Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CiaoTalk ready for paid, free coming


CiaoTalk paid services have launched now at www.ciaotalk.com to be followed by the free. This is mainly for consumer, but the lines are business quality and the same as the business lines actually using XO, Level 3 and MCI Gold for the transport. Starting at $9.95 per month your home users can now have quality phone service with their broadband connection. What's also great about this service is the ability to use standard SIP devices. We've completed this with Vitelity and you may have seen the press releases last week also.


CiaoTalk is a Bring Your Own Device service, which means people don't need to sign annual contracts or even purchase equipment from us. A PAP or other Analog to Digital device is easily used with CiaoTalk and you can find that people can purchase SIP phones such as Linksys, Polycom, 3Com, Aastra or Grandstream. Using a PAP device, of course, allows people to use their existing analog telephone they probably already have at home.

By allowing people to BYOD and not forcing them into long-term contracts, we believe you'll find it an easy to use service.

HIATLANTIS community edition

We have released our HIATLANTIS community edition, which is a rewrite of our full edition, using PHP and PostgreSQL. If you would like, we suggest you download a version of our application to test and then use the full version.

As you are aware, we've dropped MySQL and have moved to PostgreSQL and some of you may have read my interview in Information Week regarding the move.

If you have any questions about the free version of HIATLANTIS running on PostgreSQL, please contact your representative for more information. Under our license you are able to sell and support this version without ramification. You may not however create any derivative works from this product. We've closed sourced the application and it is not released under the GPL any longer and is licensed under the BSD license and Creative Commons no derivative works license for the documentation.

Pioneer Basic 3.5 being readied

We are completing our Repository setup for the new version of Pioneer 3.5. Since we're supporting the 3 series for another 5 years, we've created the updates to the system now. These should be completed by Wednesday of this week allowing you to run your updates. We've decided to get everyone up to the next release before releasing and finalizing our 3.5 builds.

Of course we'll continue to support your KDE release you are currently running, but the 3.5 release will be moving to GNOME. You can change your current KDE desktop to GNOME when we complete the repository builds.

GNOME presents a better desktop today without the problems that have become inherent in KDE, which was not the case previously. GNOME will be provided on both the desktop and server, with the server as before being stripped for server functionality.

Pioneer Stagecoach

Pioneer Stagecoach will be the same as previously with both the server and desktop being preinstalled. It's still used in education and by smaller companies and workgroups. We will continue to support the KDE version along with providing the GNOME on the new 3.5 release.

All Linux is the same and a religion fallacy

A person once told me that all Linux is the same and that it's a religion almost and wouldn't discuss what the differences were between the different versions. I've now heard this from other people as they tell me the same thing that all distributions are pretty much the same. They aren't the same and Linux is basically a kernel and you build on. I thought I'd address this since we're hearing it more and more, probably a propagation by some Windows folks and educators who don't understand what Linux is and they either intentional or unintentionally confuse the industry even more. All Linux distros are currently installing everything they want and forcing users to uninstall what they don't want instead of installing the applications they do want.

We've tested the latest Ubuntu here deciding on our directions and seeing what people like. Well, I must say if I wanted that much bloat I would install Vista. We're trying to build different versions for people with specific functionality to meet the needs of the individual, companies and enterprises. Keeping our products unbloated will maintain a pleasant experience for our users.

Pioneer Warrior BSD

Pioneer Warrior is moving to BSD, with specific hardware support. You'll still be able to build your own systems if selling Warrior and it is not meant to be a replacement for our Linux offering but only as use for those wanting a computing platform for development and servers. As many of you who have been with us since 2002 know, we used to run BSD servers until the pressure from outside sources had us move to Linux. BSD for developers makes sense and will be a clean install with the required tools.

Warrior BSD Desktop (Developers and Enterprise)

The desktop will be unfamiliar to many of you as it will be completely void of the fluff that many see in Pioneer Linux. There have been several articles you may have read lately about me saying that Linux is becoming as bloated as Windows and OS/X, both which I believe are pitiful examples of a computing environment while Linux hasn't reached that stage yet although may be reaching it to meet consumer demands. We're keeping our commitments on the Linux side and using BSD for serious computing requirements.

Desktop environment

The desktop will have only tools for business and will be void of any games. The delivery of applications will be via a GIT server to install applications and updates. The desktop also does not include a start menu and you reach your applications via right-clicking on the desktop to get your application running. As you can see below, a picture of our BSD system with the desktop and icons. Although this is only a pilot, or a pre pre-alpha, I do enjoy my experience with the operating system.

Back to the future

When I went into coding in 1974 having learned assembler with assistance from the guys I worked with way back then when I was an operator on a mainframe, I was efficient and effective with my code. I've seen Visual Basic followed by Visual Studio and Microsoft releasing .NET Framework. I always wonder why people would release products like that with so much ineffectiveness that it blows my mind. When I say back to the future I'm saying it's time to keep your investment in your hardware and program effectively and efficiently so you can run your applications for some years instead of the throw-away projects we've become accustomed to.

The enterprise workstation and developer workstations are meant to provide an operating system that will last the life of the hardware. With Warrior, you can even run developers and workstations on older PIII systems.

The Warrior developer workstation is meant for real programmers. If you like to code, please check out our new Warrior developer and enterprise workstations coming soon. The enterprise workstation is meant for companies who need to have people perform their jobs and maintain the hardware for some years without having to move to the latest and greatest platforms just because they exist. It's now time to go back to the future.

Server environment

The server environment is meant to be just a server that provides no desktop. Our second release of VoIPTelCaster will be running on Warrior BSD Server with no frills and SSH access. There will be no desktop included with the BSD server, but you can install the limited desktop if you wish.

If you'd like to be involved in the testing, please let us know.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Where we are and where we're going

This blog is one of my favorite as we release our new VoIPTelCaster PBX and also the upcoming release of Warrior (Pioneer Desktop 4) and Automatix3. Instead of doing Automatix3 for Warrior only we will be doing this with the release of Debian and Ubuntu also. If you've been following, you know that Automatix3 will be using PostgreSQL for the backend and TuxSoftware has partnered with us to get this out quickly and will be the front-end to Automatix3. If you're wondering what all this means, let me explain a bit more.

Automatix3 is now part of the Technalign family and TuxSoftware is joining us in the development of the application using the Alpha release as the front-end for the new Automatix3 application. There will not be another Automatix after Automatix3, since Automatix3 will be following a different development cycle. The back-end of the application will allow users to search for an application or solution to a problem with a question and be database driven. Technalign is attempting to solve many of the business problems that our partners are experiencing today. When a Technalign partner looks for a solution it's pretty much the same as community member looking, or a new Linux user exploring for an alternative to Windows, so Technalign is working with the community and it's business partners to come up with an open source solution that works for everyone; business, consumer and community in one shot.

Since Automatix3 is used as part of the search, a set of tools will be available to the developers of open and closed source applications. It's not meant to be a replacement or competitor of LaunchPad, but is meant to be a method for a developer to get an application out to the users and part of the Automatix3 installation. With TuxSoftware, delivery of needed applications and needed utilities and codecs will be provided immediately. This means that users will be allowed to find a replacement for Automatix2. We'll also be keeping the repositories up and running now for those needing Automatix2 for many of those that have requested it remain up and running. You'll see HIATLANTIS community edition in Automatix3 as we've promised to release an open source version of the application. You can see more of this on the http://www.technalign.org pages of course along with Automatix3 and other open source projects.

With the help of Kevin at TuxSoftware, Jared at Automatix3, our internal developers and myself we would like to say thank you for all the input (regardless if an attack or not) and assistance up to this point!

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please visit the Technalign pages at http://forums.technalign.org

I, as well as the admins and everyone in the communities would love to hear from all of you and what you would like to see us working on to improve our products.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New directions at Technalign using PostgreSQL with HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster

As you may be aware, we've taken HITLANTIS off the market for awhile due to the fact that we've had issues with licensing MySQL. Although both HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster are being open sourced, please visit http://www.technalign.org for more information, the issue comes into play with our commercial versions of the products. There are a few issues with releasing a product using the MySQL product along with upfront money required to do business with MySQL. Since these projects are uncertain in terms of volume we are not certain how many will be sold in the market. Using MySQL represents some issues for Technalign in terms of the upfront costs required by the company, around $20,000 is the start of negotiations with MySQL, and they seem to be willing to drop the pricing to $5,000 or $10,000 to begin a relationship. $10,000.00 is for support services, regardless if you need it or not and another $10,000 for a pre-purchase of licenses. Not wanting to pay these amounts, MySQL was more than happy to work with Technalign and take 7% of all sales of our products, plus a minimum investment of $5,000 or $10,000 (Why did I feel like I was buying a used car in these discussions?). This doesn't include the limitation of the number of trials that Technalign would be held to. There is more detail, but honestly, we believe that the costs could cause the products to be too high since Technalign sells to resellers, and the cost would have to be passed on to those resellers and bottom line to the end-user. We didn't even have a problem with just providing a flat rate, but that was unacceptable to MySQL.

This caused us to have an internal meeting to decide the best approach as we were already converting our HIATLANTIS application to PostgreSQL. My reason for calling MySQL was to see if there was a means in working together that would have been beneficial to both companies. Technalign, since Release 1.0 of Pioneer has been promoting MySQL and has included it as a default install on our servers (MigrationSERVER and Stagecoach). One thing that kept coming up was our smaller partners with a similar model to ours developing open source and commercial applications based on their open source products. This would have meant that those small developers (some working out of a basement or garage) would have to make these same commitments to MySQL and paying those upfront costs to MySQL. They are not much, but if a developer's application fails, that upfront money would be an issue to the developer. Great for MySQL, but bad for the company with additional loses.

In our meeting; Ron, Scott, Bryan, Jared and myself were discussing the alternatives. We've spoken to PostgreSQL in the past and placed any commitments on hold until we were able to figure out our next best steps. Some of the suggestions were that we move to Oracle or DB2. I felt that PostgreSQL offered an excellent solution and everyone did agree having used it “way back when” - including myself in the late 80s. We formed our decision based on our smaller and larger ISVS that use MigrationSERVER and Stagecoach who would be hurt by a MySQL decision.

What's next?

MigrationSERVER 3.1 and Stagecoach 3.1 will continue having MySQL as the default installation. As we move forward with our Warrior product (http://www.technalign.org/warrior.html) we've made a decision to move MySQL to the unsupported repositories and PostgreSQL to the default in MigrationSERVER 3.2 and Stagecoach 3.2 while testing with our Warrior Server. Technalign will support the PostgreSQL database technology via it's partner network and that of the community via forums and so on.

HIATLANTIS and VoIPTelCaster community editions will released with PostgreSQL with VoIPTelCaster being the first in the next several weeks. HIATLANTIS is being redeveloped and changed to be released to the community with a PostgreSQL database as well. The project pages and screenshots of the rerelease is already on the technalign.org pages. This, of course, is open source so anyone can make changes to utilize MySQL versus PostgreSQL as with VoIPTelCaster. As with all Technalign's open source projects requiring a database, Automatix 3 will also use the PostgreSQL data where required.

You'll find more PostgreSQL projects started and tools and utilities to compensate for the directional move in the future. We believe that providing the right tool for any project means a commitment in development and support. Technalign, and myself, is very proud to have made this decision and move into a direction that makes sense for Technalign, the community and our ISVS moving into this direction. It was a decision based on our requirements as well as those that we work with hand-in-hand.

If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comment area or the tapioneer forums.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

About the new directions, you'll find Warrior getting built and Automatix 3 started

Many of us need something easy to use and something that is innovative yet what people have been asking for. When Automatix was first released it provided Ubuntu a method of simplicity that allowed users to use the system easily. Of course the “not invented here syndrome” was a big problem for Automatix since certain teams were upset that it wasn't under their control and ripping them apart instead of working closely with them. See my previous blog on Automatix for more information. The bottom line was that these people were dedicated hard working individuals who not only assisted Ubuntu in gaining popularity in those days, but also the ones that made Ubuntu easy to use by providing the tools that were lacking in a simple to use method that Windows users could use. Heck, even the New York Times thought it was a great tool that people should install on their systems. Enough about that, I've commented before on my thoughts and I'm just still amazed that people tear into them. We supported the project well over a year and I still believe that the over 2 million people that use it can't be wrong! Now comes Automatix 3, a completely new methodology for a package manager to be included in Warrior and later into Explorer and Basic. Of course since it's a community project, we will be providing it to other communities who would like to include it, much in the same way the Automatix team provided Automatix to others in the past. We've provided this now with three new repositories; Cowboy, Cowgirl and Wrangler working hand in hand with the folks at Automatix. These new repositories are available to other communities as well who can add them to their repository list in K/Ubuntu, Mint, MEPIS 6.5 and under and others.

Let me discuss Warrior some as it is a complete 180 from our past development efforts here at Technalign. We are moving rapidly to Warrior development now with the Automatix group heading up a lot of the efforts for us. Automatix has demonstrated something in the past that we haven't seen for quite sometime in Linux, the ability to assist a distribution with innovative concepts and implementation that people really wanted and needed. Warrior is no different in the sense that it not only is a deviation from Ubuntu, but a project that is meant to stay focused on the Debian innovations and creating a distribution that provides the greatest base today in Linux. We plan on augmenting what Debian has accomplished. Bringing longevity to the operating system is something we need to do, allowing users to continue for years with a stable and reliable platform that brings users to a new level of satisfaction (shoot, I need a cigarette now lol). We also plan on working very closely with Automatix, who in the past has demonstrated the sheer essence of innovation. I'm certain I'll be attacked for these comments, but the numbers themselves speak volumes of what they've accomplished in the past and what they will accomplish in the future!

Warrior, besides having Automatix 3 included, and as I spoke about previously includes a new set of repositories and direction using Debian. We plan on keeping the Debian base Debian without deviation. This means a pure distribution for the community and later the Explorer and Basic communities. We also need to standardize some of this, and there was an attempt previously that failed. I believe Xandros is still attempting this today, but I may be incorrect. One of the issues we are finding today with our partners is the need to have a set of standards for both hardware and software developers. Working with some software development companies, what we are finding is that these companies are having issues they have asked us to address. Some have not yet started to move their critical applications in vertical markets such as Medical and Legal applications waiting for the standards and a Linux distribution that follows the current path they run today in Windows. We're addressing these issues with them currently and the communities that wish to be involved. Nothing is mandatory, and the projects are completely open. You'll find this started on our org pages at www.technalign.org if you want more information.

We hope each of you join us on our next steps in making Warrior the optimal platform with Technalign and Automatix and I welcome each of you to share your thoughts and ideas with us so your voice is also heard and not shut down. No one is ripped into at Technalign and everyone is welcome to provide input or join in any efforts, including VoIP projects. Please feel free to visit our forums at http://www.tapioneer.org/forums/index.php and let your voice be heard!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happenings at Technalign!

My latest blog is regarding the new happenings at Technalign and some new directions. The employees at Technalign have been asking that we open more of what we do to the community, including a new project called VoIPTelCaster. My first reaction was we needed to be closed source and add code to existing applications. I also thought, why would I give all this code away that cost the company to produce with programmers at Technalign. What I found was there were already people programming for free and other companies were doing it. I spoke to Mark Hinkel awhile ago and asked him why I should do this since I was confused. After a bit of time and groaning I decided that we should and we should also allow the community to be part of what we do, so with www.technalign.org we are now opening our projects, including Warrior, to the community with full access to development and input provided by them. The Automatix folks, as always have been more than helpful in getting things going and providing suggestions.

While in a meeting last week I had our support people hammering me to do something with community editions. Again my reaction in the meeting was less than pleasant when these guys were staring at me with the look of a hurt puppy or others like mad dogs. Why should I support a community Linux distro? I thought back to when my son first got me into Linux with those big blue eyes of his and that excitement when he said I should move HIATLANTIS to Linux. I then thought about how hard these guys work on distributions, kernels and everything else and that all my support people actually play with and use many different distributions. How else can we get companies and people to move to Linux unless they have actual support services they can purchase at a pretty good price. They were right, providing support for community editions was a good thing that would allow us to give back. If you're curious please visit the www.technalign.org site for more information. We're going to give 5% back to the distributions, but you should read the support pages on the .org site. We also have 3 new repositories thanks to Jared at Automatix called cowboy (free speech and free beer), cowgirl (Free speech and not free beer) and Wrangler the commercial repository. Again, Automatix helped and directed this effort as the start of Warrior!

While we were developing Electricity, one of our community guys said we were nuts and should just use Wine-Doors. Once again I didn't want to listen to dj in the forums and decided that we needed to do our own thing. In come the developers and support guys hammering me once again – almost like a daily routine here now. I contacted Karl over at Wine-Doors and what a great guy he is. He's one of those true Linux guys who just loves to do his thing! Well, Electricity is now powered by Wine-Doors and anything we do gets back to them and not kept to ourselves. We're also going to do the port to OS/X with their guidance and that of the Automatix guys. Yeah, we all have those MAC guys around, even at Technalign – right Steve you short-timer? Just joking! Anything that sells of Electricity with support, we're giving a spiff back to the guys at Wine-Doors.

All in all coming together as we get ready for our new office in Margate, FL! It's pretty cool, a bit warm actually, but cool that there is ready and able Linux people we can hire.

Just want to say thanks to everyone and here we go!