It has been several months since my last blog, and I feel like I should be struck with rosemary beads and dunked in holy water for waiting so long. But, without further ado -
Pentaho - http://www.pentaho.org - is a 'conglomerate' open source project that has put together several related projects under one Umbrella. BI, or Business Intelligence, is the entire process of obtaining, scrubbing, analyzing, reporting, and then re-analyzing/re-reporting on business data.
Pentaho has combined many of the elements to handle most of the BI stack under a friendly LGPL/no-cost license allowing you start using Business Intelligence in even the smallest of projects. That is huge...usually a project had to push over 1/4 of a million (pending your resources/randomly selected amount) before you really could engage Business Intelligence. Now, that is no longer the case. :-)
I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Advanced Implementation Workshop in Orlando, FL from Jan 29-Feb1, 2007. Having previous projects using a portion of Pentaho, I had sufficient knowledge to get the most of the Workshop.
In addition, was able to meet with Matt Casters of the Kettle (Pentaho Data Integration) project, Julian Hyde of the Mondrian (Pentaho Data Analysis Services) project, and Thomas Morgner of the JfreeReport (Pentaho Reporting) project. This added confidence as talking with them I got a good impression they thoroughly understood their individual domains.
Pentaho is still 'in the rough' as there are occasional user-facing design and presentation items to clear up, as well as enterprise-functionality from a developer standpoint that needs to be resolved or added. Most of these are related to the full BI Suite and are usually minor (which itself is only a couple years old), while the individual projects have been around for quite some time.
Overall, I am very impressed and will start working more heavily with Pentaho, regardless if it is (initially) just reporting or more full-fledged BI solution. Now, if only they could replace jpivot...