James Governor's Monkchips

Scoop: French Organisations Adopt Eclipse Rich Clients

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I feel like a beat reporter again, with a hot news story. No need to call an industry analyst for a quote any more though, which is nice. So here is the scoop: 

Agence-France Press will next month begin to roll out an end to end news creation and management platform using open source technologies, and an Eclipse-based rich client on the desktop, according to Eric Barroca. France’s Institute of Statutory auditors is pursuing a similar technical approach.

Nuxeo  is a company thats offers Zope and Python support and development services, and is moving forward with some pretty cool projects, based around its Collaborative Portal Server (CPS) system.

If you are interested in the notion of building activity-based applications on top of the Eclipse Rich Client then the AFP project is one to keep a close eye on. IBM will likely be watching with interest. After all, the project is an alternative implementation of the Eclipse RCP, which IBM has positioned at the heart of its Workplace user productivity strategy.

Eclipse RCP is a modular platform that allows developers to build applications with rich user interactions, offline storage, which take advantage of native system calls for user interfaces. Some RCP apps look pretty sweet. How about one for wealth management?

AFP is one of the biggest newswires in the world. It is a jewel in the French cultural crown. It was using a 15 year old bespoke inhouse news production system and when it decided to get up to date it decided open source was the way to go. Everything from story creation, including multimedia, with full workflow control for editing and authorisation, with version control and auditing. The system can’t afford any downtime, because it supports real time news production. A rich client makes a lot of sense in that context. RCP will be integrated with Mozilla Compose, for editing and support of XHTML and NewsML respectively.

Someone from a big ISV yesterday told me you couldn’t do large scale content management without J2EE. Ahem…

For many French organizations, particularly those in the public sector, open source offers an opportunity to build systems without percieved loss of cultural control. Nuxeo is taking full advantage of the trend, with interesting projects throughout the French public sector.

For those that think this implementation sounds like a one off, you need to check out the French Institute of Statutory Auditors, which will also be using Eclipse RCP as a reader.

Microsoft also needs to wake up to a new potential threats/angles of attack. Eclipse RCP could be the next battleground in the European public sector market, and falls right in the heart of Microsoft’s rich client turf. Its not just the SuSE, RedHat and OpenOffice you need to compete with.

Disclaimers: [I have not spoken directly to the AFP yet. Eclipse is a client. Nuxeo just came to give me a briefing]. 

Eric contacted me and pointed out that the Mozilla composer editor is embedded in Eclipse RCP for this app.


  1. James,

    Sorry for being late to the party here, but I found a compelling need to respond. Speaking from 5 years of market expertise in selling SOA platforms/tools/standards…fill in the blank (2 years at Cape Clear and 3 years at Systinet) – I would agree that UDDI is not the only possible registry mechanism. That said, it is and has become the only broadly adopted registry mechanism/standard in customers who are seriously building standards-based SO Architectures. We constantly have customers and prospects asking about ebXML, but have yet to find more – than I can count on one hand – who have done anything with ebXML. Even in our largest customer – the United States DOD Defense Information Systems Agency (who are building common services for the entire DOD in a program called NCES) – they have found usage for UDDI *and* ebXML. They’re using UDDI (Systinet’s implementation) for anything Service related in their Service Discovery implementation. They’re using ebXML for anything related to metadata/XML/XML schema (registration). They’re going to be using Systinet Blizzard as a mechanism to bridge or integrate the two worlds.

    If anyone says that UDDI is “not being implemented on an enterprise scale” or “being implemented on a departmental level” – I’d be happy to sit down and have a coffee with them and run them through 75+ scenarios in very large organizations that prove this assumption wrong.

    Best regards,

    Tim Bertrand
    Systinet Corp.

  2. James, sorry – wireless went down and I posted this in the wrong place. See my post under July 2005. Take care, – Tim

  3. Thanks James, nice story…

    From my experience, France is a bit ahead in Europe in this. At least 6 months or so…

    Don’t ask me for a reason, just an observation. In most EMEA countries, Open Source people are suffering because they have not developed a real business model. The Plone/Zope community might be an exception; they have done this for years already. They do not use a support model but are able to generate money by tailoring their Content Management solution and do it so well that their clients keep asking them to come back…..

    Some others are now coming up with things like LinLin and SimPC. They basically sell a “closed” PC with Linux and charge monthly for services to keep software up-to-date. It is a support model, but I think will not generate a lot of money.

    The rest of the world sometimes seems to think that they can make money by offering OpenOffice implementations and training or by installing Linux File & Print Servers.

    Open Source money can ONLY be made by offering added value through consulting, tailor-made implementations and smart solutions that solve a REAL business problem.

    The more people think about compliance (is this mission critical Content Management System or RDBMS supported in case things go terribly wrong) the easier it will get to charge for maintenance and support. Just like normal businesses have been doing for years…..

    The ones who understand this are successful and sustainable.

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