The IBM Cloud

IBM recently announced that they are providing a free public cloud for development and test. This will allow developers to quickly work in a virtual machine. Obviously they are doing this to get their cloud to catch on, and generate paying customers later. I like the idea.

In conjunction with their cloud service offering, IBM has released the Rational Software Delivery Services. These are a bunch of tools to do development and test in their cloud. So far I have not done any cloud computing. But IBM seems to be making it very easy to try out.

Now that IBM has led the way with a free offering, I wonder if competitors like Amazon will follow suit. There is nothing better that companies coming out with free services for developers.

Justice Problems

I recently read that the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has it out for IBM. They have been trying to persuade the U.S. Department of Justice to look into monopolistic behavior at IBM.

Here is the heart of the matter. Previously IBM had licensed their OS to run on other mainframes. However they discontinued this policy back in 2006. Now competitors that sell mainframe clones want to force the company to relent.

Information Week magazine seems to think that this is just good business practices followed by IBM. They are not giving their tools to competitors. What do you think?

Open Configuration Management

Last year IBM created the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration. It is also known as the OSLC. The group has defined their OSLC CM 1.0 specification. In essence it defines how to integrate with a change management system.

The OSLC is not specific to IBM's products. It is an open standard. However you can expect ClearQuest to conform to the standard. Maybe this can help me have some custom program interact and even control Clearcase on my box.

This reminds me of how Microsoft opened up a spec for tools to interact with Integrated Development Environments before. Their Visual Studio followed the standard and allowed developers to write plus ins. This seems like a promising move that will benefit all.

Big Artificial Intelligence

Do you remember IBM's Deep Blue that defeated Kasparov in chess? Well that was the early edition. Now IBM has another computer that is poised to beat humans at a tough game. May I present Watson to you.

Watson will test its understanding by playing Jeopardy against Ken Jennings. Ken is the all time champ in Jeopardy history. Sure any program to do a Google to try to answer Jeopardy questions. However that will not help the computer beat a smart human like Jennings.

The Watson system will use some smarts to process the language from the host. Then it will analyze a database to determine the best answer. Get this. It will respond in a robot voice. I was expecting some weird metal robot from the 70's. However Watson is just a program running on a special IBM computer. To tell the truth, I am not sure I will be cheering for the computer. I like Ken Jennings.

Rational Insight

I just heard that IBM has released the Rational Insight tool. The press on the product says it does a lot of things. However the executive summary is that it assists with managing software development. So I don't think us rank and file developers will be using it.

Rational Insight will give management a bunch of metrics. I assume it plugs into the other Rational Suite of tools to collects its info. I would prefer if it did this without bothering me (a very busy developer).

In studying this new software offering a little more carefully, it seems that it is a set of tools itself. One part of the tool deals with requirements. Another deals with architecture. I hope that my customer agreement under which we license the Rational Suite includes this new tool. I would like to play with it a bit. Or maybe there is a free download somewhere in the IBM web site. I will let you know what else I find.


Yesterday I got this week’s issue of Information Week. IBM had taken out four full pages ads in the magazine. That’s a large portion as this is a thin weekly magazine. The theme of these ads was “Conversations for a Smarter Planet”. Here is the kicker. I had no idea what they were talking about.

Two of the four ad pages were giant images. The other two pages had the following headlines: (1) A mandate for change is a mandate for smart, and (2) How can we make our smart systems smarter? These pages then had a lot of text on them. The closing line was “Join us and see what others are thinking at”.

I figured these ads were just teasers, and that the meat was at the web site. I decided to bite. There seemed to be five bullets at the bottom of the page. Somehow I already got to the second bullet which was about intelligence. The byline was “intelligence to build solutions for business.”

By clicking some buttons I proceeded to the next bullet. The text talked about smarter governance. There were also links to topics like SOA and RFID among others. I saw something about being green and recycling as well.

At this point I had viewed some ads in the magazine, and was trying to navigate the web site. But I still had little clue as to what IBM was selling. There were two further bullets at the bottom of the page which were inaccessible. They were collaboration and infrastructure. No matter how many links I clicked, I could not get these buttons enabled.

Yeah I know IBM is making some good money these days. However I don’t think their latest advertising efforts are working. At least they make not sense to me.

VOB Versus View

I normally deal with only two views for my development work. One view is my development view which holds C++ application source code. The other view is my database view which holds scripts and stored procedures. These two locations for code I work with are also located in separate VOBs.

Whenever I need access to the data from one of the views, I mount the VOB for that specific view. This works fine when I just work with one of these views. However strange things happen when I mount both VOBs. Each view can see the folders in the expected VOB, as well as the other VOB.

This would be cool if I could get access to everything I need through one view. However it does not work like that. If I have the database VOB mounted, but use the development view, I can see the database folders. However I cannot do any work with files in those folders. I have to use my database view to access the files correctly.

What is this? This can’t be the normal way Rational Clearcase works. It just does not make sense. I get that I may need to use more than one view to access more than one type of files. However why is everything visible in the view, but not usable? That seems like something is wrong.

I would not put it past the people who set up my views and VOBs. Perhaps they configured stuff incorrectly. The problem is that I don’t know a lot about the details of how views and VOBs work. However something is wrong in the first place if the tool allows you to set up a bum configuration in the first place.

In the past I never thought I would say this. But I am starting to miss PVCS Version Manager. We had a clunky old version of that software made for Windows 3.1. However there were a lot of things that worked right and easily in that system.

Clearcase View Problems

I continue to have problems with views I do not access frequently. Personally I blame the Clearcase admins who manage our customer's repositories. They got some type of scripts which disable then delete inactive views. I would not mind if my views got deleted and I could recreate them. However once the script does its job, the view remains but I cannot use it.

Normally you need to open a trouble ticket with the help desk to get issues like these resolved. But I have found that is more trouble than it is worth. I took matters into my own hands. I had work to do. First I viewed the properties of the View (no pun). Then I clicked the Advanced tab. I copied down the Global Address of the view.

With the Global Address location in hand, I navigated the network to the location. Each of my views had a folder on the network. Usually I would not like to mess with file structures that Clearcase uses. But I needed to get past this problem. I renamed the directory for my old corrupted view. Then I was able to recreate the view. Problem solved. Something still sucks with this process though.