Updates from March, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Roberto Galoppini 12:01 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Mobile Interoperability: Mobile Developer Community takes a stance against aggressive usage of reformatting proxies 

    The recent introduction of reformatting proxies on the networks of Vodafone, Sprint and other carriers has caused a wave of pain for thousands of mobile sites. Apparently, those transcoders have totally spoilt the intended user-experience by adapting the content of already optimized sites.

    The discussion about content reformatting is not new. It was initiated last year by Vodafone UK when they decided to switch millions of WAP users over to a new reformatting proxy, thus causing a strong reaction in the developer community.

    An interesting initiative has taken shape in the community of mobile web developers over the past few days.

    It appears that operators have been implementing reformatting proxies which (try to) enable users of mobile phones to see shrunk versions of regular websites. Apparently, those reformatting proxies are too aggressive and do not pay enough attention to the needs of mobile developers who invest time and energy to get mobile sites working optimally on mobile devices.
    For these reasons, developer have come up with a “Developer Manifesto for Responsible Reformatting” which clearly spells out the rules that reformatting proxies should follow
    to preserve the mobile ecosystem.

    “It is a question of Net Neutrality”, says Luca Passani of WURFL fame, who is driving the initiative.

    A developer has the right to access all the headers that a mobile device has inserted in the HTTP request, without the risk that a proxy hijacks and modifies those headers behind the back of users and content providers.

    We are not asking vendors of reformatting proxy to go out of business. We are just asking them and operators to be good citizens in the mobile ecosystem and respect everyone’s right to have a platform to develop on.

    Luca and the WURFL Community are raising a very important important issue here, and I wish to express my full support for the Developers’ cause against intrusive reformatting proxies.

    Technorati Tags: open source mobile, vodafone, LucaPassani, WURFL, mobile interoperability

    • Andrea Trasatti 12:36 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink

      this is nothing new, really. The W3C has had a Task Force writing a guideline for a few months. The Task Force works completely open and everyone is welcome to add their comments on the mailing list.

      The editor’s drafts have been public for quite some time and they are not so different from what Luca is promoting. See the Content Transformation Guidelines.

      This is why I think that while the manifesto certainly shows clearly the frustration of the developers, I don’t see much need for it if not to join forces with who has been working on this for months (also getting involved network operators and vendors such as Novarra and Drutt).

    • Roberto Galoppini 4:53 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink

      Ciao Andrea,

      nice to hear from you again. The reason behind my support to the initiative is, as you mention, the frustration of the developers. Hindsight is always better to listen to developers’ frustrations, at the end of the day they are building our small (fragmented) mobile world, isn’t it?

    • Luca Passani 5:41 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink

      Andrea, it is the same topic, but it is not the same solution.
      The Manifesto aims at being much more effective than W3C has managed to be so far.

      Anyway, interested readers can find the discussion here:



  • Carlo Daffara 7:19 pm on March 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Microsoft and OSS: another battle brewing 

    Is the sun dawning into a new day of brotherhood, as Roberto thinks? Should we think that this time it is different, that no harsh words were spoken? That critics are wrong to suspect that something is brewing? I believe that the initiatives described by Roberto are just a new front of an ongoing market (and mindshare) battle, that Microsoft is playing to guarantee its position in the IT landscape of the future.

    A Mad WorldA Mad World, My Masters by Matt West

    If there is one thing that should be visible to every analyst in the IT market, is that monopolies does not disappear in the night. As I already wrote in the past, the fact that every year is believed to be the “linux year” remains wishful thinking; and I still believe that even with the many new low-cost devices designed to run linux, the linux desktop market share in my simulations does not exceed 5% for the end of 2009 (of course, I hope to be wrong, and that in a bold sweep some new company is capable of selling 20M pcs in one year). On the other hand, open source is clearly capable of entering in both new markets or to be the underlying basis for more traditional products, like Apple OSX or the iPhone. I believe that the new activities from Microsoft are the first mature attacks against the OSS ecosystem, designed to de-emphasize both the ethical aspects behind OSS and the differences in licensing that provide the real differentiators from the technical point of view.

    Let me share with you some initial musings:
    Microsoft is a development tool company, and primarily sells to other developers. This may sound strange- after all, Microsoft sells operating systems and office suites that are not developer oriented. The reality is that Microsoft has created mostly platforms for other to build upon, and by providing nice and centrally-managed software libraries for every conceivable task it simplified the work for those building on Windows, Office, SQLserver and now SharePoint (among many other things). This simplification allowed ISVs to write software that run conceivably well, on a large number of machines, without having to juggle with updates from many different vendors of a separate DB, a separate web server, a separate presentation layer and so on. I believe that it is this ease of integration of components (because they were mostly from a single vendor, with rather similar and laissez-faire licensing conditions) and the fact that most of spending could be reused for different applications by buying licenses centrally from Microsoft once, and reusing them for additional value. In fact, I suspect that part of the lackluster performance of Vista was probably caused by the fact that, similarly to Windows ME, Vista had very little of value to offer to developers when confronted with the additional hardware requirements and the additional licensing cost.

    For Microsoft (and its partners) everything is a PC. Remember when Microsoft designed its first game console? It was a PC, with just some changes in the bios and startup circuitry. Media centers? PCs. Servers? PCs. Mobile devices? PCs with a small screen, and a small “start” menu. The only “outsider” is the Zune, that is clearly designed as a clone of a product designed by others, and that as such is somehow neglected even by Microsoft itself.

    And now, what happened? Many different things. First of all, the web (and virtualization) finally managed to deliver on the promises made years ago; even with some immaturities, a modern web engine can deliver end-user applications with security, speed and central management that provides significant cost reductions and much less hassles for both users and administrations. This combination allows for near-unlimited scaling (horizontally and vertically) and when used with open source software require no licensing steps that may increase the time to market, that is fast becoming the deciding element for IT deployments. Call it Prism, Air, Silverlight, JavaFX, there are enough choices that by leveraging existing and new platforms can give to software vendors new choices. And now there are enough options for developers to be free from the Microsoft endless supply of libraries, and they can now search for their own liking.

    On the other hand, low-cost devices, handheld systems designed for the web and embedded systems on one side, and very large scale systems are so different from a PC that trying to shoehorn a PC model there simply fails, and in this way Microsoft has left opened several breaches that were ineffectively guarded (like stopping a flood with barbed wire). Now, mobile internet devices like the iPhone/iPod touch, nokia’s own N770/N800/N810 tablet (and the other WebKit-based N-series phones) and the up-and-coming intel MID are all examples of a new kind of platform that Microsoft is not prepared to fight for.

    So, after trying to ignore OSS, badmouth it, or scaring companies into cross-platforms agreements, now Microsoft is taking a more mature approach, that uses its innate developer-oriented strength to swoon developers to develop and deploy on Windows and with windows-oriented tools, by dangling in front of software vendors the promise of a much larger market and the support of an extraordinary marketing force. By doing this, of course, it creates an incentive to leverage Microsoft technologies whenever possible, to “adapt” licenses (avoiding copyleft-based ones, that prevent deep linking with proprietary software) and thus facilitating a progressive embrace into additional Microsoft (or partner) technologies that can be centrally controlled. I suspect that there will also be a licensing change in future version of Enterprise/Grid versions of Windows, to counteract the economic and licensing advantage of OSS-based virtualization; this may however be difficult to manage well, as it may significantly lower extractable prices for large-scale installations. Pushing effort to reengineer their software offering in a modular way may help the company to move into smaller scale computing, as well as large scale system, and at the same time maintain the comfortable development and deployment environment that has made Microsoft such a large scale success.

    What will happen? If Microsoft is consistent in its “good spirit”, they may be able to reduce significantly the platform threat and create strong bonds with at least half of the commercial OSS vendors within 2010. On the other hand, this can increase the penetration and perception of OSS in general, and if a suitable service provider appears on the market it can capitalize on that “visibility asset” and weaken Microsoft position from the inside.

    If Microsoft (and at this point I mainly think about Steve “chairs” Ballmer) shows its “bad face” it may polarize the market further, creating a cadre of “white knights” that show no compromise and gain visibility and interest from the part of the OSS community that believe in ethical and openness values, thus reducing the value of accepting the Microsoft compromise.

  • Roberto Galoppini 1:16 pm on March 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Mobile: Volantis eventually released Mobility Server under the GPLv3 

    Few months ago Volantis announced that was about to release its Mobility Server Community Edition to the open source community under the GNU General Public License version 3, starting making it available immediately as a free download under a proprietary license.

    On the 19th of March Volantis released the Mobility Server, opening 1.2 million lines of code, the result of seven years’ of development as reported by the press release.

    What is Volantis Mobility Server Community Edition?

    The Community edition includes the Volantis Multi-Channel Server (MCS), Volantis Message Preparation Server (MPS) and Volantis Media Access Proxy (MAP), as well as a significant proportion of the Volantis Device Database and Eclipse-based developer tools.

    Reading the Volantis Mobility Server Overview I understand that to get full access to the Volantis Device Database you need to buy the Professional Edition. Moreover if you want to use the Device Database directly with other commercial applications that are not using Mobility Server for rendering, the Device Database edition is required.

    Volantis making available Device database updates from time to time has little chance to get voluntary contributions among individual developers (as seen with WURFL or Funambol), and it is probably targeting a different audience:

    Telefonica has a strong desire to work with open source projects which is why we created the OpenMovilForum project. It’s also why we fully support the idea that Volantis develops its own open source initiative.
    (Luis Almansa, Senior Project Manager at Telefonica)

    Andrea Trasatti, Director of Device Initiatives at dotMobi and WURFL cofounder, kept me in the loop about the news he appears to be interested in. After reading the table comparing the Community edition and the Professional one I am convinced that dotMobi can’t take advantage of the open source one. I see consultants like Nick Lane being happy with the Community edition, as probably are happy SMEs that couldn’t afford the proprietary version to fulfill their own private needs.

    Also Small IT firms can now step into this market, and I suggest Mark to consider to get the Mobility Server listed in the Ohloh open source directory.

    Volantis primary aim seems to be setting industry standards, though. The company has results also from the press release has  contributed to a community standards process to create within , driven by the W3C the DIAL specification. As a matter of fact XDIME, a Web development markup language, has been created by Volantis to comply with the DIAL specification and is designed to create content viewable on any mobile device.

    Am I looking forward to speak again with Mark Watson, Volantis Systems CEO and sort out more first hand information.

    Technorati Tags: open source mobile, funambol, wurfl, andreatrasatti, markwatson, volantis, DIAL, telefonica, openmovilforum

    • Andrea Trasatti 5:04 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink

      dotMobi has an agreement with Volantis that lets us incorporate data from their device database. The agreement is not linked to the open-source initiative that they took and this means that DeviceAtlas, the device database by dotMobi, is entitled to use their data and will not breach the GPL.

    • Aensen 10:18 am on May 30, 2008 Permalink

      Of course Volantis is also a partner of DeviceAtlas and we are working closely with.Registration Open for All dotMobi Road Show Dates – May 20, 2008.www.softreviews.com

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:21 pm on March 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source at Microsoft: an analysis of Microsoft Open Source Strategy 

    I have been invited to the Open Source in Mobile Conference to give a speech about “Microsoft Open Source Strategy”, and the implications of the strategy for developers and ISVs.

    Recently Microsoft made clear its open source intent to go beyond finding ways to thwart Linux and other non-proprietary applications, maybe leaving behind over 10 years of bittersweet memories. As a matter of fact speaking of a “Microsoft Open Source Strategy” could sound an oxymoron, maybe even more of Commercial Open Source. Microsoft attitude towards open source ranged from scaring open source customers talking of (unveiled) software patents to developing and distributing the Microsoft installer on SourceForge, stepping on Samba ‘s shoes and eventually establishing an agreement with them, going even beyond obligations imposed by the EC.

    A Change of Perception
    A Change of Perception by jpaul

    A shift of perception.

    Microsoft’s new open strategy, expressively aimed at expanding interoperability, include a specific component, namely the Open Source Interoperability Initiative, designed to foster more engagement between Microsoft and open source communities.

    Also things like the Open Specification promise – covering, among others, 38 Web Services standards and on a practical ground enabling interoperability between Microsoft technology and Apache’s Axis web services stack – are not not geared just toward open source, as proven by the existence of implementations distributed under proprietary licenses.

    All in all Microsoft’s decision to define and implement an open source strategy did not happen overnight, as all initiatives above mentioned seems to be part of a much bigger picture, bringing Redmond’s giant to increase third parties’ potential. The central management of vertically integrated production stages is increasingly succumbing to the forces of specialization – a recommended reading for all people interested in the subject at large is “The Vanishing Hand: the Changing Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism” – that is especially true for the IT market. The extent of the improvements in the technology of coordination is an extraordinary enabler in this respect, and I believe Microsoft is strongly refocusing on its platform value, making the open source strategy part of such process.

    Microsoft spend few years to elaborate its open source strategy, considering that Microsoft opened its Linux Lab about four years ago and started the Open Source Lab two years ago, but it sounds pretty clear now:

    The Microsoft open source strategy is focused on helping customers and partners be successful in today’s heterogeneous technology world.

    Let’s see now what customers and partners need to successfully adopt open source software today, and how Microsoft could fit into the picture. First let’s dip into few Open Source Market dimensions and open issues.
    Open Source Market dimensions.

    Open Source it is told to be a huge market now:

    Open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006. Predictions set the percent share to 27 in 2011, when revenue is expected to be $169.2 billion.

    Along with such success, Open Source is also seeing a dramatic growth of Internal Development, mostly among medium to big enterprises, as I also heard from CIOs at the Open Source Think Tank. Why that?
    Open Source Software Selection: the cost of free.

    The number of viable Open Source Projects is pretty big (18000), but few dozens of them (maybe less) are consuming about all publicly disclosed vendor investments, and only half of the top packages lack of enterprise support. As result, the leading IT Solutions providers are still missing to deliver the Open Source Promise, but for a tiny fraction of open source platforms and applications.

    Therefore Software Selection is costly with OSS, up to 40% of migrations’ support costs, as emerged within COSPA EC-funded project. All in all metrics and methods like the Open Source Maturity Model, the Business Readiness Rating and now QSOS are useful, but they do not provide any open source good directories. Again, marketplaces like RHN and SourceForge, plus directories like EOS or sources like Oholoh or FOSSBazaar are also effective tools, but you still need time and effort to sort out the selection issue by yourself.

    Customers’ and Vendors’ Perspectives.

    Besides cost savings and flexibility – that allow companies to customize their IT solutions to fit their specific needs – customers want to avoid lock-in by adopting open source software broadly supported, in order to retain the possibility of changing the provider. Again, open source software selection is key to retain such possibility.

    Moreover Medium to large enterprises look for medium to large IT companies, often want to buy indemnification and some form of warranty. How all this match with vendors’ perspectives?

    IT vendors want to share R&D costs, but sequential innovation come with a cost related to sharing standards and it requires a symbiotic approach. Super-communities made of many open source applications are the next step, but they involve even more complex dynamics. As a matter of fact few open source products are part of a large number of different stacks, and the reason might well be that partnering and integrating with third-parties products is costly. Doing it with little hope to exclusively appropriate returns from the Commons is a risky bet. Last but not the least a strong brand is really important to open source firms, alliances and M&A are likely the most affordable and yet effective way to brand OS products sharing costs and benefits. It is probably not by casualty that we are seeing open source acquisitions happening, few consortia are forming and some technological clubs targeting vertical markets.
    Could Microsoft Open Source Strategy help the open source market?

    Microsoft business model is a “platform ecosystem” business model: the more developers writing applications for Microsoft platforms, the better. In my understanding by expanding choice for consumers, also on open source applications, Microsoft is giving to more developers and partners a chance to make business together.

    This business cycle is somehow reflected by the IDC’s impact model, reporting a ratio of revenue—between 6 and 18 to 1— for local software, hardware, and services firms for every dollar of Microsoft revenue in many countries. While I have no clue how such estimations are accurate, I understand that 5 millions of developers and 750,000 partners around the world are a unique ecosystem. No other IT multinational actor has a similar ecosystem, plus Microsoft differently from IBM or Sun do forego potential direct revenues for hardware sales and consulting services, leaving other space for others’ business.

    In the IT ecosystem Microsoft is in the position to enable also open source application and solution providers to deliver value through their tools and components, and it is proactively working on it.

    Open Souce Heroes: Microsoft’s Open Source Developers.

    Microsoft’s Hero Hack Pack, is the way Microsoft is addressing developers to provide them with a range of choices for developing and deploying Open Source software on Windows Server 2008 using Visual Studio 2008. CodePlex is where Microsoft hosts open source projects based on Microsoft’s platforms, containing about 1900 applications (150 of them have been developed by Microsoft), counting more than 30,000 users. SourceForge itself counts more than 70,000 open source projects running on Windows. The open source lab at Microsoft Port25, the Shared Source Initiative or the Ajax Control Toolkit worth all a mention as viable resources for tomorrow “open source heroes”.

    NXT, what’s next for Open Source ISVs.

    Microsoft’s in 2007 launched the NXT initiative, focused on open source. The goal is to help ISVs to explore how to deliver their open source solutions to customers in the Microsoft world. The Microsoft program provide ISVs with marketing, technical and financial aid to exploit how to get the best results from an heterogeneous world. There are a lot of commercial open source software deployed on Windows as one of its platforms:

    · JBoss: Claimed 50% deployment on Windows when they signed a partnership deal with Microsoft that included technical collaboration in September 2005.

    · SugarCRM: Claimed 35% deployment on Windows when they signed their technical collaboration deal with Microsoft in February 2006.

    · Eclipse: Several studies have been done over the past few years show Windows adoption for development and deployment (Dev/Dep):
    (80%/60%) [Evans Data Corp., September 2006]
    (62%/37%) [Evans Data Corp., September 2007]
    (74%/47%) [IDC, Summer 2007]

    ISVs could consider joining the NXT ISV partner program in order to provide their customers with applications that might need to use Active Directory or other Microsoft platforms, getting access to technical information and marketing support. Macadamian, a firm with a deep knowledge on how open source change the way teams work, joined the program, If you want to know more about NXT Program read all Stephen Walli‘s posts on the subject.

    Microsoft’s Open Source Strategy brought already companies like Zend, MySQL and SugarCRM to effectively deliver open source value on top of Microsoft platforms. Few days ago speaking with Dominic Sartorio, Director of Product Management at SpikeSource, I learned that SpikeSource just announced the availability of five additional PHP-based applications on the Windows Server 2008 platform as turnkey “SpikeIgnited” applications, and more are to come. Sam Ramji at the Open Source Think Tank told me that Microsoft is going to connect to many other open source firms in the next future, as to cooperate with open source communities.

    Microsoft seems to be willing to play a very important role in the open source ecosystem, bringing on the table a strong brand, an impressive number of developers and partners, a specific program for coders and an initiative aimed at ISVs.

    Does Open Source at Microsoft make any sense to you now?

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Microsoft, SamRamji, Open Source ISV, Open Source Developers, Zend, SugarCRM, MySQL, SpikeSource, DominicSartorio, StephenWalli, Eclipse, Port25

    • Alex - Microsmeta 2:10 pm on March 21, 2008 Permalink

      Very interesting post, and the included links are usefull resources, too. Thank you!

    • Alex Fletcher 3:22 pm on March 26, 2008 Permalink


      Kudos on a detailed and insightful piece…and you’re spot on about Microsoft realizing it’s value as a platform. Interestingly enough, I never bought the claims that Microsoft should have been more “open source friendly” in the past. Multi-national behemoths aren’t “friendly” to anything except what’s profitable and until recently it was profitable to attack open source with FUD and mudslinging. Now that things have changed, we’re seeing Microsoft’s strategy do the same. With that being said, I think Microsoft has more to gain than it does to lose from embracing open source. In light of the fact that its Windows cash cow is facing the prospect of stiff competition on the desktop and server fronts, certified open source stacks will stem the rising tide of migration from Windows to alternatives.

    • Fear 4:38 am on December 3, 2008 Permalink

      Yes, whatever you say. But never, ever, give full trust to this particular company. It is in their blood, it was their very foundation: dirty agreements, patents & convenants, embrace / extend / extinguish, and other tactics that reveal its effects way after the damage is inevitable.

      These “good” news are only scary, just wait and you will surely see that Microsoft is still the same of these 30 years.

      Besides FOSS has (and will) never have any need of them to survive and evolve.

      Give up on the patents claims, and i will eat my words, until then, you can talk all what you want and open as much “oss” sites as you want. They’re all based on lies.

      Oh wait! An open source repository?? but the idea has been implemented previously by someone else…hope that sourceforge will “not sue” them!

  • Roberto Galoppini 2:19 pm on March 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Books: a book in Italian about Asterisk 

    There are quite a few books on Asterisk out there, but if you can manage Italian I wish to recommend you this one: “Asterisk” (Italian).

    I happened to meet in person the author, Diego Gosmar, charing the roundtable on Open Source VoIP at the VON Europe Conference held in Rome in November.

    Being the second book on Asterisk written by Diego and his coauthors, it goes pretty much beyond installation and protocols for VoIP, covering in depth topics like how to implement SS7 applications carrier grade with Asterisk or billing with astbill and WildiXbill, but also some spots on ENUM and wireless VoIP.

    Mark Spencer, original author of Asterisk, wrote a kind preface for the first book edited by Diego, closing as follows:

    It’s especially rewarding to see Asterisk growing in Italy, as I’ve always felt it was long past due time for the America to have something to give back to Italy in exchange for one of Italy’s most important contributions to computer science: the

    I really hope that the “Italian Open Source Pizza connection” will soon be appreciated also for things like this book 😉

    Technorati Tags: Apogeo, DiegoGosmar, Asterisk, Open Source VoIP, astbill, wildixbill, ENUM

  • Roberto Galoppini 7:46 pm on January 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , open business, , , , oss,   

    Open Source Jobs: Funambol got an Italian Community Manager, Stefano Maffulli! 

    Funambol – the Mobile Open Source company – few months ago started looking for a community manager, as I learned from Fabrizio Capobianco while he was in Rome to join the VentureCamp.

    A couple of days later I got a phone call from my friend and fellow blogger Stefano Maffulli, asking me for Fabrizio’s email. Below the full story.

    Roberto’s blog has been a kind of a Monster: a good daily read but also a way to extend the reach of a social network. When I pitched my CV to Fabrizio (Funambol’s CEO) I learned that the selection process had been going on for a while already and other candidates were being evaluated. Nonetheless I was invited to speak with Hal Steger, Funambol’s VP Marketing: I liked his attitude and he liked my multidisciplinary background (architecture, technology and the upcoming MBA). Funambol has a balanced mix of the good hacker’s culture I love and the necessary strength on financial and marketing management, something that I want to learn (and have been missing in my past work experiences).

    It wasn’t a long shot after all. It will be fun to work with Funambol’s growing community and the company.

    Stefano MaffulliArchitect Stefano Maffulli at work by Stefano Maffulli

    I am glad that the time I spent sometimes collecting open positions within open source firms and jobs was of some help. Few months ago I also started to display a widget on each job posted by considerati, that I happened to get in touch with via openbusiness, but unfortunately such distributed job site had a limited success.

    Stefano, are you already thinking of how to get off the best from programs like Code Sniper and Phone Sniper?

    We have some ideas on what has to be improved to help Funambol’s community but we are also open to suggestions. For example, our software is in many places and it’s not easy for newcomers to find what they are looking for. I’m interested in hearing experiences of Funambol’s users with the software, the mailing lists, the repository and the company: they can come to me and I’ll help if at all possible.

    Funambol’s architecture of participation welcomes small contributions, allowing individuals to more easily participate, I am looking forward to ask Stefano how is he doing in six months from now.

    For the time being I wish him and Funambol all the best!

    Read Stefano Maffulli‘s full profile on Linkedin.

  • Roberto Galoppini 2:38 pm on November 23, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source ECM: Nuxeo expands sales for vertical markets 

    Nuxeo, an open source firm pioneering in the Open Source ECM revolution from 2001, announced that Nuxeo has been choosen by the Press Association. Being the second time that Nuxeo addresses the market of press agencies, I asked Stefan Fermigier, Nuxeo CEO, to tell us more about it.

    TayloredTaylored by metrò

    From the press release results that the national news agency of the UK and Ireland (Press Association) has chosen to improve its digital news production process using Nuxeo:

    Rapidly changing requirements and demands for digital multimedia news distribution drove the need for PA to develop a much more robust and efficient ECM platform. Nuxeo has developed an ECM prototype for PA, which PA has approved. Both parties are currently working together on the final release.

    Stefan, is prototyping a valuable business development tool?

    Definitively yes! Prototyping a project with, for instance, the 20% of the functionalities that clearly showcase 80% of the business value, is a great way to startup a business relationship with a new customer.

    More generally, our most successful projects (on the occasions where Nuxeo, and not a system integrator, is asked by the customers to do the developments) have been done in an iterative fashion that goes roughly like this:

    1. start with a proof of concept or prototype;
    2. sign a framework contract with the customer and define the initial scope for the project;
    3. develop the application iteratively, collecting feedback from the future users by making frequent (for instance, monthly) releases, and fine-tuning the specifications if necessary;
    4. deploy the application to a small group of actual users;
    5. support those users and collect their feedback from real use;
    6. start a new phase for the project, with enhancements requested by the users, and roll out to a larger user base;
    7. iterate last part until roll out is complete.

    And later do more projects with the same customer using the same technology, as they are now confident that the technology can be used for real.

    Open sources firm implementing solutions based on open source products often follow a similar path. Tailoring open source software to specific needs requires a deep knowledge of both the product and the specific process. Here customers can see a risk of having no support down the road.
    Did it help you to get it having previous experiences in the field?

    In this particular case, yes. We have already done a successful project with Agence France Presse, and which, according to the agency’s IT directors, led the AFP to raise the production of the journalists using the application by 40%.

    Even though they are competitors (on certain markets), AFP helped us convince PA that we have a great technology and a strong understanding of the needs of a news agency.

    With these projects, as well as several other ongoing projects with AFP, we believe that we are now well positioned to address the worldwide market of press agencies and other news producing bodies.

    Nuxeo in this case is addressing a vertical market in the long tail, betting on the possibility to exploit business process execution within a specific market segment. We will see more and more Enterprise Content Management solutions targeted at particular verticals, and identifying the right ones is really important.

    Is the improvement of PA’s digital news production process of any interest to other potential customers?

    As stated in the press release, PA is in a fiercely competitive market and wants to leverage the application to gain competitive advantage. Hence there are parts of the project that are proprietary and won’t be shared with others. But we can still work with other news agencies on their own particular needs and help them develop news production systems on top of our platform tailored to their needs.

    And there are many enhancements that we’re doing to the platforms we’re using to do the project, Nuxeo EP and Nuxeo RCP, that will come from the project’s requirements, and will be available in the next releases of Nuxeo EP as well as in the first packaged release of Nuxeo RCP, both scheduled for early 2008.

    Unlike some “open source” companies that develop the new versions of their product behind closed doors, the source code for these enhancements is already visible in our source code repository. (While of course all customer-specific code is in a private, secure repository.)

    Open source is often about customization, and moving from artisanship to industrial requires a pyramidal structure. Large System integrators would act as “mediators” towards specialized firms. Maybe partners like Atos Origin, Capgemini or LogicaCMG will play a role to deliver solutions targeted at other verticals.
    “The 80-20 rule” unfortunately applies the other way around: a general purpose infrastructure fits the 80% of cases and 20% of resources are needed to fulfill them, but to cover the remaining 20% of cases you need 80% of the resources.

    No “free” lunch for open source firms today, and congratulations to Nuxeo!

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Strategy, ECM, Nuxeo, Stefan Fermigier, Press Association

  • Bud Bruegger 11:14 am on October 12, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Identity Management: 12th Poorvo Group meeting, 18-19 October, Grosseto (Italy) 

    The Conference on Interoperable European Electronic Identities – organised by the Porvoo Group – will take place on the 18th and 19th of October in Grosseto.

    One of the main topics of the conference will be the issues of eID interoperability in which the city of Grosseto has been particularly active.

    The forcePoorvo Group logo

    I write this personal note after a journey of well more than three years in the land of electronic IDs (eIDs). It was a journey guided by ideal of simple and pragmatic solutions, helped and often even made possible by consistently engaging various communities who brought objectives in reach that would otherwise have been hopelessly beyond my resources, and evidently of open source both in use and in development.

    The Porvoo 12 meeting represents a culmination point of this journey, some kind of arrival, and therefore this note.

    More than three years ago I changed my hat by entering a local public administration—the Comune di Grosseto—and by diving into a completely unknown field of identity management with smartcards, access control, and all the rest. My task being to guide the administration to find a good and sustainable (thus open source) solution for identity management with the Italian eID card(s). And the environment was definitely challenging with a lot of information close to impossible to come by, initially no one to talk to, and being in a position of utter unimportance since eIDs are done by national governments, not local administrations.

    (More …)

  • Roberto Galoppini 7:29 am on September 12, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Library Systems, an introduction 

    Today viable open source solutions are aivalble to manage a public library. By using them, the money can be used for other important resources, such as purchasing additional books, DVDs, etc.

    Eric Hebert from DegreeTutor told me about his “How Open Source Software Can Improve Our Library“, a good start to become more comfortable using open source solutions in a Public Library.

    Googling around I also found an old comparison of Open Source Software Library Management Systems, maybe Eric or others might update it a little bit.

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Library Systems, DegreeTutor, EricHebert, Public Library

  • Roberto Galoppini 11:26 am on September 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    FSF Europe: the beta version of the SELF Education Platform goes live 

    Yesterday SELF – a community-driven platform for the production and distribution of educational materials sponsored by the EU IST programme  – has been officially launched by the Free Software Foundation Europe in the Netherlands during a conference on Free Software in Education.

    The SELF platform aims to bring together educational institutes, training centres, software companies, publishing houses, government bodies and Free Software communities to centralise, create and disseminate educational and training materials on Free Software and Open Standards.

    From linuxelectrons:

    The SELF Platform has been developed by a global team of non-profit organisations, universities and volunteers engaged in the SELF Project, an initiative for the collaborative sharing and creation of free educational and training materials on Free Software and Open Standards. Users, primarily learners and teachers, are enabled to assemble selections of learning contents and create custom-made learning material for lessons in their language. The Platform is launched in beta stage to involve the growing community in optimising the tool.

    All SELF materials are available under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), materials from third parties are licenses under various similar licenses.

    Let’s see now if  students and teachers will join the effort..

    Technorati Tags: Free Software Education, FSFE, IST, SELF

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