Plumber's 350 Linux desktops bonanza for Yellowfin BI

After migration to Linux on the desktop, New Zealand national plumbing products supplier Plumbing World also switched its business intelligence application from SAP's Business Objects to the Australian Yellowfin BI for compatibility.

After migration to Linux on the desktop, New Zealand national plumbing products supplier Plumbing World also switched its business intelligence application from SAP's Business Objects to the Australian Yellowfin BI for compatibility.

Plumbing World in New Zealand migrated to Linux on about 350 PCs throughout its 30 branches, which proved to be a boon for the cross-platform Yellowfin BI as the Business Objects application didn't run on Linux.

The Linux desktop project was performed with Catalyst IT Limited, a Wellington-based IT consultancy that specializes in open source software.

"Plumbing World [has] committed to open source technologies and [is] realizing the ease in which [it] can be implemented within a large commercial organization," according to Catalyst IT.

Yellowfin BI is developed in Java with a strong focus on platform independence, according to its CEO Glen Rabie.

"The application uses one database which can by anything from MySQL to Oracle," Rabie said. "The interface is Web-based with Ajax technology and does not require any client software."

Rabie said Yellowfin BI works with Firefox because that's what the developers use.

"One guy uses IE because he has to for testing," he said.

"You can develop hideous software with a GUI, but on the Web people have massive expectations."

Rabie says Yellowfin BI development involves constant innovation around the user interface.

Out of a total of 15 staff, Yellowfin has eight developers in Melbourne who were all hired straight out of university.

"They are people who are passionate about software," Rabie said, adding some staff work on open source projects in their own time.

Yellowfin ships with Apache Tomcat, but can use JBoss or WebSphere and has plug-ins for Spring and "a ton of Web services".

"We are paying for innovation, not coding," Rabie said. "If I offshore development are we going to get the same level of care for the product?"

"Also, we couldn't just change the way we work."

With some 300 customers worldwide Yellowfin has experienced 300 percent growth over the past two years and is now profitable.

"I would like to make it a big, multinational software business that's run out of Australia," Rabie said.

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