Guest Blogger: Introducing the JumpBox for MindTouch Deki

JumpBox Hi, Sean here from JumpBox. Our company makes virtual appliances for Open Source server applications and this morning we released one for the community edition of MindTouch Deki. Aaron invited me to do a guest post here to explain what it is and why it may be relevant to the readers of this blog.

It’s no secret Open Source offers some powerful advantages over proprietary software.  But for as many benefits as Open Source has, it has an inherent quality that precludes many people from ever using it: the time and expertise required to deploy and manage the software.  Not only does it require fluency with the underlying technologies but you can be the most technically-competent person in the world and simply not have the hours in the day to devote to properly installing and maintaining the code.  This is where we come in.

With JumpBox it’s possible to use great Open Source applications like Deki without getting mired in the technical details.  If you think about it you don’t need to know FreeBSD to use the applications on your Mac, why should you have to know Linux, .NET, PHP and MySQL to get started with an Open Source app? Sure you could download the VMware image, but that would still require interaction with the underlying OS and doesn’t support the many other virtualization systems that are out there.  In an ideal world you should be able to sidestep the details related to installation and maintenance and focus your valuable time on using the software productively. As patches and new versions of any component in the software stack become available, bringing your instance current should be as simple as turning on a computer and clicking one button.

And this is precisely the experience we make possible with JumpBox.  We provide the easiest way to get started with Deki and 40+ others.  All the characteristics that make Deki a powerful platform for enabling collaboration make the JumpBox collection an increasingly useful toolset for developers. Convenience, speed of development, consistency, “decoupled-ness” – ultimately it’s all about having a set of tools that amplifies your abilities without dictating how you work.  And with features like the built-in backup mechanism that allows you to archive the state of the JumpBox and migrate it painlessly to a new environment (whether it be another virtualization platform or even a cloud computing service like Amazon EC2, there’s a world of flexibility that opens up as to how you can develop.

While the JumpBox provides an extremely simple way to get started with Deki, it doesn’t have the advanced features found in the commercial versions of the product. The goal of JumpBox is to introduce Open Source software to new audiences and put it in the hands of people who wouldn’t have used it otherwise. As your needs evolve though you’ll almost inevitably want to move to a richer offering like Deki Enterprise. But getting through that initial barrier of doing something useful with the software is key.  If you’re a developer that works with Open Source regularly, visit our site to learn more, download any of the freely-available JumpBoxes, join the conversation on Twitter and take the JumpBox for Deki for a spin online by clicking the orange button on this page.

Thanks to Aaron and his team for the opportunity to guest post here. We look forward to helping play a role in spreading the Deki goodness.

-Sean

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