Open source ushers mobile OS changes

The year is starting out with what may turn out to be significant changes in the mobile operating system market, with open source software playing a significant role just as it has in enterprise software, virtualization and cloud computing.

With fading heavyweights and interesting new challengers, there are changes afoot in the mobile OS market, but we must first acknowledge the market today is still mainly a duopoly of Apple with iOS and Samsung with Android.

However, if we look back five years, we see how dramatically the mobile OS landscape has changed. Given the pace of today’s device and application development and support, as well as users from consumers to the enterprise, we can expect similarly dramatic changes in the coming months and years.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Mixed signals in IT’s great war over IP

Recent news that Microsoft and Barnes & Noble agreed to partner on the Nook e-reader line rather than keep fighting over intellectual property suggests the prospect of more settlement and fewer IP suits in the industry. However, the deal further obscures the blurry IP and patent landscape currently impacting both enterprise IT and consumer technology.

It is good to see settlement — something I’ve been calling for, while also warning against patent and IP aggression. However, this settlment comes from the one conflict in this ongoing war that was actually shedding some light on the matter, rather than further complicating it.

See the full article at TechNewsWorld.

The downside of Microsoft’s Android dollars

There’s been a lot of attention on the amount of money Microsoft is making from Android, including Microsoft’s own proclamations. Maybe it’s just that I’m more of a fan of Linux and open source software, or maybe I’m overly focused on the lawsuits and threats against Android, but I see serious downsides to all of those dollars for Microsoft from Android.

I believe Microsoft’s strategy to pursue patent licensing deals rather than sue, as we’ve seen from Apple, may prove to be a more effective strategy. Rather than limit or destroy Android, Microsoft is actually supporting its growth, meaning more Android devices and users in the market. Since it’s making so much money from Android, Microsoft may be less interested in limiting or attacking it, so that’s a benefit to Android. However, I do see some significant drawbacks to Microsoft’s Android strategy, all of which serve to limit Microsoft’s opportunity in the future.

First, Microsoft’s Android licensing is a validation of Android. Many if not most of the companies using Android that are also Microsoft licensees all seem to be doing well enough and making enough money to go ahead and pay Microsoft’s licensing fees. This highlights Android’s growth and spread, which is tied to significant market gains for companies such as HTC, Samsung and Verizon. One might argue that Microsoft’s Android licensing revenue will similarly rise with the Linux-based mobile operating system’s growth, but I don’t see that happening, and the second drawback I discuss next is the reason.

Second, we’ve already seen Samsung working to sidestep technology and patents in question that have caused courtroom fights or market bans around the world. I expect all of Microsoft’s Android licensees are working to similarly work around technology in question, so there is a shelf life on Microsoft’s IP licensing business. The details of these patent deals are not public to us, but the companies that agree to them have a much better handle on which technology is problematic since they’re the ones signing. I expect we will see these deals peak at some point and over time, they will become less relevant to Android backers and less lucrative to Microsoft. In addition, for all of the criticisms regarding its openness, Android has a global, open source development community behind it. That means it will be able to compete, innovate and work around things quickly. Those workarounds will likely make their way into the greater Android community so that supposed patent infringements will decline and eventually disappear.

The third drawback is a matter of pride. At the same time Samsung officials signaled an effort to sidestep IP-sensitive technologies and issues, a Samsung executive expressed concern that these patent suits and fights may come at the expense of pride in brand and company. I couldn’t agree more. It really does say something if Microsoft is making more money from IP licensing of non-Microsoft technology than from its own work in smartphones — perhaps the hottest technology market on the planet right now. Consumers may not be aware of or care about lawsuits, license deals or pride, but developers do.

Given some new indications there may be a change at Apple and a bridge to Samsung whereby settlement, progress and choice take priority over market bans and destruction of an ecosystem, these drawbacks for Microsoft may be even more significant going forward.

New mobile Linux efforts reminiscent of old

Amid continued traction for Android, there have been a number of other developments for mobile operating systems based on Linux. Given my support for and belief in Linux and open source software, you might expect me to be bullish on the prospects for all of this mobile and device Linux. However, based on what I’ve seen in the past in terms of mergers, reshuffles and strategic restarts, I believe the introduction of the Tizen Linux-based OS is reminiscent of a time when mobile Linux wasn’t really moving ahead.

Almost three years ago, I wrote in 451 Group’s report,’Mobility Matters,’ that in spite of previous false starts and maneuvers — similar to the ones we’re seeing right now — mobile Linux and open source software were finally poised to break out of niche use. I saw potential in the LiMO Founation, Palm’s webOS, and particularly Android.

More recently came the introduction of Tizen. Though the Tizen project is backed by the Linux Foundation, the LiMO Foundation, and industry leaders including Intel and Samsung, it is a jolt to mobile Linux and open source developers since it effectively ends the MeeGo OS and project.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

451 CAOS Links 2011.09.30

Microsoft’s Android revenue. Tizen formation. And more.

# As Microsoft announced its latest Android-related patent agreement with Samsun, Goldman Sachs estimated that the company will make $444m in revenue from Android patent deals for fiscal year 2012.

# LiMo Foundation and The Linux Foundation announced the formation of Tizen to develop a Linux-based device software platform.

# Karmasphere raised $6m in a series B round of funding, led by new investor Presidio Ventures.

# Citrix Systems announced the availability of XenServer 6.

# 10gen announced the general availability of MongoDB Monitoring Service, a free monitoring service for the MongoDB database.

# Percona announced the release of Percona Server version 5.5.15.

# Hortonworks became a Gold sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation.

# The developers behind PhoneGap have applied to contribute their open source mobile development framework to the Apache Software Foundation.

# Piston Cloud Computing is set to launch its PentOS enterprise operating system for the cloud and put OpenStack on a memory stick.

# The Free Software Foundation announced the re-launch of its Free Software Directory.

# Rhomobile announced availability of RhoConnect 3.0.

# Nokia is reportedly working on a new Linux-based operating system for mass market phones called Meltemi.

451 CAOS Links 2011.09.23

Red Hat revenue up 28% in Q2. Funding for NoSQL vendors. And more.

# Red Hat reported net income of $40m in the second quarter on revenue up 28% to $281.3m.

# 10gen raised $20m in funding, while DataStax closed an $11m series B round, while also releasing its DataStax Enterprise and Community products. Additionally Neo Technology raised $10.6m series A funding.

# Oracle announced the addition of new extended capabilities in MySQL Enterprise Edition. The move confirmed the adoption of the open core licensing strategy, and was both welcomed and derided.

# BonitaSoft announced an $11m series B funding round.\

# Platfora raised $5.7m in series A funding to accelerate development of its BI and analytics platform for data stored in Hadoop.

# EMC launched its EMC Greenplum Modular Data Computing Appliance, which includes both the Greenplum Database and Greenplum HD (Hadoop), and introduced the Greenplum Analytics Workbench, a test bed cluster for integration testing Apache Hadoop.

# Oracle acquired GoAhead Software, which offers a commercial distribution of OpenSAF.

# Ingres changed its name to Actian and launched its Action Apps and Cloud Action Platform.

# Richard Stallman asked ‘Is Android really free software?’. Predictably enough the answer is ‘no’. Carlo Daffara called FUD.

# LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ HPCC Systems released the source code for its HPCC Systems platform, and introduced a covenant to keep contributed code open source for three years.

# OpenStack released Diablo, the fourth version of its open source cloud software.

# The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announced the release of PostgreSQL 9.1.

# VoltDB announced the general availability of VoltDB version 2.0.

# Samsung is reportedly planning to release its Bada mobile operating system under an open source license.

# Karmasphere updated its Karmasphere Analyst Big Data analytics product with new workflow capabilities for Apache Hadoop.

# The Open Virtualization Alliance now has more than 200 members.

# The Outercurve Foundation announced the acceptance of the GADS open source project into its Data, Language and System Interoperability Gallery.

# Openbravo announced that customer deployments of its ERP product on Amazon have increased over 187% in the last 12 months.

# The Apache Software Foundation confirmed Apache Whirr as a top-level project.

# Qt gained more independence from Nokia.

# SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has been selected for Use with SAP HANA.

# Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was certified by SAP to run SAP business applications, as well as support for SAP running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2.

# 10gen’s MongoDB was chosen by SAP as a core component of SAP’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

# Puppet Labs announced Puppet Enterprise 2.0.

# Microsoft added Casio to its list of Linux-related patent agreement signees.

# Dries Buytaert explained why Acquia acquired Cyrve and GVS and addressed concern that Acquia is sucking up all the Drupal talent.

# Medsphere Systems announced the generally availability of the enhanced OpenVista electronic health record (EHR) platform.

# Stormy Peters asked whether open source is excluding high context cultures.

# OpenIndiana’s fork of OpenSolaris added support for the Illumos kernel.

# Cenatic released the results of its research into public administration involvement in open source communities.

# Spring Roo is shifting to be 100% Apache licensed.

# VLC developers are looking for anyone who has contributed to libVLC so that they can approve the change in licence from GPLv2 to LGPLv2.

# Virtual Bridges joined OpenStack.

# Github now has over one million users.

# Splunk open sourced the code for

451 CAOS Links 2011.07.08

Harmony disharmony. Microsoft’s Android revenue. And more.

# The Harmony Project released version 1.0 of its templates for standard contributor license agreements prompting comment and criticism from Dave Neary, Stephen Walli, Richard Fontana and Bradley M Kuhn.

# Microsoft reportedly demanded $15 for each Android smartphone handset made by Samsung, while the company announced a new patent agreement with Wistron that specifically mentioned both Android and Chrome. In case you missed it, it has previously been argued that Microsoft makes more money from Android than it does Windows Phone.

# CloudBees joined the Eclipse Foundation as a Solutions Member and the launched the CloudBees Toolkit for Eclipse plug-in.

# Carlo Daffara discussed open source as a differentiator (or not).

# “SourceForge is based around the idea of hosting open-source projects. GitHub is based around the idea of hosting open-source code.” Why SourceForge Lost

# CERN launched an Open Hardware initiative.

# The Australian government published its Guide to Open Source Software.

# Savio Rodrigues discussed the apparent decline in open source contributions.

# Heroku added support for Clojure.

# Michael Stonebraker argued that Facebook’s MySQL deployment is a fate worse than death.

Tablet fight shaping up as smartphone repeat

Here we go again. Apple is not only leaving opportunity for more open alternatives, it is dismissing the competition, which it apparently thinks either does not or should not exist.

While Apple may be calling its Android-based competition vapor, bizarre or otherwise unmagical, we nonetheless are getting the same signals we did when Android arrived on the smartphone scene a few years ago. First, advertising and marketing campaigns are not limited to Apple’s devices and now include aggressive strategies around Android for smartphones and, such as the case with the new Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab, for tablets. Second, there are a number of significant, powerful and yes, innovative companies that are working on Android devices, strategies, applications and other content. In fact, Android tablets will most certainly benefit from Android smartphones the same way Apple’s iPad and community have benefited from the solid base created with the iPhone. In addition, there is a much broader range of Android devices, including devices that are more specialized, more expensive or, of course, less expensive (I saw an ad for a $110 Android tablet device in the newspaper recently).

Another important signal: developer love for Android. While Apple no doubt continues to attract attention, development, commercial opportunity and market, Android is also identified as a fast-growing ecosystem and a prime target for device makers, developers and ISVs, marketers and others.

All of this means that, just as we saw with Android in the smartphone market, there may be underestimated challenges(451 subscribers) for Apple in tablets, including Android-based devices and the likes of the RIM PlayBook and MeeGo OS.

While netbooks continue to go niche, I also think there is much more promise and potential for Android to power other devices — including netooks. While I joked a couple of years ago about Android going on toasters, it is seriously making inroads among a broad range of electronics and systems manufacturers from all over the world. One of the latest uses of Android: powering a space satellite.

With Android popping up in all of these places, I find it doubtful it will not be significant in tablets, as it has been in smartphones.

451 CAOS Links 2010.10.05

Microsoft sues Motorola. Oracle says no to LibreOffice. Time to fork Java? 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.”

# Microsoft is suing Motorola over alleged Android patent infringements.

# Oracle confirmed to SJVN that it will not be working with the Document Foundation on LibreOffice.

# Sean Michael Kerner reported that Red Hat has settled an alleged patent infringement case with IP firm Acacia Research.

# Greg Luck asked if it is time to fork Java. As did Sacha Labourey.

# Black Duck Software acquired from Geeknet.

# Samsung confirmed that it is dropping support for Symbian.

# xTuple introduced email integration via Feature Mob sponsored feature offering.

# Dana Blankenhorn reported on the rise of business communities.

# Cloudera is building a two-way connector for high-speed data movement between CDH and Aster Data nCluster.

# Ascensio System announced an AMI of its open source project management and collaboration platform TeamLab.

# Percona launched worldwide 24×7 support for MySQL.

# The Software Freedom Conservancy appointed Bradley M. Kuhn as its full-time Executive Director.

# The Register reported that Canonical is adding OpenStack APIs to Ubuntu.

# An overview of the Linux Foundation’s open compliance program.

# Alfresco released Alfresco Community 3.4 with new tools and services for Spring developers.

# Bernard Golden discussed cloud computing, open source, and the next generation of applications.

# Kitware received an $11m contract from DARPA as part of its Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool program.

# Citrix released XenClient version 1.0.

# Peter Ganten said open core is over.

# Dirk Riehle presented his thoughts on the current state of open source business research and future directions.

Open Compliance Program upgrades open source adoption freeway

The Linux Foundation this week launched the Open Compliance Program, its set of open source software tools and training to further ease open source adoption, including a self-assessment checklist and new data exchange standard for reporting software information, such as license and legal requirements. The program consists of six components: tools such as software dependency checker, bill of materials checker and code janitor that covers code in source code comments such as future product information; self-assessment checklist; SPDX standard with workgroup for standardization of bill of materials and labeling of open source components; compliance directory with alerting system; training and education; and community, which is part of FOSSBazaar.

The offering is somewhat similar to what Black Duck Software, OpenLogic, Palamida, Protecode and HP’s open source FOSSology do, though it is not necessarily as comprehensive and thus not as competitive. The Open Compliance Program is intended to help users of open source — which increasingly are mobile device and software makers, embedded software developers and ISVs and service providers — know their code. We’ve previously discussed how difficult economic conditions can benefit open source software, which is (associated with cost savings) and reduce the ‘risk threshold for using open source,’ and now that more organizations are using open source, there is more demand to understand the ramifications and real risks that go along with the benefits.

A long list of supporters and endorsers of the Open Compliance Program include: Adobe, AMD, ARM, Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Novell, Samsung, Sony and the Software Freedom Law Center.

This is not the first effort toward more standardization of the actual adoption of open source software. Previous efforts include the Open Solutions Alliance, which has been fairly quiet since its 2009 merger with the OW2 Consortium. Prior to that, there was the Linux Standard Base, led in large part by Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, who is widely credited for the cross-industry and developing market growth of the foundation’s membership. So while there is always some skepticism and redundancy in such efforts (this one most likely with the existing FOSSBazaar community), the Open Compliance Program appears to be scratching the right itch.

One thing we continue to hear — whether in enterprise software, embedded software, mobile devices, service providers or other markets — is a demand for alternatives amid a lack of standard technology. This highlights the ongoing opportunity for open source software, which has evolved and matured and in many ways come of age, but which still appears to be in the early stages of reaching fall of its potential.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.06.11

Topics for this podcast:

*Linaro reinforces traction for mobile and embedded Linux
*Open source strategy spotlights: Novell, HP
*Riptano makes commercial play with Apache Cassandra
*Linux still tops in Top500 Supercomputers

iTunes or direct download (26:27, 7.3MB)

Apple gets its Android on

Another week, another Apple hype cycle, but what is most interesting about Apple’s recent unveiling of the new iPhone 4 was what came with it — iOS, which is being viewed as Apple’s platform play beyond just iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

What’s also interesting is that recently, we’ve been seeing Android hype actually keep pace with iPhone/iPad hype. We’ve been seeing Android command headlines, not only in smartphones, but also:

Android in tablets, where we are seeing the same type of reaction and strategy in response to iPad as we did from iPhone from a wide array of key vendors and groupings held together by Android.

As we anticipated in our report, Mobility Matters, Android in the enterprise, which also involves cloud connectivity and competition.

Android in automobiles, where we not only see a strong presence for embedded Linux, but we see additional evidence of smartphone players and strategy stretching out to cars and telematics and other devices in RIM’s acquisition of RTOS vendor QNX, which opened its code in response to the surge of Linux in the embedded OS space.

Android in TVs, where there are obvious synergies that fit into Google’s TV play, as well as broader in-home implications.

Android in other mobile devices and electronics as evidenced by the embedded Linux nonprofit Linaro, created by hardware heavies ARM, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericcson and Texas Instruments to support Android, among other Linux-based software, with the latest system-on-chip (SoC) and device technology. Android has been a huge part of the consolidation we’ve seen in embedded Linux that includes Intel-Wind River, Cavium Networks-MontaVista, Mentor Graphics-Embedded Alley and RIM-QNX.

Android in toasters: OK, this was just an on-stage joke at the 451 Group Client Conference last November in Boston, but there may be some company or consortium working on it, so I’ll list it here toward the bottom.

But seriously, it will be interesting to see whether Apple’s advantage in closely connecting the hardware and software will turn into Android’s advantage in the flexibility to run on a wider variety of hardware and devices as competition broadens out beyond the smartphone.

Apple is now more formally aligning its different platforms and devices via the operating system, and this is something that has been happening with Android for at least a couple of years and with Linux for longer. There is no question Apple is finding success with its devices and market growth, but it is also interesting to see a more open alternative giving it real competition, not only in smartphones, but in many more facets of technology and our lives.

451 CAOS Links 2010.06.04

Linaro formed to promote Linux on SoC. Canonical prepares Ubuntu Advantage. And more.

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

# ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments formed Linaro, focused on Linux on SoCs. Meanwhile the organization’s CTO, David Rusling, described the need for Linaro.

# Canonical is reportedly planning a new service option for Ubuntu, known as Ubuntu Advantage.

# A Q&A about the open source ‘R’ programming language with Revolution Analytics CEO and founder Norman Nie.

# Cloudera published Considerations for Hadoop and BI (part 2 of 2).

# Dark Reading reported on Qubes, a new open source OS with disposable virtual machines.

# Roberto Galoppini discussed community as the quintessence of open source.

# Engine Yard introduced xCloud, an expansion of its PaaS strategy.

# Funambol released version 8.5, adding syncing of pictures and rich media between mobile devices and the cloud.

# Opscode hired Adrian Cole, founder of

# An Olliance Group interview with Daniel Chalef, CEO KnowledgeTree.

# NetworkWorld reported on the positive aspects of an OSS project being acquired.

# Carlo Daffara proposed a tax-exempt structure for corporate OSS development.

# xTuple launched Web Portal, proving integration of its open source ERP software with Drupal.

Microsoft-Amazon IP deal dusts up old target Linux story

To be completely honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of Microsoft’s latest IP deal, this time with Amazon centering on the Kindle e-reader. While I’ve spent the last few years highlighting how Microsoft’s IP licensing strategy is more about IP licensing strategy and less about tearing down Linux and open source software, the latest confidential deal seems to whip up the role of Linux and open source in the agreement.

First, I think there needs to be some clarification on these deals. One of the reasons I’ve argued they are more about IP licensing and less about targeting Linux and open source is the sheer volume of deals Microsoft has done since it initiated this strategy in late 2003: more than 600. Among the licensees are some Linux and open source-focused vendors, but only Novell is an open source-centered company on the list, which also includes Apple, HP, LG Electronics, Nikon, Pentax, Pioneer and Samsung.

Second, let’s use the TomTom suit — which indeed involved Microsoft’s FAT patents and TomTom’s implementation of Linux — as an example. In that case, we saw Microsoft focusing more on the embedded device market and potential licensing revenue than on making a point to involve Linux and open source software, both in comments to the press and in a press release on the matter, which makes no mention at all of Linux or open source. Despite the assumed and/or intended effort toward FUD over Linux with the TomTom suit, which was eventually settled, I stand by my earlier contention that the impact was minimal either way.

Then there was another IP deal between Microsoft and Melco Group, maker of the Buffalo NAS software. Didn’t know they were a Linux company? Neither did I, and I get paid to cover Linux and open source software in the industry. The point is that if we consider Melco Group a Linux company, then we can also assume the same for nearly every single hosting company, telecommunications company, set-top box manufacturer, satellite TV service operator, printer maker, navigational device manufacturer, server performance vendor, HPC clustering specialist, cloud computing player or any number of others I’m leaving out.

So I had grown accustomed to the pattern of: Microsoft IP deal with companyXYZ; now find the Linux or open source piece; now proclaim the war is on. I had also grown tired of proclamations that Linux and its developers and its users and its future were on the line, and was ready to take the advice of Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin not to rubberneck on this one, either.

But now, I’m beginning to question why Linux and open source get such prominent mention in the press release on this latest deal with Amazon. Others have questioned why Amazon would agree to such a deal, and while I believe it’s often a reality of best interest/better than court, I also question how far any attempt at FUD can really travel in an industry that has largely already made its decision on Linux. For the most part and in most every case, the benefits outweigh the risks, whether they be real or perceived.

451 CAOS Links 2009.12.15

Recent non-Oracle/EC/MySQL news.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and
“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

# Novell reshuffled its Linux business into Security, Management and Operating Platforms business unit.

# HP partnered with Red Hat, Novell and Microsoft to target Sun migrations.

# The US DoJ asked for an extension to the antitrust judgment against Microsoft by at least 18 months.

# MuleSoft announced the availability of its Tcat Server 6 R2.

# Best Buy, Samsung, and JVC were among the 14 companies named in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the SFLC.

# SteelEye formed an alliance with EnterpriseDB for business continuity, data replication.

# Mark Radcliffe reported on Artifex v Palm.

# Russell Nelson discussed open source and trademark usage.

# A GNOME developer reportedly proposed a vote on splitting from GNU.

451 CAOS Links 2009.11.13

Symbian’s future in the balance? All Go for Chrome OS. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and
“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

Symbian’s future in the balance?
The H reported that Samsung is to abandon Symbian in favour of Windows Mobile, Android and the new Samsung bada OS, while Samsung later denied that it is ditching Symbian. Meanwhile John Mark Walker asked, is the Symbian Foundation DOA?

All Go for Google Chrome OS
Google introduced Go, a new experimental open source development language, while TechCrunch reported that Google’s Chrome OS will be available within a week.

Best of the rest
# Cavium Networks signed a definitive agreement to acquire MontaVista Software for $50m.

# Microsoft asked Supreme Court to reaffirm that abstract ideas, as in Bilski case, cannot and should not be patentable.

# Ars Technica reported that Microsoft pulled its Windows 7 tool after GPL violation claims.

# MindTouch launched MindTouch Enterprise Dashboards, providing real time enterprise mash-ups.

# Three new members have been elected to the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board.

# An interesting article on community contributions and copyright assignment, from

# CollabNet introduced version 2.0 of open source CollabNet Desktop – Visual Studio Edition.

# Vyatta released an alpha version of Vyatta Core 6 (VC6), its open source router, firewall and VPN software.

# Savio Rodrigues doubted ZDnet’s interpretation of Black Duck figures indicating $26m saved per project due to OSS.

# Zenoss integration with Plixer’s Scrutinizer NetFlow and sFlow Analyzer products is now available with Zenoss Core.

# Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft’s open source Orchard CMS is the project formerly known as Oxite.

# SpringSource claimed has improved developer productivity 400% with Groovy and Grails.

# Matt Asay explained why open source provides a platform for monetization, but not the best way to generate cash.

# Open Source magazine published Open Source Compliance: Getting Started Guide.

# Gear6 has released Gear6 Web Cache Universal Distro, a software distribution of Memcached.

# Mark Stone explained the point of the Codeplex Foundation (with a little help from Greg Stein).

Mobile Linux consolidation is for real

We’ve been talking on our blog and podcast about mobile Linux, and some of our findings from CAOS 10 – Mobility Matters. We’re seeing signs that we, along with mobile Linux and open source in general, are on the right track. It seems after a few fits and starts over the past few years, mobile Linux, consolidation and broader market share are all finally for real.

Here are a few developments that back up the contention:

*Esmertec buying Purple Labs to create Myriad Group AG: Esmertec, which is among software vendors in the Open Handset Alliance leveraging Android, is paying $82.4m in shares for Purple Labs, a mobile Linux, browser and messaging vendor. The combined company, Myriad, claims combined revenue in 2009 of around $125 million and represents 800 developers in America, Asia and Europe.

*A second major manufacturer and carrier (HTC and Vodafone) are bringing a second Android phone, the Magic, to market, highlighting the consolidation around Google’s Linux-based Android OS for the consumer space. We note in CAOS 10 how these first Android phones portend a positive future for the OS and open source on phones, and based on what we see today, that continues to be the case. We expect we’ll be seeing many more Android-based phones from major OEMs and carriers throughout the rest of 2009.

*There are also a number of new models coming out with LiMo, the mobile Linux consortium, software and specs on board. These include handsets from LG, Panasonic and Samsung. While LiMo is also looking to move beyond Asia and Europe and into the U.S., so is its opening competition from Nokia’s Symbian, which is in the process of being open sourced. Nokia and Qualcomm, which is also a backer of mobile Linux, plan on bringing Symbian phones to the U.S. We also discussed increasing competition among LiMo and Symbian in CAOS 10 and whether across the oceans or now in North America, this rivalry seems to be building.

These are all continued validation that the latest mobile efforts around Linux and open source software are truly contributing to consolidation, something the hardware, software and carrier players now pushing it have wanted for a long time.

Motorola going leaner with mobile Linux, Android

Motorola is reportedly trimming its work force, something that would not normally be particularly notable given the company’s stiff competition from Research in Motion (RIM), Apple’s iPhone and others, as well as the difficult economy. However, according to a Wall Street Journal report, Motorola is also narrowing its focus to the Linux-based, Google Android OS. While we might expect Motorola, which is a member of the Android-centered Open Handset Alliance, to be working on Android phones, the device manufacturer has historically focused on lower end feature phones and other operating systems.

Motorola is not alone in its mobile Linux focus and the OHA is not the only mobile Linux effort to attract significant attention and investment from a variety of players, including chipmakers, handset makers, software developers and providers, wireless carriers and services companies. Another group that is also focused on a more unified mobile Linux environment and effort is LiMO. Although many, including us, have been skeptical of mobile Linux consortia the likes of which we have seen before, LiMO has managed to attract significant members, release software and get phones in the market (though limited mainly to Asia). Still, between the membership of the OHA and LiMO and considering vendors that belong to both — Broadcom, LG, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Wind River and others — it’s clear that there is unprecedented focus on and investment in mobile Linux. Another recent indicator of the rising significance of mobile Linux: Motorola and fellow OHA member Qualcomm were among those recruiting Linux developers at the recent Linux Plumbers Conference.

We also hear from a variety of mobile vendors, particularly outside the U.S., that there is a general move toward openness in the mobile industry. The mobile industry has always been forced to be more open — with code and APIs more readily available compared to enterprise software in general — but now we see open standards and flexibility winning over wireless carriers, hardware manufacturers and others eager to spur and speed device and application development. We asked recently whether mobile open source software players would learn from the more closed approach of other players, and this is included in a pending CAOS long report on mobile open source. One thing seems clear now from Motorola’s latest moves and the consortia we’ve mentioned here: the answer for many vendors seeking a response to the upheaval of the iPhone and the race toward innovative, Internet-enabled smartphones that are still affordable is mobile Linux.

Will mobile open source learn from closed?

I’ve been talking to mobile OS, mobile middleware and mobile application vendors over the last few weeks as part of my research for another CAOS special report on open source in the mobile market. At the same time, the news has been full of headlines about the first Google Android phone, the outlook for an open-sourced Symbian and of course, Apple’s iPhone.

The timing seems interesting to me, as Google attempts to leverage a mobile Linux OS and open source to garner its usual developer strength, and Apple works to control its mobile OS and the applications that may or may not run on it.

No question Android is aimed primarily at extending Google’s own applications to mobile devices. I’ve also covered some of the issues with Google’s Chrome browser and overall open source strategy. However, compared to Apple, which has increasingly been the focus of skepticism from FOSS supporters, Google seems to be much more open, both in the sense of code and to the idea of third-party development. Google and Android are also getting some help from members of the Open Handset Alliance (HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and others). Despite a previous lack of mobile operator on board, T-Mobile has of course stepped up to sell services for the first Android phone, HTC’s G1. Google’s partnership with Amazon for Android support in its music store and a more open Android Market are also significant for Apple and the market.

If Google and OHA are not learning from Apple’s moves, both good and bad, there are others who may be able to take advantage of a more open approach. In fact, the two with perhaps the most to learn, Nokia’s open sourced Symbian and the larger LiMO consortium, are most likely to compete with one another given their strength and presence in markets outside of North America — mainly Asia and Europe. Interesting developments here include the recent inclusion of Open Kernel Labs and its embedded hypervisor technology in the Symbian Partner Network. As for LiMO, the mobile Linux consortium that includes membership from a number of hardware, software and mobile operator players, just announced a Panasonic phone that is the 23rd LiMO-compliant handset in the market.