– on auction now!

Currently my domain points here as well as others. I have way too many domains so am currently going to be putting up for auction.

Click here for details.


Mobile widgets – more than just old content?

IDC recently published a report on mobile widgets and how they may be the future of mobile Internet services. We are doing some work in that space and as such it is great to see the growing uptake and interest in the way mobile widgets may be able to help create a common platform for certain types of mobile applications.

At the moment and without the availability of a way for widgets to access things like device or network APIs, the functionality they can provide is still limited. Therefore, many people see mobile widgets as just being a way of displaying “old” Web content (or formats such as RSS) in a form factor that makes it appealing on mobile. This will change over time as more functionality becomes available.

The growing standardization on the mobile widget front (W3C and BONDI for example) should help put mobile widgets onto a wide range and variety of handsets. Add to this the fact that mobile operators are pushing widget runtimes down to handsets as they come into the market and you end up with what may be an interesting eco-system for a new breed of mobile developers.

Those people interested in building mobile widgets should for example take a look at what Vodafone are doing on their Betavine site where you can find a tutorial on building your first mobile widget. They are also holding a mobile widget competition where you can win a first prize of 20.000 GBP. Good luck!

The business of Open Source on OSS Watch

I’ve been doing some consulting work for OSS Watch recently and they also asked me if I would be interested in writing a short article on Open Source from a perspective of how business can be generated around it. The article has just been published.

Mobile technologies to watch

Gartner have recently published a press release, outlining the eight mobile technologies to watch in 2009 and 2010. This is from a report available at a cost from the Gartner website.

Reading the list makes me want to start an my own research business, as the topics they list are – to quote Simon Judge – pretty arbitrary. They seem to list most of the mobile buzz words currently circulating and nothing in the list is surprising. I would agree with Simon that there are a few other topics they could have listed – but would be inclined to extend “Open Operating Systems” from his list to “Open Source on both mobile client and server”.

Mobile will be one of the main areas where we will see disruption through Open Source in the coming months – and that won’t just be limited to the mobile device itself, as I’m sure Fabrizio would agree. In fact he would probably tell you that you should have started “watching” that particular trend some time ago.

Ready, Widget, Go!

During the past eight months or so, we’ve been doing various bits and pieces within the mobile space. We’ve been doing both consulting work for providers and consumers of mobile services as well as developing a few mobile clients of our own.

Amongst other things, we’ve been developing a mobile widget for our Nyooze based site – – due to launch in a few weeks. The mobile widget will allow people using a widget enabled mobile to follow news from their favorite cities on their mobile.

So, today I was interested to see Vodafone launch the Betavine Widget Competition 2009 with a first prize of 20.000 GBP. That should get people developing and increase the buzz around mobile widgets in the upcoming months. Maybe we should submit the Citywatchr widget…

Steps to an Open Source strategy – Baselining

The first step an organization needs to take in establishing an Open Source strategy is to baseline the current landscape. Now to be perfectly clear: many people will jump on this step and “pooh pooh” about how unnecessary it is because they

  • Already know where Open Source is being used (they may think they do)
  • Already know which areas within the organization are suitable for Open Source adoption
  • Already understand IP issues and licensing implications of Open Source software in use

However, regardless of what they think they may know – they probably don’t. And if the corporation has carried out a prior assessment – that was probably in 2003 or 2004 when they were benchmarking Linux usage. At least I’ve had enough of those reports waved at me, together with a remark as to the fact that “and we have a few Apaches and MySQLs running”.

So what are the typical goals of this first step? Well it’s to pull together enough information about the internal adoption of Open Source that you can present the complete picture to the various people and departments you need to engage on the next step.

  • What is the organizations understanding of what exactly Open Source is and does that understanding differ within the organization. Make sure that includes asking around in departments responsible for software procurement, legal or license management
  • Where is Open Source being used, why is it being used there and which components or products are in use
  • Where is Open Source not being used and why not
  • Does the organization maintain a repository of Open Source components and/or information
  • Who are the Open Source evangelists already active within the organization (and where are the opponents)
  • Where Open Source is being used – how are those projects/installations fielding support issues
  • Gauge internal and external “pressure” on using Open Source (joint ventures are a good example of when Open Source pressure can come in from the outside)
  • Are there any “sweet spots” already identifiable for potential Open Source usage
  • and many more

The result of asking these questions is that people within the organization will begin to understand that there is more to it than just knowing about the odd Apache installation.

Steps to an internal Open Source strategy

When I go into a corporation or other organization to establish an internal Open Source strategy, the work generally follows the following steps (although they obviously need adapting to each additional organization). I talked about the steps during the Open Source strategy workshop earlier today:

  1. Establish the Open Source “baseline”
  2. Develop policies and guidelines to support and educate all parties
  3. Anchor the Open Source strategy within the organization
  4. Establish an internal Open Source “community”

I’ll talk about each point in more detail during additional posts.

It was interesting to see Ingo Schwarzer, CTO of DB Systel talk about the similar steps they are beginning to take to establish an Open Source strategy during this afternoon’s keynote at OSMB.