451 CAOS Links 2011.09.07

HP builds Cloud Services on OpenStack. Linux on Github. And more.

# HP announced the private beta program of its OpenStack-based HP Cloud Services.

# Linus Torvalds made Linux 3.1 available on Github, albeit temporarily.

# The National Security Agency proposed a new database, Accumulo, to the Apache Foundation for incubation.

# Nominations for the Document Foundation board elections are now open.

# Fouriertransform invested $3m in automotive infotainment application developer Pelagicore AB.

# LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org are drifting apart.

# Luis Villa explained license compatibility in the context of MPL 2.0.

# The Swiss Parliament’s control committee for the Federal Court is allowing the publication as open source software of Open Justitia.

451 CAOS Links 2011.07.15

IBM offers Symphony to Apache OpenOffice. Jaspersoft raises $11m. And more.

# IBM announced that it will offer the Symphony source code to the Apache OpenOffice incubator for consideration. Bob Sutor explained how and why.

# Jaspersoft raised $11m in funding from Quest Software, Red Hat, SAP Ventures, Doll Capital Management, Morgenthaler Ventures, Partech International, Scale Venture Partners, and Adams Street Partners.

# The judge overseeing Oracle and Google’s intellectual property lawsuit said it is possible Google knew of its Java violation.

# SAP joined the OpenJDK project.

# Savio Rodrigues speculated that vSphere 5 licensing could open the door for open source.

# Simon Phipps rounded up reaction to the Harmony Project agreements and added his own perspective.

# The Zenoss Community Alliance was formed to revitlatize, and possibly fork, Zenoss Core.

# Gluster named Rob Bearden to its board of directors.

# Jaspersoft released Jaspersoft Studio, an open source BI design environment for Eclipse.

# Joyent and Cloud9 announced an agreement to provide web application developers with a cloud development and deployment platform for Node.js applications from within the Cloud9 IDE.

# With Stackato, ActiveState has extended Cloud Foundry to support Python and Perl.

# WANdisco launched professional uberSVN support.

# Heroku announced that Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of theRuby programming language, will join Heroku as Chief Architect of Ruby.

# Tarus Balog discussed the importance of trademarks for an open source business.

# Microsoft was apparently the fifth-largest corporate contributor to the Linux kernel version 3.0.0, as measured by the number of changes to its previous release.

# Samba reportedly may consider accepting corporate-donated code.

# basysKom, Codero, Gluster and Nixu Open joined The Linux Foundation.

# Virtual Bridges joined the Open Virtualization Alliance.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.06.10

Topics for this podcast:

*eBay wins bid for open source e-commerce player Magento
*Citrix releases its own version of OpenStack
*MapR brings its own Hadoop distribution to market
*IBM builds out its analytics and data stream stories with Hadoop
*The trend toward more permissive licensing
*Why Oracle’s donation of OO.o disappoints

iTunes or direct download (31:26, 5.4MB)

451 CAOS Links 2011.06.07

Apache OpenOffice proposal fall-out. eBay acquires Magento. And more.

Apache OpenOffice proposal fall-out
# SUSE confirmed that it will continue to invest in LibreOffice and The Document Foundation.

# The Document Foundation published its recommendation to Oracle that it transfer OpenOffice.org to TDF.

# OStatic asked ‘is Oracle holding back OpenOffice files from Apache?’

# Dave Neary assessed the meaning of OpenOffice.org going to Apache.

Best of the rest
# eBay agreed to acquire Magento.

# The Open Invention Network acquired the underlying intellectual property of WebMate Foundation, a server-side scripting software.

# Mark Shuttleworth published a long and interesting essay on balancing economic power in the FLOSS ecosystem.

# Sam Ramji asked ‘do open source projects need foundations?’

# CloudBees announced a for-pay offering for its RUN@cloud Java Platform as a Service.

# Digium introduced Switchvox 5.0, adding fixed mobile convergence to its voice over IP (unified communications offering.

# Red Hat published an overview of its cloud architecture.

# Acquia partnered with Engine Yard to offer cloud services for fully managed Drupal and Ruby on Rails applications.

# ISYS Technologies filed a lawsuit against Google alleging that it is violating with the trademark for its ChromiumPC.

Why Oracle’s donation of OpenOffice disappoints

While Oracle deserves some praise for its donation of OpenOffice.org code to the Apache Foundation, it is disappointing again to see a legitimate open source market contender that has been marginalized by miscommunication and mismanagement of the project by a large vendor.

OpenOffice.org, warts and all, was probably the most significant competition for Microsoft Office for years and in many ways demonstrated the advantages of open source, helping usher in wider use of it, as well as greater usability. OO.o was in fact my reason for originally investigating and moving to open source software more than a decade ago. Regardless of past mismanagement of community and technology, that competitive factor has been diminished greatly since Oracle took ownership of OO.o. Now, after prompting a fork — as has been the case with a number of open source projects that fell to Oracle with its Sun acquisition (OpenSolaris-Indiana, OO.o-LibreOffice, Hudson-Jenkins), Oracle is again turning to a broader open source foundation to ‘free’ the project. It shouldn’t be surprising given our research into the balance of control and community, where we see a preference among both users and vendors for the ‘foundational’ approach that is typically less encumbered by real and perceived issues of control.

But by not making this move sooner, Oracle has again demonstrated that it does not appreciate or accept the broader community benefits of open source software. It ties open source investment and development directly to monetary value, meaning it is focused mainly on Linux and MySQL. Oracle should be commended for its honesty here, given its indication that it will contribute and support open source when it bolsters Oracle’s bottom line. However, the company is failing to tie its own success in open source with the success of the larger communities, which begs the question, is Oracle limiting the commercial opportunity for the open source projects on which it is focused by diminishing the community opportunity for projects it is leaving alone?

I might have more enthusiasm for OO.o as an Apache project, but I am somewhat skeptical for OO.o because of the current inclusion and use of LibreOffice in popular Linux distributions. This is how I came to use LibreOffice, and I’ve found it quite sufficient for my document, PDF, spreadsheet and other office suite needs. I would be glad to see a reunification of OO.o and LibreOffice and despite complex issues such as licensing, it is encouraging to see the leaders of LibreOffice and the Apache Foundation coming together toward a positive outcome.

Back to Oracle, the company again deserves credit for its positive and meaningful contributions to open source software, particularly MySQL and Linux, which would not have nearly the enterprise credibility it does without longtime, first-class treatment and support from Oracle. However, Oracle continues to demonstrate that despite how far open source has come in the enterprise, there are still large and powerful forces in the industry that do not fully understand open source software’s potential.

Java mutiny in the making

The Apache Software Foundation’s latest statement on the Java Community Process highlights continued dissatisfaction and dissent from Oracle’s stewardship and involvement in open source software.

This comes after some ups and downs for Oracle and its oversight of Java and other open source software that was previously under the auspices of Sun Microsystems. Oracle started off on a rough path when it sued Google over its implementation of Java in Android without preemptively or clearly stating that it was not attacking open source. At about the same time, it let OpenSolaris die a slow, somewhat confusing death. Oracle won a point when IBM came out with its support in favor of the JCP and OpenJDK over Apache Harmony, and this contributes to the adversarial positioning between Oracle and the Apache Software Foundation. However, Oracle has also seen an erosion of open source support and confidence as OpenOffice.org developers have migrated away from Oracle, many to contribute to the new Libre Office project.

Oracle’s moves illustrate the company’s lack of complete understanding of open source and the value of open source software communities. While it appreciates and leverages open source as an effective, efficient software development approach, it does not truly see the value of providing software to a community and attaining benefits of efficiency, reach and innovation as a result. This is not to say that supporting an open source software community will automatically translate into commercial and community success (not the case with Symbian, for example), but Oracle does not appear to support community as a priority in its proprietary and admittedly successful software strategy.

MySQL can be an example of Oracle doing things right with open source, though we may see similar dissatisfaction and defection as Oracle moves further toward commercialization and further away from free, community software. Still, Oracle at least showed it could continue and contribute and support a successful open source project in the case of MySQL. The same may not be said for OpenSolaris, OpenOffice.org or, increasingly it appears, Java.

451 CAOS Links 2010.10.26

Cloudera raises $25m. OpenStack goes to Austin. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Cloudera raised $25m in series C funding, led by Meritech Capital Partners.

# The OpenStack project confirmed the “Austin” code release of OpenStack Compute and Object Storage.

# Microsoft partnered with Cloud.com to integrate Hyper-V with the OpenStack project.

# Citrix confirmed that it will deliver and support OpenStack as a component of the OpenCloud framework.

# VMware and Google announced collaboration on projects including the SpringSource Tool Suite and Google Web Toolokit.

# Charles-H Shulz explained why he is leaving OpenOffice.org.

# Ian Skerrett politely invited Oracle to get a clue.

# Doug Lea explained why he is not standing for re-election to the JCP Executive Committee.

# Bill Burke argued that the Java Community Process is salvageable.

# The board of the Apache Software Foundation released a statement “on recent Java-related events”.

# The Outercurve Foundation created the Research Accelerators Gallery, targeted at research scientists and academics.

# The Open Invention Network claimed 187 licensees, up 34% in the third quarter.

# Teradata announced a partnership with Hadoop specialist Karmasphere.

# Fluendo joined the Open Invention Network as a licensee.

# Dries Buytaert provided some advice on the commercialization of volunteer-driven open source projects.

# Gemalto filed a patent infringement claims against Google, HTC, Motorola and Samsung related to Android and Dalvik.

# The Nagios trademark issue has been resolved.

# The default desktop interface for Ubuntu is moving from Gnome to Unity.

# FuseSource launched operations as an independent wholly owned subsidiary of Progress Software.

# The OpenNebula project released version 2.0 of its open source toolkit for cloud computing.

# Stephen Walli explained the difference between makers, users and buyers of open source software.

# FierceGovernmentIT reported that DARPA is seeking to replicate OSS development model for the design of vehicles.

# The Register reported that the Symbian Foundation faces closure.

# Digium announced the release of Asterisk 1.8, including integration with IPv6.

# Brian Aker ran the numbers on the Drizzle contributor statistics.

# Kineo, Catalyst IT and Flexible Learning Network formed Totara to develop a version of Moodle for corporates.

# Opscode announced that more than 200 individuals and 50 companies have registered to contribute to Chef.

# Pentaho and Ingres announced a strategic partnership.

If you fork it, will they come?

There is much excitement this week (understandably) about the formation of the Document Foundation and the LibreOffice fork of Openoffice.org.

Alan Bell sees correlation with the previous fork of Joomla from Mambo and has illustrated the potential impact that forking a project can have with a Google Trends chart, where Mambo is the blue line, and Joomla is the red line:

A similar chart for Debian (blue) and Ubuntu (red) is also instructive:

Or what about Nagios (blue) and Icinga (red):

Hmm. Maybe not the best example. After all, as we reported, the Icinga fork had some commercial motivations attached to it, and it’s not exactly the highest profile fork.

What about something a bit more comparable, like MySQL (blue) and MariaDB (red):

Oh.

Which is not to say that LibreOffice will not be a success, but when it comes to forking, creating the fork is clearly just the start. It takes time, and a lot of effort, to generate the momentum for a fork to be truly successful. There is bound to be an initial spike in developer and user interest. Turning that into a meaningful and productive community will be the hard part.

451 CAOS Links 2010.09.28

Document Foundation forms around LibreOffice. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# The Document Foundation was formed to develop a new LibreOffice fork of OpenOffice.org.

# Andy Updegrove explained why LibreOffice highlights the need for more open source foundations.

# The CodePlex Foundation re-branded itself the Outercurve Foundation.

# Microsoft is adopting WordPress.com as the default blogging platform for its Windows Live service.

# The IMTC acquired the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol and open source TIP Library from Cisco.

# RIM’s BlackBerry Widgets development platform is being renamed WebWorks and released as an open-source project.

# DotNetNuke is now offering integration with Facebook and Twitter via PackFlash Publish.

# Rivet Logic extended its Crafter rivet framework with the launch of Crafter Studio.

# HP, Intel and Yahoo added four more members to their Open Cirrus open source cloud test bed project.

# Modulo announced the modSIC open source Security Content Automation Protocol project.

# Sony Ericsson is ditching Symbian in favour of Android.

# Glyn Moody wondered whether we are entering the golden age of forks.

# An interview with Larry Augustin on cloud, open source and community.

# SourceFuse launched LoadedPress, based on WordPress.

# MindTouch announced the availability of the MindTouch Technical Communications Suite.

# The UK’s Deputy CIO Bill McCluggage invited case studies that highlight the business case for OSS.

# StatusNet released premium features for its StatusNet Cloud service.

# Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile discussed the principles of open source.

# Actify, Aras, Razorleaf and Microsoft collaborated on an open source collaborative product development offering.

# The OpenGeo Suite team announced OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition 2.2.

# Opsera released version 3.9.0 of its Opsview Community Edition software, including monitoring of EC2 and S3.

Judgment day for open source at Oracle

There are signals of continued problems and dysfunction — namely lack of support, organization and communication — in the OpenSolaris community. This follows on a deterioration of the OS leadership and support since Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, including the elimination of OpenSolaris CDs, one of the things that made the open source version of Solaris more like Linux.

We had speculated on the fate of Sun open source software under Oracle and while we acknowledged Oracle’s participation in, contribution and commitment to and opportunity from open source software, we questioned its appreciation of open source software communities beyond code and customers. It appears the OpenSolaris community and thus the OS itself, which we believe is key to advancing development of the more popular, proprietary cousin Solaris — are not a priority for Oracle.

The same cannot be said for all open source from Sun, and there’s a lot of it, now at Oracle. Amid the struggles of the OpenSolaris community, one of the other open source keystones from Sun, MySQL, seems to be doing well, despite persisting claims Oracle purchased Sun and MySQL simply to keep it from competing with Oracle database products. According to a Jaspersoft survey of customers/developers, there is a lack of awareness or concern of Oracle’s involvement in MySQL (59 percent were not aware Oracle reorganized and established a separate MySQL business unit apart from Oracle’s traditional RDBMS business …). Another 43% of Jaspersoft’s respondents said MySQL development and innovation would improve under Oracle.

The Jaspersoft survey found even more love for Java under Oracle, with 80 percent of respondents indicating they believe the Java process will improve or stay the same under Oracle. The related GlassFish application server also appears to be healthy with both community and commercial versions recently released.

The OpenOffice community appears also to be continuing forward supported and unfettered by Oracle (perhaps because it was typically fettered by Sun?), but it may also me failing to fully seize the opportunity.

It has also been interesting to see how Sun’s cloud computing technology has helped give Oracle new love for the term and the market.

There are a number of key open source projects and pieces from Sun, those listed above as well as many others, that may be on the line right now (or may have already been branded ‘stay’ or ‘stop’). We will be watching to see how Sun’s open source continues to shine or to set at Oracle.

451 CAOS Links 2010.02.12

Licensing, community, funding, revenue, business models, patents. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# The OpenOffice.org Community announced the release of OpenOffice.org 3.2.

# An interview with Michael Tiemann on licensing and community.

# DotNetNuke raised $8m series B funding.

# Microsoft updated its Linux Integrated Components, introducing support for RHEL in Hyper-V.

# An interview with Marten Mickos on how open source businesses can break through the $10-15m plateau.

# Joe Brockmeier discussed how to make Thunderbird financially stable.

# Glyn Moody dissected SAP’s statement on software patents.

# Datamation reported on Red Hat’s open source cloud projects.

# eXo Platform introduced xCMIS, an open source implementation of the CMIS specification.

# Monty Widenius’s Open Ocean Capital invested an undisclosed sum in MoSync.

# OpenLogic grew bookings 86% in 2009 now has more than 130 customers.

# GigaOm reported what you didn’t know about Cloudera.

# Dave Rosenberg blogged about Hashrocket’s use of MongoDB.

# Dirk Riehle explained the role of open collaboration with corporations.

# The UK’s NHS will reportedly use Novell’s OES 2 as the backbone for its move towards a cloud computing environment.

# Black Duck announced version 5.1 of its Protex code analysis engine.

# Sauce Labs released Sauce RC (Remote Control) 1.0 – a commercially supported Selenium distribution.

# Couchio, formerly Relaxed, is now offering support for CouchDB.

# Sierra Ventures managing director Tim Guleri discussed what open source means to VCs.

# Stephen Walli advised Novell – following Red Hat means you’ll always be second.

# Eclipse board candidates outline their vision for Eclipse in 2010.

# Linux.com published Myth busting – is Linux immune to viruses?

# The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly poured cold water on the latest Sourcefire acquisition rumour.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.02.05

Topics for this podcast:

*Matt Asay moves from Alfresco to Canonical
*GPL fade fuels heated discussion
*Apple’s iPad and its enterprise and open source impact
*Open source in data warehousing and storage
*Our perspective on Oracle’s plans for Sun open source

iTunes or direct download (32:50, 9.2 MB)

451 CAOS Links 2009.10.30

Government adoption. Financial results. New funding. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

For the latest on Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL via Sun, see Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask

Government approval
The US Department of Defense issued guidance on the adoption of open source software, while ComputerWorld reported that the U.S Department of Defense has open-sourced an enterprise human resources application.

Meanwhile, The French Government’s public finance department will switch 130,000 desktop’s to Mozilla’s Thunderbird and Lightning.

Financial results
Sourcefire announced Q3 revenue of $27.4m, up 35% on 2008, while Actuate reported BIRT-related revenue of $4.7m in Q3 on total revenue of $29.4m, down from $33.7m.

Funding
Neo Technology, developer of Neo4j, an open source graph database, raised $2.5m in seed funding. SnapLogic raised $2.3m in its first round of institutional funding. Open source micro-blogging vendor StatusNet closed an $875,000 seed financing round.

Best of the rest
# Oracle updated its Sun acquisition FAQ to include plans for Glassfish, Netbeans, MySQL and Openoffice.org, while the H reported that Oracle has clarified its plans for Java tools and OpenOffice.

# SAP announced plans to contribute to several Apache projects, including Maven, VXQuery, Tomcat, OpenEJB and ActiveMQ.

# Savio Rodrigues speculated that Amazon RDS is out to eat open source vendor lunches with MySQL.

# OpenLogic reported a 41% increase in revenue in Q3 versus 2008, while OpenLogic data suggests more people are using OSS, and more are also choosing to pay for support or governance.

# Qualcomm Innovation Center and Fujitsu joined the board of the Symbian Foundation.

# Virtualization Review noted that Citrix is about to fully open-source XenServer.

# Calpont launched InfiniDB Community Edition, an open source data warehouse for MySQL, and OEM agreement with Sun.

# Zenoss released Zenoss Core version 2.5 including cloud monitoring capabilities.

# Tasktop is working with Microsoft to improve Eclipse on Windows 7.

# Silicon.com: Why CIOs say no and yes to open source software.

# Novell planned to take SCO Group case to the Supreme Court.

# Bloomberg.com reported on open source ERP with the headline of the week: “‘Bill Gates of Belgium’ Fights SAP as Free Software Use Expands”.

# Misys Open Source Solutions made available the software source code for its Carbon Planning Toolkit.

# Open source advocate calls for Microsoft version of Linux. He has a book out, incidentally.

# Rob Bearden joined Black Duck Software’s board of directors.

# WANdisco presented two new initiatives, SubversionJ and Obliterate, for the Subversion open source project.

# Ingres gets realtime data integration software via reseller agreement with HVR Software.

# Tarus Balog compared the OpenNMS and Nagios open source monitoring projects, while Nagios Enterprises launched Nagios XI.

# Matt Asay noted that the question is no longer “why” to use open source, but rather “how.”

451 CAOS Links 2009.08.25

Terracotta acquires EHCache. SpringSource launches Cloud Foundry. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

Terracotta acquires EHCache

Terracotta announced that it had acquired EHCache. CTO, Ari Zilka, explained the rationale, while Savio Rodrigues examined the impact on the wider caching market./

SpringSource makes an acquisition of its own
Hot on the heels of being acquired by VMware, SpringSource announced its acquisition of Cloud Foundry Inc and launched SpringSource Cloud Foundry, a new public cloud deployment platform for Java web applications.

Open source versus commercial versus proprietary. Or not.
As Seth Grimes argued that neither commercial nor proprietary are the opposite of open source, Roberto Galoppini argued that all open source software is commercial and Matt Asay noted that open source is not longer a differentiator. Meanwhile David Dennis argued against Brian Prentice’s asking whether “open source company” is an oxymoron.

See also:
“Define ‘open source vendor'”
“Further thoughts on defining ‘open source vendor'”
“Define ‘free software vendor’”, “What the OSD doesn’t say about open source”
“The right and best way to make money from open source”.

Are licenses relevant?

Zack Urlocker asked whether the choice of open source license has an impact on the business model. Bill Burke argued that your choice of open source license is “mostly irrelevant”.

SCO actually wins a court judgment (partially)
Groklaw reported that a Federal Court had confirmed the district court’s judgment that SCO Group owed royalties to Novell but ruled that the district court’s summary judgment over ownership of Unix copyrights was inappropriate. That is a matter for a jury, but as Novell noted it is not exactly clear what will happen next, given SCO’s bankruptcy.

The best of the rest
Novell’s Joe Brockmeier discussed how to build an effective community with Paul Krill, editor-at-large at InfoWorld and Ross Turk, community manager for SourceForge.

GCN reported that i4i has looked at OpenOffice and found that, unlike Microsoft Word, it does not infringe on its patents.

The VAR Guy published an audio interview with SugarCRM Interim CEO, Larry Augustin.

The US Department of Justice approved Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, while SD Times reported on Sun’s end of days.

The Mono Project announced the beta release of Moonlight 2.

Matt Asay reported that Linux is booming, but unpaid adoption may hurt vendors.

Stephen O’Grady asked “Does Copyright Matter? Or, is the End of Dual-Licensing Near?” And “Does the GPL Matter?”

Bruno von Rotz reported on the Linux Foundation’s latest research on who writes the Linux kernel. While Matt Asay noted that the Linux developer base is up 10% since 2008

Xconomy reported on Acquia and Drupal’s impact in the content management market and balancing commerce and community.

Savio Rodrigues asked whether Cloudera is to Hadoop as Kleenex is to facial tissues.

Brian Aker told Barton George that Drizzle may be production-ready by the end of the year.

Red Hat announced the launch of its HornetQ messaging middleware system.

Lucid Imagination launched LucidGaze for Lucene, a free monitoring capability.

Red Hat updated its partner program.

Zenoss Core reached the one million downloads mark.

Nambu announced that tri.im is to become an open source project.

Levementum announced an alliance with Pentaho.

On open source and piracy

Dana Blankenhorn asks whether open source is hurt by piracy, prompted by comments made by Louis Suarez-Potts, Sun’s community manager for OpenOffice.org at OSCON.

Dana is unconvinced that open source supporters should necessarily be doing anything about piracy, noting that “There is no direct financial loss to Open Office when someone has a pirated copy of Microsoft Office. To the extent that BSA enforcement actions cause fear in the market, that just benefits open source, so why join it?”

He also notes that “On the other hand if we helped Oracle enforce its license terms we might accelerate the move to MySQL and Ingres.”

However, one need only remember these comments from last year made by the president of Microsoft’s business division, Jeff Raikes, to understand why piracy is bad for open source:

“Our number one goal is that we want people to use our product. If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else. And that’s because we understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the install base of people who are using our products.

What you hope to do is over time you hope to convert them to licensing the software, legally licensing it, so on, and so forth,” he added, neatly – and presumably accidentally – describing the method by which commercial open source vendors benefit by making their core code available free of charge.

So it’s always a delicate balance, because what you want to do is you want to push towards getting legal licensing, but you don’t want to push so hard that you lose the asset that’s most fundamental in the business.”

Additionally on our recent virtual tour of Europe we saw how piracy was seen as a barrier to further adoption of open source in countries like Greece and Romania.

Supported by government, open source can be used as a tool defeat piracy. Louis explained, ComputerWorld reports that: “By cracking down on software piracy, nations around the globe are starting to see that they can help themselves dramatically by encouraging innovation and creativity — as well as job growth and richer economies — through open-source development.”

An example of this is Russia, where Microsoft’s bungled attempt to crack down on software piracy resulted in a decision by the government to reduce piracy and encourage local business by encouraging the use of open source software.

Sun full of open source and skepticism

Sun continues to take a performance pounding, and the rumors of replacements, layoffs and revamps are beyond swirling and now perpetuating skepticism of the company. It strikes me as odd that Sun, which has embraced open source and is also the defacto leading corporate open source software contributor, is continually dogged by doubts about its transitions and tenures despite well-respected technology and participation in open source. Part of this lies in the company’s continuing dichotomy in strategy — a reference to tepid support for Linux and continued preference for and focus on Solaris. This is a large part of Sun’s ‘handicap,’ IMHO when it comes to Linux and open source. Sun has its own OS, and therefore is in the same category as the dreaded Microsoft for many.

However, Sun has a longstanding, solid history with open source. OpenOffice, OpenSolaris, OpenSparc, Java, etc. While the company has generally benefited from its move to make Java open source under the GPL, its OpenSolaris and Solaris OS under the CDDL have been a somewhat different story. Nevertheless, Sun knows how to do open source right and continues to participate effectively in a variety of open source software communities, projects and enterprise products.

Let’s also not forget that it was Sun that started off this year with a billion dollar bet on open source, MySQL and its database software and business. When Jonathan Schwartz and co. were on the conference call for the acquisition in January, there were many references to Sun’s belief in the LAMP stack (along with the expected reference to the possibility of a SAMP stack that includes Solaris). And therein lies the dichotomy again.

Does Sun want to support and see success from Linux? Or does it want to see success from Solaris (and OpenSolaris)? The company may want to have it both ways and while it’s certainly possible and practical to support multiple operating systems in this day and age, Sun needs to make it clear whether it wants to fan the flames or fight the fire that is Linux. Let’s consider Novell. Is it putting much investment or roadmapping into Netware? No, the company is focused on Linux and integration of NetWare and Linux in Open Enterprise Server since it acquired SUSE in 2003. While an acquisition spurred the Linux embrace in Novell’s case, Sun does not necessarily need to buy a Linux vendor (there are fewer of those, too with Xandros’ recent purchase of Linspire).

The bottom line is that many if not most enterprise Linux wins come at the expense of Solaris and other Unix software. Sun would be wise to recognize this and it could go a long way toward clarifying its achievements and objectives with open source and getting its house in order.

451 CAOS Links – 2008.05.30

Barracuda attempts Sourcefire buy. Novell announces quarterly results. Sun shares wins for VirtualBox and OpenOffice. (and more)

Barracuda Networks Proposes to Acquire Sourcefire for $7.50 Per Share in Cash, Barracuda Networks (Press Release)

Sourcefire Rejects Unsolicited Acquisition Proposal, Sourcefire (Press Release)

Novell Reports Financial Results for Second Fiscal Quarter 2008, Novell (Press Release)

Sun xVM VirtualBox Breaks Five Million Download Mark; First Free, Open Source Hypervisor to Offer Support for All Major Operating Systems, Sun Microsystems (Press Release)

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta and Extensions Show Strong Momentum; Office Productivity Suite Delivers Document Accessibility for Mac Users with Disabilities, Sun Microsystems (Press Release)

xTuple ERP Exceeds 100,000 Downloads, Readies Version 3.0 Beta, xTuple (Press Release)

Mozilla Aims to Set Guinness World Record on Firefox 3 Download Day, Mozilla Foundation (Press Release)

Managing Firm-Sponsored Open Source Communities, Jan Fredrik’s Blog, Jan Fredrik (Blog)

Ozzie: Open source a more disruptive competitor than Google, ZDNet – All About Microsoft, Mary-Jo Foley (Blog)

Interviews: Four Open Source Questions for Microsoft, OStatic, Sam Dean (Blog)

Open Source CEO Shoot-Out at CIO Magazine, WaveMaker – The Keene View on Web 2.0, Ajax and SaaS, Christopher Keene (Blog)

The community wars, ZDNet – Linux & Open Source, Dana Blankenhorn (Blog)

As the ODF-OOXML world turns

Oh the drama. Most of us knew ISO approval of Microsoft’s OOXML format was not the end, but more of a beginning in the ongoing fight for the future’s file format. Any doubts of that were put to rest this week with a flurry of activity around OOXML’s approval, ODF adoption, Microsoft’s support and the stance of U.S. states and other governments.

Much of it started with Microsoft’s announcement that it would expand its Office 2007 format support, including ODF. The move, which means Office 2007 users will be able to set ODF as their default file format, is further evidence of changes at Microsoft and the need to support multiple formats and interoperability. However, it still drew criticism from a number of ODF proponents/OOXML opponents, whose concerns include the typical Microsoft skepticism, but also center on the software giant’s OOXML approval campaign and previous statements downplaying the market for ODF.

We also saw further objection to ISO’s OOXML approval, primarily an appeal from South Africa. As format expert and saga watcher Andy Updegrove points out here, the appeal centers on the approval process and also on the ‘business basis’ for OOXML’s fast-track approval. Despite that relatively rapid approval, Updegrove points out that, ironically, Microsoft Office users will not have the opportunity to use the file format until Microsoft’s coming Office 14, expected in 2010 at the earliest.

Microsoft credited customer and government demand for its new found ODF love, but we also saw indications it may also involve difficulties in backward compatibility with OOXML. As ZDNet’s Tom Espiner points out, ‘The company now says OOXML support would require substantially more work.’ This comes as no surprise to many open source software users who have come to the same conclusion over the years. In fact, the inability of Microsoft to support different versions of its own Office and format software has fueled many OpenOffice.org downloads over the last few years, including my own.

Still, customer demand as the reasoning behind Microsoft’s ODF support was reinforced by yet another development in the ongoing format saga: findings from the State of New York. While the state’s officials indicated it would be a mistake to name ODF or OOXML as the standard of choice, New York’s format wonks did indicate that openness is the path to the future. That does not necessarily mean ODF, but it certainly makes it more likely given the controversy, uncertainty and drama still surrounding OOXML.

Microsoft’s increased and improved support for ODF is real and it reinforces the idea that Redmond is moving to support open source, open standards and interoperability in response to customers, rather than contentions from critics or requirements from antitrust regulators. Microsoft will certainly continue to work to support and promulgate OOXML and the format has a friend in the broad use of Microsoft’s Office software. However, as OOXML faces continued skepticism, ISO appeals and an EU investigation, ODF (ISO approved in 2006 without controversy) stands ready for use with broad vendor support, growing adoption and, after this week, momentum.

The silver lining in OOXML approval

I kept waiting to weigh in on the ISO approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format, searching for some kind of silver lining for open source. Sure, there are those that say technical and interoperability issues will limit uptake of the standard. But this is Microsoft and Office we’re talking about, so it seems clear that there will be some pretty widespread adoption. While Microsoft will likely be penalized to an extent for any perception or reality of gaming the system, this will also be limited largely to its most ardent opponents. So we’re still in need of some truly silver-tinted lining.

Then I saw Paul McDougall’s report on the nations that represent emerging markets and how they voted against OOXML approval as an ISO standard. (Fittingly, Gartner’s Michael Silver is quoted, so this works as ‘silver’ lining on a couple of levels). OOXML opponents were headlined by Brazil, India and China (the BRIC minus Russia, which along with the U.S. and three-quarters of nations voted in favor). Others in opposition included South Africa and Venezuela. While they may not represent the most lucrative markets at present, these are in many ways the markets of the future. Why? First and foremost because they represent brand new users. They also lack some of the more elderly technology characterisitcs, such as a preponderance of proprietary software. These are new markets with new users and they are among the biggest opportunities for all IT vendors right now.

They also make up a more level playing field for Linux and open source software. This has emerged as a trend across desktop, server and office software with global popularity of OpenOffice and Open Document Format (ODF), ISO approved since 2006. In our report, CAOS 5-The SMB market opportunity, we found that opportunity is limited, particularly compared to the enterprise market and particularly in the case of Linux. However, one big exception was emerging markets, where both Linux and open source are better positioned and even at an advantage sometimes against Windows and other proprietary software.

There will certainly be adoption of Microsoft’s OOXML, and this highlights the need for ODF interoperabiity and support. However, we may find that in these emerging and greenfield markets, Microsoft faces its fiercest competition from ODF and open source.