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If it ain't broke...

The Open Source movement is consistent with a larger democratic proposition that the more that we can all be involved in affairs that concern them, the better off we'll all be. But sometimes the involvement of some people, whose concern is the maintenance of monopoly and control, doesn't serve the great good. Glynn Moody uncovers the sinister results that are threatening to emerge from a committee in Europe in a blog posting titled EU Wants to Re-define "Closed" as "Nearly Open".

I think the EU got it right the first time in 2004, when they said this about open systems:

Open Source Whitepaper updated for 2010

When I was invited to speak at the STS Forum in Kyoto in 2006, I thought it would be a good idea to write an extremely concise white paper-3 pages total-comparing and contrasting open source software and proprietary software. Since then I have been invited to speak about, defend, and expand upon that paper. Now it's time to give it an update.

Reptiles

Several years ago, we had the chance to visit a crocodile farm in Queensland, Australia. There were several highlights, not least the chance for the children to hold a crocodile - a very small one, of course, with its jaws taped shut. Even with one that small, the frisson of terror remained and the children all laughed nervously for the camera.

OSI and White House agree on open source benefits, platforms

By now you may have read that www.whitehouse.gov is now running Drupal, the open source content management system. So, too, does the OSI itself. So first I'd like to say "welcome to the club!"

But the open source wins don't stop there.

Exciting Open Source developments in Thailand

The Blender Foundation just posted news of two e-books issued by the government of Thailand, one covering the 3d content creation suite Blender and one covering the GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka GIMP. I have a special affection for both of these programs, for several reasons.

GIMP Cover (in Thai)Blender Cover (in Thai)

A Remarkable Reversal

It was a surprise to see Richard Stallman's signature on a letter to the European Commission calling on them to block the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle with its proposed acquisition of Sun. The surprise wasn't primarily because of that position. Clearly we are all concerned, and clearly there is scope for free software advocates to differ in their conclusions, as the intervention by leading European free software lawyer Carlo Piana shows.

Building A Scorecard

In my previous posts, I've drawn an analogy between open source software and organic food, hinting that in both cases the rush to create a working brand lost some of the essence of the vision. I've suggested that having businesses identify "open source" purely on the basis of one "input" - using an OSI-approved license - is no longer adequate, because the success of the open source approach has led so many different companies to want to exploit the name.

Open Source Education: Professors’ Open Source Camp in Singapore


Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE), a training bootcamp targeted for faculty members of technical universities in Asia is being organized from November 9-13, 2009 at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. Faculty members from Singapore, Malaysia, China, India are expected to participate.

The first camp was held in Raleigh, North Carolina earlier this year in July.

Sun Tzu and the London Stock Exchange

I read Sun Tzu's The Art of War more than 10 years ago, and there is one bit of advice that I still use daily in my business dealings. It can be paraphrased as "when attacking an entrenched competitor, you need four times the force. Ten times the force is better." Thus, when Red Hat was building its enterprise business, I made sure that our sales people were focused on customers who could immediately measure 2x the performance at 1/2 the cost (yielding a 4x performance/cost advantage), although 10x performance/cost was more advantageous. It seems that Sun Tzu's math has been understood by the London Stock Exchange, who are seeing a more than 6x improvement in the all-important measure of latency, whilst gaining an impressive 2x cost advantage. No wonder they are switching from a proprietary platform to one based on open source software!

Truth In Labelling - Learning From "Organic"

When I wrote about Organic Software recently, I was largely eulogising the community dimension of open source software. But there's another way in which the idea of "organic software" is helpful to understanding the dynamic in free and open source software. Here are the comments I have been making at Open World Forum here in Paris.

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