Updates from April, 2007 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Roberto Galoppini 2:08 pm on April 21, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Hackers: Brian Behlendorf’s speech at the Digital Freedom expo 

    Brian Behlendorf, Apache founder and now CTO at Collabnet, on Thursday at the Digital Freedom Expo gave a speech entitled “Ten things you may not know about open source“.

    open standard campaignOpen Standard campaign by 4_eveR_Young

    Some excerpts out of his list:

    2. Apache kept the Web flat and free

    Apache was launched in 1995, at the time Netscape was the dominant Web browser and there was a fear that if the same company could own the browser market and the server market they would have too much control and could charge companies a tax of sorts for web hosting. Apache’s launch was done with a dual purpose. There was the pragmatic aspect of combining efforts for better development and there was the idealistic aspect of keeping HTTP (Hypertext transfer protocol) as an open standard.

    That is really interesting. Enforcing an Open Standards through an open source reference implementation. Someonelse is also suggesting the need for a reference implementation to augment – if not, perhaps, replace – the formal specification of the standard.

    4. Open Source helped free the human genome

    Before the mapping of the human genome had been completed, a commercial consortium, Celera, was sequencing the genome with the intention of patenting it. This preposterous idea of patenting a discovery rather than an invention began to get many geneticists concerned. In about 2002 a doctoral student, Jim Kent, wrote 10 000 lines of Perl code to make a program that could perform the number crunching of raw data that was necessary in sequencing the genome. This program [Human Genome Project] was then run over 100 Linux servers and the entire genome was successfully sequenced a few months before Celera finished.

    While more related to Open Knowledge this story is really interesting, in 2002 Tim O’Reilly described Kent’s work as “the most significant work of open source development in the past year”.

    5. Microsoft loves open source

    As odd as it sounds, Behlendorf explained that Microsoft has benefitted from open source development and also included software, which although not labeled “open source”, had the source code openly provided. The first use of TCP/IP in Windows was a port of Berkley’s code. He sited the work that Microsoft was doing with open source programs such as MySQL, SugarCRM and JBoss. Codeshare, Channel 9 and other websites were also cited as positive signs that the proprietary giant is openeing further, as Behlendorf put it, “dragged kicking and screaming into the future”.

    So I am alone thinking things like that. Ten days ago I happened to see a meeting of developers belonging to a Microsoft’s community and I was quite impressed.

    6. Altruism is not the only reason why people contribute to open source software

    Many contributors use the software professionally and find that doing things such as fixing bugs and adding features is much easier when collaborating within a group. According to a survey done in 2006, the existing base of FLOSS represents 131 000 real person years of developmental effort. The costs of sharing code are low while the benefits are high.

    Many thanks Brian, I am really tired to listen to professors talking about gifts and fun, I am happy that people hacking for real can tell them the truth.

    9. Open source can still change the world

    Behlendorf strongly believes in the power of open source to make the world a better place, citing many examples. Within government, he believes that open source software can help immensely in counting election votes in a trustworthy way and also with transparency of government’s actions and policy. For countries such as China where there is restricted acces on the internet, open source has already been successful on helping people within these countries get greater access by overcoming the censorship exerted on them. Third world development can benefite greatly through initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child project which runs on entirely open source software for the dual purpose of making it cheaper to produce and so that it can be modified to suite each country’s specific needs. Fighting digital rights management was another example given.

    Technorati Tags: Open Source, open standard, hacker, behlendorf

  • Roberto Galoppini 9:29 pm on April 19, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Evangelism: Whurley first TalkBMC post 

    William Hurley, who recently joined BMC as Chief Architect of Open Source Strategy, yesterday wrote his first TalkBMC post, explaining clearly what open source is to him.

    cureAn odd cure by Mr Jaded

    Nestled between Proprietary and Freedomberg, Opensville is a utopia. Everyone who lives in the adjacent cities spends their free time in Opensville. The parks are beautiful, the shopping is amazing, and the nights are pure Vegas. Sounds like a great place, huh? One problem: no one actually wants to live there. No one wants to pay the taxes or put in the effort it takes to keep the city running. Welcome to Opensville, population zero. [..]

    Nagios is one of the most popular monitoring projects in open source, and one of the most abused. There are countless projects, products, and services predicated on the Nagios code base—some symbiotic, others non-contributing parasites. What separates legitimate use from outright exploitation? Where would you draw the line? Should violators be black-listed by the community?

    To me, open means that everyone can participate on a level playing field. As a community we have to take the good with the bad, but I cringe when I see a project taking more than its fair share of punishment. How will the community address this problem? Should there be a rating system? A sort of mooch-o-meter to rank companies and projects that use open source? Would that subjective hierarchy help or hurt the community? How would it be regulated?

    The community has to answer some of these questions if open source is to continue to flourish. Everyone who leads, participates in, or utilizes an open source project should realize they have a personal interest in protecting it from abuse. Keeping the pirates honest will take effort, but the repercussions of apathy will affect us all in the future. Besides, tales of the pirate hunters are often more exciting than the tales of the pirates themselves.

    As Matt Asay William seems to think that the best policing mechanism to answer the question is the community, but auto-referentiality might also be dangerous.

    Could the cure be worse than the ill, eventually?

    Technorati Tags: Commercial Open Source, whurley, asay, bmc

  • Roberto Galoppini 9:38 pm on April 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Barcamp: Opencamp, a barcamp on Open Source and Open Minds 

    Last saturday Rome guested the Opencamp, an ad-hoc gathering to share and learn in an open environment about Open Source and Open Minds (i.e. Digital Freedom, Trusted Computing, Net Neutrality, Collaborative Web, Creative Commons, Politics and Tecnology, Web and Technology Standards, and more).

    opencamp logoOpencamp logo, designed by Stefano Federici Simone Onofri

    Opencamp, organized by “LSLUG”, a local Linux User group, is the second BarCamp held in Rome, and was quite different the first. Among attendees – not many to be honest – there were either industry professionals or IT students, with practical work experience on FLOSS (Adriano Gasparri, Matteo Brunati, Nicola Larosa, Andrea Martinez, Alberto Mucignat, Luca Sartoni, Giacomo Tufano and Italo Vignoli just to name a few), along with some stars of the Italian Blogosphere (Stefano Epifani, Alessio Jacona, Nicola Mattina, Antonio Pavolini, Tommaso Tessarolo, Leo Sorge, etc).

    I took the chance to give a speech completely different from “Free as in Business: lucrative coopetition“, and instead of being informative on open source business model taxonomies, I chose to share some reflections to open the debate.

    Considering that Italian VCs are not open to invest in open source firms because of the “weak” intellectual property asset, I suggested hackers to keep into consideration the following arguments:

    Software, Free Software is a digital good, whether SourceForge’s marketplace will work or not, the Web can help to agglomerate geographically dispersed market segments–the proverbial ‘Long Tail’.

    Hackers have a chance to become contributors, may be even committers, and eventually open up their shops. They can also simply get hired by software firms or, more likely in my opinion, IT customers willing to get the “open source promise” – be independent – granted.

    If you can catch Italian have a look at RobinGood posts (OpenCamp Part 1 and OpenCamp Part 2), a very good example of how online video might be used to deliver live contentusing ustream.tv.

    Last but not least, special thanks to SanLorenzo for its free – as in good vine – food!

    Technorati Tags: barcamp, commercial open source, marketplace, opencamp, robingood, sourceforge

    • Fabio Masetti 2:34 pm on April 19, 2007 Permalink

      Ciao Roberto, sono fabio, organizzatore del RomeCamp e del prossimo VentureCamp a giugno dedicato al Venture Capital. Purtroppo non sono potuto venire all’OpenCamp ma ho letto il tuo post e quello del Senatore Cortiana. Ho visto che hai partlato di Venture e spero di incontrarti al prossimo barcamp. ciao ciao

    • Simone Onofri 11:55 pm on April 20, 2007 Permalink

      Il numero dei partecipanti non influisce direttamente sul successo o no di un BarCamp, lo stesso Fabio (oramai un esperto in questo) ha detto in un recente post che i BarCamp esteri hanno un numero limitatissimo di partecipanti.. consideriamo poi che il tema è specifico il target stesso è più ristretto… insomma… pochi ma buoni!

      PS. il logo dell’OpenCamp l’ho disegnato io 🙂

  • Roberto Galoppini 5:48 pm on April 11, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Second Life: the practical developers’ guide to Second Life Client 

    With the new year Linden went (partially) Open Source releasing its Second Life client with a GPLv2 license with a FLOSS exception. In the meanwhile later was created the first “open source” Second Life server. Few days ago Peter Seebach wrote an insightful post on hacking Second Life client that I warmly recommend to anyone interested in the subject.

    started!10, 9, .. ignition! by bryan campen

    NASA within the CoLab initiative is taking second life seriously, with a classroom-course facilitated virtual build of the International Space Station in Second Life. The project is aimed at catalyzing the volunteer community, and teach them about the ISS, space sciences, and technical skills.

    If you are interested just in knowing more about on line virtual worlds read this mini-guide.

    Technorati Tags: virtual world, second life, open source, NASA, floss exception

  • Roberto Galoppini 10:09 am on April 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Hackers: Jeremy Irons’ hints for young programmers 

    Jeremy Irons, one of the lead developers of the Samba Team, wrote an article for ZDNet entitled “Working for the Man? Advice to a young programmer“. After his resignation from Novell he talks about the importance of the community.

    The community is more important than your employer
    Are corporations fundamentally amoral? If they can make more money by outsourcing your job to India or China, or recycling employees into fertilizer for the rose garden at corporate headquarters, will they do it? I once had to listen to several high-level executives (for a previous company that shall remain nameless) waiting for the private corporate jet complain how inefficient it was that the country was run by democratically elected politicians as “they just didn’t understand business.”

    Corporations are great places to work when things are going well, and I enjoy the perks as well as the next employee, but I’m very careful even in my optimism to not make the mistake of thinking this is the way things will always stay. In the free software/open source community, the people you’re collaborating with and creating code with are the people you can really depend on. While you might not get on with all of them personally, they share your common goal of making sure that the code is the greatest, most beautiful work of art that all of you can create together. Smart corporations, at least the ones you’d want to work for, hire from that pool of people, and even though individual corporations may stumble and fall, if you’re part of our community you should be able to successfully manage your career between the occasional stormy periods of corporate upheaval.

    Read the full article.

    Technorati Tags: Jeremy Irons, Samba, hacker

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