Michael Tiemann's blog

Am I "It"?

Yesterday I was blog-tagged by Stephen Walli. Does the fact that he tagged for other people mean that I'm not "it"? Oh well...the topic is one that interests me, and I think he started the ball rolling in an interesting direction, so I figure I'll add my thoughts.

For my money, the three ways that open source can benefit one's business (presuming you are in the business of open source) is:

    Nicholas Carr Gets it Half-Right Again

    In 2003, Nicholas Carr shook up an increasingly irrelevant community of CIOs by publishing the article "IT Doesn't Matter". I believe that he got it half right: the irreversable trend of information technology was toward commodity economics, and thus the idea of paying rents for proprietary software was preposterous. What he did not quite get right was to properly recognize that his insight was itself a strategic enabler for those intelligent enough to understand the competitive consquences of the trend he identified.

    GNU Affero GPL version 3 and the "ASP loophole"

    A few months ago I posted my initial impressions for a draft version of the GPLv3 license, and I am happy to say that as with other licenses developed with community input, the then-good GPLv3 has continued to improve. As I read the "final" draft version of GPLv3, which I think is truly excellent, I thought about the discussions from last year about some other licenses submitted to the license-discuss@opensource.org mailing list.

    Riel's Law of Innovation

    Rik van Riel posted an interesting insight this weekend about this important difference between those working under the constraints of the proprietary software model and those of us who use and develop open source software:
    they *have* to target their development to work on marketable features, while we have more liberty to focus on things that provide our users with value -- even if they are not glamorous enough to use in marketing material.

    Open Source Licensing and Governance

    Earlier this year, arguments and debates raged about whether the open source model was doomed to fail in the 21st century economics of Software As A Service (SAAS). One thread of these discussions centered around the creation of a new type of license that could effectively preserve source code availability and author attribution while denying licensees some of the freedoms enjoyed by the authors, particularly the freedom to present a user interface distinct from so-called attribution.

    GPLv3 looks like a worthy update

    When I first came across the GNU General Public License in 1986, it was nothing short of an epiphany for me. Its revolutionary approach to copyright (all wrongs reversed) and the bold vision of the GNU project (to do nothing less than to make UNIX obsolete by making something that was both better and free) was as earth-shaking to me as perhaps quantum physics was to Einstein. (You don't need to tell me I'm no Einstein--I know that.)

    Less is More...what's so hard about simplicity?

    I am continuing to process Made To Stick, a Guns, Germs, and Steel-quality treatment about why some ideas survive and others die. I heard the authors interviewed courtesy of our local National Public Radio affiliate WUNC (which does their share of great content generation, btw), and to fit the ultra-dense format of radio, they said "there are six success factors for making an idea stick, but the first three, Simple, Unexpected, and Concrete, are the most important."

    As the authors tell it, experts suffer from The Curse of Knowledge, and the nature of the curse is such that it is almost impossible for those so cursed to keep things simple or, for that matter, concrete. Complexity is fun, and abstraction is what gives theories their power. It also makes them notoriously transient in people's minds.


    Subscribe to RSS - Michael Tiemann's blog