Red Hat is generally credited as the industry's leading open-source company, but it's a distinction that is as meaningless as it is incorrect. While Red Hat's revenue directly derives from the open-source software it develops and distributes, other companies like Sun, IBM, and Google actually write and contribute far more open-source code. It may be time to stop talking about open-source companies and get back to the importance of open-source code.
Microsoft is launching an open-source foundation. Google is promising to keep user data portable. Both moves seem to cut against the financial self-interest of the two technology giants. Have the gods gone crazy, or are the business strategies of the industry's biggest players more subtle than "Embrace. Extend. Extinguish"?
With a steady adoption of open-source business and development strategies, Microsoft has gone from open-source hater to open-source embracer in just a couple of years:Created its own open-source foundation, the CodePlex Foundation. Launched CodePlex, an open-source project-hosting site. Started actively contributing to outside open-source projects, including those of the Apache Software Foundation, … Read more
Open source, despite its community roots, often doesn't become mainstream until corporations get involved. There are notable exceptions--Mozilla Firefox and the Apache Web server being just two--but often it is corporate self-interest that provides the mechanism to deliver the value of community-developed open source to a mainstream audience.
While the mobile market remains highly fragmented, therefore, I take it as a very encouraging sign that Google has thrown its considerable heft behind Android, its open-source mobile operating platform.
Sure, we've had mobile open-source companies for years. I was part of one of the first: Lineo, an embedded Linux … Read more
We like to ascribe secret designs--nefarious and otherwise--to software vendors. Super-secretive Apple, in particular, tends to excite endless rumor-mongering as to what it's up to. It seems to me, however, that Apple and its top competitors, including Google and Microsoft, are increasingly transparent about their plans. We simply don't pay attention to the signs.
Let's start with Apple. The big rumor at present is the company's alleged work on a tablet computer, kicked off by The Wall Street Journal's bold declaration that "people familiar with the situation" suggest Apple is working on "… Read more
Google is arguably the world's largest open-source company, not only releasing a minimum of 14 million lines of open-source code but also hosting over 250,000 open-source projects on Google Code, in addition to its open-source advocacy work like Summer of Code.
Google is the world's search market leader by a very long stretch. Why not use its own search technology? Why use Solr?
Google's Public Sector … Read more
For all the rancor between opposing technology camps--Microsoft vs. the open-source community, Apple vs. Microsoft, etc.--there's a lot more symbiosis going on than meets the eye. In fact, it's hard to imagine Apple without Microsoft, open source without Microsoft, and so on, as Harry McCracken suggests in MacWorld (not online at time of writing).
PC users...have long benefited hugely from the existence of Macs. Microsoft and PC manufacturers have cribbed so many of Apple's good ideas that it's tough to imagine what Windows machines would look like today if the Mac had never existed.… Read more
Twitter has become an excellent way to quickly scan headlines. It's terrible at just about everything else. It's hard to have a coherent discussion in 140-character soundbites, and even harder when the architecture of Twitter is set to "broadcast" rather than "discourse." But maybe, just maybe, Twitter's not to blame. We are.
After all, Twitter is simply a creation of our society, and reflects our priorities.
If you look at the history of computing, very few companies manage to resurrect falling fortunes to lead their respective markets. Does this mean that once down, a company should resign itself to being out?
Apple is a famous example of a come-from-behind victory, but also a poor one: while it wins plaudits for its sexy MacBook Pro laptops, it still commands less than 10 percent of the personal computer market. Good, but not great.
While the open-source crowd gets (rightly) excited by Linux's growing market share, three companies are pulling the rug out from under the feet of traditional operating systems.
Red Hat is winning in Linux while IBM cleans up the Unix market. But those are increasingly yesterday's markets as Microsoft, Google, and VMware create different breeds of operating system, each tuned to the strength of its product portfolio.
The easiest to understand are Google and VMware. Google, with its Linux distribution Chrome OS, is placing secondary emphasis on the operating system and primary emphasis on where it takes you: the … Read more