Although I primarily work on Microsoft technologies, I am passionate about open source technologies.
I am personally a great fan of Ubuntu. It is simply the most usable linux I have come across. I also hereby respond, albeit a little late, to Python Developer Zones? for Python developers. I really like Python. Not that I despise other languages but Python is still my choice to get something done quickly. As distributions like Ubuntu pick up steam, it is inevitable that you would find Linux machines in the IT landscape acting as desktop machines. Scripting languages like Python or Ruby are ideal (at least in my opinion) to create cross platform business applications that reside primarily on laptops and have an occasional connection to the internet. As the browser wars heat up again with the Web 2.0 phenomenon, it is a safer bet having rich internet applications.
I was indeed fancying the idea of open source SAP software. I saw a similar idea Open Source @ SDN?. We have already got the SAP RFC connectors and middleware ready communication frameworks like Twisted. We could use such technologies to create a middleware that is capable of providing basic services like data synchronization.
An ORM framework like SQLObject can be used as the client side persistency framework to deal with local persistency if the network is not available. SQLObject supports a wide variety of databases and is capable of supporting such business applications.
However the problem lies with the User Interface Framework. I had googled on the availability of SWT UI Toolkit for the scripting world (Python or Ruby) but it doesn’t seem that it would materialize anywhere in the near future. However, I found WxWidgets to be a great alternative to SWT. It functions similar to SWT by rendering the UI using the native controls. There are various language and technology bindings to wxWidgets. Of which, I am currently playing around with the python binding wxPython whenever I find time.
I invite your opinions. Are such cross platform frameworks necessary and would there need to be a modelling environment. If yes, how should we go about implementing the framework? Should the modelling enviornment be integrated into Eclipse as plugins or as a separate standalone environment? Or should we simply manage with grokking structured text files using smaller helper utilities.