Posts Tagged 'Open Source'

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.

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.

Educating Open Source

By chance I’ve spent some time recently consulting with OSS Watch in Oxford, UK. Ross Gardler and his team provide Open Source advice and guidance free of charge to UK higher and further education organizations. Apart from the chance to visit Oxford a couple of times (and loving it more each time), it has allowed to me to gain insight into how Open Source is viewed within the UK education community.

In particular it has been interesting to see how efforts in the UK are growing to provide children in schools and students in universities with the knowledge they need to understand Open Source and have the qualifications many companies now require when recruiting new employees. It is still proving difficult to make sure young people have enough knoweldge (both practical and theoretical) around Open Source and OSS Watch are constantly looking for additional ways of doing this.

So, now I would be interested in hearing about similar initiatives in other countries – or indeed people interested in establishing or building out similar initiatives as I think this will become increasingly important as we see Open Source adoption growing everywhere.

Open Source as part of an IT strategy

Later today, I will be participating in a workshop at the Open Source Meets Business conference here in Nürnberg. The title of the workshop is: “Open Source as part of an IT strategy” and I will be one of several panel members.

My input will focus mostly on the steps that need to be taken to build up an Open Source strategy within a corporation or large organization. Most of this collected from the exeprience I’ve gathered over the past years in helping corporations understand and engage with the “Open Source way”. Hopefully the audience will jump in with their thoughts and it will be a lively discussion.

I’ll post after the workshop with some additional thoughts around the steps that need to be taken.

Open Source is a safe bet

I’m spending a few days down in Nürnberg at the Open Source Meets Business Conference (OSMB). This year, even after spending just a couple of hours here, the conference has a very “OSBC” feel to it. At least it does remind me more of my visit to OSBC back in 2005 where I was surprised at the commercial adoption of Open Source and indeed the distinct business feel to an Open Source conference.

Larry Augustin is giving the first keynote where he is talking about why he thinks Open Source is a “safe bet” – especially in these days where everyone is talking about the economic downturn. He has 4 main reasons:

New investment continues in Open Source

Businesses are adopting Open Source

Open Source produces better software

Leaner budgets favor Open Source

There are a couple of points in there that I’m sure are open for discussions or a “it depends” caveat. However in general and on a high-level I’m sure these points paint a good picture to get people talking.

There is still a high level of VC investment in Open Source businesses – as we saw yesterday when Lucid Imagination officially launched after receiving a series A funding round of 6$ million. According to Larry, Open Source businesses have received just under 3$ billion since 2000. Companies like Lucid Imagination show that there is indeed a market for companies that form around key technology people (Lucid includes people I greatly respect – such as Erik Hatcher) and provide quality services and other offerings around Open Source projects such as Apache Solr and Lucene. We’ll be seeing more of companies like this arrive on the scene this year.

Already the conference looks as though it will be the most interesting yet.

Predictions: Open Source Business Readiness Ratings – FAIL

A few years ago, SpikeSource, Carnegie Mellon West Center for Open Source Investigation and others decided that it was time to “gauge” the “readiness” of Open Source solutions for business usage. At the time even Tim O’Reilly was bullish on the whole idea:

..the initiative is one more signpost on the road that open source has taken from the hacker fringe into the mainstream of the technology business.

Now it seems that the initiative has failed – as Tim writes in the comments of the above post.

As I wrote at the beginning of 2006, some companies had this strange “vision” that they could suddenly become the Open Source service vendor overnight. Instead of looking to Open Source projects and people to build their business (as this company did and does for example), they created smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that really, they didn’t understand anything about Open Source.