Puakma: Under the hood

I'm Brendon Upson, jack-of-all-trades, master of one or two. I'm talking about life running a small ISV tackling business issues and leaping technology hurdles in a single bound.

webWise Network Consultants is based in Sydney, Australia and develops the groundbreaking Tornado Server technology.

OpenSource Tornado Progress

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2006-06-20

Not much showing on the website but I can assure you things are frantic behind the scenes. Last week we completed the code split to move the proprietry code out of the Tornado codebase and remove any "evaluation" type restrictions. We have selected the GPL as our license of choice - funny I found a comment last week I left somewhere which makes some disparaging remarks about the GPL. I'm not in a position to completely denounce those remarks just yet but the GPL seems to fit the bill for our purposes and affords a great level of protection to contributors.

Next step is to plonk the GPL preamble in all the source files and roll a new source and binary package.

Exciting times ;-) 

More power!

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2006-06-13

Last weekend I was cleaning out some old boxes and found a 4GB hard disk. A quick check revealed it used to be in my father's PC and so probably had some information on it that shouldn't just be dumped. Then I got to thinking about my metal cutoff saw. Mmmmmm powertools.....

I took the disk out to the shed and set up the saw (it's a big powersaw with a metal cutting blade). Placing the disk on the bed of the saw, the blade cut through the metal. It was surprisingly hard going, I expected it to be nice soft aluminium but the saw struggled to make it through.

It's always fun to cut stuff up with powertools :-) Now where did I put that chainsaw....? 

harddisk.jpg

Moving towards an OpenSource Tornado

Filed under: by Brendon Upson on 2006-06-01

They say if you love something, set it free. As a developer, software you create is such a personal thing. From that first moment when you had that whacky idea for an application to the countless hours it's like your child. Tornado is my child who has now reached adolesence and I am reluctantly allowing into the world. This is quite a scary step for me. I make my living creating and selling software, the opensource model is one that potentially removes the opportunity for profit in the traditional sense of selling software. It is a fundamental change in business model. That scares me as we venture into the unknown.

Why are we doing this?

Tornado has been a great success for us. But only a great success in our small sphere of customers. We really want to reach out to others and build a complete software ecosystem on top of the great platform that is Tornado. We have neither the money (for full page Wall Street journal ads) nor the breadth of customers (who we can introduce Tornado to) to significantly increase the installed base. By moving to an OpenSource model we suddenly allow other software vendors to use the Tornado code to build their businesses with, safe in the knowledge that we cannot suddenly change the licensing arrangement and extort ridiculous amounts of licensing fees from them. There is a safety in choosing Tornado and it lowers the total cost of a solution, since most ISVs who sell web applications have customers buying their web applications, not the infrastructure. Lowering the infrastructure cost lowers the overall solution cost (or increases your margin depending on how you choose to look at things ;-) )

How will our revenue model change when we release Tornado under an open license?

mySQL seems to be the most successful company making money from OpenSource, so we'll pretty much follow their lead. They have a dual license, GPL and commercial and as a customer you can choose. Obviously if you choose the commercial option you get help and support and your life is generally easier :-) The GPL route means you have to find your own way. We will also offer training, support and consulting services. On top of that we have a few other products that work in with Tornado, such as Web Booster, Web Booster ESSO which will be available under a traditional closed source model.

Over the next few weeks we will be pulling apart and repackaging the source ready for distribution to coincide with the next release or Tornado.