The most important finding in this research, confirming a major theme in the literature, is that leadership and value are critical to the success of open-source collaborations in the public sector. Collaborations with a strong leadership structure, and more importantly a single leader who is persistent, passionate and willing to spend a great deal of time maintaining and improving the organization are much more likely to succeed. Value is also a … Read more
Today is Independence Day here in the United States - a day of reflection and fireworks. It's the day that everyone here but I broke free of Britain to "live free or die." (I still work for a UK-based company, so I'm John Powell's indentured servant. :-) In 10 days, we'll also celebrate France's Bastille Day (when the cry of "Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite!" echoed beyond La Belle France, shown in this wonderful Delacroix painting.)
So it seems appropriate to reflect on how open source provides basic freedoms to IT departments and developers worldwide. I experienced this firsthand this morning on conference call with my team and a partner company, both in Europe. (No, they didn't seem to care that it was a US holiday.) A call that would have taken days or months to determine licensing rights to our software took...10 minutes. Frankly, had Alfresco not undergone some licensing changes in the past the call never even would have happened.
Open source licensing enables companies to collaborate without involving attorneys, business development teams, etc. You grok the license, you take the code, you abide by the license. That's it. Highly efficient.
And free. Free as in freedom. Freedom that makes a big difference to end customers and to partners alike.… Read more
First off, I'm changing the title of the series to "In the trenches with..." because I'm finding that the best people are often not keen to sing praises to themselves (i.e., "Unsung heroes"). At any rate, while these people are, in fact, the heroes of open source, the series is designed to glean their expertise and provide a "trenches" view of commercial open source.
Hence, a new name.
Nowhere is super-capable humility in more abundance than MySQL. I love that company. I've yet to meet anyone there that I wouldn't enjoy sitting next to on a long plane ride. Mostly because they're somewhat quiet, and I hate talking to people on planes. But... :-)
I asked Zack Urlocker to suggest an "unsung hero" at MySQL and he suggested I chat with Gary Whizin, senior director of Engineering. (He suggested a few others, as well, which I hope will find their way to this series, as well.) Gary chafed a bit (he was insistent that his team, and not he, does all of the real work), but we eventually wrangled this response out of him:
Name, company, title, and what you actually do
Gary Whizin. Officially, I'm Senior Director of Engineering for the MySQL Enterprise Tools group. In reality, I run projects and manage a team like a baseball manager: I help figure out who works on which tasks; I help define our milestones and ensure we're on time; but then I try to let everyone have as much fun as possible because life is short and that's the best way to win anyway. I also ask oodles of "dumb manager" questions to make sure we're being as smart as possible, have the right priorities and are talking to each other.
Then I try to stay out of the way and admire everyone's work.… Read more
I've been talking the last few days with Oracle, Novell, and SAIC about how open source figures into their product plans and, in SAIC's case, how open source affects the company's services strategy. Each of these companies has obvious things to gain (and perhaps to lose) from open source.
Today I wanted to talk with a company that has not traditionally been known for its open source work. BMC Software. I have been talking with the open source group at BMC for over a year, but I rarely heard much open source noise emerging from the company. That is, until BMC hired Will Hurley from Qlusters, and then suddenly I heard a lot more.
I caught up with Will late last week to find out what open source secrets BMC has been hiding from the world. As it turns out, open source is alive and well at BMC, and growing. Funny that: I've yet to talk with a company for whom open source doesn't figure prominently in its strategic direction. Maybe there's a trend here...?
Will writes...… Read more
For today's 21st installment in the Open Source CEO Series, I decided to talk with the head of Zend Technologies, Harold Goldberg. PHP adoption has exploded - how does a company build a business around that adoption? In fact, today Zend also announced the availability of Zend Framework 1.0, with a vibrant development and documentation community surrounding it.
Harold joined Zend with an enviable pedigree in enterprise software. As I've said before, that can be a blessing and a curse. In Harold's case, it seems to have been a blessing. Let's hear why.
Name, position, and company of executive Harold Goldberg, CEO, Zend Technologies.… Read more
Matthew Aslett has the latest numbers on open source investments in Q2 2007. The bottom line? Up 33% (over the same quarter last year) to roughly $100 million. Not too shabby.
Matthew: It would be ideal if you could also report the running tally of total open source investments. We're over $2 billion now....
Arsenal just lost Thierry Henry, the greatest striker in a generation, and replaced him with...Dudu? Eduardo da Silva (aka "Dudu" was born in Brazil, but is a Croatian national) scored 34 goals in 32 games (Don't try that at home, kids). In true Arsene Wenger (Arsenal manager) fashion, Arsenal went for the unheralded da Silva over the over-hyped Eto'o, Owen, Torres, etc.
What does this have to do with open source? Well, not much. (Let's be honest: I just needed some happy Arsenal thoughts. :-) But I do think that open source could be the da Silva of software. Both over-hyped and under-hyped at the same time. Over-hyped in some places (Croatia??? :-), and under-hyped in others (everywhere else).
I spend an inordinate amount of time talking open source with fellow open sourcerors and denizens of the Old World (i.e., proprietary software companies). We talk constantly about open source and its impact on the world of software.
But with open source taking a rounding error of a percentage of total software sales, it clearly has a lot of room to grow. The vast majority of software users still don't know much about open source, and probably won't until it's conveniently packaged and priced at $9.95 at your local Wal-Mart, Carrefour, etc. Open source, to me, is vastly under-hyped relative to its potential.… Read more
The Server Virtualization Blog has a useful piece on the impact virtualization can have on open source business models.
...But with virtualization as an integral component of the distro (whether Xen, KVM or one of the other open source virtualization technologies), Linux is only one (arguably the key) component of the stack, and when a different OSV?s product is virtualized on Linux (Windows, perhaps, or another open source OS), two new opportunities emerge: First, a Linux OSV can extend its value proposition to its customers by offering to Support other open source OSes virtualized; and second, by adding to their offerings the requisite closed source add-ons such as the Novell Windows Driver Pack for closed source OSes, the distros can artfully deliver high value mixed-source offerings that "price to value," and protect themselves from the kind of discounting attack that Oracle used on Red Hat.… Read more
In every company - open source or proprietary - the executives get the credit (and blame). I've always found this frustrating, and particularly now that I wear an executive hat at Alfresco. I know from working with my own team that but for the talents of my team, I'd be a complete waste. (In fact, I am aware that the best thing I can do is hire exceptional people. If I do that well, I (that is, my team) will deliver.)
All of which made me want to solicit the executives of various open source companies for the … Read more
Last week The Open Road caught up with Justin Steinman @ Novell and Mike Olson @ Oracle to discover how open source factors into these companies' businesses. This time, we're switching gears a bit to talk with a company that sells services around software - both open source and proprietary - rather than a software company.
Being familiar with the interesting open source work happening at SAIC, I decided to talk with two members of its Open Source Community of Practice: Ryan Brunton, a developer within SAIC's Open Source Community of Practice, and Wayne Waddoups, vice president of Strategy, SAIC Office of Technology. SAIC has long worked with projects like Linux and MySQL, but it's the cutting edge work it's doing with open source applications and infrastructure that caught my eye. More to the point, and more to Wayne's and Ryan's response, I wanted to know how open source helps SAIC build its business.
Just as enterprise software vendors have their P&Ls tied to proprietary software (making adoption of open source more difficult than it otherwise would be), so, too, do tier-one systems integrators like SAIC, Accenture, etc. How does SAIC view open source, given revenues of $8.2 billion that might well point it back to proprietary software?
Wayne and Ryan write:… Read more