Friday, August 04, 2006

New Beginnings, Same Passions

After seven happy years I am leaving Sun and starting a software consulting business.

It has been an amazing ride.

When I joined Sun, my main motivation was Java. I was the lead architect for the largest Java project at Hewlett Packard at the time, when to my dismay they decided as a corporation to get on the COM bandwagon. Does anyone even remember what COM was? Let me help you out: It was the Microsoft platform du jour back then. OLE! OLE!

So I thought, what better place to get my fill of Java, than at its headwaters at Sun's Java Software Division. I joined the J2EE group in 1999 and life has never been the same since. I have had the good fortune to learn from some of the best and brightest minds in the industry. For that, I will forever be grateful.

Some of you know of my love for the OASIS ebXML standards and in particular the ebXML Registry standard. My involvement with ebXML was quite accidental. In 2000, a colleague asked me for some help on a deliverable for an upcoming demo. I ended up building what was one of the very first ebXML Messaging Service implementations. One thing led to another and I ended up authoring the original proposed draft of the ebXML Registry specification, again quite by chance. Since then, I have been the editor of the specifications as they continue to evolve with the contributions of many talented people and companies. For more than six years now it is my passion and a labor of love.

Around the same time as we were producing ebXML Registry 2.0 standard, I had the opportunity to lead the Expert Group that delivered the Java API for XML Registries (JAXR) API within the Java Community Process (JCP). It was a happy day when the Expert Group completed its work in one year with a unanimous approval vote within the JCP.

When I implemented the very first ebXML Registry implementation, Sun generously donated the work to seed the freebXML Registry open source project at Source Forge. In 2001 while on a trip to Hong Kong, in collaboration with CECID, I helped launch, an initiative to build and deliver royalty-free open source ebXML implementations. This has been instrumental in fueling the adoption and success of ebXML. As the freebXML Registry project caught on, Sun decided to productize it as the Sun Service Registry product within Java Enterprise System 4. Other companies including IBM, Digital Artefacts and FGM decided to build products on freebXML Registry as well.

It is rewarding to see that today, Sun Service Registry is completing work on its second release and freebXML Registry is completing its sixth release. It is even more rewarding to see that freebXML Registry and its deritaives are in production deployments at many notable organizations such as the US Department of Defense, United Nations and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Service Registry product was successfully monetizing an open source project well before the idea became popular at Sun. In fact, we took it a step before open source and a step after productization by creating a “community driven, collaborative development model” as shown below:

I think my move and its timing are very good for the ebXML Registry standard, freebXML Registry open source project, customers deploying this technology and even Sun. Let me explain...

The ebXML Registry standard is now 5 years old with version 3.0 approved as an OASIS standard. What the standard needs most now is many many more strategic deployments. With this move, I can aspire to be a “Johnny Appleseed” for the standard, and plant the seeds of many new deployments of the standard where ever there is demand.

Coincidently (well not really), the freebXML Registry project is also reaching a maturity milestone with the release of version 3.0-final1. This took 5 years of hard work by a very dedicated and talented open source team. The largest contingent of that team consists of my able team mates from the Sun Service Registry team. I will continue to lead the freebXML Registry project with my full passion, attention and vigor. With this move, the project will gain more diversity of membership, broader industry deployments and participation.

Sun gains yet another independent and ardent evangelist for Java, Java EE, Java Enterprise System and Sun Service Registry. I am a believer in the Service Registry product and will be helping customers deploy it to its maximum potential.

Customers of freebXML Registry and Sun Service Registry will now be able to get the help they need to realize well-governed SOA deployments and secure, federated information management using these ebXML Registry technologies.

Finally, this move scratches a long-standing itch for me personally. My heart has always been in customer-focused deployments. This move creates the perfect opportunity for me to scratch that itch.

Even though the timing is right for me to take on new challenges, leaving Sun is not so easy. What I will miss most are the good friends, colleagues and mentors at Sun and the culture of innovation and leading edge technology.

Looking forward, I hope to work with many of you who share this vision of collaborative, community-driven, open-source software development for the common good of this blessed Earth.