Last week, I enjoyed my third (of four) Pentaho Community meetup, this year held in Rome (Frascati), Italy. Jan Aertsen did a fantastic job summarizing the presentations, you can review them all here, including access to the presentation materials. At this particular juncture, I find myself in my longest commitment to a single company in my career. The entire ride has this very cool thread of continuity through tides of swift and constant change that comes with being a bleeding edge software company.

When I look back over the past seven years, many times I focus solely on Pentaho milestones and growth, the markets we've entered and enjoyed success with, the new initiatives that take hold. PCM11 gave me a look at the global reach of success that Pentaho enjoys, creating opportunity and economy beyond the bounds of the company official. This is what makes open source make sense to me. This appeals to me.

The people that make up the Pentaho community are a talented, committed group of individuals who are growing in their own endeavors, many based on the community edition of the Pentaho BI Suite of tools. Many of our community colleagues have been committed to Pentaho from the earliest releases of 2004 and 2005. Their efforts are paying off, and while Pentaho the company doesn't get everything right, we've managed to earn the respect and partnership of some incredibly driven and talented people.

Another interesting phenomena - community members becoming Pentaho employees, blurring any lines that get drawn at times between community and corporate.

From the ranks of the Pentaho community a well of talent has sprung - Slawo, Roland, Jan, Jens, and a handful of others. Pentaho is incredibly savvy in hiring from the community. Our community is the hotbed of Pentaho, DBA, big data, analytic and reporting knowledge, both from a project development perspective and from a solutions development perspective. How many software projects suffer from the writers not understanding the use cases? Not eating their own dog food? Well, the newest Pentaho developers have been at that bowl for some time, and the internal developers can help them keep that commitment with internal initiatives delivering Pentaho solution driven information.

And what of the other direction? Those leaving the formal Pentaho realm and working entirely community based? Well, that would be me. It's not like this is new news - I'm now infamous for my off-again, on-again relationship with formal employment :) Don't mistake me for irresponsible; I just have higher priorities. We all should be so blessed, right?

The great news is I also have reaped the benefits of a long series of lessons in BI, big data, analytics, reporting, visualizations, problem solving and code writing. So I take these lessons learned into the community and can begin to give back a little. To my fellow community members, to other open source projects, to Pentaho.

One project that has caught my attention is the OpenMRS project. OpenMRS is a medical records system platform widely deployed throughout the compromised countries of the world. OpenMRS is open source, and has a thriving community of developers, implementers, users and observers from well established world health organizations.

I intend to spend the last quarter of this year investigating integration points between Pentaho tooling and OpenMRS. OpenMRS could use more insight into their data; Pentaho is an excellent set of tools for turning raw data into information. I see synergies here :)

Soon, there will be a project page to stay informed if you're interested or would like to participate. I'll post back as soon as I have the leg work done. In the meantime, checkout It's a very rational site that gets you up to speed quickly on the project.

Cheers & all in His grace,