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  • Carlo Daffara 7:35 pm on November 7, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Non-software open source projects 

    Despite the fact that many believe FLOSS of interest mainly for developers, I strongly believe that we are simply starting to see a rush of different projects that extend the collaborative development approach to non-software areas.

    (Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

    During the research activity in the OpenTTT project, we tried to find non-software projects that are developed or extended in a collaborative way, similar to the “bazaar” or moderated bazaar typical of most FLOSS projects; having restricted this to 65 examples, we have found many interesting facts:

    • many large scale software projects are really mixed media projects, as exemplified by the map created by Matthias Mueller-Prove, that shows that the number of people participating in “ancillary” areas like documentation, promotion and such is as large as that devoted to development. KDE and GNOME has similar proportion of non-code participation.
    • whenever the software allows for mixed participation, such participation happens. It is relatively easy to see that simple Wiki-based tools seems capable to attract a large participation base, while cooperative schemes for music or artwork are less present. In fact, most non-textual forms are more oriented towards “remixing”, that is the leveraging of a digital artifact for integration into some other work, and not modification and improvement of it directly. I suspect that as more complete and complex “packaged” file formats (like those used by proprietary video editing suites, for example) become used by open source tools, we will begin to see a more interesting approach not only towards remixing but towards “reinvention” as well. A wonderful example is NineInchNails’ open source remix project.
    • the sheer scope if the phenomenon is amazing- collaboratively created prayer books? (see the open source judaism project, or the Open source Haggadah). The Multimachine tool is also amazing (an accurate all-purpose machine tool that can be used as a metal or wood lathe, end mill, horizontal mill, drill press, wood or metal saw or sander, surface grinder and sheet metal “spinner”. It can be built by a semi-skilled mechanic using just common hand tools; for machine construction, electricity can be replaced with “elbow grease” and all the necessary material can come from discarded vehicle parts)

    I believe that as FLOSS demonstrated that software can be created with good quality and innovation in collaborative modes, this will show in many other areas as well.

    Technorati Tags: non software projects, open source, openttt

    • Grant 1:20 am on April 6, 2010 Permalink

      You keep mentioning FLOSS – but provide no definition. What are talking about when you refer to FLOSS? I’m guessing FL? Open Source Software???

    • Roberto Galoppini 7:09 pm on April 11, 2010 Permalink

      Apparently Rishab Gosh coined the term, actually meaning just Free Libre Open Source Software. As far as I remember Jean Michelle Dalle was the first to introduce the ‘Libre’ term to mean free.

  • Roberto Galoppini 8:28 pm on October 17, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Code Search: a talk with Laura Merling, from Krugle 

    Large enterprises embracing Open Source software need to to put some structure around their use, and they need tools – like search engines such as google code search, koders and krugle – to locate and manage these resource.

    Krugle Open Source Search, a search engine managing 2.6 billion lines of code, 600 repositories and over 100,000 projects, allows web users to search for open-source code on the Internet.

    FindingFinding a needle by Marion A’s photos

    Also Internal open source teams, responsible for keep a collection of things used internally, need to make them available for others in the organization, and here comes a need for internal code search engines, like Krugle Enterprise Edition.

    I asked Laura Merling, VP, Marketing and Business Development of Krugle, to tell us more about this area.

    As the number of languages increase, the number of development “platforms” increase, and the amount of code increases in the enterprise (and the public arena). There are these large “development silos” of products and tools that have been created by developers, and search driven development is an emerging need.

    Is the Enterprise Edition easy to sell?

    We have been brought in by senior developers, dev managers and architects the pain they have is things like impact analysis: I am changing this code, who else is referencing it?
    We have not had to encounter the CIO yet. The great part is that typically the people that bring us in have already written use cases they want it for and have already sold it up as needed. Most of them have a budget to some level, our target is mid-level management.

    Are you wondering to invite users to produce use cases, may be giving prizes?

    Absolutely – we did this last summer and got great responses – we really want use cases for the enterprise!

    How the company was conceived?

    Ken Krugler was working on the Chandler project with Mitch Kapor and was looking for code to some stuff he figured the code had to be out there somewhere. So he began “searching” for it he used regular search engines, went to repositories and nobody had anything that would help him find. What he already knew was out there so he decided to fix the problem and build a code search engine.

    As he started talk to other developers, there was a strong desire to not only have it to find open source code, but their own stuff in the enterprise. Imagine how much code a 20 year financial services firm or how much code a telco might have!

    Besides the Enterprise arena, Krugle DevNetwork powers also SourceForge.net, Yahoo! Developer Network, developerworks and now Amazon Web Services Developer Connection. So may be you are already using it and you didn’t know..

    Technorati Tags: Krugle, Source Code Search, Amazon, Yahoo, SourceForge, LauraMerling, KenKrugle, MitchKapor

  • Roberto Galoppini 7:54 am on October 16, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Commercial Open Source: more on what’s missing 

    Richard Stallman‘s article “Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software“ has now been eported and commented by Robin Good.

    Apparently my opinions didn’t convince Robin, that says:

    In reality, as Stallman points out very clearly in the essay here below, open-source advocates have long stopped promoting the fundamental issues of freedom that are the roots of the Free Software movement in favour of peddling a more commercial and pragmatical approach which looks more at issues like costs, reliability, security, innovation, and at the ability to have access and modify the source code of any software.

    As an outsider viewer, I think he is right.

    So I took my chance to better explain my thoughts, I report here my comment on his blog:

    I didn’t really want to counter attack Richard Stallman’s attack on open-source. I was trying to say is that also open source advocates are contributing to software freedom. It is a matter of perspective: while Richard takes care of users’ freedom, (some) open source firms also take care of software freedom.

    I disagree with Richard when he points out that open-source advocates have long stopped promoting the fundamental issues of freedom. He infers from the behavior of some of them a general statement. A the some extent I might say that “free software” is not consistent term because half of “free software” google-alerts are just about freeware and other no Free Software items.

    What I believe is important to say here is that a commercial and pragmatical approach can also take into great consideration software freedom. The importance of share and more to keep sharing-alike software (copyleft) for open source firms is synergic with free software advocacy, as it insist on the same values (but for a different reason).

    Are all firms interested in Open Source willing to stress the importance of software freedom? Of course not, some of them don’t care, while some end up licensing their products with proprietary licenses.

    Open Source firms (may be) are created equal, but some are more equal than others.. let’s keep them as Free Software’s good friends, as they are.

    As usual, comments and opinions are welcome.

    , , , ,

    • Josef Assad 11:20 am on October 16, 2007 Permalink

      Roberto, I just posted something which is relatively a propos to this article.
      Looks like we’re on the same page.

  • 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

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:39 pm on September 3, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    EU Lobbying: ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Awards 2007 

    Entering their third edition, the ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Awards 2007 are now open for nominations. In 2005 the prize went to the bogus Campaign for Creativity, a front group used by large IT companies to lobby for software patents and intellectual property rights.

    This year you can nominate for two categories:

    1. The ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Award for the lobbyist, company or lobby group that in 2007 has employed the most deceptive, misleading, or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making.
    2. The special ‘Worst EU Greenwash’ Award for the company whose advertising, PR and lobbying lingo is most at odds with the real environmental impacts of their core business activities.

    It’s up to you who will be eligible for these two awards! Until 15 September 2007 you can submit your nominations, see also some examples.

    For more information and the nomination form see the worstlobby website.

    About the Awards.

    The ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Award is to be given to the lobbyist, company or lobby group that in 2007 has employed the most deceptive, misleading, or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making. This year’s event also includes a special ‘Worst EU Greenwash’ Award for the company whose advertising, PR and lobbying lingo is most at odds with the real environmental impacts of their core business activities.

    Technorati Tags: worst EU lobbying, software patents, EU

  • Roberto Galoppini 10:47 pm on August 31, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Internet Governance Forum: “Dialogue Forum on Internet Rights”, Rome 27-09-2007 

    The Italian Government in the framework of the Internet Governance Forum process, and in cooperation with the UN and the IGF Secretariat, Italy will organize a “Dialogue Forum on Internet Rights”, to be held in Rome on 27 September 2007.

    The conference will be open to any interested stakeholder. Registration form as draft agenda are available on-line.

    The organizers would like to encourage the submission of short written contributions that will then be summarized and introduced to the audience during the conference. Such contributions should focus on the two issues raised by the IGF Dynamic Coalition on the Internet Bill of Rights as working items for this year, and specifically:

    • Which are the appropriate forms and instruments to implement and better define human rights and duties in the Internet environment?
    • What areas and types of rights and duties, relevant to the Information Society, should be part of this work and of its results?

    Contributions should be submitted by September 20 through the conference web site. The contributions, as well as the results of the conference, will also be used as preparatory material for the workshop that the Dynamic Coalition will hold at the second IGF in Rio de Janeiro.


    The Government of Brazil will host in Rio de Janeiro on 12 – 15 November 2007 the second Internet Governance Forum meeting. The IGF website – run by the IGF Secretariat – supports the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue – namely the Internet Governance Forum.

    Technorati Tags: Internet Governance Forum, Italy, Rome, Open Consultation

  • Carlo Daffara 1:51 pm on August 23, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Estimating the number of active and stable FLOSS projects 

    A recurring debate discussion among FLOSS-supporters and detractors is related to the estimation of the real number of active FLOSS projects. While it is easy to look at the main repository site (sourceforge.net) that boasts more than 100.000 projects, it is equally easy to look in more depth and realize that a significant number of those projects are really abandoned or have no significant development. How many active and stable projects are really out there?

    choicesToo many cereal choices by PartsNpieces

    For the purpose of obtaining some unbiased estimates in the context of the FLOSSMETRICS project, we performed a first search among the main repository sites and FLOSS announce portals; we also set a strict activity requirement, stately an activity index from 80 to 100% and at least a file release in the last 6 months. Of the overall 155959 projects, only 10656 (6.8%) are “active” (with a somehow very restrictive definition; a more relaxed release period of 1 year shows an active percentage of 9.2% or 14455 projects).

    However, while Sourceforge can rightly be considered the largest single repository, it is not the only potential source of projects; there are many other vertical repositories, among them BerliOS, Savannah, Gna! and many others, derived both from the original version of the Sourceforge code and many more based on a rewritten version called GForge. That gives a total of 23948 projects, to which (using a sampling of 100 projects from each) we have found a similar number of active projects (between 8% and 10%).

    The next step is the estimation of how many projects of the overall FLOSS landscape are hosted on those sites, and for performing this estimate we took the entire FreshMeat announce database, as processed by the FLOSSmole project and found that the projects that have an homepage in one of the repository sites are 23% of the total. This count is however biased by the fact that the probability of a project to be announced on FreshMeat is not equal for all projects; that is, english-based and oriented towards a large audience have a much higer probability to be listed. To take this into account, we performed a search for non-english based forges, and for software that is oriented towards a very specific area, using data from past IST projects like Spirit and AMOS.

    We have found that non-english projects are underrepresented in FreshMeat in a significant way, but as the overall “business-readiness” of those projects is unclear (as for example there may be no translations available, or be specific to a single country legal environment) we have ignored them. Vertical projects are also underrepresented, especially with regard to projects in scientific and technical areas, where the probability of being included is around 10 times lower compared to other kind of software. By using the results from Spirit, a sampling from project announcements in scientific mailing lists, and some repositories for the largest or more visible projects (like the CRAN archive, that hosts libraries and packages for the R language for statistics, that hosts 1195 projects) we have reached a lower bound estimate of around 12000 “vertical” and industry-specific projects. So, we have an overall lower bound estimate of around 195000 projects, of which we can estimate that 7% are active, leading to around 13000 active projects.

    Of those, we can estimate (using data from Slashdot, FreshMeat and the largest Gforge sites) that 36% fall in the “stable” or “mature” stage, leading to a total of around 5000 projects that can be considered suitable for an SME, that is with an active community, stable and with recent releases. It should be considered that this number is a lower bound, obtained with slightly severe assumptions; just enlarging the file release period from 6 months to one year nearly doubles the number of suitable projects. Also, this estimate does not try to assess the number of projects not listed in the announcement sites (even vertical application portals); this is a deliberate action, as it would be difficult to estimate the reliability of such a measure, and because the “findability” of a project and its probability of having a sustained community participation are lower if it is difficult to find information on the project in the first place; this means that the probability of such “out of the bounds” projects would probably be not a good opportunity for SME adoption in any case. By using a slightly more relaxed definition of “stability”, with an activity rating between 60% and 100% and at least a release in the last year, we obtain around 18000 stable and mature project from which to choose- not a bad result, after all.

    Technorati Tags: open source metrics, sourceforge, flossmetrics, flossmole

    • Bill Poser 6:57 am on August 27, 2007 Permalink

      The activity criterion used underestimates the number of projects that provide useful software. A project may not have had a recent release because it is complete and has no known bugs, or no bugs significant enough to fix. Of course, it would be difficult to take this into account without a lot more work since it would be necessary to examine the status of each project.

    • Carlo Daffara 7:47 am on August 28, 2007 Permalink

      As mentioned in the text, this is meant to provide a lower bound to the number of available, active and stable projects; as such, we have chosen a very strict definition of activity, and we used the project choice of “stability”, even considering that this lowers the number of suitable projects even more (there are many “beta” projects that are really stable). We already have found projects that are stable but not included in the count; an example is GNU make (that is stable, but having no new release in one year would not make it to the list).
      It must be considered, however, that even projects that are more or less finished (no more bugs) may need a small recompile or modification to adapt to changing platforms and environments; in this sense, stable project with no release in one year should be considered an exception and not the rule. Using a simple sampling approach, we estimate that those are less than 2% of our original count, and so we would not rise the package count in a significant way. Our main objective was to demonstrate that the lower bound of the number of both stable and maintained packages was significant, and I believe that that result was reached.
      Many thanks for your comment (and for reading the article thoroughly :-))

    • Nathan 9:24 pm on October 22, 2007 Permalink

      It would be very interesting to see that list of 18,000 stable, mature, active projects. Any plans to publish it?

    • Carlo Daffara 10:19 pm on October 29, 2007 Permalink

      For some of the forge sites that allows for data extraction, such a list can be obtained through the FLOSSMOLE data source. For those sites that have no search functionality, or that provide only part of their database in a searchable way, statistical methods were using based on a sampling approach, and in this case no list (just the numbers) can be obtained. It is important to understand that what we were looking at was a lower bound on the number of active and stable projects, not a “final” list.

    • Ali 4:43 pm on October 25, 2012 Permalink

      I am doing currently a research on open source firm. for statistical model i need number of projects registered to sourceforge year by year, is there any way to extract these information from sourceforge?

    • Roberto Galoppini 3:52 pm on October 27, 2012 Permalink

      Sure, look at the SourceForge Research Data at the Notre Dame University.

  • Carlo Daffara 3:00 pm on August 14, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open communities and lightweight consortia 

    The consortium is one of the oldest, and most practiced structures for coordinating resources of different companies towards a common goal, by creating a simple legal framework to coordinate and encourage a joint activity (for example promotion, development, management of rights). It is based on a simple concept: to be self-sustaining, a consortium must be capable of creating more than the simple sum of its parts.

    What can be said of FLOSS-based consortia? The underlying “raw material”, usually, is based on open source projects that are available to all without limitations, and so they cannot be a discriminating factor, contrary to other development consortia like Avalanche. In fact, even joint development like the Common Customer View are not improved or hindered by the fact that the participating companies are all in a single consortium or not. It is not difficult to see that if such an approach looks technically interesting, other non-members would probably add a compatible offering to their own project; on the other hand, two companies in the same market would be hard pressed to participate in the same consortium, as Roberto correctly said, because there would be no economic incentive to be part of a non-differentiating common ground.

    I suspect that development consortia can accept only a single company per vertical market, while representative consortia (that leverage a common effort to provide a simplified “certification mark”) can probably more effective in reducing the cost of promotion of FLOSS-based solutions. In this sense, I would suggest OSA to leverage more than simple interoperability, and try to promote a two-stage approach: an “inner circle” that provides the interoperability framework by leveraging paying customers, and a “subscriber circle” that leverages the shared resources (like IP clearing from Palamida, technical certification from SpikeSource, etc) to obtain a “seal of approval” that could be used as a marketing instrument.

    After all, if we look at OSA, we can see two different kind of customers: the ones that are buying services and products from the members, and FLOSS companies that may be part of the consortium in the future; it is in my opinion sensible to try to address both.

    Technorati Tags: open communities, OSA, open source consortia

  • Roberto Galoppini 11:09 am on August 14, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Links: 14-08-2007 

    An eye on the Open Solutions Alliance – Alex Fletcher sees a consistency in OSA’s stated approach, but as I wrote to Dominic Sartorio – OSA’s President – OS firms with “vertical” offering won’t apply if among OSA’s members someone else has already a similar offer. In my opinion OSA might better act on behalf of those companies delivering “horizontal” services – just like SpikeSource – much better than the “vertical” ones (those who take care of a product). The reason is that in horizontal services arena there is no “corporate player” yet, so OSA might well be the first mover.

    OSI Submission Update – Bill Hilf submitted Microsoft’s licenses (MS-PL and MS-CL) just before going on vacation.

    Building consumers products with open sourceAri Jaaksi tells Nokia’s approach to Open Source.

    Actuate Harnesses Open Source to advance Leadership in BI –  Dilbert’s boss wants to use Open Source just for everything, may be also for Business Intelligence? Let’s see if Actuate will eventually turn BIRT in a successful business case.

    China: Patent Moves Meets Standards Muscle – Jeff Kaplan reports that China is becoming a serious player in the IP world.

    Firefox is a Public Asset – Mitchell Baker essay about the Mozilla’s business models.

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