Category Archives: Social Networks

Peer-to-Peer Demonization: A Class Action in favor of Multi-Use Technologies

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology and many other associations and organizations told a federal court that the law requires caution in assessing whether to impose copyright liability on the makers of multi-use technologies.

There is a trade-off between artistic protection and technological innovation here, and many different facets of the US innovation economy are united to both punish bad actors and protect legitimate innovators.

In a legal brief filed in a lawsuit against the peer-to-peer file sharing service LimeWire, CDT and its allies did not take sides but rather urged the court to decide the case within the careful framework established by previous Supreme Court cases in this area.  Those cases make clear that distributing a technology with “substantial noninfringing uses” should not raise rise copyright liability concerns, as long as the distributor does not actively promote the technology’s use for infringement.  Reinterpreting or expanding secondary copyright liability in ways that undermine this crucial limitation, the brief warned, it could significantly chill technological innovation.

William Shakespeare was right, There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Technorati Tags: CDT, EFF, peer-to-peer, copyright infringment, multi-use technology, innovation

OpenTTT, collaboration and new models for open source competence centers

It is widely known that despite many significant advantages, “explicit” use of OSS is still not as widespread. One of the many approaches designed to help in overcoming the adoption gap is the creation of “OSS competence centers”, that provide support and knowledge to facilitate open source software adoption.
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Creating a competence center may take years, especially when it is necessary to create everything from scratch. But as I wrote in a recent presentation, it may be more efficient to “piggy-back” on top of existing IT incubators or IT districts, leverage what has already been produced in other projects and especially offer mediation as a service, because it is clear from the many surveys that companies need significant hand-holding when performing the first open source migrations. We will test this approach (after several trials) at the FutureMatch event colocated within CeBIT,

Commercial Open Source: Commercial and Open Source are still not antonyms

Over the last few days I have just been reading my news alerts on commercial open source and I found out that someone still thinks it sounds like a contradiction in terms, others question about how open is commercial open source, while there is who argues that OSS vendors have to sell products, not subscriptions.

While it is still unclear if and at which extent a software developer can change the world, the “blue ocean” of Open Source innovations got larger and larger in 2007, proving open source to be a formidable tool to put in place viable business strategies. Customer innovation has still a very important role, as it still matters cooperation and collaboration among open source firms, maybe also in the form of vendors’ consolidation.

Is Bill Hilf right saying that with proprietary software you buy a guarantee, and you can eventually sue someone if something goes wrong? CIOs working within small to medium enterprises are probably more interested in software that works than in buying this “ecosystem of accountability”. Need to know more about what open source can do for you? Read the Open Source Guide for SMEs.

What is an open source firm is still an open issue apparently: Jeff Gould is among them who do not consider the Split OSS/commercial approach open enough. I am looking forward to join Andrew Aitken at the Open Source Think Tank 2008 on February 7-9 in Napa Valley, and share with him and others some opinions also on the “false positive” phenomenon.

Savio Rodrigues got more critical on some open source business approaches, writing:

The problem is you’ve given the user something of great value for free (i.e. the product), and now you’re asking him to pay for something of much less value (i.e. the support). [..]

OSS businesses of the future will have to offer products to paying customers that are different than what is available for free. Emphasis on products.

VCs do like millions of downloads, but we all know that one customer every thousand users might be a viable strategy for MySql and very few others. Despite it is questionable if support has or not less value than the product itself, we know it is true that selling the right to use assets is more profitable than selling ownership of assets. In this respect Savio, emphasizing the importance of the product, is definitely raising an interesting issue. Soon more on these subjects.

I wish you all a great year, and invite you to take a moment to watch this Blue Man Group video: our planet is the only one we can live on, take good care of it, either if you love or hate open source.
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Technorati Tags: commercial open source, oss, open business, Open Source Think Tank, AndrewAitken, JeffGould, SavioRodrigues, MySql, BMG, Blue Man Group, BillHilf

Open Source ECM: Alfresco opens up to social networks

After the announcement of the integration with Facebook Alfresco made public that Alfresco Social Computing Platform – which integrates Alfresco with Adobe Flex, Facebook, iGoogle, MediaWiki, TypePad and WordPress – will be available for download by tomorrow on SourceForge.

While Alfresco is probably not the first open source projects to experiment with Facebook, John Newton – co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Alfrescobelieves that pushing for the expansion of social computing in the enterprise is an imperative. John on his “manifesto for Social Computing in the Enterprise” states:

The next generation of enterprise employees who started using the internet in their early teens have only known this evolving culture of free and creative development of the internet and now demand better of the enterprise software that they meet.

While I don’t know if every CTO should be on Facebook, as says Jon Williams at the New York CTO blog, I believe Seth Gottlieb‘s theory is correct:

most Intranets fail as social collaboration tools because they cannot capture the energy and passion that seems to form spontaneously on the web. And my theory goes on to assert that people do not invest their personal energy on their corporate intranet because they don’t own it.

John, why are you addressing Facebook audience?

In order for ECM to move from 10% that are specialists in a firm (compliance, doc control, regulatory, maintenance and web sites) to the 90% that need it to control out-of-control information on shared drives, it would need to introduce compelling user interfaces based upon social networking and social computing.

I think Alfresco did a great move addressing needs of the new generation of knowledge workers is enabling a new enterprise vision of social computing.

Last but not least Alfresco rather than building everything on its own is defining an architecture of participation based on Web Scripts Framework. Let’s see if it will eventually help them to foster their community.

Technorati Tags: Alfresco, JohnNewton, SethGottlieb, JonWilliams, Social Software, Facebook, oss, commercial open source, open business

Open Source Social Software: Gartner on Open Source Products

On the 24th of October Gartner released the Team Collaboration and Social Software Magic Quadrant by Nikos Drakos. The document report about a revitalized collaboration support market, including also some open source products.

nice startNice start by Maszcha & J

While Gartner did yawn on Open Source BI, this Magic Quadrant includes products from less-established vendors, and eventually open source products got their chance. More important Drakos paid attention to the presence of independent activities adding value to the core product, where open source add-ons can play a decisive role.

Deki Wiki (MindTouch) originally based on MediaWiki, ICE core (SiteScape), Movable Type (Six Apart), SocialText (SocialText) and Twiki ( got all mentioned.

Ross Mayfield is pretty happy, that SocialText is considered the most visionary provider and behind only Microsoft, BEA and IBM in execution.

This tells me that if we want to be the leader we need to demonstrate better execution (mind you, I’m not taking out IBM next year, but it is good feedback). SuiteTwo, of which we are a core component, also scored well in vision but has a way to go in execution.

Execution. Open Source firms need to work hard on that, and it is a general issue. The absence of “horizontal” players in Europe, such as SpikeSource of the above mentioned SuiteTwo, is an open issue.

Getting back to Gartner, I am looking forward to read “Open Source Magic Quadrant”, Magic Quadrant reporting more open source specific information about those products. As seen with Social Software there are a lot of open source products that are enterprise ready, so a qualification method allowing to differentiate the open source numerous candidates is needed.

A good starting point would be the QSOS metrics. Should I elaborate it further?

Technorati Tags: oss, open business, social software, team collaboration, SocialText, RossMayfield, Twiki, Deki Wiki, Movable Type, ICE Core, Six Apart, SiteScape, MindTouch, Spikesource, SuiteTwo, MediaWiki, NikosDrakos

European Open Source Projects: Qualipso deliverables on business models (part II)

QualiPSo – the ever largest Open Source initiative funded by the European Commission – is making public its first results, and I just started to analyze them.

The goal of the project is “to define and implement technologies, procedures and policies to leverage the Open Source Software development current practices to sound and well recognised and established industrial operations”.

QualiPSo includes 7 research and development domains (QualiPSo Competence Centres, business models, next generation forge, trustworthy results and process, information management, interoperability, legal issues), articulated in 10 work areas.

Today I read the deliverable “State of the art concerning business models for systems comprising open source software“, apparently the most promising result within the “business models” research area.

autoreferentialityCalypso Cabaret by Sackerman519

Looking at the document as a whole, basically it is an essay of pretty known and old articles, like the Seven open source business strategies for competitive advantage, by John Koenig, and the mentioned many times “Economics of Open Source” of my buddy Carlo Daffara, plus some minor citations. Not a single new business model, they just mentioned Open Source (?) Franchising, not exploiting it any further.

I must admit I learned about Sunil Joshi citations, but I honestly expected to find something more than things grasped around the net, sometimes even without double check. For example they happened to cite the Orixo consortium, so I guess they didn’t take a chance to talk with a representative, neither to read Gianugo advising on using consortia nor looking at the Orixo’s events section. On the contrary I didn’t read a mention of ZEA or Open Source Consortium, just to name two of them. I would warmly recommend them to add these, at least.

I found it auto-referential just as the already mentioned deliverable D2.1.2 , since chapter 3 “BIG INDUSTRY OSS BUSINESS MODELS CASE STUDIES” is only about 4 QualiPSo’s members.

Last but not least, chapter 4 “SME OSS BUSINESS MODELS CASE STUDIES” results to be a list of cases collected by the official sites of those firms, mostly cut&pasting public information available, not a deep research I would say.

QualipSO seems following a Ferengi’s rule: Sell the sizzle, not the steak, I hope they will come out with something interesting soon..

Technorati Tags: commercial open source, research, public funded, QualiPSo, IST

European Open Source Projects: Qualipso deliverables (part I)

QualiPSo – the ever largest Open Source initiative funded by the European Commission – is making public its first results.

Waiting to eventually join the first QualiPSo conference, that will focus on the challenges that the Open Source model introduces while being integrated in industry strategies, I had a first look at deliverables within the “business models” research area, namely the deliverable State of the art concerning strategies for industry towards Open Source communities and vice versa (PDF).

autoreferentialityThe gesture of “me” by timtak

Too little is said about Open Source Consortium Model (paragraph 6.6), where across Europe there are quite a few indeed, and I am available to help QualiPSO researchers if they are willing to further investigate the matter.

Could you believe that the chapter ATTITUDES AND STRATEGIES OF INDUSTRY TOWARDS OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES describes only examples where a QualiPSO member is involved?

Apparently QualiPSo didn’t take yet into consideration my suggestion to make public their description of work as many others did already, stripping from only confidential information. This way everybody could find all possible details about the project, including the project management and exploitation/dissemination plan and the detailed Workplan. This way we might even get a rough idea of the cost of individual deliveries, while the average cost is already a known information, though.

I am still convinced that transparency pays..

Technorati Tags: commercial open source, research, public funded, QualiPSo, IST

Open Source Antivirus: ClamAV project sold to Sourcefire

The ClamAV project – the known open source anti-virus toolkit – last friday announced that all project’s Intellectual assets had been sold from the five key developers to Sourcefire, the firm maker of intrusion detection products based on Snort.

Sold!Sold! by Pommykiwi

Sourcefire, who recently launched its public offer, is likely to maintain ClamAV much in the same way as it has done with Snort. Martin Roesch, Sourcefire’s CTO, stated:

The success of the ClamAV project is a direct reflection of the talent and dedication of the founding team and the project community. Sourcefire will continue to invest in the ClamAV technology, much as we have with Snort and

As reported by Ohloh, over ClamAV history 13 contributors have submitted code, and only 6 have done it in the last year. As a matter of fact Sourcefire now is hiring the whole core group, and they are in the position to double-licensing it.

Differently from StillSecure, or worse Tenable Security, Sourcefire seems willing to balance open source and business through an hybrid production model, making money possibly with the Twin licensing business model.

I agree with the ClamAV team, saying that the acquisition by Sourcefire is a testament to the hard work of the entire ClamAV community, and I wonder: will they be able to retain external contributions (mainly virus signatures) from now on?

Dana asks if open source users, are going to get caught in the trips-and-dramas of corporate finance, just as if they were using proprietary software. While I know that it might be so, I think that there are chance that Sourcefire will balance its business interests with the community’s ones, eventually finding a way to keep ClamAV’s OEM’s interest in the project.

I disagree with Alan Shimel, who whishes that:

anytime a commercial entity makes a licensing move like this, other companies that are using that open source tool band together with others in the community and fork the project as is their right.

It is not efficient and likely not effective, above all unrealistic. On the contrary I would like to see other firms using ClamAV be part of the game. It is just up to Sourcefire find a way, if it makes some sense to them to work to build a ClamAV technological club.

Best wishes to all ClamAV guys, congratulations!

Technorati Tags: Commercial Open Source, Open Source Strategy, Sourcefire, ClamAV

Open source collaboration: non-source code open projects

In the context of the joint research work with Roberto, I would like to present a small update in the OpenTTT project. OpenTTT is a EU-funded project (SSA-030595 INN7) that aims at bridging the separate worlds of technology transfer and open source software (OSS), by introducing novel methodologies for helping companies in the take up of technology.

As part of the project, we are collecting examples of non-source code projects where collaboration or open licensing are critical, and prepared a listing of such activities. Such listing will be extended in the next weeks, also including previous work like the “Open Source Gift Guide” or a list of non software open source goods.

As already discussed a large portion of work in OSS projects goes into non-code aspects, and as such should be investigated probably with the same interest that OSS commands today.

Technorati Tags: openttt, EU projects

Open Source Hackers: the Italian blogosphere meets Bruce Perens!

The Italian blogosphere is invited to participate next Friday in a meeting with Bruce Perens, author of the Open Source Definition and well-known open source advocate.

Open Source awareness is risking to be a clique phenomenon, resulting in open source advocates talking each other. Bruce Perens kindly welcomed the idea to meet Italian influencers to the Open Source.

Bruce Perens Bruce Perens by GeorgeNemeth

Bruce Perens will introduce himself telling us about his life as hacker, and we might learn from his voice about all different phases of the open source adoption.

To join the meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. (GMT+1) you just need to subscribe on pbwiki or upcoming setup by Nicola Mattina, who is helping me to make it happen.

On Saturday I will also moderate the Commercial Open Source Software panel where Bruce will held the keynote speech, if you are an IT entrepreneur that is the place for you!

Ernst & Young will guest our meeting by its office in Rome, Via dei Villini 13/15, many thanks to Andrea Paliani to make it possible.
[open source, perens]