Cheap

Being an open-source company, Pentaho obviously likes to save a penny by using Open Source software as much as possible.

However, lately I have the impression that certain people in the organisation are taking this to extremes. Let me show you a couple of pictures to illustrate this disturbing new trend…

Dumpster diving to save a penny during lunch time… and loving it!

Dumpser diving Dumpster diving #2

I mean, WTF, right?

Well it doesn’t end there, what to think of this next picture: we don’t make data models using expensive software, we just put ‘m on the board and take pictures of it. It’s easier to document that way. (cheaper too :-)) Julian Hyde of Mondrian fame once did it on a piece of paper but didn’t really like the waste of using paper…

Blackboard madness

Still not convinced?? What about this next picture?

No desks, who needs them anyway?

That’s right: who needs desks anyway, right? To drive the point home, here is Thomas Morgner, lead developer of JFreeReport (Pentaho Reporting) riding in the back of a pickup truck, facing all kinds of dangers to save the company a couple of dollars :

Thomas in the back

I hope you now understand a bit more about the sacrifices we make each and every day in order to bring you the best possible software at the lowest price. (Free!)

UPDATE, THIS JUST IN:Â My secret informer has just sent me more evidence of the mentioned cheap behaviour:

More madness going on at Pentaho

Hidden features

Pentaho Data Integration has a lot of features, but because of the lack of time, a lot of this stuff remains hidden. They are usually documented somewhere, but we all know that documents are not being read anyway. You have to have them, but most people ignore ‘m. After all, that’s why they invented the acronym RTFM.
One of the hidden features that someone inquired about is related to the subject of data migration is the Copy Tables Wizard. Because it was asked for a couple of times the last couple of days, I decided to make Weekly Kettle Tip #8 : Using the copy tables wizard.

What would you like to be the subject of the next Kettle tip, please do let me know!

A job created by the wizard

Tradeoffs

Writing and maintaining any software is a constant struggle between what is known as Feature Creep and the request for new features by our users.

At a certain point you have to balance off the size of the audience of a new feature and the possibility of a useable workaround. For certain step types in Pentaho Data Integration the point of saturation certainly seems to have been reached. Steps like “Text File Input” already contain a gazilion features, checkboxes, configuration fields, etc. I sometimes wonder if it takes a brave person to use these dialogs.

So instead of just immediately creating this feature request I created another Weekly Tip (all tips are here) to show how you can evaluate certain conditions in a job.

Tell me what you think of this approach. I would love to hear about how other folks manage these issues.

Image from the Kettle tip

Wireless relieve after a great week

As I was packing this morning in my hotel in Orlando, I was fearing the worst. The last couple of days, it has been all over the news: again, flying across the Atlantic Ocean became more difficult because of tightend security measures in all airports.

So, being a good decent citizen, I went to the airport 3 hours early to cover for the extra wait…. only to breeze through security in less than 5 minutes. Well, I guess it was different a couple of days ago, but today there was no big queue to deal with. Then again, like Mondrian maintainer Julyan Hyde said yesterday: it probably will be busy when a couple of 747’s are ready to board…

Hey, here is the good part: FREE WLAN at Orlando International Airport! I’m writing this blog entry at the airport. Why shouldn’t I, I have more than 2 hours to waste! I ‘m really hoping the other airports will some day get their act together and also provide free Wifi.

We had a great Pentaho developer summit this week in Orlando: it’s great to see the big picture for a change. Among other things, we got status reports on what’s going on with the different tools in Pentaho. When you see the new stuff that’s in the pipeline, you can’t help but be excited about the whole thing. And apparently so are our customers, partners AND investors.

To you reader I can add, Pentaho might provide you with a great free toolset now, but wait until early next year when the next-generation of tools come about.

One of the cornerstone tools will of-course be a central meta-data repository that will combine enterprise reporting solutions, ad-hoc web reporting, etc with incredible ease of use. Especially this feature will probably cause the Pentaho toolset to get traction in enterprises even faster than it is happening today. (We’re already at around 80.000 downloads a month!!!)

I will most certainly be blogging about meta-data and related stuff in the near future as I’m sort of “hosting” the effort together with Nicholas Goodman and of-course Pentaho “Chief Geek” James Dixon (& the rest of the team)

Until next time,
Matt

The Wireless mess

Yesterday I spent most of the day traveling from Brussels to Orlando. This time it the trip was : Brussels – Chicago – Orlando.

It took me around 18 hours of travel of which one hour on the train, 2 hours of wait at the Brussels airport (WiFi available, company 1: need to pay and register).

The 8 and a half hour trip on the plane didn’t have any connectivity options either of-course. I hear that SAS is now allowing you to connect to WiFi. To me that means that all the BS that we’ve been hearing about it not being safe to use electronic devices on airplanes is just that : a load of BS.

At Chicago airport they have Wireless LAN as well. They are so proud of it that they have big billboards saying “Wifi zone here”. Of-course, you still need to register and pay around $US7,00 for a day of surfing. The time between flights was a couple of hours, but you spend an hour struggling through customs and various passport checks. Then you eat something so that means you have to pay that amount of money for half an hour of surfing: No thanks.

Again, no connectivity options on the domestic flight from Chicago to Orlando. (I have to say that Orlando airport DOES have FREE Wifi!)

A “connected”, “always on-line” world? I don’t think so…

We did find a nice beer last night so in the end it all worked out though 😉