I cited Russ Danner in my last post on firing one's community members. Russ has since added some additional detail, which he has allowed me to post here. I also heard back from Martin Michlmayr (Cyrius), who noted:Actually, destructive community members are a serious problem in many projects. I've seen major problems resulting from destructive community members at least in Debian and the Linux kernel project. Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick from the Subversion project discuss this problem in a talk: How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too). A video is available online and there's a summary here.
So what do you do about them? Or even non-"poisonous" people who are destructive of communities, despite their best intentions? Russ responds:… Read more
In response to a middling post of mine on whether open-source companies offer better support than proprietary companies, Russ Danner shot back a list of questions that really set me to thinking. One, in particular, pushed my thinking on open source:Sometimes you need to fire customers, is it ever appropriate to fire a community member?… Read more
AuditoriumA is a thoroughly ancient idea wrapped in a modern interface. The site is a collection of links (with commentary), hand-chosen by the site's editors and with the occasional help of the audience. It's the fanciest link-blog I've seen, and the stories are of high quality. At least it appears so to me--and it also appears that founder Tony Mars and I have similar tastes in content.
There will be a paid version of AuditoriumA when it is released later this year.
But as much as I like the content on the site, I question the business … Read more
Deja vu. Remember 2002? That's when Red Hat decided to split its code into Red Hat Advanced Server (now Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and Fedora. Howls of protest and endless hand-wringing ensued: How dare Red Hat not give everything away for free?
Enter 2007. MySQL decides to comply with the GNU General Public License and only give its tested, certified Enterprise code to those who pay for the service underlying that code (gasp!). Immediately cries of protest are raised, How dare MySQL not give everything away for free?
Ironically, in this same year of 2007, SugarCRM received universal plaudits (from me, as well) for opening up part of its code base under GPLv3. Groklaw crowed, "SugarCRM Goes GPLv3!" People everywhere flooded the streets to wax fecund and celebrate by multiplying and replenishing the earth.
This smacks of a perverse double standard, one that is neither fair nor warranted.… Read more
As I watched Arsenal beat Ajax this afternoon, I kept an eye on an interesting piece of research from The Journal of Systems and Software written by Sowe et al. and entitled Understanding knowledge sharing activities in free/open source software projects: An empirical study [PDF]. The research revealed something that I suspected but had not yet seen data to prove: developer communities are great for developers, and not so great for anyone outside them.
What does this mean if you're an enterprise hoping to hitch a free ride on an open-source project? Well, it means that you're better off paying a little money for professional support. Free support is good up to a point, but if that point ends when your job begins, you may be in a world of hurt without it.… Read more
The fragmenting online media world is leading to a world of fragmented online communities, too. More people are participating in discussions on blogs, and on social sites like MySpace and Facebook. And it's becoming impossible to keep up with all of it. Tangler, which we've covered before, is now in beta and addresses this issue. I thought it'd be good to look at this solution and how it compares to some others.
Tangler is building an embeddable discussion system. Later this month, site publishers will be able to embed a Tangler thread widget onto any post, instead … Read more
I was fortunate to keynote this year's Ubuntu Live conference. I rarely give the same presentation twice, as I figure people are paying to hear something new. In UL's case, I spent a long time thinking through lessons I've learned from my time with Novell/SUSE and my interactions with Red Hat, and tried to come up with ways that Ubuntu could be successful yet leverage what makes it different.
In many ways, I find myself agreeing with Stephen O'Grady's Ubuntu Live keynote. Not surprising, since I think highly of Stephen. Stephen suggests that community defines the Ubuntu experience, and should be one of its primary differentiators:
To take the pebble, then, Ubuntu needs to reframe the debate. To do that, it must turn the conversation from basic operating system shootouts to the operating experience. A conversation that, in my opinion, favors Ubuntu.… Read more
Today, Google is opening up its educational tier of Google Apps to nonprofit organizations within the United States. Registered 501c3 nonprofits will be able to use and deploy the educational version of Google Apps, which gives organizations unlimited users, free phone support, API integration, and e-mail migration (to transfer existing in-boxes to the Apps version of Gmail).
The company made the announcement this evening at the Google campus in Mountain View, CA where several nonprofits--including Mercy Corps, Idealist.org, NTEN, and the East Bay Community Recovery Project--announced their planned adoption of Google Apps.
The move is the latest in … Read more