CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.05.27

Topics for this podcast:

*Smaller PaaS players unite with DotCloud-Duostack deal
*Typesafe taps Scala, Akka, open source and devops
*Changes continue at Continuent
*Future of Open Source Survey debrief
*Changes afoot at the OSI
*Microsoft moves to support CentOS Linux

iTunes or direct download (32:15, 5.5MB)

451 CAOS Links 2011.05.20

Open Virtualization Alliance launches, Reforming the OSI. IBM targets Hadoop. And more.

# BMC Software, Eucalyptus, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat and SUSE created the Open Virtualization Alliance.

# The Open Source Initiative launched plans to encourage greater participation from the various open source industry stakeholders.

# The WSJ published a preview of IBM’s forthcoming Hadoop-related announcements.

# SQLStream raised $6m for its stream computing platform, based on Eigenbase.

# MongoLab raised $3m for its MongoDB hosting and services.

# Oracle introduced a new Java Specification Request to evolve the Java Community Process.

# DataStax hired former Quest executive Billy Bosworth as its new chief executive.

# Red Hat released Enterprise Linux 6.1.

# Attachmate’s SUSE business unit announced its plans under Nils Brauckmann.

# Bradley M Kuhn discussed Android in the context of GPL enforcement.

# The Fedora project switched to a new contributor agreement.

# OStatic argued that it is too early to count out Eucalyptus Systems.

# Openbravo added new Point of Sale capabilities to its ERP software.

# Martin Michlmayr discussed some lessons learned from Munich’s migration to Linux.

# Zanby has released the code for its enterprise groupware under the GNU GPL3 license.

# Wyse released a new Linux-based thin client.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.05.13

Topics for this podcast:

*Watching for possible devops deals
*New technology, offerings highlight Hadoop
*Oracle proposes Hudson as Eclipse project
*Red Hat’s latest IaaS and PaaS
*Defining open source
*Big changes in the Linux and open source landscape
*451 Group at OSBC 2011 in San Francisco

iTunes or direct download (36:17, 6.2MB)

Time for a new open source definition?

Andrew C Oliver recently wrote “I think most know by now that a license is insufficient to make something actually open source.”

What makes this fascinating is that it involves a director of the Open Source Initiative – the stewards of the Open Source Definition – stating that the Open Source Definition is not enough to define software as open source.

There is nothing surprising in this statement for anyone who has been following open source for some time, however. Over recent years we have observed a growing tendency among some open source advocates to define open source beyond the software license.

Another recent example comes from Greylock partner and former Mozilla CEO John Lilly: “The open source world should not let Android redefine it to mean ‘publishes the source code.’ That’s a different thing,” he stated with reference to Andy Rubin’s attempt to explain Android’s openness.

But who is doing the redefining here?

Nothing is black and white when it comes to open source except source code availability and the license: either the source code is available or it isn’t (which means that Honeycomb is not open source), and either the license meets the Open Source Definition, and is approved by the OSI, or it doesn’t.

Everything else – such as the development methodology, the release cycle, copyright ownership, or the associated product licensing and revenue strategy – can be placed somewhere on a spectrum made up of various shades of grey.

It is true to say that the vendors and users adopting software from one end of that spectrum enjoy more of the benefits associated with open source but that doesn’t mean that the software at the other end of the spectrum isn’t open source.

When a person or company ‘publishes the source code’ (using an appropriate license) it *is* open source, and always has been. If that is considered insufficient to make something open source then perhaps the time has for a new open source definition.

UPDATE – Just to be absolutely clear, I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with the Open Source Definition. What I am suggesting is that if you are trying to define open source using something other than the Open Source Definition, then you need another definition of open source – UPDATE

451 CAOS Links 2011.02.08

NoSQL vendors merge to form Couchbase. Funding for Basho and EnterpriseDB. And more.

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

# NoSQL vendors CouchOne and Membase merged to form Couchbase, create open source distributed document database.

# EnterpriseDB increased its most recent fundraising round from $7.5m to $13.6m.

# Basho Technologies raised $7.5m in series D funding, as Danish IT company Trifork acquired an 8% stake in the company and became the European distributor for Riak.

# The FSF and the OSI responded to the DOJ’s request for more info on the Novell/CPTN patent deal.

# Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is now available to the US federal government via Autonomic Resources.

# Gluster announced Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances for VMware and Amazon Web Services.

# Jaspersoft and SugarCRM announced a number of BI features available integrated with SugarCRM Pro or Enterprise.

# Novell is bundling SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability (HA) Extension with select HP systems.

# MuleSoft announced a private beta program for a new integration platform as a service called Mule iON.

# Actuate generated over $21.2m in BIRT-related business in 2010, bringing the total in the last 4 years to over $62.5m.

# Tuxera joined the Linux Foundation.

# Mandriva joined the Open Invention Network as licensee.

# Whamcloud entered into a partnership with Bull to accelerate the development of Lustre.

# VMware released Zimbra 7.

# DotNetNuke claimed to have tripled its customer base since the end of 2009 to over 1,000.

# Eric Baldeschwieler presented the backstory of Yahoo and Hadoop.

# Groklaw reported that UnXis has been selected as the buyer for the software product business of The SCO Group.

# Jason van Zyl maintained that Hudson has a bright future under Oracle, with Sonatype’s support.

451 CAOS Links 2011.01.21

The OSI and FSF unite against CPTN. Appcelerator acquires Aptana. And more.

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

# The OSI and the FSF published a joint position statement on the proposed sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN. (PDF)

# Groklaw reported that another party might be interested in Novell’s patents “and maybe more”.

# The European Commission is not interested in investigating the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN.

# Appcelerator acquired Aptana.

# Open source graph database vendor Sones raised a second round of funding. Reportedly $2.68m.

# Savio Rodrigues considered the impact of Amazon Elastic Beanstalk on the open source Java market.

# CloudBees introduced training for Hudson continuous integration server.

# ActiveState and Rogue Wave partnered to bring embeddable mathematical and statistical functionality to Python developers.

# DotNetNuke introduced support for Microsoft’s WebMatrix and Razor products.

# OpenERP launched OpenERP v6 with both on-site and SaaS versions.

# Convirture surpassed 45,000 downloads of ConVirt Open Source in 2010 and now counts more than 2,000 deployments.

# Black Duck added 169 new customers in 2010.

# Funambol introduced Funambol v9.

# KnowledgeTree grew customer acquisitions 215% in the fourth quarter.

# Joyent announced SmartDataCenter 6, the latest version of its cloud operating system.

# OpenLogic is now providing support for Talend’s community edition data integration software.

# SkySQL gathered 40 customers in its first 12 weeks, generated sales of seven figures.

# EnterpriseDB is making its SQL/Protect, PL/Secure and xDB Replication Server tools available for PostgreSQL.

# The Apache Software Foundation announced Apache Pivot 2.0.

# Sonatype released the results of a survey of 1,600 developers, architects and managers.

# A year after Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart reported on the status of the open source projects.

Open core is not a crime

One of the reasons I described the current debate about open core as futile is that there seems to be no hope of it ever reaching conclusion. This is partly because, as Stephen O’Grady notes, the anti-open core brigade have not put forward any potential remedies. Stephen argues that this is because there are no potential remedies. I would go further in arguing that there is, in fact, nothing to remedy.

The vendor controlled open core model sees a vendor offering an open source core project a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, as well as using dual licensing to offer a proprietary version, which also has additional features and functionality, that is not open source.

Simon Phipps has articulated why this strategy does not meet the approval of software freedom advocates, but in doing so, in my opinion, mischaracterises the relationship between vendors with open core strategies and open source.

The description of open core as exploiting loopholes in the system suggests that vendors with open core strategies are deliberately bending the Open Source Definition. However, as we have noted before, the OSD applies only to the license of the underlying code, and does nothing to prevent dual licensing or proprietary extensions.

Simon Phipps has claimed that the “OSI can and will challenge use of “open source” in relation to closed strategies” but so far has offered no response to the obvious question that is prompted by this statement.

Simon also argues that vendors with open core strategies “wrap themselves in the open source flag”. The accusation is that by referring to themselves as “open source vendors” they are misleading world-be users. This is a potentially fair criticism, but it is one that in my experience most vendors with open core strategies have rectified.

As we found with last year’s open core transparency test, most vendors have improved their communication in order to avoid confusion (which is in their own best interests).

Additionally, the core software is open source, and available under an OSI-approved license, and the users retain all the freedoms that are associated with that.

While I fully appreciate why software freedom advocates are uncomfortable with vendors that offer any proprietary software referring themselves as “open source vendors”, I do not believe that there is anything they can do about it for the same reasons noted above. This is why this debate continues ad nauseum. The fact that open core opponents seem strangely unwilling to name and shame the vendors they see as gaming the system doesn’t help matters.

Another of the misconceptions about open core is that something – be it code or freedom – is being taken away from users. It is this assumption that led Henrik Ingo to compare it to theft.

“We don’t approve of stealing, and there are several measures against stealing, in particular laws and criminal punishments. Yet, from this it doesn’t follow that stealing is only a crime if you get caught! So if you put closed source modules into your open source product, and nobody notices, then you’re still not open source.”

UPDATE – As can be seen in the comments below Henrik denies that he was comparing open core to theft, noting that he was “using theft and society’s punishment against it as an analogue, to criticise Mårten’s use of “self adjusting system” as a blanket permission to do anything he wants. But nowhere did I explicitly or implicitly say that open core is comparable to stealing.” He later added, however, that “theft goes against the values of our society, whereas open core goes against the values of the open source community” – UPDATE

This comparison is incorrect on the one hand because open core does not involve putting closed source modules into open source, and on the other because adding closed source extensions to the core does not take anything away from the open source user.

They still have the core. They are still free to run the core, to modify it, to distribute it, and to extend it. They are still free, in fact, to fork it and to replicate the vendor’s closed source extensions. They still have all their software freedoms.

It is true to say, however, that certain features are being witheld from them. The fear is that open core prompts the vendor to produce a deliberately crippled core in order to drive users to its proprietary version, but that would be completely self-defeating.

As we previously noted, “There is no point trying to compel community users to become customers by providing them with substandard software and waving an enterprise version at them. It won’t build a community, and it won’t build brand. That is neither the best, nor the right way to generate revenue from open source.” Some vendors have tried that approach. They didn’t last long.

That all being said, I appreciate why advocates of software freedom are wary of open core. It does perpetuate proprietary software licensing, and it does so via open source. But that does not make it a crime. And a considerable amount of code has been contributed to the commons by vendors with open core strategies. Meanwhile even those that would wish to do something to remedy the situation are without the means to do so. Hence the endless and futile debate.

So what is to be done? I find it somewhat ironic that while some software freedom advocates are demonising open core they are also promoting David Wiley’s excellent recent post calling for more tolerance of others.

With that in mind, I will leave the last word on this matter to David:

“If someone has gone out of their way to waive some of the rights guaranteed them under the law so that they can share their creative works – even if that action is to apply a relatively restrictive CC BY-NC-ND to their content – why aren’t we praising that? Why aren’t we encouraging and cultivating and nurturing that? Why are we instead decreeing from a pretended throne on high, “Your licensing decision has been weighed in the balance, and has been found wanting. You are not deemed worthy.” Why the condescension? Why the closed-mindedness? Why the race to create machinery like definitions that give us the self-assumed authority to tell someone their sharing isn’t good enough? Why isn’t the open crowd more open-minded?”

CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.05.28

Topics for this podcast:

*Licensing buzzes with Google, OSI, virtualization and the cloud
*Open source barometer Black Duck sees growth in mobile, healthcare, government
*New life for LinuxCare shows renewed vigor for Linux in clouds
*Apache Hadoop support old and new with IBM, Datameer

iTunes or direct download (27:13, 7.5MB)

451 CAOS Links 2010.05.28

Novell Linux revenue down in Q2. The FSF turns its attention to App Store. Google vs the OSI. And more.

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

# Novell reported Q2 Linux revenue down 4.1% YoY to $35m and open platform revenue down 4.8% to $37m. Total revenue down 5.4% to $204m. Novell’s Linux revenue was heavily impacted by discounts on Microsoft deals. Excluding that, Linux invoicing would have been up 46%.

# The FSF turned its GPL enforcement attention to Apple’s App Store, later shared more details on its complaint.

# Savio Rodrigues discussed the implications of Google’s WebM license on open source selection. The 451 CAOS Theory take, Google demands more openness from the Open Source Initiative, is here.

# Joe Brockmeier published the Spring 2010 Linux Distro Scorecard (parts one and two).

# The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly provided an update on potential bids for Novell.

# Former Red Hat CEO, Matthew Szulik, is also stepping down from his role as chairman.

# Alfresco released Enterprise Edition 3.3, including content services for Lotus, Outlook, Google Docs and Drupal.

# Version 1.0 of the MeeGo Linux distribution for netbooks is now available.

# GroundWork launched a new Quickstart Virtual Appliance based on CentOS.

# Canonical updated its Landscape systems management tool for Ubuntu.

Licensing matters again in open source or not, virtualization and the cloud

Just when you thought open source and its licensing were getting a bit dull (okay, that will probably never happen) … Sure, the GPL is giving up some of its dominance. OEM, embedded, mobile and other expansion areas for open source are keeping open source licenses relevant, as are virtualization and cloud computing, and these are all areas where open source licenses such as the AGPLv3 hold both promise and burden, depending on who you ask. It’s clear open source licensing is heating up again as a topic and as we assess what is really open and what is really not.

Matt recently asked about Google’s recently announced WebM, whether it is open source and what this tells us about the open source license definition and approval process. WebM, a Web video format that is available for free, is intended as open and even open source, but it is not actually licensed under an OSI-approved open source license, thus making it fall short of the definition of open source.

We may see Google get that OSI approval. It’s certainly not out of the ordinary, and even Microsoft has successfully lobbied and certified some of its own licenses as open source. However, for the time being, WebM falls under the category of ‘not open source,’ and I believe reflects Google’s challenge of getting open enough. On the other hand, Google’s Android OS, which is also backed by a broad consortium of other software, hardware, wireless carrier and other players, is sometimes criticized or questioned on its openness, particularly amid its recent progress. The fact of the matter is the kernel and core of the OS is based on Linux and the OS itself is licensed under the Apache 2.0, one of the top open source licenses we discuss in our report, The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation and one we see gaining use and prominence.

‘Open enough’ is another topic we’ve discussed on the CAOS Theory blog before, but I believe we are seeing cases of non open source software, such as Amazon’s APIs for EC2 and its cloud computing services, being open and available enough in many regards. Yet the fact these are not open standards and not open source brings persisting concerns about what the future might hold. This also highlights how lock-in, which we saw fade to some extent as a factor driving open source, is becoming more significant again. Although there has been an evolving acceptance of some lock-in, particularly as the debate has moved to open data, many early and established cloud computing users are worried if they have a single source for their infrastructure and services (vendor and product shutdowns, consolidation and rigid roadmaps are among the legitimate customer fears). In response, many are looking to ‘alternative’ software pieces and stacks for their private and hybrid cloud computing endeavors, and this is frequently, if not mostly open source.

Back to the licensing matter, we’re also seeing some friction on software licensing from virtualization and cloud computing, where the wants and needs of suppliers and consumers do not necessarily align. In terms of open source, this dilemma shows how flexibility and leverage — either with the vendor or with the software itself given the ability to access source code and build on it or influence its development — can help set open source apart as users contemplate their licensing and deployment strategy. Still, there are also challenges that come with open source software licensing, such as requiring the sharing of code and modifications and limited use of the open source code in combination with other software and in other products.

All of this highlights the ongoing need and importance of the OSI and broader industry definition of open source and its licenses, particularly as open source continues to blur and blend with non-open source in mobile and other electronic devices, virtualization, cloud computing and elsewhere.

Is it time to rethink the open source license approval process?

Is Google’s WebM open source or not? And why (or more to the point, how) did it take the OSI nearly five months to approve the PostgreSQL license?

Open Source Initiative board member, Simon Phipps, declared on Monday that Google’s WebM project “is not currently open source”. It was a statement based on the fact that the license used for WebM is not currently approved by the Open Source Initiative as being compliant with the Open Source Definition.

The choice of language was unfortunate though. Had Simon written that WebM “does not currently use an OSI-approved license” then the statement would have been unarguably true. Declaring that the license is “not… open source” prompted predictable disagreement.

“OSI does not have a trademark on the term “open source”. It is not OSI-approved, but it is open source by anybody else’s definition,” commented one anonymous respondent, while David Gerard noted that “the rather more active FSF considers it free software”.

I’m not interested in continuing the debates about whether the OSI should be considered the ultimate arbiter of “open source” (as opposed to OSI-approved), or the FSF vs OSI, or whether WebM is officially open source (see Bruce Perens’ comment below for clarification on that). What concerns me is the ongoing open source licensing no man’s land that encourages these debates in the first place.

Another OSI board member, Andrew Oliver recently stated that when it comes to judging software “Either it is open source or not.” This ought to be true, but the WebM example proves that it is not. There is a no man’s land in which the software might be open source, but we have to wait for the license to be submitted to and approved by the OSI before we can know for sure.

The WebM license has been submitted to the OSI’s license review mailing list, not by Google but by Bruce Perens, who noted that he plans to issue a derivative work based on WebM, but – besides – “it’s in the community’s interest to review it”.

With any luck then there should be a definitive decision on the WebM license sooner rather than later. But maybe later. A look at the license review mailing list reveals one submitter has been waiting six months for official confirmation of OSI approval. And he’s not the only one waiting for a response.

(Update – Most definitely it will be later – Google has asked the Open Source Initiative to delay consideration of Google’s WebM license, and in doing so has called on the OSI to be more open)

I fully understand why the approval process is designed to weed out vanity licenses and discourage license proliferation*, but it took nearly five months from the submission of the PostgreSQL license to its eventual approval.

Today Simon has made the case for why the world still needs the OSI, and I agree with him that it retains an important role in the open source ecosystem (which is why we were concerned by its recent organisational problems) but would argue that the process of license approval needs to be overhauled.

Simon argues that it would be great to see more of the older and (in hindsight) unsuitable licenses retired. It would, but it would also be great if the OSI made the process of selecting an approved license easier, and the process of license approval quicker.

The Report of the License Proliferation Committee, which was approved by the OSI board in 2006, highlighted an open source license wizard project underway at USC law school and San Francisco State engineering department and stated its hope “being able to generate a list of existing licenses that meet defined goals will lessen the need for people to create their own new licenses”.

I’m not sure what ever happened to that wizard project, but it sounds a lot like the Creative Commons license selector. (As an aside I remembering discussing a similar idea with another OSI board member, Martin Michlmayr, during the Open Source Think Tank in Paris and he mentioned proposing it to the OSI board).

I previously argued that web-based tools also have the potential to make the process more fluid and involve others in the approval process. It seems to me that in a world where Digg and IdeaStorm already seem old, taking almost five months to approve a license in use for 14 years by one of the most popular open source projects in the world is absurd and completely unjustifiable.

*Although I’m not convinced that license proliferation is the threat it once was, see this post for an explanation.

451 CAOS Links 2010.03.30

Record results for Alfresco. New funding for MuleSoft and Pentaho. And more.

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

# Alfresco reported 61% revenue growth in fiscal 2009, adding 300 new enterprise customers.

# MuleSoft raised $12m third round financing, led by SAP Ventures, with Bay Partners and existing investors.

# Pentaho raised $7m in fourth round funding, according to SEC filings.

# The Italian Constitutional Court ruled that giving preference to OSS is not anti-competitive.

# Engine Yard launched a JRuby professional support offering.

# Vyatta went open-core with the release of Vyatta Version 6.0, available in Core and Subscription Edition.

# Basho Technologies partnered with Erlang Solutions to target European Riak adoption.

# Pentaho announced Data Integration 4.0, a unified ETL, modeling and data visualization IDE for BI applications.

# Simon Crosby noted that open source does not necessarily mean interoperable or compatible.

# Ingres is targeting government adoption via a reseller relationship with OpTech.

# IELO, Mandriva, Nexedi and TioLive formed the Free Cloud Alliance.

# 10gen officially announced its commercial support offerings for MongoDB.

# Lucene and Solr development merged.

# JumpBox offered “Open Source as a Service”.

# Ars Technica reported that the jury is deliberating UNIX ownership in the ongoing case of SCO vs Novell. (See also Groklaw).

# Tony Wasserman outlined his thoughts on joining the OSI Board.

# Guest-tek became a licensee of the Open Invention Network.

451 CAOS Links 2010.03.12

Updating the MPL. Funding for Lucid and eXo. StatusNet. And more.

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

Updating the MPL
# ZDnet reported that the 10-year-old Mozilla Public License will be updated by the end of 2010, while Mitchell Baker explained the process.

Funding for Lucid and eXo
# Lucid Imagination raised $10m in series B funding from Shasta Ventures, Granite Ventures and Walden International.

# eXo Platform raised $6m from Auriga Partners and XAnge Capital and confirmed Bob Bickel as its chairman.

Status check
# StatusNet launched the StatusNet Cloud Service (SCS) into public beta, while OStatic published a Q&A with StatusNet’s CEO on the future of the open source microblogging platform provider.

Busy week for Simon Phipps
# Sun’s chief open source officer, Simon Phipps confirmed he will not be joining Oracle, but also confirmed his election as director of the Open Source Initiative. Joe Brockmeier asked if Simon Phipps will be able to energize the OSI.

# Jay Pipes confirmed that he and many of the Sun Drizzle team are now working at Rackspace Cloud.

# Open Source for America responded to the IIPA’s attack on open source.

# In the first of a series of article’s OpenNMS’s Tarus Balog explained what it takes to build an open source business.

# Bloomberg reported, and Elliot denied, that it plans to sell Novell’s NetWare and Linux units.

# Engine Yard claimed to have tripled its customer base in the last six months to reach 1,000 customers.

# SpringSource introduced SpringSource tc Server Spring Edition.

# Dirk Riehle outlined the three areas of open source economics.

# The VAR Guy speculated about Red Hat’s apparently imminent move into business intelligence.

# Digg explained its move from MySQL to Apache Cassandra.

# Appcelerator Titanium 1.0 is now generally available.

# SugarCRM launched its Open+ Partner Program.

# Terracotta announced the availability of Ehcache 2.0 as well as upgrades to Terracotta Web Sessions.

# MySQL/Memcached appliance vendor Schooner was ranked 34th on the WSJ’s list of the top 50 venture-backed companies, while Groundwork Open Source was ranked 28th.

# OSS Watch published an explanation of how the threat to copyleft licenses is not proliferation, but incompatibility.

# A short but sweet explanation of Cloudera’s formation and raison d’être.

# An interview with WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene on commercial open source licensing, business, community strategies.

# Squiz updated its MySource Matrix open source CMS with formal support for Funnelback Search.

# The creators of the Hypertable open source distributed (NoSQL) database have formed Hypertable Inc.

451 CAOS Links 2010.03.05

Elliot offers $2bn for Novell. OSI refutes IIPA’s view on open source. And more.

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

# Novell confirmed a $2bn purchase offer from Elliot Associates. Interesting perspectives on Elliot’s offer for Novell from Linuxquestions, Andy Updegrove, and Matt Asay.

# The OSI categorically rejected the IIPA’s special pleadings against open source.

# Canonical’s new CEO, Jane Silber shared her top priorities for Canonical and Ubuntu with the VAR Guy.

# Zenoss Core version 2.5.2 now includes monitoring capabilities for the Xen Hypervisor.

# The H reported that the Samba project has released version 3.5 of its open source SMB protocol implementation.

# Stephen Walli presented: a graphical explanation of open source software economics.

# Microsoft inked another “Linux software patent agreement”, with I-O Data Device Inc.

# eWeek published an interview with Paula Hunter, head of the Codeplex Foundation, on its role and progress.

# Vermont became the latest government to enact an open source software policy.

# Jahia enhanced its caching and clustering capabilities with Jahia Enterprise Edition v6.

# rPath added interoperability with Puppet, Cfengine, and Chef as part of its move to configuration management.

# Gorilla Logic released FlexMonkey, an open source testing tool for Adobe Flex applications.

# Deutsche Börse Systems is implementing Red Hat Enterprise MRG with the AMQP standard and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

# Alfresco announced an early-access beta program for Alfresco SMB Edition on Amazon’s EC2.

# Dries Buytaert discussed the role of open source in the cloud.

# CodeWeavers released version 9 of CrossOver for Mac and Linux.

# REvolution Computing added Zack Urlocker to its board of directors.

# The Zarafa open source groupware software is now included in Fedora.

# Zenoss added a new data center visualization capability to the latest version of Zenoss Enterprise.

# OStatic reported that Best Buy is releasing its idea-gathering software, BBYIDX, under the GNU GPL.

# Orange signed on to support the MeeGo platform.

Closing Oracle out of open source?

The complaints and concerns over Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems and open source MySQL database grew this week to calls for the acquisition, or at least the relatively small MySQL part of it, to be blocked. The Open Rights Group calling for such blockage was joined by none other than the father of the free software movement, Richard Stallman. However, I have to once again question how free and open are these free and open source software advocates? Is the movement and FOSS open to all (except Microsoft, Oracle or anyone else the Open Rights Group, Richard Stallman or any other number of FOSS groups or figures so deems at some point in the future)? Sounds like the kind of control and red tape we refer to when we warn vendors against undoing the benefits of open source, particularly openness, flexibility and transparency.

Funny how we were contemplating similar concerns about MySQL’s open source fate when Sun acquired MySQL for $1 billion in 2008. Sun ended up having minimal impact on the open source nature of MySQL, thanks in part to the force and direction of the MySQL community.

Still, would we expect Oracle to do any worse than Sun in terms of supporting integration and continued progress for their new product? I think we would actually expect quite a bit more from Oracle, which has illustrated its ability to both execute and integrate numerous times in the past.

The argument to keep Oracle from acquiring MySQL is reminiscent of the loud calls to keep Microsoft from getting some of its software licenses approved as open source by the OSI. It also has parallels to the restriction of open source software from military and weapons uses. Although it might not be tasteful to all supporters of free and open source software, their very mantras and doctrines dictate their software and communites are open to all equally. Anything less is a contradiction of the core ideology of free and open source software.

We’ve expressed our own concerns about Oracle taking over MySQL, including the idea that Oracle may have a somewhat limited appreciation of open source community. However, in the end, and with reinforcement at last week’s Oracle OpenWorld, the company appears to realize the value and purpose of MySQL and its community. Whatever Oracle does not know or understand about MySQL, its community, its customers or open source, the vendor will most likely learn quickly if history is precedent.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2009.10.16

Topics for this podcast:

*Our take on Q3 and current funding for open source
*OSI part of renewed definition discussion, status suspended
*Our latest special report – Warehouse Optimization
*Get ready for The 451 Group’s 4th Annual Client Conference

iTunes or direct download (23:21, 5.3 MB)

The Open Source Initiative’s corporate status is suspended: a CAOS Theory Q&A

UPDATE – The OSI’s status was in early 2010 restored to “Active”, per the California State website – UPDATE

The ability of the Open Source Initiative to steward the Open Source Definition and police the use of the term open source as it relates to software is in doubt following the confirmation that the corporate status of the non-profit company has been suspended in California. What does it all mean?

The OSI’s corporate status is suspended?
According to the website of California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, yes.

When did this happen?
We’re not sure at this stage. We were alerted to the news via a comment left by Thomas Lord on the Simon Phipps’ blog. Wikipedia indicates that the status has been suspended since at least September 2, 2009.

How did this happen?
Thomas Lord has claimed to be at least partially responsible, having filed a compliant with the state attorney general office following a dispute with the OSI board. See his comment below.

What does the Open Source Initiative have to say about it?
We asked OSI president, Michael Tiemann, and general counsel, Mark Radcliffe, a number of questions related to the suspension. We received the following response from Michael:

“Like many non profits that are staffed by volunteers we have not always gotten our paperwork into the state on time. We have been working with our counsel and accountants to satisfy the state’s requirements for several months, but have not been able to make the submissions as swiftly as the state wanted. Consequently, they have suspended our corporate status. We are working hard to satisfy their requirements and anticipate that we will be able to do so in the near term. Since OSI does not conduct business in a conventional manner, i.e. we are not selling products, we believe that the suspension will have a minimal effect on our mission.”

That doesn’t sound so bad.
No, it doesn’t. With respect, however, we believe the situation is more serious than that statement suggests.

How so?
Regardless of whether the OSI sells products in a conventional manner, the suspension appears to legally prevent the OSI from actively going about its business of approving licenses and stewarding the Open Source Definition.

According to the State of California’s Franchise Tax Board website:

“Suspension or forfeiture affects a business in many ways:
• The business loses its rights, powers, and privileges to conduct business in California.
• The business loses the right to use its business name in California. In turn, another business could register with the suspended or forfeited business’ name, and the name would then belong to the other business.
• The business cannot initiate lawsuits, defend itself against lawsuits, or enforce its legal contracts. But other parties can enforce their terms in these contracts.
• If the business enters contracts while suspended or forfeited, it can never enforce those contracts unless it obtains relief of contract voidability.
• Suspensions and forfeitures are public information.
• The business loses the right to get an extension to file a tax return.”

So the Open Source Initiative could lose it name?
Yes it would appear so. In fact, it may already have done. If that were the case we believe it would impact the OSI’s ability to enforce its trademarks related to “OSI”, “Open Source Initiative”, and the OSI logo.

What about the open source trademark?
There isn’t one (for an explanation of why, see this 1999 announcement by Eric Raymond). The OSI does not have any trademark related to the term “open source”. However, the respect in which the OSI is held, combined with the trademarks that it does hold, has enabled the OSI to discourage the use of the term “open source” with software that does not use OSI-approved licenses. Since the the corporate status of the OSI is suspended its ability to do so in the future is in doubt.

What does this mean for open source?

It means that the organisation responsible for stewarding the Open Source Definition and approving open source licenses is not currently legally allowed to operate in the state of California, or defend itself against legal claims, and may lose its name. Beyond that, we do not know at this stage.

Why is The 451 Group making this information public?
As noted above, suspensions and forfeitures are public information and the bare facts are already available.

We are concerned about the impact that the suspension of the Open Source Initiative could have on open source developers, users, projects, and associated investors and vendors. The 451 Group has clients in all of the above categories so we believe it is appropriate to inform them of the suspension of the Open Source Initiative’s legal status and how it might impact them. We are in the process of creating a formal analysis of the situation for 451 Group clients.

We also believe that the potential impact is significant enough that, while the bare facts are already public, the issue deserves to be brought to the attention of the wider open source community. We will let the members of that community come to their own conclusions about what it means to them.

How can a company be suspended in California?
According to the website of California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, a Californian company can be suspended:

“1) by the Franchise Tax Board for failure to file a return and/or failure to pay taxes, penalties, or interest; and/or 2) by the Secretary of State for failure to file the required Statement of Information and, if applicable, the required Statement by Common Interest Development Association.”

It is not clear which body suspended the OSI.

Can the company be revived?
Yes, if it was suspended by the Secretary of State then it must file a current Statement of Information.

If it was suspended by the Franchise Tax Board then it must:

“File any delinquent tax returns. Pay any delinquent tax balance, including penalties, fees, and interest. File a revivor request form.”

If it was suspended by both it must:

“first file a current Statement of Information with the Secretary of State and obtain a letter of proposed relief from suspension or forfeiture. Upon receipt of the proposed relief letter from the Secretary of State, the business entity should complete an Application for Certificate of Revivor (Form FTB 3557) and submit the application along with a copy of the proposed relief letter to the Franchise Tax Board.”

451 CAOS Links 2009.10.06

Patents. M&A. Adoption. Business strategies. And more.

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

This bumper edition of 451 CAOS Links is brought to you courtesy of the Open World Forum’s temperamental wireless connection.

# Red Hat urged the Supreme Court to to make clear that it excludes software from patentability, while the SFLC and the FSF also filed briefs with the US Supreme Court arguing against software patents.

Investment and M&A
# The WSJ reported that EC document suggests Oracle intends to keep MySQL to compete against Microsoft, prompting Matt Asay to report that Oracle’s interest in MySQL has been misread.

# The OW2 Consortium and the Open Solutions Alliance have merged.

# Pentaho acquired LucidEra’s Clearview, will be packaged as Pentaho Analyzer Enterprise Edition, while Julian Hyde explained how it will fit into Pentaho’s business model.

# Intalio raised $1.5 million in equity and debt.

# Ruby-on-Rails startup FiveRuns has been acquired by WorkThink.

# OpenLogic explored what has happened to OpenProj following its acquisition by Serena Software. Its questioning had the desired effect.

# Benchmark Capital hired former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos as an Entrepreneur in Residence.

# The London Stock Exchange confirmed that it will replace its TradElect platform with a Linux-based alternative.

# The European Parliament selected Mule ESB as the backbone for its service-oriented architecture (SOA).

# BT and Unisys implemented the Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite to support their Statistical Data Warehouse.

# Portland has unanimously approved a resolution to open governmentt data and encourage the use of OSS.

# Peru’s Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation is now using Red Hat, Alfresco and Zimbra.

# A survey indicated that 96% of French public sector agencies are using open source.

Business strategies

# Truth in labelling: Simon Phipps called for OSI definitions for development and business models.

# John Mark Walker asked Open-Core or open snore?

# The real issue is who controls your software. Good, reasoned argument by Carlo Daffara.

# Tarus Balog weighed in on the free/open source victory debate.

# James Dixon published Misunderstanding open source #3: applying ‘Free Software’ religion to open source business models.

# Eric Barroca explained why open source platforms are likely to succeed against proprietary platforms.

Products and services

# Cloudera launched Cloudera Desktop including a monitoring client for Hadoop applications, while GigaOM asked, Is Hadoop champion Cloudera the next Red Hat?

# Funambol launched version 8 of its mobile sync and email software, including new Ajax MyFUNAMBOL portal, while Roberto Galoppini reported on how Funambol is walking a tightrope with its new proprietary approach.

# Pentaho extended its unlimited usage deal for start-ups to its entire BI suite.

# Talend updated Talend On Demand, its SaaS data integration platform.

# Untangle updated its Internet security technology to version 7.0.

# Zmanda released version 2.0 of its Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) product as well as aversion compliant with the EU Data Protection Directive.

# Open-Xchange released OXtender for Business Mobility, which connects with Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia, Windows Mobile devices.

# Yahoo’s Zimbra division launched Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) 6.0.

# Microsoft Research unveiled a snapshot of Barrelfish, its multi-core operating system, under the BSD license.

# AMD and Pixelux announced a joint development agreement around the open source Bullet Physics engine.

# Objectivity launched an open source developer network to dive interest in Objectivity/DB.

# The New York Times will release the next version of its Document Viewer under an open source license.

# Six Apart opened up TypePad API, launches TypePad Motion microblogging application.

# Andy Updegrove took a second, glass-half full, look at the Codeplex Foundation.

# Cyanogen developer, Steve Kondik, declared himself sympathetic to Google’s position on Android.

# OSS Watch reported that software sustainability is the result of a combination of openness and strong leadership.

# Daniel Chalef reported on how language and cultural diversity is driving open source SI growth in Europe.

# Savio Rodrigues warned against confusing open source with open standards in the context of exit costs.

# The FSF offered a bounty for finding non-free software in free software distributions.

# Somewhat inevitably:

# claimed 1,000 registered members in the first six days.

451 CAOS Links 2009.07.17

Sun shareholders approve Oracle deal. The un/importance of the GPL. And more.

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

Sun shareholders approve Oracle deal
As expected, Sun’s shareholders approved the proposed acquisition by Oracle, reportedly in the absence of Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz. Meanwhile people continue to be obsessed with Oracle killing things. If its not OpenSolaris then its Unbreakable Linux.

The un/importance of the GPL
Matt Asay speculated on Apache and the future of open-source licensing, in doing so referring to the GPL as “an alternative way to release proprietary software”. Needless to say that put the cat amongst the pigeons, with Glyn Moody stepping forward to explain why the GNU GPL still matters and Savio Rodrigues contemplating why open source vendors will continue to select the GPL. Meanwhile Benjamin Black reported on the failings of the GPL in the cloud era.

While we’re on the subject of open source licenses, Andrew Binstock argued that the OSI needs to consider licenses with defined limitations, while we pondered the theory of natural selection as it applies to license proliferation in the context of our recent long-form report, CAOS 12 – The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, July 21 at 1:00pm EDT we will be hosting a webinar to discuss some of the findings from the report. Register here.

Best of the rest
# Matt Asay noted that Intel was second largest contributor to Linux in 08, just behind Red Hat.

# The FSF responded to Microsoft’s Mono patent promise, asking for a license for all patents Mono exercises.

# Mike Hogan explained how open source commoditizes itself.

# eWeek reported on how to bring open source software into the enterprise.

# I-CIO reported on how the French government leads the way in open source.

# Microsoft inked a patent agreement with the parent company of NAS vendor Buffalo, that relates to Linux.

# TDWI published a Q&A on “The Maturing Open Source Model”.

# MontaVista launched Android commercialization services offering.

# Bluenog responded to accusations that it has violated the Apache Software License.

# OStatic reported on how Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud strategies face open source challenges.

# CohesiveFT has added Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition and Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 to its Elastic Server platform.

# Carlo Daffara presented the different reasons for company code contributions.

# Forbes reported on why open source software flourishes in downturns.

# Open World Forum unveiled its Program for 2009.

# Accenture published a podcast titled Increase Flexibility at a Faster Pace and Lower Cost with Open Source.

# Dirk Riehle published a call for papers on Empirical Research Free/Libre Open Source Software.

# EOS reported on a “new” movie, called Code Rush, covering the release of the Netscape browser as open source.

On natural selection, evolution, and open source licenses

In our recent long-form report, CAOS 12 – The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation Jay Lyman made the case that the abundance and variety of open source licenses, rather than being a hindrance for open source adoption, had actually helped open source software and the vendors that choose it by providing “flexibility, effective development and distribution, and the ability to mix open source with proprietary code and licensing.”

    Jay’s CAOS 12 report can be found here, while his blog post on about the report is here. On Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 1:00pm EDT we will be hosting a webinar to discuss some of the findings from the report. Register here.

In the report we also made the case that the proliferation problem isn’t as bad as it appears. For example, there are over 80 OSI-approved licenses – which admittedly raises the potential for confusion – but the ten most used account for over 93% of open source software in use, according to Black Duck.

We also made a comparison with the Darwinian theory of natural selection to account for the overwhelming popularity of those licenses, pointing out that the enterprise dominance of a small group of open source licenses has been driven by the selection of licenses that best suit business, community and personal goals.

We see this survival of the fittest in action with Sun Microsystems asking the OSI in September 2008 to regard two Sun-created licenses (SISSL and SPL) as inactive, effectively retiring the two licenses, and IBM’s move in April 2009 to supersede the Common Public License with the Eclipse Public License.

These were both deliberate moves by vendors to reduce the number of licenses, although it could also be argued that market forces had already spoken at that point and that all Sun and IBM were doing was removing redundant options.

A logical conclusion of the natural selection argument as it relates to open source licenses is that deliberate efforts to avoid redundancy and proliferation are actually an unnatural brake on the evolution of open source licenses in response to market forces – although it should be noted that we did not actually make that argument in our report.

However, in the context of natural selection there is an argument that an answer to license proliferation is not artificially reducing or restricting the number of licenses that are available but in assisting would-be license creators to select a license appropriate to their requirements.

From an evolutionary standpoint it might not always be in the best interests of open source for that selection to be an existing license, and it should also be considered that “failed” licenses are not be viewed in a totally negative light.

To quote Darwin himself:

“As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.”