Lee Gomes today interviews Jenny Blank, the senior director of enforcement at the Business Software Alliance (the "other BSA"). Net net: you don't want to talk with Ms. Blank. On the other hand, this is also a lesson in why open source makes so much sense: stop fretting about IP infringement and instead focus on IP distribution. You want people to use your software.
Fortune Magazine has a great article on Microsoft's growth in China. Gates is apparently a rock star in China, with government officials and groupies clamoring to meet him. He owns China, as the article suggests.
Gates says he's certain China will eventually be Microsoft's biggest market, though it may take ten years. Projected sales this year are already three times what they were in 2004, yet still less than annual revenue in California. (Microsoft will not disclose figures, but Fortune estimates China revenue will exceed $700 million in 2007, about 1.5% of global sales.)
Why? How did Microsoft get to this point in China? Well, funny enough, by acting very much like an open source vendor, despite its best efforts :… Read more
Optaros has just launched the Enterprise Open Source Directory, and it's exceptional. In some ways, it's competitive with Red Hat Exchange (RHX), but only superficially. Both provide an easy way to find and evaluate (on paper) the leading enterprise-class open source projects. RHX, however, takes it a step further and offers easy installation and post-sale support.
But Optaros' EOSD goes farther than RHX in providing a hefty inventory of open source projects to evaluate, with both its ratings and user ratings. So, if you look up Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Operating Systems, etc., you get Optaros' studied judgment as well as the EOSD community's judgment. The ratings and information are somewhat sparse now, but will grow and improve as the site gets used.
Here's a look:… Read more
Larry Dignan over at ZDNet has an interesting, though speculative (though perhaps interesting because it's speculative? :-) post on Oracle's acquisition strategy. Since Oracle is not planning to slow its frenetic pace of acquisitions any time soon, Peter Goldmacher of Cowen & Co. asks, "Who would Larry buy?"
The list is interesting. I have a few alternative suggestions to Goldmacher's, to help Oracle get more involved in open source:… Read more
Palamida has been tracking the movement of open-source projects from GPLv2 to GPLv3 and estimates that 119 projects have converted (to GPL/LGPLv3), which represents less than 1 percent of projects using the General Public License, or GPL. Nothing to write home about, in other words.
Why is the uptake so tepid? Well, the rampant FUD around version 3 probably helped, but I don't think that's the main issue. I actually think the primary problem is that GPLv3 didn't go far enough, in many ways. It's an updated version of GPLv2, which is good, but it … Read more
Back when I was asked by Chris Stone (then Novell's vice chairman) to join the Linux Business Office at Novell, I honestly could count the number of employees on one hand that had any understanding and experience of open source. Brad Nicholes was one of them. Brad is an understated guy - he's not the sort of person to volunteer to write for this In the Trenches series. No, I had to go to him and solicit his involvement. I suspect even then he preferred to write code, but he agreed to do it, anyway.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brad. He was the voice of experience on Novell's Open Source Review Board, having earned the distinction of "member" with the Apache Software Foundation. He provided the best insight as to how Novell's forays into open source would be interpreted. Now, of course, the company has become very active in the open source world, but Brad continues to provide expert guidance with the OSRB and elsewhere within Novell.
If you get the chance to meet Brad, you'll like him as I do. He's a great person, and a great asset to Novell. Some of the insight below is among the best we've had on The Open Road.
Name, company, title, and what you actually do
Brad Nicholes, Senior Software Engineer, Novell. I'm currently working on the Data Center Automation product. In reality, I do a lot of different things. I have spent a lot of time over the last 6 years porting and maintaining the Apache HTTP server on the NetWare platform and I am a member of the Apache Software Foundation. I have started and managed a few smaller Open Source projects and contributed to others. I have given presentations at various conferences about Apache and Open Source in general. I am also a member of Novell's Open Source Review Board which is primarily responsible for reviewing Open Source usage and licensing issues within Novell. I have found that by participating in all of these activities, my job ranges from ?in the trenches? software design and coding to project administration to having to understand and consult with management about corporate policy and procedures as well as how legal matters can affect software development (especially in the Open Source world). … Read more
Savio has had some interesting posts lately crunching numbers related to open source investments and, most currently, the FSF's financial ability to litigate GPLv3. In both cases, though, I think he's getting a bit too attached to the calculator and detached from reality. (Not that I ever stray from reality.... :-)
(That said, in both cases I appreciate the exercise that he walks us through. It's useful.)
With regard to the FSF's ability to litigate over GPLv3, this misses the point. The FSF has never needed to rely on litigation to enforce the GPL. That's what public pressure is all about, and the open source community can deliver that in abundance. I've yet to see it fail.… Read more
It's great to have Mark Lewis blogging. I remember pinging him about OSBC involvement back in 2003 when, as now, his title reflected open source strategy. He then got pulled into some other areas at EMC. He's exceptionally bright and a credit to his employer. Good to have him back, focused on open source issues.
On this particular one - GPLv3 - I think his corporate affiliation may be coloring his opinion somewhat, as he spends too much time worrying about the ability to mingle proprietary code with GPLv3 code.
The newly aggressive provisions about what code combinations must be covered by GPLv3 create cumbersome issues for anyone, proprietary or open, who wants to combine code under another license with GPLv3....… Read more
In this installment of In the Trenches, we get back to the core of any open source company: development. Taylor Dondich is a senior developer at Groundwork. Groundwork is an interesting company because it builds on the popular Nagios monitoring solution. As such, Taylor's work involves a careful balancing act between contributing to the Nagios community while also building out Groundwork's offering around it.
I caught up with Taylor to discover how he balances the two.
Name, company, title, and what you actually do
Taylor Dondich, Team Leader, Groundwork Open Source, Inc. My role in the company is to develop the front-end technologies that present our product to the user. However, I also develop some back-end technologies and act as a technical resource for network monitoring with Nagios and other tools as well as act as an open source evangelist in the company and outside.… Read more
I've really enjoyed this In the Trenches series so far, as I've felt like I've met new people and I've definitely learned some new things. No matter how long you've been in open source, with all the disparate perspectives open source feeds, it's hard to open your mind without having it changed by someone else. If it seems that I think I've got it all figured out, I don't. Not even remotely. The longer I'm in open source, the less I think I know definitively. I just pretend sometimes. :-)
I was therefore really glad to get this submission from Matt Heitzenroder of SugarCRM. He works in Support for SugarCRM, and it sounds like his role is Special Forces-like in its scope and purpose. Given how much time my own company spends on trying to ensure our support offering is perfect, I'm grateful to hear how others manage.
Matt didn't follow the outline I provided, though he does (mostly) answer the questions I had posed. I'm including his post because I think it's indicative of the passion that open source can evoke. Anyone can get excited by a particular technology, but by a licensing model? Curiouser and curiouser!
My name is Matt Heitzenroder. Most people call me "Roder." I join you from beautiful, sunny Miami, FL....For as long as I can remember, I have been sitting in front of computer. In the '80s, my mother made me do a "Science Fair" project on telecommunications. It was the first time I had ever seen a modem or a fax, and I was hooked. When the movie "Hackers" was released, I was just a rebellious teenager that wanted to be a cool "hacker" too.
So I did research on the burgeoning Internet on the definition of a "hacker" and found something called Linux.… Read more