Meet CUBRID: One of Korea’s Top Open Source Projects

A Conversation with Jay Kim and Esen Sagynov of CUBRID.

www.cubrid.org

www.cubrid.org

I participate at the MySQL Conference in Silicon Valley every year and look forward to the diversity of ideas, projects and companies that represent the ever-growing open source database landscape. This year, CUBRID, an open source database project backed by a company from South Korea, caught my eye. What was most impressive to me was the team’s enthusiasm about open source software and its belief that an open source model can work for developing good software and, at the same time, for building a healthy services business in Asia as well as globally.

CUBRID’s team from Korea proudly announced its participation in the global open source ecosystem through the example of its open source relational database project at the conference. I talked with Jay Kim and Esen Sagynov from the CUBRID team about their experience building an open source database in Asia, growing the CUBRID community and increasing its adoption. Here is what they had to say.

1. Tell me about CUBRID?

CUBRID is an open source relational database highly optimized for web applications. In the summer of 2006, NHN, Korea’s top portal and search engine joined the CUBRID project as a major co-developer. After two years of development, in October 2008, CUBRID became an open source project with a GPL v2 or later license. Code development was initially hosted at http://dev.naver.com/projects/cubrid, a CUBRID development project site in Korea. As of October 2009, the project has been now setup at Source Forge.

NHN’s experience in database development and supporting its numerous on-line services provided a great opportunity to develop and scale CUBRID to handle large concurrent requests.The latest version CUBRID 2008 R2.2 was released in May 2010, the next version CUBRID 2008 R3.0 is expected to be released this summer.

2. How has CUBRID used the open source model for development?

CUBRID’s presence in the open source industry has already brought many changes. It is one of the leading open source projects in Korea. With the help of its open source community, CUBRID has been able to deliver 8 releases of CUBRID DBMS at an interval of 1-4 months, twice more frequent than other database providers.

From our experience in Korea, we are trying to develop CUBRID Cluster and CUBRID Manager, a client GUI database administration tool, and spin-off projects with many other developers. All of these projects come to live and continue to be developed because of the open source community. We feel that we create value for both users and developers around CUBRID.

The open source model has helped us not only facilitate development of third-party applications and tools for CUBRID DBMS but also helped generate new ideas and encourage more users.

3. How do you see CUBRID playing in the US market, especially since you have to compete with larger, more entrenched competitors like Oracle and MySQL?

The U.S. has always been the land of opportunity. CUBRID envisions its niche in web applications. Instead of competing with the market leaders, CUBRID is positioned in a slightly different way, being a database highly optimized for web apps, particularly those which drive extremely high traffic with prevailing READ-transactions. It provides enterprise level features for all users under GPL and BSD license.

CUBRID is being used in NHN’s numerous on-line services running on vast amount of servers in several environments, supporting scalability, stability and high performance. This allows CUBRID to support users’ requirements and their bug reports more rapidly. In addition, the average response time at CUBRID Community forum in the fourth quarter 2009 was only 3.6 hours.

We believe, CUBRID can attract users, including enterprises, who really value their own customers and this is the right time for them to get acquainted with CUBRID.

4. Why did you select GPLv2 as CUBRID’s license?

Unlike other databases, CUBRID does not distinguish our license policy between community and enterprise. There is only one version under GNU General Public License version 2.0 or later for the database server engine and under BSD license for the APIs and client tools. This CUBRID Open Source License Policy benefits both companies as well as community users.

We adopted the BSD license for our APIs because we do not want to impose any limitations for developing and distributing valuable products on the top of CUBRID. However, the core part of CUBRID, i.e. the database server engine itself, adopted the GNU General Public License so that any improved features on the server engine can be shared with many other users. For more information, see CUBRID’s Open Source License Policy.

5. How large is CUBRID’s user community?

We’ve gathered statistics related to CUBRID users since its first launch in October 2008. The number of total downloads has topped over 51,000 and latest statistics indicate a growing number of downloads with 3,200 downloads in May 2010 (per month). Also, the number of CUBRID Open Source community web site visitors increases daily. Last April, over 3,000 unique users visited CUBRID project home page.

Currently, there are over 20 active CUBRID open source contributors in Korea. There are also core developers in Romania and China. We are eager to support all interested developers and users to help grow interest in CUBRID. Considering our assumption that Korean database users account for only 1% of the entire global market, we believe the CUBRID community will grow very rapidly in the near future.

6. Has open source helped you grow CUBRID’s user community and convert them into paying customers?

Definitely, yes. Open source, as a whole, facilitates CUBRID development in a number of ways, including improved user awareness and faster adoption, stronger competitive positioning in the database for web industry, and, most importantly, a large base of users to find and report bugs and recommend improvements to CUBRID.

As open source is one of the today’s hot topics, most users and developers positively respond to the idea of holding Open Source Conferences and CUBRID Events. Therefore, we annually hold a CUBRID Bug Bash event. We bring together our experienced software engineers and CUBRID Community users and developers to search for and fix bugs in CUBRID and make code enhancements. NHN IdoCode (Summer of Code) is a large event to bring together professional software developers and enthusiasts to create new or port existing open source software for CUBRID. Those highly interested in open source development eagerly participate in the event and submit significant contributions to CUBRID Project. For instance, WordPress, phpBB, and MediaWiki have been extended to use CUBRID as the database server by our community contributors.

Ubuntu Users Community Guide is a Linux related event CUBRID also takes part in to facilitate the adoption of and software development for Linux Ubuntu OS. CUBRID also recently became a Linux Foundation Silver Sponsor. Linux’ strengths in the enterprise translate into major advantages for supporting web-based businesses. It’s ability to enable seamless high-volume transactions and high performance server/client infrastructure are among the reasons CUBRID has become an active member of the Linux development community and the Linux Foundation.

Additionally CUBRID supports various conferences like JCO Java Developer Conference, Advanced Computing Conference, attends global and local conferences like the O’Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo and Asia-Pacific Web Technology Conference.

We also organize an annual technical seminars called “CUBRID Inside” for our community developers. We discuss various details and challenges around CUBRID, including its three-tier architecture, CUBRID Quality Assurance process, CUBRID Heartbeat implementation, and so forth. As a result, we’ve experienced growing interest in CUBRID DBMS from developers and enterprise users, especially in the local market (Korea).

Nowadays, CUBRID is being actively used by IT industry leader in Korea – NHN Corporation, which deploys a farm of over 10,000 servers. In addition, large hosting companies Cafe24 and Mireene, software company ESTsoft, and many Korean local colleges manage their data with CUBRID. Two third of all CUBRID references come from the government sector. The Korea National Tax Service, Korea Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Korea Ministry of National Defense, Busan Transportation Corporation, and Korea White House are major customers who deployed CUBRID as their major database management software. Just imagine how much sensitive data they all have, how much security they all require – they all chose CUBRID as their database.

7. How would you attract newcomers to your community? What benefits can they expect and how can they contribute?

We often organize events for our community members to encourage their enthusiasm. We hold online seminars to share our knowledge, or bug bash events and distribute prizes for contributors. By participating in these events, newcomers can gain valuable knowledge in development and can share their knowledge with other.

We have enough interesting and exciting projects within CUBRID to get involved in, such as introducing a number of new query-embedded functions, porting existing open source projects for CUBRID, developing a newer version of CUBRID native libraries, and so forth. Besides major development activities, CUBRID community members are welcome to add to CUBRID’s on-line Universal Knowledge Repository by contributing better documentation, more code examples, easy-to-replicate examples, and comprehensive tutorials. Likewise, reporting bugs and providing feedback are also valuable for the community.

We want the CUBRID community to not be a place just to come and go, but to be a community where users stay and enjoy the rapid development process, something most newcomers are seeking for. To make CUBRID projects more beneficial to all, we always welcome any suggestion in every possible way from YOU!

Thanks Jay and Esen for taking the time to talk about CUBRID. Good luck!

Poll : Why Women Matter in FOSS?

Open World Forum

Open World Forum

The free and open source software world believes in freedom, openness, access and collaboration as some of its core values. Yet, the number of women in FOSS is minimal. Why? And how can this be changed?

April, a leading non-profit organization in France which promotes free and open source software is conducting a poll to better understand the role of women in FOSS. Researchers at one of Paris’ main universities – Paris Descartes University, will be analyzing the poll results. The analysis will be presented on September 30th in the Diversity Summit, at the Open World Forum in Paris.

If you’re involved in the FOSS community and care about this issue, express your opinion by taking a few minutes to complete the poll at:

http://owf-ged-poll.limequery.com/71557

Brazil and India: The Next Generation of Open Source

Brazil and India: Next Generation of Open Source

Brazil and India: Next Generation of Open Source

Those of us who follow the growth of open source in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) know that both Brazil and India are leveraging open source at a rapid pace towards economic development.

India

India is a heavy user of open source. Sectors leveraging open source include software development outsourcing, business process outsourcing, government services, technical education as well as industries such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, oil and gas, defense and space. According to Wikipedia, India produces 2.5 million graduates every year from which only a small percentage, about 700,000 people are employed by India’s BPO industry. The BPO industry which has flourished on cheap, skilled labor has started to leverage open source software based automation to gain further cost advantages.

Brazil

Brazil has also been a hotbed of open source activity in recent years. Government agencies, private industry, universities have been teaching and implementing open source solutions to create local centers of knowledge and gain expertise around open source in the country. Seeing India’s success in IT outsourcing, Brazil has also declared an interest in using open source to gain leadership in the market of software development outsourcing.

According to recent articles in Network World and Computer Weekly, Brazil has a few humps to overcome to fully leverage the power of open source for software outsourcing. These challenges include a predominantly non-English speaking IT industry and higher hourly wages. But the Brazilians are optimistic that deep knowledge of open source can overcome such factors and help them compete globally.

Brazil’s open source experts in IT, government and education are very active in international open source forums as well as engaging international experts in Brazil. For example, the Linux Foundation will be holding its first-ever Brazil summit later this year. Such exchange of ideas, skills and expertise can help stimulate the local knowledge economy and give Brazil an edge especially in open source expertise.

Brazil has other advantages that it could combine with the knowledge of open source to develop its software development outsourcing markets with special focus on the US. These advantages include geographical proximity to the US, in-country advanced technology research and excellent infrastructure such as roads, airports, power and telecommunications.

Collaboration is good

In the true spirit of open source, both India and Brazil can learn a lot from each other. India’s IT and outsourcing industries could certainly learn a thing or two from Brazil’s commitment to open source to foster innovation and develop its internal and export markets. Making deeper commitments to adopting open source can only help both countries grow their economies while sharing their experiences and best practices. Knowledge economies can only thrive on continuing the pursuit of better education, deeper expertise, more innovation and long term collaboration.

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Apple and Open Source: Raising the Bar

Two excellent articles published recently on Apple’s quest to improve user experience in its mobile products such as the iPhone and what Open Source can learn from it.

1. Making Open-Source Software Free and Fabulous, by Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation, BusinessWeek

This article aptly reiterates the pressing need to focus on further improving the Linux and Open Source application user experience.

“We’re moving to a tech world with Apple on one side and virtually everyone else on the other. Linux needs to more effectively compete with Steve Jobs and the magic of Apple. It’s important that open-source products add more value for users than simply being free. Open-source software also needs to be fabulous….

…Providing a good user experience isn’t paramount under the white lights of the data center. In consumer electronics, it’s a different story. Mobile Linux vendors must increase their technical investments by working on key open-source projects to make every component used in Linux devices benefit the user experience. That includes making devices boot up faster, connect better, and display graphics more smoothly. In the server market, IBM made the investments to improve Linux for information technology workers a decade ago. The mobile industry uniting behind Linux should do the same.”

2. Why Open Source developers should thank Apple (and why Apple should thank open source) by Dj Walker-Morgan, The H Open

This article does a good job of highlighting areas where Apple has helped Open Source by raising the bar for usability.

“Apple has also set a high competitive bar for open source, and proprietary developers to exceed. For too long, the competition for open source was defined by Microsoft’s offerings…

…although Apple has made design, policy and commercial decisions that people in the free and open source software community vigorously object to, they have provided a number of things too: a real competitive bar to replace the complacent Microsoft competition and a disruption to the mobile phone market which has indirectly led to Linux based phones moving from oddities to center stage. It is said that a rising tide raises all ships, and Apple has, in the last ten years created competition that is making all the players in the business rise to the challenge of competing. Open source and free software are rising to that competitive challenge and if that means users of free software and open source software get as good an experience using it as Apple’s well polished offerings, isn’t that something to be thankful for?”

iPhone 4: A game changer. Again.

WWDC 2010

WWDC 2010

Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC started today in San Francisco with the “official” unveiling of the latest iPhone 4 and iOS 4 by Steve Jobs.

In keeping with Apple’s mantra of innovation and usability, iPhone 4, is loaded with smartphone technology firsts. Much awaited features include a front-facing camera together with a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera, 5x digital zoom, HD movie capability, LED flash, 3-axis gyro, compass, high-res retina display, noise cancellation and a larger battery for longer battery life. All these features have added fuel to the ongoing competition between leading smart phone vendors like Apple and Google. But it’s clear that Apple has raised the bar for innovation and usability on the mobile platform yet again.

Apps on the new iPhone which I am excited about include:

1. iBooks: This app which was initially released with the iPad and will now allow reading PDFs and the same copy of any book across multiple Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch).

2. iMovie: For amateur movie makers, we’ll now be able to create, edit and share videos right from the device.

3. FaceTime: Video chat is finally here with FaceTime. Today this app works on wi-fi only. Of course, you need another friend with a iPhone 4 to vchat with. I hope that Mr. Jobs is serious about his proposal to make FaceTime truly an open international standard.

Despite the game changing potential of the new iPhone, the demands of smart apps on this device may be hard to satisfy with the new limited data plans that come with it. Hopefully, as usage of data-intensive apps (e.g VoIP, Maps, Movies, Video) on smart phones goes up, US network carriers will be encouraged to provide more generous plans.

MIT’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2010

Emerging Technologies 2010

Emerging Technologies 2010

Every year MIT’s Technology Review selects and publishes a list of the 10 most promising emerging technologies. This year’s list picks some really futuristic technology ideas in internet and web applications, mobile computing, green technologies, biomedicine, and solar energy which are worth learning more about.

The list includes:

It lists technology areas such as cloud programming, real-time search, social TV and mobile 3-D where I think open source software has a big role to play. Especially in the arena of cloud programming, it is interesting to note that UC Berkeley researcher Joseph Hellerstein has been working on a project named BOOM (Berkeley Orders of Magnitude). This project has developed a software language named BLOOM which he proposes can make cloud programming easier for building complex cloud applications by tracking data and state. As MIT Technology Review points out,

“Hellerstein’s big idea is to modify database programming languages so that they can be used to quickly build any sort of application in the cloud–social networks, communication tools, games, and more. Such languages have been refined over the years to hide the complexities of shuffling information in and out of large databases. If one could be made cloud-friendly, programmers could just think about the results they want, rather than micromanaging data.”

The UC Berkeley team has also used BLOOM to build around open source cloud computing platform Hadoop.

One Small Blip on the Stock Index, One Giant Step for Apple

Apple overtakes Microsoft

Apple overtakes Microsoft (Image credit: www.funny-potato.com)

History was made today as Apple overtook Microsoft ($226.3 billion) in market value and became the world’s most valued technology company at $227.1 billion dollars.

iPhones, iPads and iPods have definitely revitalized Apple’s innovative streak. It will be interesting to see how the company maintains its success in the consumer device space as competition from Google, Microsoft, HP and other vendors heats up. And open source is in the middle of it all, as it becomes a favorite tool-chest to surpass the market leader. Android, Chrome, HTML5, CSS3… the list grows as tools of disruption are readied. It’s going to be exciting times ahead especially at WWDC in San Francisco coming up on June 7-11.

The Open Web?

Suburbanizing the Web?

Suburbanizing the Web?

An excellent article in NYT on “The Death of the Open Web“, drawing parallels to the phenomenon of suburbanization in the US.

“…In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.

The parallels between what happened to cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York in the 20th century and what’s happening on the Internet since the introduction of the App Store are striking. Like the great modern American cities, the Web was founded on equal parts opportunism and idealism. Over the years, nerds, students, creeps, outlaws, rebels, moms, fans, church mice, good-time Charlies, middle managers, senior citizens, starlets, presidents and corporate predators all made their home on the Web. In spite of a growing consensus about the dangers of Web vertigo and the importance of curation, there were surprisingly few “walled gardens” online — like the one Facebook purports to (but does not really) represent…”

Finding common ground

Ideas worth meditating on …

Many Faiths, One Truth

Today’s Op-Ed in the New York Times by His Holiness the Dalai Lama -

“Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever. As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.”

Join the POSSE in Silicon Valley!

POSSE California

POSSE California

As the open source ecosystem grows, the need for talented developers, collaborators and open source experts has burgeoned. Increasingly, universities want to incorporate the teaching of open source technologies, techniques and business models into their curricula to meet this growth.

For the past few months I’ve been working with Red Hat’s team at TeachingOpenSource.org on open source education. As part of this effort, we’ve looked at conducting a week long camp for educators – POSSE – to teach open source development processes, tools and techniques. Professors Open Source Summer Experience, better known as POSSE, was first held in the summer of 2009.

As a board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), I’m proud to announce that OSI is supporting and helping organize POSSE in California along with Red Hat. What better place to hold the first camp on the West Coast than Silicon Valley.

We invite university, college and high-school instructors involved in teaching open source technologies, tools and software development to attend this week long camp in Mountain View, California from July 6-10, 2010. Registration is free for all instructors teaching software development in academic institutions. Seating is limited so please register as early as possible.

To register, sign up here. Attendees are responsible for their own costs for travel and accommodations. More information about POSSE California can be found here and here.