Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Dataphor is

Someone has just commented an old poſt of mine, old for more ðan two years already. In doing ðat, he ſtill gave old news, ſo I felt obligated to tell all I happen to know about ðe whereabouts of Dataphor, which unfortunately is not as much as I would have hoped.

Yes, Dataphor is now free ſoftware, open ſource if you like. But no, all is not well. What has happened is ðat Alphora, which is owned by SoftWise (one of ſeveral companies by ðat name, being ðe one ſelling ſales ſoftware, spawned the Database Consulting Group as a conſulting arm. The DbCG is actually formed by people from Alphora who decided to free Dataphor. They even created a Dataphor webſite as a wiki. But ðere were problems:

  • Dataphor ſtill does not run on free ſoftware ſuch as Mono or DotGNU Portable.Net, needing MS .Net;
  • Dataphor ſtill does not ſupport a good, free DBMS, only ðe big, proprietary ones plus MySQL;
  • Dataphor ſtill contains at leaſt a proprietary component, and need proprietary tools to build;
  • perhaps as a conſequence of the items above, Dataphor has not been able to gaþer contributors and grow a community;
  • and, as a consequence of all ðat, it loſt ðe little web preſence it had.

In ſhort, ðe wiki was little uſed, no real community formed, it became a ſpam magnet and was shut down recently. What is ðere now is but a template after a ſerver rebuild. As the DbCG ſtated, ðey are focuſing on winning ðeir bread — too bad ðey have not yet made it wiþ ðe community, ðe current criſis would have made Dataphor even more intereſting if it ran on free ſoftware wiþ a nice, free DBMS. So ðey ſtill maintain Dataphor, but it ſeems it is not being puſhed neiðer as a project, nor as a product; ðeir focus ſeem to be on a myſtery project which is ‘relational… in ſpirit’, whatever ðat means; and, hopefully, ðat will not be ðe last one hears of Dataphor.

I do not quite know what to þink about all ðat. Ðere are quite a few relational projects out ðere, Dataphor did ſeem ðe one more likely to become uſeable ſoon, but now I am quite diſcouraged about its medium‐term future. Hopefully ſomeone will ſurpriſe us ſooner ðan later…