonderful SOM. I really can't tell you all the good things about SOM here, but during the time I wrote apps at IBM in C Set, SOM really save us a lot of time and efforts.

ubuntu should pick this up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367082)

What it would take is a good, solid distro to pick this up, and start porting major apps to use it, and writing code to go with it.

Oh, wait, they would need the code first. Never mind.

Open Source should be the default "archive" choice (4, Insightful)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367098)

Ignore IBM and OS/2 and everything, just for a second, and review this hypothetical situation on its own:

A Big Computer Giant (BCG) purports to be very Open Source friendly. They defend OSS products and licenses, even using their own lawyers, and make a lot of money using/supporting OSS, in their own hardware, and in huge consulting contracts. It turns out they have this collection of source code that they aren't really using anymore, and they have complete rights to at least part of it. Let's just say they only have 2 real options when archiving the source code they own the rights to:

1. Keep it locked in some internal media or shelf, never to see the light of day, unless an internal developer finds it interesting and digs it up for an internal-only project. The internal project may never see the light of day either.

2. Put it on the Internet, and Open Source License it, preferably with an existing OSI license. Not only could the online repository be considered the source "archive", but it also leaves the possibility of growing a redundant, living archive. The source could then be provided by various OSS repositories and mirror hosts.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but shouldn't #2 always be the default, or at least the first option considered? Even if you're not an OSS nut (like me), you have to admit the hypothetical company looks pretty darn hypocritical if they don't choose #2, when given the choice, early and often.

So am I using a hypothetical situation to say that IBM (BCG) is a big hypocrite if they DON'T release and apply an OSI License to SOM/DSOM source, ASAP? Why yes I am! How could you tell?...

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367526)

It's not hypocritical because they didn't tell other people that they must open source everything. Also, you are somewhat familiar with the logistics involved by projects, archives, etc. You might consider that open sourcing is far from a 'default' choice, there are plenty of considerations:

1. it takes time to look over something to make it ready to see the light of day. You have a reputation to uphold.
2. you might want to make money off the software, now or in the future. as much as i love and support and contribute to open source, there's nothing wrong with that.
3. thanks to certain lawsuits, there is some perception in the industry that open source is risky. someone might sue you because you use linux. So, it takes work (lawyer time) to make sure code is clean
4. open source needs a community to really thrive. interested contributors, maintainers, etc. you would really like to see it 'picked up' by someone if it is going to be thrown over the wall
5. i don't think the safety of archiving is a major concern. probably more true for small companies that are not as likely to be around for the long term

demanding (not asking) that something on someone else's shelf be released is not really going to give co's a warm feeling about putting anything out there. you might reconsider your statement in terms of damage it could cause to open source...

just some things to consider.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368092)

It's not hypocritical because they didn't tell other people that they must open source everything.
The hypocrisy I intend to imply does not stem from what IBM (or BCG) is telling others (though it would be interesting if IBM was really requesting other companies Open their source, yet not doing the same). My BCG hypothetical company didn't do that at all. What I was speaking about was a company that directly benefits from Open Source, which is provided freely by others, yet doesn't participate in it whole-heartedly with their own source, when given the opportunity. Unused internal source is ripe ground for Open Sourcing -- you never know what will take off, until you have the courage to put it out there, and let others have a go at it. I don't mean to imply Open Sourcing old, unused code is an easy task; but I would say it is "low hanging fruit", compared to starting an OSS project from scratch.

demanding (not asking) that something on someone else's shelf be released is not really going to give co's a warm feeling about putting anything out there. you might reconsider your statement in terms of damage it could cause to open source...
Bravo! Spoken like a true Anonymous Coward! ;P

Kidding aside, you make plenty of good points. Those points are not necessarily related to my statements, though.

I didn't say that the two forms of archiving (private vs. public) don't pose any difficulty, or that they are even of equal difficulty. I was just bringing up the fact that both forms of "archiving" are *available*, in this case and many others. Each method choice results in a different potential set of public opinions.

Calling someone a "hypocrite", and "demanding" something from them, are two very separate acts. One is a matter of stating opinion, and the other of calling to action. If you choose to equate them, that just shows a personal bias against the word "hypocrite", more than anything. ;) Perceived "hypocracy" can be debated in the public sphere. "Demands" are a one-way street.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (2, Insightful)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368100)

Because in real world companies exist to make money, not please OSS crowd.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368126)

Because in real world companies exist to make money, not please OSS crowd.
Yes, but when a big chunk of that money is made based on products *provided by the OSS crowd*, doesn't the opinion of that "crowd" become important? Marketing is a huge factor in making money, and public perception is a big part of that.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368192)

And how many %% of OSS crowd really care about OS/2? I don't care, for instance. It's just small %% who remembers what OSS is and wants its source. You can't please everybody with finite resources.
As another poster in this sub-thread said, open sourcing any code isn't free at all.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368108)

Releasing internal code as open-source has many costs associated with it, from software packaging issues to legal ones. Unless it's clearly a case where that code has some value to a larger community, paying those "free the code" costs may have no payback for the company. It's completely reasonable to say that the default position is "do nothing", which also costs nothing, and only consider the costs of releasing as open-source when there's a demonstrated need or desire to use the code outside of the company.

To think of it another way: if you were IBM, would you rather spend a hypothetical $1M cleaning up crufty old code and having your lawyers review it so you can release it, or spend the same amount of resources improving/extended existing open-source projects? Choosing to ignore your old code just because you're friendly to the open source community isn't necessarily hypocrisy, sometimes it's the only rational business decision.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368180)

Choosing to ignore your old code just because you're friendly to the open source community isn't necessarily hypocrisy, sometimes it's the only rational business decision.
I wasn't speaking about the relative costs of each archive type (public vs. private) at all. I was just pointing out that it seems hypocritical to benefit so much from a system that you are not willing to contribute to, whenever the opportunity arises. IBM benefits financially from OSS, so any expenditure in contributing back to OSS could be seen as returning the favor. It could also be seen as a marketing cost, since it obviously has more to do with long-term industry good will than "the short-term bottom line".

I look forward to hearing more about IBM's "rational business decision" in any case. I find it funny that so many people are defending the decision before it's even made public. The term "rational" requires factual substantiation, not hyperbole. The term "hypocrite" has no such requirement. ;)

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368944)

I was under the impression that IBM has returned the favour several times already. They do significantly contribute to OSS and I thought they were a model example for OSS/commercial interaction. I dont think they have to open source every piece of software they've ever written at the demand of the community, especially as it is pointed out, it will cost them money. Another thing, if this thing is so amazing and so needed, why the hell in 15 years or so has no open source project written something similar. If IBM did it, the community could do it. The fact they havnt means that not enough people care.

Re:Open Source should be the default "archive" cho (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368332)

Remember when Netscape put Communicator source on the internet, and everyone just whined how it didn't compile and how useless it was?

And that's when Netscape was the most popular browser, not some 12 year old abandonware desktop middleware that nobody used in the first place.

I don't think anyone active in the OSS desktop community wants a bunch of old unpopular OS2 crap. If anything, they have too many duplicate component models and they need to start standardizing, not add a new one.

Maybe because it would cost them money? (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368414)

They would have to check the code. Maybe the responsible developers have left the company, or maybe they are on an active project. It would take time to assemble the original team (or what is left of it) and ask them: Do we have the exclusive rights to this code? And if they were unsure they would loose even more time trying to find out. Time is money. If those people get decent wages it could be a lot of money. If they were working on important projects IBM was to earn a lot of money for they would loose that too. If it would be free for them to release code I suppose a lot of companies would do that. Simply because they don't use it anymore.

Of Course! (3, Funny)

Tragek (772040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367246)

All should be open source. Source should never be hidden. It violates all ethos, it violates all truth, it violates my first GPL right to see the code!

Re:Of Course! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367304)

What colour is the sky in your world?

Re:Of Course! (2, Insightful)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367388)

What colour is the sky in your world?
Why, I can easily recompile the sky to be whatever color I want it to be, now that you mention it.

Re:Of Course! (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368118)

Why, I can easily recompile the sky to be whatever color I want it to be, now that you mention it.

Not unless you're using Firmament Beta 12. The latest stable release only supports Skies with 4 bits per pixel.

Re:Of Course! (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368240)

Ah, but he's got the source so he can modify to run 16 bits per pixel - just needs one hell of a CPU and graphics card, and if you do a poor job your sky ends up panicking.

Re:Of Course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22369504)

Well, at least Chicken Little would be right for once ;-)

Re:Of Course! (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368742)

Dude, you remind me of a Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap label:

Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Balanced food for mind-body-soul-spirit is our medicine! Full-truth our God, half-truth our enemy, hard work our salvation, unity our goal, free speech our weapon!

Re:Of Course! (1)

Tragek (772040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369622)

Pretty much what I was aiming for :P
 

Business issues for open-sourcing SOM/DSOM (4, Funny)

Duke (23059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367414)

What are the business issues that would convince IBM to assent?
I can think of three:
  1. That it would hurt Microsoft
  2. That it would hurt Microsoft
  3. That it would hurt Microsoft

Petty issues for open-sourcing trees. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22367478)

So would closing down the chair industry.

Re: Business issues for open-sourcing SOM/DSOM (1)

jzhos (1043516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367492)

mod parent up. that is right on the point.

OK, that's cool, but... (1)

niteice (793961) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367516)

Why is everyone raving about SOM? Admittedly I never used OS/2, especially never coded for it, but from what I've read it seems like it does lots of the same things as COM. Why is SOM such a hot topic? People are saying that it could make Linux an attractive option for programmers if open-sourced and ported, doesn't DBus fill that niche? (on that note, is comparing SOM and DBus an apples-oranges comparison?)

So why do programmers care about SOM?

CORBA? (1)

jockm (233372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367566)

I would ask the question of what SOM/DSOM would bring to the party, when much of that technology went into making CORBA [wikipedia.org] . CORBA is here now, has multiple implementations, both commercial and open (source and beer).

The only thing I can point to is GUI components, but those were either tied to a specific implementation (OS/2) or to an additional frameword (OpenDoc) and I am not sure they would be of much value.

SOM = CORBA 1.0 (2, Interesting)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367712)

SOM implements a subset of the CORBA specification. Other technologies implement CORBA. Some already are open source (MICO). So... consider porting to another ORB.

And for the person who mentioned Apple... Apple implemented a subset of SOM specifically for OpenDoc. Though highly cool at the time, it was too castrated to be useful and has been surpased by other technologies for robustness (like J2SE/J2EE). Don't forget cool stuff like Spring... Lots has changed in 10 years.

Re:SOM = CORBA 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22369302)

I agree SOM/DSOM are the predecessors of CORBA today. However, there was/is a major distinction in that SOM/DSOM implemented a meta programming facility similar to the one found in dynamic languages today, even though it was statically typed.

Is it useful? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22367892)

Will that source code really be useful? A component like this may be completely useless in any other environment or maybe it can be seen as a curiosity and nothing more.

Some of the ideas may survive in new solutions, but it can be a really bad idea to take this out of concept and trying to graft it upon a different platform. The amount of work involved for that operation may exceed the amount of work to re-create the functionality without source.

Why resurect old stuff + What about Thrift library (1)

ivec (61549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368060)

Is SOM/DSOM really that unique?
Rather than trying to resurrect a 10 year old source base, and to re-create a community around it, would it not be preferable to join an existing, related, project, and expand/improve it in order to cover SOM's unique features?

SOM/DSOM being 10 years old, I suspect that its support for Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby isn't very mature (ahem).

For instance, I have heard good things about this multi-language interface library (open-source project lead by facebook):
      http://developers.facebook.com/thrift/ [facebook.com]
Would someone know how it compares to SOM/DSOM ?

Sex and greed (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368222)

"Hello we are IBM. We love Open Source! We want everybody else to Open Source their software, but we like to stay closed source." That doesn't make them believable now is it?

just leave them alone (1, Insightful)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368334)

did any of you write os/2? no... did any of you pay for os/2's development? no... so who do any of you think you are to demand the release of its source?
rather than demanding source code for closed applications, go outside, and realise there is a real world where people couldnt care less about things like this. there are more important things than wether something that has been long since dead is forced to be open source or not. just let it go.

Wah? Esther Schindler long since dead ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368372)



Not that that's a bad thing. She was sort of like a double-, or triple-, agent. She's talk up OS/2 but at the same time use Windows, and then say how much better OS/2 was, but that Windows was better because it was Windows.

I love OS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368364)

Ray gwinns SIO comm drivers, OS2 Asteriods, WebExplorer, full page OS2 Warp ads in Time Magazine, HPFS, accidently rebooting the computer by hitting control-alt-delete because you were way too used to that key combination to login to Windows NT 3.51.

Oh and OS/2 Bot on IRC!! I wonder if OS/2 bot is still alive????

Those were the days... two years ago I swear I saw a dialouge on an ATM at a bank that looked like it came from OS/2's PMShell.

And all the while IBM had AIX which was(is?) lightyears ahead of all this windows and OS/2 crap... I don't get it.

Why is SOM / DSOM needed? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368426)

SOM, COM, CORBA are all much of a muchness. They let you define APIs to objects and interfaces in language neutral IDL, generate stubs that you implement and let you call those objects from other libraries, processes or even machines.

If Linux really wants language neutral interface bindings, it already has it. There are numerous CORBA implementations, idl compilers and so on. For example GNOME offers ORBit (a Corba implementation) for embedding UI components via Bonobo. Bonbo appears deprecated and is being replaced by another language neutral offering called D-Bus. KDE also appears to be moving from DCOP which is yet another IPC model to D-Bus. I don't know what either platform's plans are for components since D-Bus is for IPC, not embedding components, maybe Bonobo and KParts will live on for a bit yet. Firefox is also built on top of a language neutral object model - XPCOM is similar to MS COM but cross-platform and has bindings for several languages.

I do think OS/2 should get something like WINE - an emulator / runtime that lets OS/2 apps run on Linux. Part of that could of course be SOM & WPS support. I'm less sure why Linux would need native SOM since there are already so many choices. Another one ported from 90s codebase isn't going to offer much.

Not much worth without the WPS (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368584)

As other pointed out: there are enough CORBA implementations out there. The only advantage of SOM was that ist offered igh performance in an non distributed environment while beeing compatible with it's distributed peer DSOM. But even that is not so cool any more.

What was realy cool was the only real application build with the SOM: The Workplace Shell. Neither KDE nor GNOME can to what the WPS could do.

Amiga DataTypes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22368680)

I thought Amiga already did this in OS 3.0 (back in 1992) with DataTypes. Anyone could write a sub-class for the existing DataTypes (objects) as long as they were given SDKs. I don't know how this compares with the IBM's version but you could write DataTypes in any languages.

If they combine this with some other bits... (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368912)

Sitting here thinking on it, perhaps what IBM should do is analyze all bits of OS/2 to see what they do own. This is not just an exercise. One of the things I know IBM co-owns with Microsoft is the kernel, for example. Once they know what they ownint he free and clear, remove all bits that they do not own, and begin replacing them with pieces of Linux, writing layers to give them a new, IBM distribution. Call it Linux/2, or Linux OS/3. Compatibility with legacy OS/2 apps, features like SOM, a window-manager based on PM, and Linux brings with it Windows compatibility from WINE. Would be a nightmare scenario for Microsoft.

Frankly... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22368916)

Frankly, I don't care how it is achieved, but I am really getting tired of having different UIs to perform the simplest of tasks, particularly when newer applications seem to be defaulting to the GTK2 file dialog more often than not. That dialog is irritating enough on its own, but not having it be identical, from one application to another, really starts to get under one's skin.

If SOM is the best method to do this, then bring it on. It seems to me that, in 2008, there could at least be something which developers are attempting to use.

You Don't Want It (5, Informative)

scherrey (13000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369242)

I did two contracts with IBM in the early 90's, one on the OS/2 2.1 change team. In both I "got" to deal with SOM and its implementation source code. It's a giant nasty C macro & function pointer hack. OS/2's Workplace Shell was very cool but the underlying implementation was pretty nasty stuff. One of my fixes was dealing with how slow it was populating icons in folders. SOM is a good example of the "Prototry" anti-pattern where one does an initial implementation of a cool trick then ends up shipping & extending it rather than ever bothering to architect it right in the first place. I can understand why IBM doesn't want this source out in public. FWIW - I also had to deal with some of the Microsoft source code, especially device driver stuff. Was the worse C code I've ever seen in production...

If you like SOM & Workplace Shell features you'll find it far easier to implement on top of Qt/KDE or wxWidgets or a smart functional integration of some Boost library features & a GUI than you'd ever have hopes of getting that code to work with anything modern or useful today. I loved OS/2. Borland had a Beautiful C++ compiler for it and CSet/2 was one of the better standards compliant compilers at the time as well. They're all bit rot by now though. Appreciate the memories but let this one die.

Re:You Don't Want It (1)

Esther Schindler (16185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369980)

That was definitely true of SOM in the 2.1 days. SOM 2 took it from a cool, technically interesting hack to real code.

Pure API Linking (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22369348)

Yeah, why does it matter anymore which language some binary was written in, in order to link it to another binary library? Everything uses a stack of pointers or values to pass arguments, and a symbol table to resolve references to instructions and data external to the binary package stating the reference. That seems to offer a language-neutral resolution of those references across binary packages, regardless of which language was used to generate them.

Sure, there could be some differences, like argument ordering on a stack, and even datatype conversion between them (eg. Pascal "count+data" vs C "NULL terminated" strings), even byte endianness. But those are deterministic differences that could be directly mapped to one another in a wrapper (even at the expense of some performance). And having the sourcecode for both could allow analysis that reverse engineers any incompatibility at link time to wrap or rewrite it.

Is there really no hope for reconciling the binaries for inter-language linking without extra programmer intervention?

Everything should be open sourced (0)

ido50 (967259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22370320)

Everything should be open sourced
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