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 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 ( 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 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 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 and let your voice be heard!