IBM grassroots seed world made of messages, internet of things. smarter planet by open source. pachube. next 10 years.

The last time I wrote about a World Made of Messages was back in 2010, when SpringSource announced it was to acquire RabbitMQ. A lot has happened in the the meantime- but things are really heating up.

Logmein recently acquired Pachube, and then made the end point to end point real time web message broker free to use this week. Making something free is a great way to lower barriers to participation.

As devices continue to find their way onto the Internet, we want them to be able to take advantage of everything the Web has to offer. We want Pachube users to control their own data, build applications that we would never envision, and share with others as they see fit.

Another way to lower barriers to participation is to open source code, which is what IBM just announced: it has released Java and c versions of its MQTT clients as an Eclipse proposal under the name Paho.

The MQTT specification for machine to machine, message-based comms was already publicly available, but making the code open source is a whole different ballgame; that’s the big news.

IBM contributes plenty of code to projects like the Apache Web Server and Linux. But in many respects I see this latest drop as IBM’s most significant since it open sourced Eclipse ten years ago. Why? Because the Eclipse Public License is designed to support derivative works and embedding, while the Eclipse Foundation can provide the stewardship of same. One of the main reasons Eclipse has been so successful is that rather than separate software from specification it brings them together – in freely available open source code – while still allowing for proprietary extensions which vendors can sell.

Rather than talking about machine to machine, we could just describe MQTT as a protocol for lightweight messaging. As I described it in the RabbitMQ post mentioned above:

“Web developers tend to scoff at transaction management, but messaging has a really broad applicability – particularly in the cloud world. How are we going to deliver cloud interoperability? If you think the answer is Web Standards think again- remember WS-*? Messaging however offers the opportunity to tie disparate systems together with point to point interactions or indeed other integration patterns.”

At this point I should probably explain that I didn’t think IBM was going to make this move. I have pushed them hard internally to do so, but it still caught me by surprise. As I commented in April 2010:

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James, aka @Monkchips is co-founder of RedMonk, the open source analyst firm, which specialises in developer advocacy and analytics.