April 25, 2006

Note to Pamela Jones: Should Have Stopped Long Ago

In an utterly gratuitous and knee-jerk slam of Linspire yesterday, Pamela Jones took it upon herself to criticize Linspire for *gasp* including non-free software in their community distro. I'm sorry, but what was that? Would you mind explaining *how* this is a problem? Pamela, I used to admire you a great deal; your work on the SCO case was exceptional and provided a guiding light to those of us trying to make sense of what was happening.

But this is just absurd. Your assertion that communities don't form around non-free software is so wrong as to be greeted by uproarious laughter. Tell that to Mac fans. So tell me, why would folks care that Freespire will come with optional proprietary software? It's funny, I just thought folks wanted stuff to work. Silly ole' me.

Repeat after me: open source is not a social or religious movement. I made that point pretty clearly here.

April 24, 2006

LinuxWorld Podcast: Jim Zemlin and Larry Augustin

In the first podcast, Jim Zemlin sounds off on the Linux desktop, free standards, and being the Switzerland of Linux-land. Jim has much to add to the standards debate, and he's done a lot to make freestandards.org worth mentioning again. Listen to Jim clarify the difference between open standards and open source:

Jim Zemlin podcast

In the next podcast, you get to hear it straight from the open source Godfather, Larry Augustin. The "other" Larry of Silicon Valley talks about his historical involvement with open source, and where things are heading in the commercial open source world. It's all about commoditization, innovation, and bad hygiene... ok perhaps not so much the latter. Somewhere in between, Larry forces me to agree with Eric Raymond.

Larry Augustin podcast

April 19, 2006

LinuxWorld Podcast: Clint Oram, SugarCRM

***You can always catch the latest LinuxWorld podcast at linuxpip.org/lwpodcast.rss ***

I sat down with Clint Oram, General Manager of Sugar Online at SugarCRM, and we had a nice chat about open source communities, the CRM market, where SugarCRM fits in, and how one goes about converting downloaders into paying customers. He makes several interesting points, including talking about "passion-ware" - the deciding factor between open source and proprietary software:

LinuxWorld Podcast with Clint Oram - Part 1

Unfortunately, we were sitting outside behind a local cafe, when the garbage truck paid a visit. So, I stopped the recorder and resumed after it left:

LinuxWorld Podcast with Clint Oram - Part 2

Open Source Developers: The New Customer/Partner

To many of us in the world of Linux and open source, it seemed pretty clear that open source development and the democratization of software - not to mention commoditization - was turning software as product development into a 2-way street. The trend was away from nice snazzy development kits that software vendors would release every 6 months and transforming into open development processes. This required giving something of value to prospective developers in the hopes that they would find a vendor's software compelling enough to contribute to its development, whether in the form of QA, documentation, bug reports, or in a small number of cases, writing actual code. This new 2-way street forced vendors to rethink their 3rd party development strategy, because simply viewing developers as consumers wasn't going to cut it. To remain competitive, vendors had to develop communities and ecosystems, partner with individuals outside the company, and generally convert their entire development process into an SOA.

This is not an easy process, and it has taken some time. Some companies got it much sooner than others, Red Hat being the prime example of the company that got it before many and is actually able to turn a profit. Without naming names, others are still lagging and one wonders if they're going to make it. It seems as though this process has turned a corner in the last year, and you can tell simply by the language used by woftware vendors. In the past, many commercial vendors have remarked that their #1 target audience was enterprise IT, both management and systems engineers, because they were the ones buying product, and it was easy to justify investing in marketing campaigns designed to reach that audience. What about developers? Oh, they were ok, vendors shrugged, but they're not going to buy much.

But things have suddenly changed and developers are no longer simply "tolerated". In the case of LinuxWorld, we're hearing from an unprecedented number of exhibitors that they want to work with us to find more developers. Almost overnight, software vendors have come to realize that in order to maintain a competitive advantage, they've got to have 3rd party developers, and they have to support an ecosystem around their platforms. If they don't succeed, developers will go elsewhere, and then the vendors have to spend enough on R&D to counter the armies of software guerillas working with and for the competition - for free. Hence the need to view independent developers as partners. And the companies that will succeed will be the ones that develop the most vibrant ecosystems, attracting open source developers, companies, and anyone else that benefits from access to the software. I went through much of the underpinnings of this process in my "There is no Open Source Community" article, and while it's still too early to say I told you so, it's certainly heading in that direction.

April 13, 2006

First LinuxWorld Podcast! Bill Weinberg of OSDL

This is the first in a series of podcasts I'm releasing on this blog. In this first installment, you'll hear Bill Weinberg, of OSDL Mobile Linux Initiative fame, wax rhapsodic on everything you ever wanted to know about mobile, embedded, and real-time Linux - and then some! He gives a great rundown of the challenges for Linux in these markets, including power consumption, security, and creating common API's to spur 3rd-party development. Enjoy!

Listen to Bill Weinberg

Notable LinuxWorld Keynotes

I finally posted two keynotes from LinuxWorld Boston: Nicholas Negroponte of One Laptop Per Child and Bill Hilf from Microsoft. Look for the rest tomorrow!

April 01, 2006

New LinuxWorld Blog

Hi gang, just so you know, the new LinuxWorld blog is now at LinuxWorldBlog.com. If I were smart, I would have left it up on blogspot.com for a while, but I didn't *sigh*.