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tigers and elephants

Is Microsoft a tiger or a rogue elephant? A tiger has its own agenda, and cannot be diverted from its mission:to kill and eat. An rogue elephant is powerful and intelligent, but they can also be trained. We in the opensource community are not sure of the answer to this question. If Microsoft is a tiger, we will have to kill it to have peace. If Microsoft is currently a rogue elephant, we can tame it and turn it into a significant open source contributor. Either way, I have faith in the power of open source to overcome, just like the power of water to erode.

What Microsoft can do for Open Source

This morning Sam Ramji gave one of the closing keynote presentations at OSCON 2008. He talked about writing a new chapter in Microsoft's history with the open source community, and he promised to talk openly and honestly with us. It is a promise that he made to me personally when I met him between sessions a few days earlier. He also made a commitment to engage in difficult conversations about tough issues. And he announced some other concrete ways that Microsoft was reaching out to the open source community. But the subtext of all these commitments seemed to me to be a deeper question that Sam is trying to answer: what can Microsoft do to make peace and partner with the open source community?

Microsoft, Apache POI and the Open Specification Promise

I have been working with Sam Ramji and Robert Duffner from Microsoft, and I have been very pleased to resolve the issues that I had with the work they are funding for the Apache POI project. Not only has Microsoft addressed the concerns that I had with regards to patents and OOXML, but they have gone a step further and added the binary formats to the list.

Everything happens for a reason

This week I'm attending OSCON 2008, where the OSI is celebrating its 10th anniversary as an organization, but that's only one reason I'm here.

OSCON: Open Source, Open World. What should we discuss there?

In one week the open source community will meet at OSCON. I'll be part of a panel - Open Source, Open World - that will discuss the success and challenges for open source worldwide. Danese Cooper, that is hosting the panel, asked the participants to list a few questions that we should discuss on the panel.

OSI presents at OSCON 2008

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. And it will be participating at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland this July 23-25, 2008. Meet OSI's team and listen to what OSI speakers have to say at the following OSCON sessions.

See you there!

SESSIONS ON WEDNESDAY JULY 23, 2008

Panel: Changing Education... Open Content, Open Hardware, Open Curricula

Franchise

In a free market, over time, competition in the production of a commodity product will eliminate all profits. Bread-makers can sell their bread for enough money to cover the cost of the capital invested in the bakery, the cost of the flour, yeast, sugar, and water, the fuel needed for firing, and the salary of the baker. They can earn no more money than that. If they did, then another bakery would be established which would price its products lower, splitting that profit between the customer and the owner of the new bakery.

Open Source is taking new turns in Africa.

Open Source in Africa is taking a different turn. It is going policy. We have done the "raising dust" or advocay part. We have also done the debate part of it. The time for constructive and sustainable action is here. The Free Software and Open Source Foundation is now engaging with Regional blocks to entrench FOSS in national ICT Policies. In the recently-concluded FOSS meeting between the Foundation and representatives of the member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, there was little time for talk. It was more of doing and action than talk and debate.

Fair trade coffee & Open source Java

When Starbucks grew from regional powerhouse to cultural phenomenon, there was one small problem: the coffee they sold did not jive with their brand. So much so that in 2000 they printed millions of pamplets in the US explaining why it was that even though they really, really wanted to sell organic, shade-grown, fairly traded coffee, that due to lack of adequate supply, customers should be delighted that they were at least committed to finding a way to sell some fairly traded coffee somehow.

Open Source and Sustainability

Last week I read the book small is possible. It's a great read, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoyed books like The Tipping Point, The Wisdom of Crowds, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and other books that powerfully explain the world from a new perspective.

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