Because of Open Source you have no excuse! Anyone who needs it should have a VPN connection

Imagine that Avian flu comes a chirping, killer bees come a stinging, and some crucial bridges fall over so that none of your workers can get in to the office. What’s your backup plan? Where’s your disaster recovery.

This is a case for duh dah dah da (can you hear the trumpets) Captain Open Source with one of his trusty sidekicks OpenVPN.

Then again if you were a small business and just wanted your workers to have remote access then OpenVPN is also a good solution for that.

But back to the disaster… let’s say your CEO needs access to his super secret Intranet strategic management portal. What are you going to do? How are going to provide access? Let’s say a hundred of your stranded employees need access.

Get yourself any old box (well if you had a lot of users you would probably want a more decent box) install OpenVPN, create your certificates, encrypt and send the certificates and setup file to your employees. Have them install the OpenVPN client and drop the setup file into the config folder. Done. Remote Access. Free and Good. What can be better?

I’ve been working on the ‘mellerbeck guide to OpenVPN’ it will show you how easy it is!


The state of Open Source EDI part II

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In my hunt I have stumbled across two more projects. Skylark EDI which appears to be resting from development. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. The second is webswell connect I tried to install this software but it took an incredibly long time and then I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I think it probably does way more than I am looking for.

The state of Open Source EDI

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It looks to me like Open Source EDI is finally starting to see the light. First off AS2: Now technically its not really ‘EDI’ but it is an often used method of exchanging EDI documents. To me I think of it as a glorified FTP server. Why oh why then is it so dang expensive? Well lets say you want to use AS2 with Wal*Mart, they require your app to be Drummond Certified. Drummond certification is a wonderful bit of lockin where the people who created the AS2 standard also created the certification and therefore are the only ones that can certify an app. One test from Drummond will cost you $10,000.

Hopefully someday, things will change. Ideally the large companies will realize that AS2 certification isn’t all that important and start letting their suppliers use what ever they want. Second best would be an open source implementation of an AS2 client becoming certified. $10,000 divided across a few companies would start to get economically feasible rather quickly, especially when you consider the cost of say a single Cleo Lexicom AS2 host license of what $1000?

One up-and-coming open source star of AS2 is m-e-c AS2

It seems to be very reliable, and I would be interested in hearing anyone with experience running it in production.

Once your communication channel is setup you need some sort of document translation as well as document management package. One interesting open source package that I have been watching quickly be developed is bots

My dream OS EDI app would be a more expanded version of bots (it would contain a screen to monitor docs, sort by document type, trading partner, sent date, and status (Ack, no ack, or rejected) it would also update the status of the document based on the the 997. Basically a web interface clone of TrustedLink for windows.

Bots would then integrate with mec-as2 and also be aware of the status of the AS2 transmission either straight from the mec-as2 database or through the MDN.

That would be cool.