451 CAOS Links 2011.08.26

Jive Software files for IPO. VMware adds Python and PHP to Cloud Foundry. And more.

# Jive Software filed for a $100m IPO.

# VMware launched the beta availability of Micro Cloud Foundry and announced that ActiveState and AppFog would be adding Python/Django and PHP respectively to the Cloudfoundry.org project.

# Meanwhile Salesforce.com’s Heroku added support for Java.

# Eucalyptus Systems announced the launch of Eucalyptus 3.

# EnterpriseDB announced the general availability of Postgres Enterprise Manager as well as the launch of Postgres Plus Cloud Server.

# MOSAID Technologies has filed a patent infringement complaint against Red Hat, as well as another complaint against IBM, Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, NetApp and VMWare.

# The Outercurve Foundation announced the contribution of the OData Validation project.

# Rackspace Hosting announced the availability of professional training for OpenStack delivered by Rackspace Cloud Builders.

# Brian Proffitt did his research on GPL violations of the Linux kernel and found the sky is not falling.

# The Document Foundation announced the forthcoming election of its board of directors.

# Simon Phipps outlined the seven corporate steps towards software freedom.

# Icinga launched version 1.5 of its Nagios fork.

FLOSSmole has published a comparison of 24 software forges.

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.

451 CAOS Links 2011.06.14

Apache OpenOffice.org proposal approved. SkySQL Tekes new funding. And more.

# The proposal for OpenOffice.org to become an Apache incubator project was unanimously approved.

# Rob Weir discussed how the relationship between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice need not be a zero-sum game.

# Simon Phipps offered his thoughts on the potential positive and negative outcomes.

# Tekes, the main public funding agency for research, development, and innovation in Finland, awarded SkySQL a grant of €250,000 and a loan of over €600,000.

# Opscode announced the general availability of Opscode Hosted Chef, formerly the Opscode Platform, and launched the Private Chef appliance.

# Infobright launched version 4.0 of its open source analytic database.

# Glyn Moody questioned whether we still need the FSF, GNU and the GPL.

# Cenatic published its analysis of the criteria for adopting open source software in public administrations.

# Nuxeo and Hippo announced a technology alliance through which they have built an ECM/WCM connector based on the OASIS CMIS standard.

# The VAR Guy wondered whether Canonical’s Ubuntu focus is too diverse.

# Sandro Groganz discussed what US-based open source vendors need to know about Europe.

# The Xen code for Dom0 has been accepted into the Linux mainline kernel.

# Brian Proffitt covered the two faces of UK open source.

# The VAR Guy encouraged Adobe to engage more with open source.

# Matt Asay pondered Red Hat’s potential to challenge Oracle with a database of its own.

Opening up the Open Source Initiative

One of the ironies of open source over the years has been that the organisation formed to “educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source”, the Open Source Initiative, was itself *perceived to be* something of a closed shop [see the comments for clarification on this point].

That is set to change as the OSI has publicly launched its plan to encourage greater participation by shifting to a membership model and elected board members. The plan was announced during a session at the Open Source Business Conference (slides) and is part of an effort to focus on the second half of the organisation’s mission statement: “to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community”.

As OSI director Simon Phipps explains in an interview with The H, the plan is to begin welcoming existing open source-related organisations into an affiliate programme, staring with non-profit open source foundations (hopefully by OSCON), followed by for-profit organisations (but not corporations) and government bodies. There will also be a separate Corporate Advisory Board for corporations, and a Personal Affiliate Scheme for individuals.

The exact plan for voting rights and the board election process is still to be decided but a complex arrangement involving an electoral college formed of delegates from groups of affiliates and the OSI’s working groups has been proposed.

The complexity seems to have been born out of two requirements: a desire to ensure that working group participants are not out-numbered by affiliates, and to ensure that the OSI cannot be subverted by any single affiliate (or more specifically corporation) gaining too much power.

Protecting the OSI from subversion is clearly an important goal, although having read the proposal and discussion it does seem to me that this is receiving more attention than is perhaps strictly necessary (as an aside Henrik Ingo has proposed supermajority voting requirements to shield the Open Source Definition from being unnecessarily tinkered with which to my mind provides the security required without associated complexity).

Arguably, a fate equal to the subversion of the OSI would be irrelevance. Rather than assuming that organisations will seek to over-run the OSI, I believe more attention should be being placed on ensuring that organisations will seek to join. The OSI remains well-respected, but I believe that for many of the different constituencies in the open source community it is not entirely clear what it is that the OSI contributes beyond its traditional role of protecting the Open Source Definition and approving associated licenses.

During the launch presentation Simon Phipps made a good case for the increasing relevance of the OSI (such as its involvement in the investigation of the sale of Novell’s patents to CPTN) but the launch was very sparsely attended, even taking into account the business-focused audience and the fact that it was a late addition to schedule, and media attention for the membership plan has been thin on the ground.

For those already involved in the OSI its importance is self-evident. It is those outside that need to be brought in, however, and I know there are some that will need persuading that the OSI remains relevant if they are to give their time – and also their money – to join.

The expanded membership scheme is likely to require full-time staff that will need to be paid for, and it seems likely that the OSI will need to raise funds either through the affiliate schemes or corporate advisory board.

Deciding the nature and involvement of that Corporate Advisory Board is something that hasn’t been addressed as yet and could pose a significant challenge as different people will have different perspectives about what business entities and strategies are considered acceptable in relation to open source.

For example, during the opening remarks at the OSBC presentation Simon Phipps made reference to companies with “dubious” business strategies attempting to “game” open source.

While I am sure Simon was expressing his own views, rather than those of the OSI, he is clearly not the only person involved in this process with that perspective (hence the concern about subversion).

To be clear, there was no direct suggestion that such companies would not be welcome, but if the new OSI is to “build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community” it will be important to avoid any comments that could be seen to be discriminatory.

Open source means different things to different organisations, such that opening up the membership of the OSI was always going to be a complicated process. The plans for the affiliate programme are well thought out (if arguably overly complex) and it is understandable that corporate involvement has been set aside until the end of the year.

Previous attempts to create a membership/affiliate scheme have floundered, so the OSI board is to be congratulated in its progress so far. Anyone interested in joining the process should start with the slides which include the relevant links and contact details.

Things I wrote down during OSBC 2011

Two years ago I published a post entitled “things I wrote down during OSBC”. It tuned out to be surprisingly popular, so I decided to try the same formula again.

Just as was the case two years ago these are presented chronologically. I wrote down a lot more than this, to be clear, but these were the most quote-worthy things. Also, as in 2009, some of them confirm things we already think about commercial open source (or in some cases data management), others were interesting ways of expressing old ideas:

“The next generation of computing is being led by users, rather than vendors.”
Jim Whitehurst

“The value of open source has moved from commoditization to innovation.”
Michael Skok

“I believe we’re experiencing the beginning of an ecosystem that will eventually rival that of the relational database.”
Mike Olson

“We’ve over-used relational models for too long.”
Adrian Kunzle

“There really is a role for ad hoc support rather than support subscriptions that provide insurance that we don’t get a lot of value out of.”
Adrian Kunzle

“IT departments don’t want to move data, they want to do data processing where the data lives.”
David Champagne

“The terminology ‘NoSQL’ is as bad or probably worse than ‘big data’. It’s not about the query language, it’s about the data model.”
James Phillips

“The value in performing analytics on all of your data is way better than having the best algorithm to analyze a sample of data.”
Amr Awadallah

“If you choose not to have a contributor agreement, that’s fine. If you choose to have one we think it’s better to have a standard contribution agreement.”
Amanda Brock

“There is a significant transaction cost to having a contributor agreement.”
Simon Phipps

“These days you have to be cagey to manage to avoid one terabyte of data: you need to be aggressive about throwing stuff away.”
Mike Olson

“Having Rob Bearden talk about operationalizing open source is like Jesus coming to the Vatican and explaining what he really meant.”
Peter Fenton

“The common misconception is that open source means open development and an open loop. That turns out to be not empirically proven.”
Peter Fenton

“There are three components [to operationalizing open source]: technology, community and the business model. If you don’t get the first two right the third is irrelevant.”
Rob Bearden

“The size and health of a community is directly proportional to the innovation, complexity of the problem and the size of the market it disrupts.”
Rob Bearden

“Misalignment between a business model and the community’s tolerance point will never be accepted. This will manifest itself in multiple distributions.”
Rob Bearden

(Incidentally, I would encourage anyone with an interest in open source-related business strategies to download the slides from Peter and Rob’s presentation.)

“The best place for open source is a market that’s well-defined, where you can disrupt the price point, not the features and functionality.”
David Skok

(Similarly David Skok’s slides are a must-have for anyone with an interest in sales and marketing aspects of open source-related business strategies.)

“We’ve been aware for some time that some sort of reform was needed for the OSI.”
Simon Phipps

(Also, anyone interested in the plan to reform the membership of the Open Source Initiative should download these slides.)

451 CAOS Links 2010.12.01

Red Hat acquires Makara. Funding for Abiquo and CloudBees. 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.”

# Red Hat acquired Makara to boost its PaaS strategy. The 451 Group perspective (for clients).

# Abiquo raised $10m in series B funding led by Balderton Capital.

# CloudBees raised $4m from Matrix Partners, Marc Fleury and Bob Bickel.

# Tasktop released version 1.8 of its Mylyn-based Tasktop Enterprise software.

# Black Duck partnered with open source software support specialist Credativ.

# Liferay added the Liferay Enterprise Support Application (LESA) to its Enterprise Edition product.

# rPath and CollabNet announced a partnership to deliver an integrated offering for devops.

# Grid Dynamics released Grid4Search, a new open source tool to Oracle Coherence with Apache Lucene.

# Nike released its Environmental Apparel Design Tool under a Creative Commons license.

# Simon Phipps noted that crowdsourcing is not open source.

# Splashtop delivered the beta of Splashtop OS, a Chromium-based net/notebook operating system.

# Flock updated its Chromium-based social browser to version 3.5.

# Henrik Ingo examined how to grow your open source project 10x and revenues 5x.

# WAndisco made certified Subversion 1.6.15 binaries available for free download.

# Matt Asay’s perspective on Attachmate’s acquisition of Novell – and what might have been.

# Henrik Ingo offered his perspective on our Control and Community report and an open core analogy.

# The Symbian Foundation will be shutting its web sites on December 17.

451 CAOS Links 2010.11.19

Mozilla releases financial results. Mylyn integrates with Visual Studio. 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.”

# Mozilla published details of its 2009 financial results.

# TaskTop announced Mylyn interoperability with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

# Azigo completed a $2.25m funding round for its interest-based interactive advertising software, based on Higgins.

# Betrand Diard explained why Talend raised $34m, and hints at what the company plans to do with it.

# Roberto Galoppini offered his thoughts on our Control and Community report.

# Ian Skerrett offered a top five best practices for a successful open development community.

# Simon Phipps continued the discussion on the differences between contributor and participant agreements.

# Microsoft announced a new open source extension for Word that integrates with MediaWiki.

# MyCube launched MyCube Vault, and open source backup software project.

# VMware’s vFabric Hyperic is now offered as part of VMware Zimbra Appliance.

451 CAOS Links 2010.09.10

Delayed reactions to Oracle vs Google. Liferay EE 6. CouchOne Mobile. 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 Free Software Foundation issued a statement on Oracle vs Google.

# Carlo Piana received assurance that Oracle is not embarking on an attack on free and open source software.

# Larry Rosen published his thoughts on open standards in the light of Oracle vs Google. (PDF)

# Liferay launched Liferay Portal 6 Enterprise Edition.

# Couchio changed its name to CouchOne and launched the CouchOne Mobile application development platform.

# Steven J Vaughan Nichols provided an overview of the ongoing Android/Linux kernel brouhaha.

# Directgov’s agile development team is seeking advice on which OSS licenses to use for government and public projects.

# Automattic handed the WordPress trademark to the WordPress Foundation.

# Simon Phipps discussed the various types of open source community.

# The Register reported on how Google’s search infrastructure has evolved beyond MapReduce.

# Dave Rosenberg discussed how GE uses Hadoop to analyze big data with GE’s Linden Hillenbrand.

# FierceGovernmentIT published a Q&A with Red Hat’s Gunnar Hellekson on open source adoption in government.

# The Illumos-based OpenIndiana distribution of OpenSolaris will launch on September 14.

# eZ Systems is opening up the development of eZ Publish with creation of eZ Publish Community Project.

# The H reported that the legal battle between NetApp and Sun, centered on the ZFS filesystem, has come to an end.

# Magento announced the public launch of its Magento Mobile ecommerce platform.

# Cloud Linux and Ksplice launched a rebootless Linux distribution for hosting service providers.

# Open-Xchange updated its open source collaboration software to version 6.18.

# The Microsoft CodePlex.com team donated $25,000 to the Mercurial project.

451 CAOS Links 2010.08.27

Red Hat takes a PaaS at the cloud. Novell’s Linux revenues slide. 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.”

# Red Hat outlined its PaaS strategy as part of its Cloud Foundations portfolio.

# Red Hat submitted the API specification for Apache Deltacloud to the Distributed Management Task Force.

# Novell reported (PDF) Linux platform product revenue of $35.5m in Q3, down 7.1%. Total revenue was $199m, down 7.9%.

# Simon Phipps asked whether open source communities should avoid contributor agreements.

# OpenGeo announced the release of OpenGeo Suite Cloud Edition.

# UK councilor, Liam Maxwell, said central govt is holding up adoption of OSS, councils could save at least £51m.

# Sacha Labourey launched CloudBees, offering PaaS for Java applications based on Hudson Continuous Integration.

# Simon Phipps said “which open source licence” is the wrong question.

# Matt Asay asked “can open source be saved from itself?”

# Motorola has reportedly acquired 280 North – creators of open source Cappuccino app framework – for $20m.

# Marten Mickos explained Eucalyptus Systems’ perspective on the NASA/OpenStack brouhaha.

# Carlo Daffara explained the intricacies involved in open source software license selection.

# Colosa released the enterprise edition of its ProcessMaker BPM software.

# Eucalyptus Systems released version 2.0 of its open source private cloud software.

# ZDNet reported on the importance of VMware to Novell.

# ReadWriteWeb explained why Large Hadron Collider scientists are using CouchDB.

# Diaspora, the “open source Facebook” will launch on September 15.

# Simon Phipps explained why GNU/Linux is finally Free software.

On copyright assignment, contributor and participant agreements

Simon Phipps has published an interesting post today examining the issue of contributor agreements and copyright assignment.

This is an issue that has been thrown into focus by the recent debate about the open core licensing strategy, and the disagreement between NASA and Eucalyptus Systems, and is likely to remain significant thanks to Project Harmony.

Simon’s post is an interesting introduction to the topic but is particularly important, to my mind, as he has attempted to differentiate between agreements that require copyright assignment to a controlling organisation (which Simon refers to as “contributor agreements”, and those that do not (“participant agreements”).

It is important to make the distinction as it is the contributor or participant agreement that defines the terms of the relationships among the developers of a project, and whether such a community exists at all.

It is rare to find someone making the distinction but it is important to do so because, as I have found from experience, it can lead to confusion: I was surprised on one occasion to find someone disagreeing with my assertion that contributor agreements were controversial, until it became clear that they were thinking of participant agreements.

However, it is also important not to assume that contributor agreements are automatically bad, just because participant agreements are automatically good.

As we previously noted, “copyright control has a symbiotic relationship with both the open source software license and the development strategy, and is influential in determining both the end user license strategy and therefore the choice of revenue trigger”.

Clearly copyright assignment is integral to the dual licensing and open core licensing strategies in enabling those vendors to sell closed-source licenses to the core project and extensions, and it does restrict developer communities in those situations.

However, as Simon briefly explains, copyright assignment is equally used by other organisations, such as the Free Software Foundation, to protect the core project. Glyn Moody described the potential benefits of such an arrangement earlier this week, while Tarus Balog provides another example of copyright assignment protecting an open source project.

That is why, in our assessment of open source-related business strategies, we make a distinction between copyright that is owned by (and assigned to) a vendor, copyright that is owned by (and assigned to) a foundation, and copyright ownership that is distributed amongst participants.

While I totally agree with Simon that relaxing control over a project enables the benefits of true community development, copyright assignment needn’t negate those benefits entirely, and we should be wary of lumping contributor agreements in the same bucket as open core.

That said, the differentiation between contributor agreements and participant agreements is a good start.

NOTE Anyone interested in Project Harmony and contributor/participant agreements should be aware that a workshop to discuss project Harmony will talke place at the Open World Forum in Paris in September.

451 CAOS Links 2010.07.20

The creation and implications of Openstack. Yet more core. 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.”

OpenStack
# Rackspace announced that it is open sourcing its cloud platform and collaborating with NASA and others on OpenStack.

# Cloudera’s Ed Albanese explained the importance of OpenStack in the relationship between OSS and cloud.

# Matt Asay explained why Rackspace’s open cloud just might work.

Yet more core
# Simon Phipps explored whether OpenStack is, in part, a response to Eucalyptus’s open core approach.

# Simon Phipps on “open source business”.

# Monty Widenius attempted to define “open source company”

# Andrew Oliver offered “a simple declaration about open core”.

# Dave Neary weighed in on the open core debate.

# More on open core from Tarus Balog and Russ Nelson.

# Dana Blankenhorn asked who should pay with open core and examined the paid-free boundary.

Best of the rest
# Puppet Labs raised $5m series B from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

# The European Commission committed 3.3m euro to continue its open source and reusable data projects.

# Kirk Wylie explained why OpenGamma hasn’t released its open source software yet.

# The Open Information Security Foundation announced Suricata 1.0, an open source engine for intrusion detection.

# Zenoss released Zenoss Core 3.

# Likewise Software claimed a record first half.

# Protecode launched version 4 of its code scanning software and open source license management system.

# Heroku is now supporting CouchDB, MongoDB, Membase/Memcached and Redis via the Heroku Add-on System.

# The H reported that individual Symbian devs have formed a cooperative to ensure they are part of the Symbian Foundation.

# The VAR Guy reported that Canonical is lloking for 10 new hosting partners.

# Pentaho estimated that customers have accrued $2bn cumulative savings on license and maintenance costs.

# Nexenta Systems claimed a 351% revenue increase in the first half of 2010.

# MariaDB’s storage engine is now known as Aria.

# Microsoft’s IronPython, IronRuby and Dynamic Language Runtime are now under the Apache 2.0 license.

451 CAOS Links 2010.07.16

SugarCRM. Funding for EnterpriseDB and Morphlabs. Even more core. 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.”

Bittersweet
# OStatic asked whether SugarCRM has violated open source principles.

# Larry Augustin clarified SugarCRM’s approach to open source and openness.

# Savio Rodrigues advised anyone considering SugarCRM not to get hung-up on source code availability.

Funding round
# EnterpriseDB has reportedly raised $7.5m of a planned $12m round of funding.

# Morphlabs raised $5.5m series B financing from Frontera Group, CSK Venture Capital and AO Capital Partners.

Even more core
# Jack Repenning called for an exploration of the delicate line between “crippleware” and “added value.”

# Likewise Software argued that customers drive open core.

# Stephen Walli explained how the success or failure of an open core model depends on execution.

Best of the rest
# Simon Phipps explained what led the OpenSolaris Governing Board to issue its ultimatum to Oracle.

# A Jaspersoft survey suggested Oracle’s acquisition of Sun may spark resurgence of Java and faster growth of MySQL.

# The Apache Software Foundation announced its new board members.

# Talend grew its customer base by 50% to over 1,500 customers in the first half of 2010, with 450,000 open source users.

# Part two of TEC’s interview with Consona’s CEO about its acquisition of Compiere.

# Are WordPress themes required to use the GPL? Tris Hussey provided an into to the ongoing debate.

# Joyent acquired software virtual server management tools provider Layerboom Systems.

# Opsview released version 3.8 of Opsview Enterprise, claiming data collection performance improvements over Nagios.

# Linux Journal reported that Mandriva’s press release raises more questions than answers.

# Cloudera is building a connector between Netezza’s TwinFin appliance and Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop.

# The end of Micosoft’s agreement with the UK NHS provides an opportunity for open source.

# Vodafone Group announced that it will make its location based services software open source.

# SourceForge launched its new forge development platform. Adobe is the first user.

# Glyn Moody published a Q&A with Richard Stallman on .NET, Mono and DotGNU.

# Couchio announced the release of CouchDB 1.0, the Apache NoSQL document database.

# MindTouchlaunched MindTouch 2010, including curation analytics for content and documentation.

# nPulse Technologies delivered its Dragonfly family of open source-based high-speed network sensors.

# A man walks in to a bar… Yves de Montcheuil is in search of a suitable analogy for open source and the cloud.

Do customers want open core?

There is renewed and meaningful discussion going about open core with several good insights and arguments: Simon Phipps, Mark Radcliffe, Stephen O’Grady and our own Matt Aslett to name a few.

Still, when we consider the various people and sides arguing for and against pure open source, open core or something in between, I wonder if there is one key group being left out of all this discussion going on amongst vendors, open source companies, open core companies, open source projects, open source developers, open source investors, open source analysts and others: customers.

It’s been my experience that customers typically want the features and insurance (SLAs, indemnity, certification) of open core, provided it remains flexible and the code and option to self-support always exist with a usable, updated, free, open source community version. As we saw when we surveyed open source users and customers, while cost continues to be a big driver, flexibility is among the most cited reasons for and advantages from open source software. While ‘flexibility’ can be admittedly nebulous, what we hear from customers is that they want the freedom and free availability of open source software, but they also want and need the option of paid, commercial support, features and functionality.

Whether a vendor is pure open source or mostly proprietary open core, the advantages of open source software — reduced vendor lock-in, future-proofing and the freedom to continue working with the code, to work with other community members on the code and its direction, the option of self-supporting or otherwise continuing with the code, but not the vendor — all of these things come only with truly open source software and open source communities. I believe the community around the software and its well-being is the true differentiator when it comes to success with commercial open source, whether pure open source or proprietary-heavy open core. If the free, community version is truly crippleware or even if it is not updated and vibrant, then the vendor is less likely to reap or offer those advantages of open source. If the community version is comparable except for higher-level features, functionality and scale, and if that community is supported by the vendor and the community version is updated in parallel with the paid versions (which we typically see in successful open core models), then the vendor is more likely to reap and offer those advantages. The bottom line: flexibility and freedom for the user/customer are not tied to the vendor’s license or business model, be it pure open source, open core or other, but instead are connected to the state and health of the open source software community that is the basis for that vendor’s offering.

I’ve heard similar arguments and demands for flexibility — the option for free community versions that provide decent functionality and features along with the option for more advanced features and subscriptions in paid versions — from vendors that partner with open source software-based companies. Often, there is a reticence and inability, sometimes by policy or procedural rules, to effectively work with an open source software project or community, but once a vendor that supports that software and community commercially emerges, the opportunities for partnership become much more practical and doable. That does not mean the commercial backer has to take an open core route, but I believe the demand for things typically associated with traditional, proprietary software, such as SLAs, indemnity and certifications, are part of what drives demand for open core among open source customers.

This further reinforces the idea that the market and the customers will determine the success or failure of an open source-centered or focused vendor, regardless of how pure open source or proprietary open core they are. Whichever side or wherever in the arguments you find yourself, I believe we should consider IT end users and customers more in this discussion, since they’re always right, right?

451 CAOS Links 2010.07.02

Funding for Eucalytus and Moodlerooms. SkySQL offers support for MySQL. 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.”

# Eucalyptus Systems raised $20m in a second round of funding led by New Enterprise Associates.

# Moodlerooms reportedly raised $7.15m in equity funding.

# SkySQL announced its intention to provide support & services for the MySQL ecosystem.

# StatusNet launched the open source StatusNet Desktop Client.

# Rhomobile released Rhodes 2.0 under the MIT License.

# The H reported that Oracle has joined the SQLite Consortium.

# Icinga marked its first year as an open source monitoring project.

# Rivet Logic announced a partnership with Lucid Imagination on open source content and search technologies.

# Jedox increased its licence turnover by over 100% in the first half of 2010 and signed 50 new customers.

# Axial Exchange partnered with MuleSoft to release a new open source healthcare interoperability platform.

# IBM is moving to Firefox as its

# The VAR Guy examined the rumour that VMware has bid to acquire Novell.

# Zenoss released Zenoss Enterprise 3.0.

# Sones released its first open source version of GraphDB, a NoSQL graph database.

# Likewise released version 6.0 of its Likewise Open authentication software.

# A Q&A with Oracle chief corporate architect Edward Screven on the importance of open source and open standards.

# Ulteo released version 2.5 of its open source virtual desktop software.

# Marten Mickos responded to Simon Phipps’ criticism of the open core model.

# Stephen O’Grady explained why open core is the new dual licensing.

# xTuple updated its open source business management software and expanded its xTuple Cloud Service.

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?”

451 CAOS Links 2010.06.29

Elephants on parade: Hadoop goes mainstream. 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.”

Elephants on parade
# Cloudera launched v3 of its Distribution for Hadoop and released v1 of Cloudera Enterprise.

# Karmasphere released new Professional and Analyst Editions of its Hadoop development and deployment studio.

# Talend announced that its Integration Suite now offers native support for Hadoop.

# Yahoo announced the beta release of Hadoop with Security and Oozie, Yahoo’s workflow engine for Hadoop.

# Datameer announced a strategic partnership with Zementis for predictive analytics on Hadoop.

# The Register reported that Twitter is set to open source its MySQL-to-Hadoop tool.

# MicroStrategy announced support for Apache Hadoop as a data source for MicroStrategy 9.

# Appistry announced Hadoop-based strategic alliances Concurrent, Datameer and Kitenga.

# GOTO Metrics released Data Analytics Platform, a Hadoop-based business intelligence platform.

Best of the rest
# The Software Freedom Law Center responded to the Supreme Court’s decision on Bilski v. Kappos, while Mark Radcliffe provided his thoughts.

# David Wiley discussed openness, radicalism, and tolerance (and the lack of it).

# Jorg Janke discussed how Compiere overstepped the balance between proprietary and open product components.

# Simon Phipps argued that open core is bad for software freedom.

# Nick Halsey joined SugarCRM as chief marketing officer.

# DotNetNuke more than doubled its subscription customers in 1H10 to nearly 800, expects 400% FY revenue growth.

# Nuxeo announced its new Nuxeo Case Management Framework.

# Mike Masnick discussed why the lack of billion dollar pure play open source software companies is a good thing.

# The Apache Software Foundation announced Apache Tomcat Version 7.0.

# Glyn Moody asked whether Oracle has been a disaster for Sun’s open source.

# Infoworld discussed eight business strategies for profiting from open source software.

# Computerworld reported that Red Hat CEO sees VMware as biggest competitor.

# IBM published an essay on the role Linux plays in its smarter planet initiative.

# Groklaw asked, What did Microsoft know about SCO’s plan to attack Linux, and when did it know it?

# Mozilla won the American Business Award for the most innovative company of the year.

451 CAOS Links 2010.06.15

Your chance to change the OSI. Funding for Appcelerator. 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.”

# Simon Phipps discussed the need and opportunity to change the Open Source Initiative.

# Appcelerator raised $2.1 million in new equity funding.

# Azul Systems launched the Managed Runtime Initiative, including enhancements to OpenJDK and Linux.

# Perspectives on the $1bn open source vendor debate from Matt Asay and Dana Blankenhorn (Our take: Why there are no billion-dollar open source companies).

# eXo Platform released eXo Web Content Management 2.0, bundled with GateIn 3.0 and Tomcat 6.0.

# Bob Young discussed the evolution of Red Hat and Lulu with the BBC.

# ForgeRock announced a joint development agreement with Open Source Solution Technology (OSSTech) for OpenAM.

# Nokia clarified the roadmap for the Qt SDK and issued the release candidate of version 1.0.

# Richard Fontana described the new contributor agreement for Fedora.

# TechCrunch reported that Twilio has released OpenVBX, an open source call routing service for businesses.

Google demands more openness from the Open Source Initiative

Google’s open source programs manager, Chris DiBona 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. Specifically, DiBona said Google “will want a couple of changes to how OSI does licenses” and that he thinks “that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space”.

DiBona statement came in response to Bruce Perens’ request for the OSI’s License Discuss mailing list to consider the WebM license introduced by Google for its VP8 video codec, and follows the declaration by Open Source Initiative board member, Simon Phipps, that WebM is “not open source”.

DiBona’s request reads as follows:

“Please hold off on submitting this while we determine certain compatibility issues internally at google. We’ll engage with osi in a couple of weeks, likely as not. I would also point out that we’re uncomfortable with make licesne proliferation worse and in the event we do submit it, we will want a couple of changes to how OSI does licenses.

1) We will want a label explicitly deterring the use of the license.
2) We will want the bod list archives open for any discussions of webm. We are not comfortable with OSI being closed.
3) We need to know OSI’s current corporate status. I heard that osi was a california corporation again, but I would like to know, from the group, that this is true for 2010 and that there aren’t any issues there.

This might sound stridant, but I think that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space.”

.
The request led to a predictably, and some would say justifiably, forthright response from OSI board members, including Simon Phipps and Russ Nelson, while Larry Rosen expressed his support for DiBona’s comments. Peace appears to have been quickly restored – for now – thanks to a level-headed comment from Josh Berkus.

451 CAOS Theory opinion:
Earlier this week we argued that the OSI’s license review process needs to be overhauled but while we agree that there is a need for debate over the OSI’s processes, the License Discuss mailing list is not the place for that debate to occur. Google has shown poor judgment and a lack of respect for the OSI in directly linking debate over the license approval process to discussion of a single license. It is hard not to read DiBona’s request as a list of demands (even if that was not the intention).

Google could, and arguably should, have used an existing OSI-approved license for WebM. Google could also have discussed the license with the OSI prior to its publication, although we would note that Google did not itself submit the license to License Discuss and the WebM website makes no claim that WebM is “open source”, that we are aware of. At the very least Google should have worked through its “compatibility issues internally” before publishing the license, although clearly time was of the essence given the current politics surrounding video codecs.

However, we would also note that much of what Google is asking for is already available from the OSI’s processes. What the Open Source Initiative needs is not more openness, but more initiative. This episode further highlights that the current open source license approval process is unable to keep up with the pace of software development and licensing trends and needs to be reviewed if the OSI is to continue to be held in the respect it deserves.

451 CAOS Links 2010.05.25

What’s missing from WebM? VoltDB launches. The importance of profitability. 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.”

# Simon Phipps examined what’s missing from WebM, from an open source perspective.

# Mike Stonebraker’s VoltDB officially launched its open source in-memory OLTP database.

# Jim Whitehurst argued that one of Red Hat’s most valuable contributions to open source is its profitability.

# Infobright appointed former Aleri CEO Don DeLoach as its new president and chief executive.

# Monty Program launched an Unlimited support offering for a company’s entire MySQL/MariaDB estate.

# Red Hat has announced the availability of Fedora 13.

# Terracotta claimed 100 customers have upgraded to the enterprise edition of Ehcache in the last 10 months.

# Stéphane Croisier discussed the future of open source CMS, and the future of open core.

# Pogo Linux released a new line of StorageDirector Z2 Foundation and StorageDirector Z2 HA Cluster products.

# Couchio started testing a hosted CouchDB service.

# A group of implementers of the open source ERP application ADempiere formed ADempiere Business Consultants.

# Simon Phipps argued the case for the continuing relevance of the Open Source Initiative.

# Red Hat’s Paul Cormier disputed Oracle’s open source credentials.

# BitTorrent released an open source implementation of its µTP protocol.

# Microsoft released two new open source projects for interoperability with Outlook.

# Carlo Daffara discussed the limited potential in trying to convert open source users into paying customers.

# When should you use Hadoop? Cloudera’s Jeff Bean offered some suggestions.

# Andrew Oliver argued that for Microsoft, open source means “Windows Encumbered” although without examples.

# While Mark Stone argued in favor of constructive engagement between open source and Microsoft.

# ibatis has become MyBatis and moved from Apache to Google Code.

# Who will build the LAMP cloud? Or does cloud computing need LAMP?

# CIO Update reported on Red Hat’s plans to commercialize deltaCloud.

# Linux trading system to save London Stock Exchange £10m a year, Computerworld reported.

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.