Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

HP's E-Speak Source Released to Public 95

TheFitz writes "Hewlet-Packards new flagship internet product E-Speak has been released open source. The story can be found here on Yahoo or you can get information at E-Speak's homepage. Apparently this is similiar to a Java system in that it's a transparent application API over the HTTP protocol." No weaselly license, either; GPL and LGPL all the way. Cheers for HP!
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

HP's E-Speak Source Released to Public

Comments Filter:
  • If i get you correctly you are interpreting the name "e-speak" as a voice communications package for use over the web. Actually this product is a set of libraries to enable comunciations between businesses/users to conduct transactions of any sort.

    P.S.- Have you looked into pgp phone? I don't have any experience with telephony, but other people seem to like it. (good speakers/microphones help)

  • All they really have left is printers.

    Ummm... and measuring equipment (which I'm informed is pretty much the best there is), the components bit (have you seen what they produce using LEDs, for example?) and then there's all the medical stuff too.

    HP's got a lot more to it than most people realise, but most of it is not for the general public, so it's not really visible.

    The WinCE devices aren't bad for what they are (address book/organiser). I do think they were overpriced, and I also think the Newton was miles better. Too bad that political deals put an end to the Newton.

    Don't know about Chai.

    With Merced, it seems that HP was not having much joy with the other company concerned, and have now gone back to continuing development on their own processors. The Merced incident has definately put HP behind, but the PA-RISC chips are actually quite good. Too bad the machines cost so much.

    As far as it goes with HP giving away E-speak: no company ever just gives something away - they always want some sort of return somewhere. The form that will take may not be directly related; maybe they want to push this as a standard so they can sell add-ons or consulting. Maybe they're doing it to have a detremental effect on a competitor.

    -- Steve

  • its called SOAP, and its got a much better chance of life than espeak due to being much less complex.
  • While it may be completely off topic, read almost any prospectus for an IPO, and you will see the line "We expect to incur substantial losses in the future", Andover.net is not unique. Look at other stocks, AKAM, EXDS, for example. People are buying the potential for future earnings. While, some of the stocks out there may certainly be overvalued, I believe that if we give these companies time, those that succeed will make tuns of money. (No comment on which ones I think will succeed), I do have confidence in andover though.
  • The next step after that, the fabled 1.1 free-ness, is a license that is so open, it's the responsibility of the developer to make sure everybody is delivered a copy of the source code to his/her program, whether they ask for it or not. Free software, free software delivery!
  • Fundamentally HP in releasing e-speak is trying to foster the creation of an open marketplace for electronic services. The web is also an open market, but it was really designed to be a market for mostly free information.

    In the e-speak platform you will find the features that we believe will make providing a service on the internet feasible without spending two years and a couple of million dollars rebuilding the necessary infrastructure from scratch. In other words we are trying to remove the barriers to entry for services that the web removed for publishing.

    The basic features of the e-speak platform are distribution, language independence (but the most of the current code is in Java), security, manageability, dynamic resource location and intermediation (which allows services to be dynamically configured into composite services).

    If that seems a bit too opaque, I'm happy to discuss what each of these means and why they are important to a services infrastructure on the e-speak mailing lists.

    -kls (who doesn't officially speak for HP)

  • but the fact that they open-sourced it is a very good thing...A move like this effectively stops any corporation from hogging the protocol and "locking down" the market.

    I think you are mixing up "open source" in it's purest form with the notion of simply releasing source code. Maybe I'm wrong, but for me, an open source project is more than something where the source code is freely available for all to download. A project like that is simply looking to jump on the hype bandwagon. And call me a sceptic, but I simply don't see HP incorporating bug fixes and code that other people write into their code tree.

    I think that the general public is far too easily fooled by the words "open source" and instead of no one hearing about E-Speak, now it is yet another "hot topic".

  • Companies are not in the charity business. They do not spend millions on R&D and then "give" it away for free. My guess in looking at where H&P sees its future profits is the ultimate conversion from analog disconnected instruments to a fully digital freeform communications net. If you go to a hospital, you'd see zillions of equipment, most working on old standards (can we say serial lines?) or proprietary interfaces and thus lack the transparency and interface standards for them to work seamlessly. If we make this assumption, then we can see a reverse chain of logic connecting the GPL and their market. Hence the push for e-speak as a technology platform to try and gain a competitive advantage in the next generational upgrade. Hence they need a pool of developers and experience base (system integrators) so they can flog their hardware. Hence the GPL of the initial toolset and APIs to try and draw attention away from the Wintel/Java platforms. The smart theory being if you put out the honeypot, the worker bees will come.

    The computer industry is rapidly following the development of the early car industry with distinct feature sets (cars, trucks, etc as well as the associated fallout and consolidation). My general impression of the analogies

    IBM - corporate market - big iron + Java connectivity
    Sun - mid-sized corporate market - medium iron + Java
    HP - medical + manufacturing industries - instruments + e-speak
    SGI - scientific market - big/medium iron + OpenSource
    Apple - education, prosumer market - cute simple boxes
    Palm/Nokkia - wireless market - handsets + WAP etc
    Wintel - anything and everything

    What the big companies are doing is trying to build up the component manufactuers and affiliates and then sell the finished branded product. Sure, you could assemble your own hand-tuned custom car today, but there's a reason why people go off to rummage around the car-yard instead of mucking around with the parts. I expect something similar for computers when the hardware/software/wetware complexity reaches a point such that hackers have to invest in a postgraduate (a la medicine) course just to understand the silly things. For your interest, the Australian Computer Society has pushed to obtain a professional recognition status for IT. Which means that they can now "exclude" non-qualified people from practising. Expect specialist IT salaries to keep on rising as they become the new lawyers/doctrs/dentists to the information infrastructure (with matching fees).

    They must have invented this treadmill just for the rat race.

  • Well, it seems to bit different from CORBA 2, from the programmer's guide it looks like there is better support for XML, the vocabularies seem to be services themselves which probably allows greater flexibility in building internet enabled services. Further the concept of groups and communities appears cool. I feel CORBA 2 concentrates more on low level stuff where as e-speak emphasises on higher level abstractions
  • Then again, the more helpless the aforementioned morons get, the more in demand our skills will be. I for one have no problems with profiting from public stupidity.

  • It's documented in the AD&D system calls, though it's only valid under Wizard mode.
  • It gives you a framework to allow applications to talk to other applications. And no I'm not talking about word processors.

  • All of this goes back to their new CEO, who is completely insane, and believes that HP is going to define the next big protocol for internet commerce development.

    I don't know what HP's involvement in Internet commerce will be, but the new CEO is definately not insane. She's actually kicking some real butt inside the company. I guess it will annoy a number of people - particularly managers - who have gotten comfortable with being inneffective or overpriced. Things move on, but people often don't like to, hence the need for the kicking.

    Time will tell if it works out or not. Also: watch how Agilent does in the future (at the moment Agilent == HP for the most part).

    -- Steve

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My "Buzzword Bingo" card is completely filled out now, thanks not only to the actual site linked in the story, but your oh-so-informative post. Thank you very much for allowing me to cover "complements," "leverages," "utilizes," "CompoundCapitalization," and "Gratuitious TLA's" on my bingo card.

    Now, I defy anyone to explain what this product does without using the terms "integrates," "deploys," "solution," or any word that starts with "e-". First person to do so will win the grand prize of a non-failing grade in English, which is something marketing and business majors and slashdot posters alike have been trying for years to attain with little success.

    Good luck! You may begin now.
  • I may be mistaken, but wan't this posted previously, sometime last month maybe? I remember following a link from /. to the same market-speak page on the HP site.... What's the deal, nothing new to post?
  • "Use the source, Luke" That is GOOD! I like it! 8)

    I am yet another person who glanced through the web page, and pulled down the .PDF file, and after a few moments of looking through it, have no idea what e-Speak does. All I saw is it had something to do with the Internet, and I guess that was supposed to excite me.

    It didn't.

    Every day I'm bombarded with products that offer to improve my life, solve all my problems, and make me rich and famous. If they can't quickly tell me even what area of my life they are wanting to work on, well, I've got other things to do.

    Does this form of "marketing" work? Are there people out there who respond to vague promises of "nerdvana"? Personally, it trips my B.S. detector. Open source or not, if it does something for me, I'll consider it. If it doesn't, I won't. If I can't tell, I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.

    Part of me feels like a fool for responding to something I didn't take the time to understand, but on the other hand, I'm more responding to a marketing ploy than to e-Speak itself.

  • Yeah. Sorry to put a damper on the enthusiasm, but after looking at the "Hello World" tutorial, it looks like this is only Java extensions. Until we have a GPL Java or clone, this isn't a really completely "free" system. Not to diminish HP's contribution, on the contrary, kudos for the hard work and foresight.

  • Disclaimer: I work for HP. However, I don't work on or near this product; I know as much about it as you do. What follows is just my opinion, based solely on common sense and observation. HP may violently disagree with this, although I doubt it.

    Anyhow, one thing that bugs me is that some people here seem to be assuming that this is some sort of move to cut development costs or something, in the hope that the free software community will somehow magically equate to a free labor pool. A new slant on the "free beer" side of things, I guess.

    But this isn't like a word processor which is useful if you stick it on one machine; it's only worthwhile if you can get a bunch of networked devices using it. In other words, these sort of projects require a certain amount of critical mass in order to be successful at all. And in this day and age, people have grown sick and tired of being locked into proprietary protocols, with good reason. So if HP wants the world to start using their protocol, the only way they can do it is by releasing that protocol as free software.

    Even if it were *more* expensive to develop it as free software, they'd still have to do it that way.

    Just my personal opinion, of course.
  • I think you are mixing up "open source" in it's purest form with the notion of simply releasing source code. Maybe I'm wrong, but for me, an open source project is more than something where the source code is freely available for all to download. A project like that is simply looking to jump on the hype bandwagon. And call me a sceptic, but I simply don't see HP incorporating bug fixes and code that other people write into their code tree.

    Since HP released the stuff under the GPL and LGPL licenses, if HP chooses NOT to incorporate bug fixes or contributions from others, anyone is free to take the code and in the much cherished tradition of open source, fork it.

    HP is probably trying to cash in on the "open source" phenomenon but not only in the sense of publicity. They need the developers badly if this is going to go anywhere. The fact that they are willing to devote 5+ of their engineers time and commit over US$40,000 to initial e-speak projects on SourcExchange [sourcexchange.com] says a lot.

    This isn't a case of a PR machine exploiting the words "open source" without the vaguest notion of what it is. It is a company taking tentative steps and testing out a new way of doing business, of achieving things. We should give them our welcome and support.

  • "We all know that software isn't really a product, but a service - and I think the economy is waking up to that fact."

    I only half agree with you on this. The way any company works is that it uses something cheap as input, adds some value to it and puts the result of that out making money over the added value. With software there's the interesting thing that part of the input (existing software) does not have any production cost. That means that when you add value to it and are competing with other companies who deliver a similar product, you can compete with those companies by not charging for the input software.
    That's where the GPL comes in. If you look what is GPLed these days it is mostly software that has been around in some form for years. Who pays money for just a C compiler or a yet another mouse driver or an editor? Right nobody, people are paying for IDE's, not for just a compiler (and even IDEs have to offer more than just edit/compile/debug functionality).
    This last example also shows that there is one short term tactic of making money over the input software: bundle it with valuable software and keep those things dependent.

    MS is the classical example. DOS became a commodity, so they added windows. Word became a commodity, so they bundled it with other apps. Compilers became a commodity, so they created devstudio. All the previous became a commodity so they webenabled it .....

    What happened with HP puzzles me a bit, I spend half an hour staring at the code examples they provided in the tutorial and had to conlude that there was nothing special to be found. Rather it struck me that this was probably the longest version of Hello world I've seen so far.

    All the concepts used in e-speak already exists in some form. Worse, as far as I can see they are all available on top of Java (Jini, CORBA, RMI, HTTP). And what they provided also runs on top of Java!?!?
    Possibly the innovation is in the protocol they use for the communication but unfortunately that is only documented in the form of source code. I think this is an area where we could use a simple but elegant protocol. Setting up CORBA stuff is a bit overkill for most remote stuff and RMI only works with Java programs and DCOM is to lowlevel.

    The fact that they GPLed it only confirms that they did not actually provide much new stuff here. They don't expect to make much money on licensing this software.

    Interestingly I see that the new word for 'component' has become 'service'. I think this started when SUN put out Jini, suddenly anything that had an interface and was approachable over the network became a 'service' rather than a reusable component. HP is cleverly using this word now to market their stuff.

    As far as I can see they reinvented reusable components and the ORB in a simplified form. I don't expect that this will go anywhere unless they make its use completely transparent. I.e. make it possible to use COM/CORBA/JavaBean components as a e-speak service. With JavaBeans I really don't want to write IDL specs, thats what we have the reflection APIs for (Voyager is an ORB that uses this to automatically hook up any java class to an ORB).

    I'm highly sceptical about this, the only interesting part I was able to discover under all the marketing drool was the protocol and there's not much specific about this to be found anywhere but the gpl'd demo code.
  • I would contend that e-speak doesn't rely on any new programming paradigm, but does allow one. The mental shift is from applications to services, and that is what the author of the tutorial was trying to explain.

    The actual technologies involved are ones that everyone would recognize. You can currently write your services using distributed network objects, and document exchange models of programming.

    The network objects support uses an API similar to Java/RMI with support for the Java standard RMI in work. Such changes as were made are the minimum necessary to create the platform we were trying to expose; so that is what is available now. Mapping those into Java/RMI will allow Jini and Java Beans to interoperate pretty seamlessly in a services environment.

    The document exchange model support is through standard HTTP methods (POST & GET) and their replies; and currently uses cookies to represent conversation sessions. The documents exchanged are standard XML documents, which comply with an e-speak dtd when requesting services of the platform, but can be any dtd at all when sending messages from a miscellaneous client to a miscellaneous service.

    My desire with e-speak is not to create a new competing standard for communications, but to unify all of the competing standards into an infrastructure where they can all communicate with one another. It is a great advantage of being open source; we don't have to own the API.

    not speaking for HP

  • Got to agree. Looking at the tutorial, I felt like I was rereading "client/server programming with Java and CORBA".

    Call me a luddite, but I've yet to see any of this stuff which makes me want to do away with Perl/CGI for web apps and socket programming for non-web apps (in Perl or anything else, Java IMHO not being the best choice until it supports nonblocking IO on sockets).

    And all that stuff is open source, if not GPL, not that I give a toss about that distinction.
  • Interfaces represent parameters to remote procedure calls. Contracts represent a conversation between a client and a service.

    Distributed network objects and remote procedure calls isn't the only programming model that e-speak supports.


  • 1. E-speak complements device-to-device communication, such as HP's Chai, Sun's Jini and Microsoft®'s UpnP.

    So MS calls their Jini UpnP? Sounds like "Hey, I've had way to much coffee at this meeting. I'd better get UpnP!"

    Bravery, Kindness, Clarity, Honesty, Compassion, Generosity

  • So what does it do? Another `innovation'?
    And WTF is Internet Chapter 2? Is this that one
    invetned by Bill Clinton to provide us with a
    more contemporary solution than the old Internet
    invented by Al Gore?
    Damn, so much market-speak noise these days and
    I'm increasing the amount of useless posts by
    discussing useless things :/
    Must go and DO SOMETHING!
  • OffTopic: For Debian, all DFSG software is Free Software at level 1.0. We doesn't make scaling. However, I know that Bruce make some "exceptions" in the writing to included some popular license like Artistic. Read Bruce Perens Commented OSD [perens.com] for more info about this.

    Back on topic, I think the use of the GPL by HP make a good for them. It shows that they really want to give the software to the Community instead of using the developpers as a bunch of cheap labors. Why? Because the patch they will receive must be under the GPL (that's a tradition that people send patches back with the same license), so, even if they want to make a non-free version of their soft, they can't incorporate all the contributions in their work, loosing a great deal of work. If they used the BSD or other less restrictive license, the deal will not be so clear. They will still be able to fork the code, included the patches and make their own, enhanced and incompatible non-free version. They can do that also under the GPL but, at least without the fixes coming from the Free Community.

    For sure, HP has some interest in publishing those software. But most of this interest came from the Network Effect necessary to establish some standard, open or not. HP chooses the open source way; Good for them, good for us.

  • Well, is this product any good? Does it work well over low bandwidths? etc...

  • So now, any license thats not GPL or GNU is simply weaselly?
    Is that a word?

    Anyway, can we continue to tear down the establishment we have worked so hard to build?

    Hang on to your stocks boys, were going to war!!!
  • Hurrah for the GPL! Anyone know if this is the first time a biggie commercial company has decided to use this, rather than inventing their own license?

    Perhaps the Debian Free Software guidelines should be updated to use a sliding scale of freeness, with SCSL somewhere around 0.1, the NPL at 0.6, etc. Then we could spend the next decade or so arguing about whether GPL or BSD is most deserving of the 1.0 spot, and whether it is possible for some to even be more free than that :-)
  • Agreed! I have no idea what makes this any different from previous similar releases of code. Its excellent news that HP have decided to support Open Source though - wonder how long it will be before the boys at Redmond try to come up with their own version - Visual E-Speak anyone? ;-)
  • That line saying that it will change the web from "do it yourself" to "do it for me"... what does that mean? I really don't like the sound of it... There's enough poorly thought out, poorly designed garbage on the web as it is, we don't need umpteen-million morons saying "do it for me". On the other hand, there is that slight chance that this will enable morons to make well designed pages (although nothing can help them think things out less poorly).

    And it better not clutter my bandwidth!

    "God does not play dice with the universe." -Albert Einstein

  • Eek. The Dilbert [dilbert.com] in me is getting worried...
    [E-speak]allows e-services to dynamically interact to discover, negotiate, broker and compose themselves to solve a business to business or business to consumer service request.

    Congratulations, that tells me nothing at all about it.

    But whatever it is, I guess HP supporting Open Source is a jolly good idea. Good on 'em!
  • How is this different from the likes of XML-RPC [xmlrpc.com], or even Microsoft's SOAP [microsoft.com]? Wouldn't it make sense for everyone to focus on keeping their 'cool stuff over HTTP' application interfaces as compatible with each other as possible?

    I tried looking at the site, but got scared after seeing "paradigm" on the first page...

  • by Joshuah ( 82679 ) on Tuesday December 14, 1999 @03:53AM (#1466988)
    Benefits of E-Speak

    1. E-speak complements device-to-device communication, such as HP's Chai, Sun's Jini and Microsoft®'s UpnP.
    2. E-speak leverages key collaborative technology-standardization efforts, such as RosettaNet, ontology.net and Microsoft's BizTalk.
    3. E-speak utilizes open technology standards on the Internet, including XML, LDAP, HTTP, WAP, SSL, SLP and SNMP.

    Whenever a company puts a product such as this, and opensources it, it means its a good thing. Novell is looking at opensourcing their flagship product, the NDS (Novell Directory Services) I believe that opensourcing products allows designers and programmers to work together on a product that they like/need for the enhancement of that product. Big cheers for HP!
  • Apparently this is similiar to a Java system in that it's a transparent application API over the HTTP protocol.

    Pardon? Both press blurb and HP page use HTTP just as analogon. Hope the pdf file on the HP page has a bit more meat.

  • This is a bit off topic, and sort of a rant on licensing, but, I'll say it anyway

    Aggreed, Why should we pick at what license a company decides to use for their product, it is their decision, not our's. If I were making the product, sure I'd use GPL, but is Apple or Netscape wrong for making their own license, of course not. It's not our software that is being open sourced, it is the company that wrote it's software. The GPL may be an excellent license, but I say that we should be thankful that the open source process gets any recoignition at all from companies.

  • Well, I read the press release, I read the homepage, and I skimmed the (82-page) tutorial, and as far as I can figure out all it is is a Java class library in which they've made it interesting and different by sed -e 's/program/service/g' and sed -e 's/"user interface"/"service contract"/g' or perhaps I missed something...But hey, I agree that it's great they're releasing it under the GPL
  • It's great to have another open protocol. HP is feeling the spirit of cooperation and the Internet.

    Now, if only someone out there would develop an open-source, cross-platform protocol for turning Natalie Portman into stone...


  • So now, any license thats not GPL or GNU is simply weaselly?

    I don't think that that's what Roblimo meant. He was talking about semi-open licences that are a lot less open than they first appear. I can't think of any example off the top of my head, but ISTR that Apple's open licence met with some objections by some people.

    Roblimo could have said "GPL and LGPL all the way (though BSD, Artistic, MPL etc etc would all have been okay too)", but it shouldn't be necessary to say that. We shouldn't get upset when a Slashdot staffie forgets to mention our favourite licence/distro/operating system/cola brand.

    Please let's not have a licence flame war :-)


  • Before the initial frenzy hits, may I just remind everyone that this is a *very* new technology. Just because it has a GPL license doesn't mean it won't stink. Hopefully, of course, it won't, and if there are shortcomings I hope that the collaborative effors of open source programmers can overcome it. However, I know that there will be a couple of hundred /. posters that will just see the words "major corporation" and "GPL" and automatically think that it's the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe HP is on to something, but until I see what this is really capable of, the GPL won't mean much.
  • I think that it is great that this has been released GPL and I hope that it will recieve the support that it deserves. I had some fun with the various e-phone packages on doze but none of them really work to a usable level. It was always like playing with my sons CB. Lots of noise and hardly able to make out what was being said.

    So what I want to know is will this one work ...
  • by AMK ( 3114 )
    The idea is: you write programs which offer services, and other programs can locate services that match a set of given criteria. (The use of the word "service" might be a bit misleading. One example used in the docs is a company that sells computers; they'd create a single service object for each model they offer, and other software could then find computers with the right features.) Services are offered by connecting to an e-speak core, which is a server that provides the basic e-speak functions. Cores can be connected to other cores, similar to how IRC servers are connected together. Basically e-speak is an attempt at infrastructure building; if it catches on, organizations would have a set of e-speak servers, in much the same way that they have DNS, mail, and file servers.

    The architectural docs do explain all this, though they're not an easy read, and sometimes terminology is a bit strange. (For example, "contracts", as used in the docs, seem a lot like the common meaning of "interface".)

  • by guran ( 98325 )
    A right thing done by a Big Bad Company (tm) is still a right thing.

    What do you think is behind Sun's "vision of Java" ? Companies want to make money. Some of them have products that I benefit from, some have products that I might see as a threat. Open source is good for me. Monopolies are not. That goes independently of who issues the open source product and who has the monopoly.

  • I think what he meant is that we don't have to worry about finding some stupid clause in the license like "no one under 18 can use this" or whatever - it's GPL. he didn't say every other license that wasn't GPL or LGPL was "weaselly," just reaffirmed the fact that GPL and LGPL are NOT weaselly.
  • I'm looking at the e-speak license, and to me, at least, it looks like the license Sun should have used for Java.

    GPL, LGPL, they keep the trademark on the name, and you get to use the trademark if you're compatible.

    If I'm way out of line, tell me. I really want to know. (Unless you're gonna tell me to pour hot grits down my pants :)
  • I think the majority of /.'ers want to know:

    What the hell does it do?

    I looked over the tutorial, which had some sample code on implementation.. As far as I can tell, it looks to be a way to connect to someone else without saying where they are or what port to connect on, or pretty much anything at all. They use a lot of business jargon (contacts? WTF?), but essentially, it looks like it's geared towards the PHB mindset.

    I can hear the bosses now: "I mean look at all the technology! It must be good! Look! It's even open source! I was reading about that in Windows magazine!"

    Sheesh.. I'm sorry, but I stopped liking HP a looooong time ago.

  • I think it looks like a protocol, what's so great about it is the GPL license compare to flood of future html plus proposal pitch by the biggies. I'm sure "HP's Chai, Sun's Jini and Microsoft®'s UpnP and BizTalk" are pretty much the same thing.

    Interesting thing from the pda "Ten Ways to Think E-speak"

    How do you participate in a dynamic world?
    Let us assume that I am interested in finding an ASIC supplier. I don't care which
    company (or who) gets to build this ASIC to my specification - it is an open market. I
    don't know how many companies are out there, I don't even want to know, as long as I
    can get a cheap and reliable supplier.
    1.5 The old world
    Today I must partner with a supplier that I consider reliable, and hope that they can meet
    my growing demands in the long term. If I need to create a new partnership for
    something different, I go through this process of finding a new partner all over again. In
    fact, creating a new partnership is time consuming and I tend not to choose the best deal I
    can get because I may not know about a better deal or because I am comfortable with
    what I have.
    1.6 The new world
    E-speak allows the deployment of e-services that are advertised in an appropriate, well-defined
    vocabulary. So for example, all ASIC vendors may advertise their services in
    some well-defined ASIC vocabulary. I, as a consumer of their services simply deploy my
    service that finds the most appropriate supplier by searching (and potentially negotiating)
    for the best ASIC supplier and making sure that they meet some minimum criteria. I can
    determine the credibility of some new vendor by invoking some on-line rating service.
    My service deployment then will not have any "hard-coded" links to third party services.
    This enables me to provide my service, while accommodating the naturally dynamic
    service marketplace that is evolving. I don't have to break my service if my supplier goes
    The solution that I deploy should inherently be capable of handling interactions in a
    dynamic world where many different failures can be viewed as opportunities. As a
    consumer of services, failures can manifest as: failures to find a service that I am
    interested in at any given time, failure to reach a service that I need, failure for an
    established partner to meet requirements, etc..10

    If I understand correctly, it's possible to build a "ebay network" that bypass the middleman--ebay. ALthough ebay service fee is not that high, they can make a smarter search engine that way.

    I am going to post the entire of pda in next post, since it's faster then loading the plug-in for slow machine. html rules.
  • I used to work for HP's Personal Office Computers Division in Sunnyvale, and from my knowledge of their corporate culture, they are FAR closer to RedHat than Redmond. If HP says they're going Open Source on a project, there's a healthy component of sincerity there -- especially in the trenches and on the benches, and when I was there, those people counted for a great deal. I seriously doubt that the spirit of Bill (Hewlett) and Dave has left that place.
  • Open-source is now a buzzword to all the PHBs of the world.

    However, out of curiosity:

    1. E-speak complements device-to-device communication, such as HP's Chai, Sun's Jini and Microsoft®'s UpnP.

    E-speak complements XXX. Well? How does it complement it? Details, man!

    2. E-speak leverages key collaborative technology-standardization efforts, such as RosettaNet, ontology.net and Microsoft's BizTalk.

    Is this even a sentence? E-speak "leverages" XXX... WTF does "leverage" mean anyway? I know leverage when I'm trying to lift something heavy. I know leverage in an engineering sense, but I didn't know it had another meaning.

    3. E-speak utilizes open technology standards on the Internet, including XML, LDAP, HTTP, WAP, SSL, SLP and SNMP.

    Clue: nearly everything else on the internet also uses XML, LDAP, HTTP, WAP, SSL, SLP, and SNMP.

    Hell, my web browser uses at least three of those. Bonus points for you if you know which three. Extra points if you can name a common application that uses 4 or more.

  • Suppose My coffee maker wants to know the time, and its sitting on a network in my Home Of The Future® It can query the local e-speak server server (e-speak core???) for a service with the appropriate properties (must have TimeZone=>GMT, must have Precision=>microsecond, must have Name=>Time, etc), and then follow it up with a call to the *right* server's services. shazam.

    Is this very different to Jini? I've never actually used Jini, just read the hype, but they sound quite similar. Is this just because the hype is vague, or are they really doing similar things?


  • maybe they want to push this as a standard so they can sell add-ons or consulting

    Ding! Thats exactly it, all the brains of the company jumped ship to Agalent (sp?), which AFAIK will make most of the technology and R&D while HP gets more into a "e-services" (translated: an army of consultants) type business. You see, if all your big brains leave, you now have a corporation filled with MBAs and marketing people. IMNSHO, a truope of trained monkeys could do a better job of steering a high tech company.

    Also, on a more humorous note, remember all the press they got about their new CEO? Strange little fact is her education was in Midevil History, which kinda gives new meaning to the Dilbert cartoon where he says "...And I hear we'll all be reclassified as serfs!"
  • SOAP (and XML-RPC) is cross platform, and is implemented in many languages. It's simple, and runs over HTTP.

    It doesn't have a standard service discovery mechanism, though.

    It's a pity that just because Microsoft was involved in the RFC's most people on Slashdot are going to hate it.

    If MS really does use SOAP for the new verion of DCOM/COM+, then it could be a great for for Linux client software to "leverage existing investments in legecy Windows software" (Tell that to your manager.. they will love it!)

  • SOAP is a a very simplistic access protocol over HTTP, so that users will be able to cross firewalls (since it uses HTTP) and invoke operations in the other end. The user specifies the interface, method and arguments in XML and that is it.

    On the contrary e-speak provides for some basic abstractions which enables easy development and deployment of services in internet. For e.g., it presents some service abstractions like a notion of a vocabulary (for advertising), contract and service elements. The concepts like local names, protection domain would be powerful in internet domain. E-speak provides for life time management through scopes, persistence, folders. The concepts concepts of groups and communities is interesting. It supports messaging, NOM and document exchange models. It supports events. It presents API's in Perl, Python, Java and other languages. It presents a programming model. To develop all this over SOAP will probably take as much time as it took to develop e-speak!

    I would say SOAP is more of a bridge which helps in getting through firewalls, where as e-speak is a complete framework for developing services and they are no way comparable.
  • I don't know if it was on Slashdot, or somewhere else, but I'm sure I've not only seen HP's e-speak mentioned elsewhere, some considerable time back, but that it was available for download, then, too.

    But, hey! If this is a newer version, what the heck! I'm a sucker for upgrading.

    Having got that out the way, it's great that HP have gone the path of GPL. Not that there's anything wrong with BSD licences, et al, but Open Source is still very new in industry. If HP can demonstrate a successful release of a commercial package, under the GPL, that would have much more impact than, say, releasing it under the BSD licence. (Why? Because the GPL is close to the extreme end of "Open Source". If a package can do well under it, then anyone else's package can do well under a more "greed-friendly" licence.)

    P.S. This is a semi-off-topic note, but I'm seriously pissed off with a number of commercial companies for not wanting to release Linux versions of their packages. This includes Lego, Sierra (makers of MasterCook), etc.

    The more successful journeys the big-name, high-profile companies make into the land of Linux and Open Source, the more likely these other companies will take the first step.

  • by Pike ( 52876 )
    After reading comments so far, and digesting their web site, I still have one question.

    WHAT DOES IT DO?? Can someone explain???

    The web page was filled with meaningless marketspeak.

  • You have to wonder if the recent IPOs and the general "market likes Linux" mentality has encouraged many "fortune 500" companies to jump on the bandwagon in order to boost their stock price.

    It is unfortunate in our market economy we have to be more worried about stock prices than even making money. Nice link off the Suck parody yesterday to the SEC filing for Andover.net [sec.gov] (which includes Rob's stock deal with Andover) also contains a line which says "WE EXPECT TO INCUR SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES IN THE FUTURE."

    I don't know, maybe it is just me but how can companies like this get blown up, while real companies with real income (see banks, insurance) are sitting pretty low.

    So way to go "Open Source" we may not help companies profit, but we will push stock prices up, that's for sure.

  • by helarno ( 34086 ) on Tuesday December 14, 1999 @04:17AM (#1467020) Homepage
    Check out Sourcexchange [sourcexchange.com] where HP has had a few open proposals to get people to write stuff with e-speak technology in it. The amounts they are willing to pay are decent for someone hacking in his free time. So if anyone wants to take the time to really try out their stuff and get paid in the process, that's a good place to start.

    It is nice to see HP putting their time, money and marketing muscle behind something open source. Hopefully, theirs will be a positive experience for all, rather than scaring a lot of developers/companies away.

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Tuesday December 14, 1999 @04:18AM (#1467021)

    The companies that are actively supporting open source all have one thing in common - they are primarily getting there revenue from hardware, or software consulting - not sales of software. We all know that software isn't really a product, but a service - and I think the economy is waking up to that fact.

    Open source helps companies like HP because they get wide distribution of their software - not because they get free developers! Wide distribution of software means it's easier to find bugs. Finding bugs makes better software. The developers are a bonus, but people shouldn't feel exploited.

    I did some work for Intel, and they have a LOT of software engineers - why? To find ways to make programs that use their processors. The code isn't important, it's that they sell more hardware.

    Open source goes one futher, because when the source code is out there, the program will never become obsolete - hint, engineers a dirt cheap compared to the revenues places like HP and IBM bring in. The only obstacle is not having the code. Remember the PC DemoScene? If all those groups released the code for their effects, then we'd still see evolution of their demos - but none/few of them did. (See the hornet archive before it goes away!)

    Companies like Sun haven't completely figured this out yet, I don't think. IBM and HP sure have. We'll see more from them in the future - they are very "with it". If all goes will with my courses this term I'll be accepting an offer with IBM for this very reason - the push for linux and open source in general.


  • I don't know whether the product itself is going to turn out great or not (the article is typical of commercial prose -- vague, unclear, non-specific on the details of the actual product) , but the fact that they open-sourced it is a very good thing.

    A move like this effectively stops any corporation from hogging the protocol and "locking down" the market. There will be no way for MS (or anyone else for that matter) to abuse this technology by locking it down in proprietary implementations and forcing everyone else out of the market. Well, at least not directly. It's things like this that could eventually bring some balance into our world of mega-corporations vs. individual freedom.

  • this is strange. it does not have the telltale signs of a flagship product, something to shake the trees, and write home to mom about. it seems more like something HP did not know what to do with, and decided to throw into the open-source arena to see if anything would come off it. and some publicity does not hurt. but hey, my eyeball time is limited, and very precious. it looks like time better spent elsewhere, like fixing all the damned bugs in linux and *bsd.

    -- nous

  • HP has been in Microsoft's back pocket for years. They have tried their best to help Microsoft keep their hegemonic hold on the industry by doing everything in their power to undermine Sun's vision of Java. They are members of all working groups, in concert with Microsoft, that are at odds with Sun. They released a clean room version of Java that did not adhere to Sun's standards. They insist this was done because they had problems with Sun's licensing. Hogwash. They were acting on orders from Bill.

    HP is not a friend of Open Source. They represent the coming wave of cynical, manipulative corporate entities that wil try to present themselves in a friendlier light. HP has had a dismal financial year and is trying to right its boat. I, for one, will not support them in any of their endeavors.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    From my understanding of both (which may be off), they are very similar in terms of the problem set, possibly even the solution (java). The main difference (other than the company) is that jini is under SCSL, and e-speak is under GPL/LGPL

    jeff smith
  • ...or RMI. Really, if they want to change the transport layer from IIOP to somthing over HTTP then why not produce an IDL compiler that spits out stubs using their new wiz-bang protocol instead. Why introduce yet another IDL, yet another 'standard' set of naming & trading services, etc.?

  • Nice summary of what it gives us.

    Anyone familiar with the CORBA Trading Service spec will see immediate parallels here - the architecture doc suggests CORBA integration is possible too.

    Basically, someone will create a service (say, an on-line auction). They will "advertise" this service over E-Speak (using a "vocabulary" specified on an E-Speak server) and when someone's client software (or device) decides to buy (for instance) some RAM, it will go to its nearest E-Speak logical machine with a search request for 'auctions offering RAM at $3/MB or less' (except the search will be described in the "vocabulary"). And the E-Speak logical machine will chat to its mates, find various 'auction' services advertised and return one (or more) to the client, who can then go straight to the auction service and say 'gimme some RAM'.

    Vocabularies are written in a metalanguage which is described as 'similar to' (paraphrasing) XML - hopefully it'll soon be fully XML.

    Actual implementation at the moment seems to be one for the Java gurus - only Java is currently supported. C++ and others to follow..

    I like their 'plug in transport protocol' - allowing support for WAP, HTTP, etc is plainly sensible.

    I'm not too sure how this fits in with JINI - any JINI experts out there who can comment?
  • Suppose My coffee maker wants to know the time, and its sitting on a network in my Home Of The Future® It can query the local e-speak server server (e-speak core???) for a service with the appropriate properties (must have TimeZone=>GMT, must have Precision=>microsecond, must have Name=>Time, etc), and then follow it up with a call to the *right* server's services. shazam.

    What you describe has already existed for some time now. It is called CORBA [corba.org].

  • Sun's vision of Java is a Microsoft vision. That is, Sun wants to be Microsoft, by having the same iron grip on the Java platform that Microsoft has on Windows, and then force everyone to pay money to Sun, while enabling more O/S competition. The result of this fantasy would be that Scott McNealy would become the richest man in the world. HP, of course, will not tolerate this. No company that competes with Sun can tolerate this. For Java to be a standard, Sun will have to give up some power and use its greater experience at Java implementation as a competitive advantage, rather than its iron-fisted control of the platform.

    Sun is shaping up to be a major enemy of open source, and a very clever one, by coming up with licensing that looks like open source but is not (the important difference being that all money and all control goes to Sun). This is too bad, because Sun in the past has been a good guy.

    If HP takes orders from Bill, then why are they a major funder of the Trillian project (porting Linux and the GNU tools to Merced)?

  • The SCSL would be more likely to be at 0.0, as it not a free licenence at all, and Sun have never claimed it to be.

    It's an obnoxious proprietary licence which misleadingly claims to be "Community"!

  • Did you know Microsoft was the first to make a sales pitch using the letter e? They did it with the Internet Explorer 4 campaign and since then everyone who ever wanted publicity has put e before their product without failure.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Has anyone seen the HP re-inventing themselves
    Commercial on TV - where they talk about how Hewlett and Packard worked together in a garage
    to invent something 'innovative and useful'?

    Anyway, the commercial goes on to say that the
    company is re-inventing itself - and for us to
    watch (naturally, or why would there be a
    commercial?) But maybe this is part of that...

    GPL'ed huh?

    Sun who?

  • Get the Architecture document (PDF) and look at that. A lot more in depth than most people want, but there are a couple of good overview sections.

    I've played with e-speak some (we're supposed to be one of those e-commerce consultant companies), and though it is still vey much "Beta" software, I think it has a lot of potential. Going first with an open standard and now with open source, it has the promise of becoming one of those fundamental standards like NFS was after Sun released the source code to that.

  • I don't know that Roblimo was pointing so much at the APSL or MPL/NPL, but probably (especially) as the SCSL. I think we all know why, don't we, kids?
  • by PhineasFrog ( 114817 ) on Tuesday December 14, 1999 @04:46AM (#1467040)

    From a very, very cursory perusal of the site, I get the following impression of what this thing actually is.

    From the look of it, its a way for programs to invoke RPC's from hosts they don't know exist. That is:

    Suppose My coffee maker wants to know the time, and its sitting on a network in my Home Of The Future® It can query the local e-speak server server (e-speak core???) for a service with the appropriate properties (must have TimeZone=>GMT, must have Precision=>microsecond, must have Name=>Time, etc), and then follow it up with a call to the *right* server's services. shazam.

    This could be really cool, not just for coffee (which is pretty neat to start with) but for the ultra-thin cell phone-futurerama devices everyone is so keen on ushering into reality. And cool or not, it could be very popular with the "Now I don't have to worry about the license at all 'cuz I'm not distributing the software at all just the service' crowd.

    There might come a day when open services are the name of the game- when we not only have to see that software has source shipped with distributions, but that Completely Documented Service API's are published (And the only way to do that, really, is expose the source). It would really bite to have to get a Micro$oft coffe maker to get the most out of my Micro$oft Microwave, which I got because it was the only kind that could use the Micro$oft clock-radio correctly... We may be compelled to establish our own network of services on this second chapter of the internet that HP is so cheery about (and hey, I can't say I'm not, it'll be an excuse to buy a pilot...). An open source service negotiation protocol is a great start, but from the look of things, it may be uphill from here.

  • It's still Beta software, but I have played with it some, and I think it has potential. It's an "enabling technology", meaning it provides a communications and brokering framework for other people to write their applications on top of. My impression is that it has a lot of the same things as Sun's "Gini", but it's more service related (as opposed to hardware) and designed to work over a wider network.

    Now that it's free (as in "freedom"), I think it has the potential to really take off.

  • It's opensource, dude! How dare you ask what it does: download it and read the code! That's what it does! Sheeesh!

    People like you ruin slashdot... alright, people like me are only kidding! :) really, it was a joke! I couldn't figure out what it did either.

Loose bits sink chips.