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Replace Jaspersoft OLAP UI with OpenI Plug-In

I am happy to announce some fun and exciting changes at OpenI, and the alpha release of our team’s work over last couple of months.

First – OpenI as a “BI platform” on its own will discontinue. Instead, we will use Pentaho and Jasper as our base platforms as needed. The approach is to release “OpenI plug-ins” for Jasper and Pentaho — so that they behave/appear in a manner very similar to OpenI.

Our first step in this direction is our “Plug-In” for Jasper that replaces its JasperSoft OLAP (aka JasperAnalysis) UI, which is basically JPivot as-is, with OpenI’s UI. We believe this is a greatly improved UI for JasperServer users who need better interface for OLAP reporting and exploratory analysis . Here is a screenshot:

OpenI Plug-In Replaces JasperAnalysis UI

OpenI Plug-In Replaces JasperAnalysis UI

You can also check out a live demo here: (Use the demo user account “user/user” or “demo/demo” to get logged into the system)

Currently this is an alpha release. You can download binaries or source code here –

Let us know what you think. If you need help, etc. – use the support forum.

The general thinking is – if you deploy Pentaho or Jasper with OpenI plug-in, you will get the lightness, easy-to-use look-and-feel, plus features that are unique to OpenI which are not available in Jasper or Pentaho (such as exploring cube data). We may also have to create our own installers that makes their installation/deployment process easier.

So – that’s the general direction.

Although Jasper was an easy pick for this first release, we are looking for similar approaches with Pentaho. Now, Pentaho already has efforts underway to replace JPivot UI (2 different approaches though – their open source version has Pentaho Analysis Tool (going through a rewrite at the moment), and proprietary version Pentaho Analyzer which is pretty decent) — so not sure, how much value-add will it be to put OpenI’s UI as a Pentaho plug-in, but there might be other features that may be better suited for an OpenI plug-in for Pentaho.

Pentaho is pretty impressive because they take a platform approach, not just a reporting server. So even though each individual component may not be as fully developed as it needs to be – architecturally I think they have a sound approach. The work we will do with Pentaho will be more along the lines of how can we make it easier to use – whether that will be via plug-ins, or embedding Pentaho in our own build, we will try that out and see what makes sense.

Stay tuned, and of course, your feedback is much appreciated, as always.


In Commercial Open Source, Partners = Community

What wowed me most at the Pentaho Global Partner Submit (#PGPS in Twitter) was, well.. the partners, or the partner program, I should say.

Back in the day, when we submitted our open source projects to sourceforge – we would sit there checking the number of downloads almost every minute, obsessing over the daily downloads and sourceforge ranking. A lot of this was driven by (besides the desire to be famous and get geek cred) the belief that more downloads = larger community = more “contribution” from the community.

This did not turn out to be true.

And not just for us, but for most open source enterprise applications out there, number of downloads has nothing to do with community participation. For that, you have to go beyond the realms of sourceforge forums and tracker – and actually actively build a community.

How do you do that? Well, after spending 2 days at PGPS, I am deeply impressed how great of a job Pentaho has done in building a thriving community via their partnership program. What we expected back in the day from our downloaders, Pentaho is exactly getting that from their partners. Partners are writing new features (e.g. Community Dashboard Framework, integration to CMS, single sign on, etc etc), they are fixing major bugs, they are writing books, they are even actively participating in shaping the roadmap. Simply amazing!

Whether this is a phenomenon unique to “commercial open source” – we don’t know, but look – for almost every enterprise open source project, at some point, reality kicks in, and we have to worry about monetization – so many of us become “commercial”. Of course, that immediately brings a tension between the users of the “free” version versus the “premium” version – as in, “why did you put feature ABC only in premium, and not in the free one, you greedy capitalistic pig?”

Well, one answer – “free” doesn’t pay the bills, “premium” does. “Free” is also probably justifiable if there was some contribution, but as we have seen – most of the people download and use open source for free, but they don’t contribute anything. Over time, this becomes unbearably taxing for the core developers of the open source project.

But amazingly, you can get more contributors to your “premium” version (and “free” version as well by extension) if you build a great partnership program around it like Pentaho has done. This is because not only the “premium” version pays Pentaho’s rent, it also helps their partners to pay their rent as well.

So yes, this isn’t the good old open source where it was all about freedom, peace, and love. This one is definitely about the money, but the twist is — it does share the wealth AND the open source bit makes it much easier for partner to participate and contribute. And in doing so, it brings back the extremely sought-after “community contribution” back in the game, which is the life/death factor for any open source project.

So Pentaho  – hats off to you guys for showing how to build a thriving community around commercial open source via a great partner program. Don’t ever go to the dark side 🙂