OpenLogic's mission in life is to make it easy for enterprises to use open source software, so the first question we ask when we meet with a potential customer is "What open source software are you using?" That's a hard question for a large company to answer. It turns out that the commercial software tracking tools that companies use don't track open source software. They usually have to send out a company wide email asking "what open source software are you using?" They then wait for the replies and compile a large Excel spreadsheet with the answer. If they are lucky, they get complete data with lots of useful information like version numbers, websites, why the team is using the software, etc. We often have to do two or three iterations just to truly understand their needs. So, we decided to write OpenLogic Discovery. (Actually, Rod decided to write it during his RV vacation - hopefully, his wife will let him take his laptop on his next vacation!) Discovery runs on a system and compares all of the files with footprints of about 5000 open source software applications. It then reports back on all the open source software it has found. It finds installed open source binaries, not just source code. It's a free tool - although not open source at the moment - available for download on our website. Check it out. Now you'll really know what open source software you are using!
So everyone knows that open source software is developed a little differently than traditional proprietary - but how is it different? How does that difference in the development model affect the software itself? That's what the guys at How Software is Built have set out to find out. They are interviewing lots of people about different development models. (I know this because they interviewed me.) You can read my entire interview online - they asked about everything from why would you start an open source application to how does support work to how successful will Second Life be as an open source project. It was one of those interviews where you actually get to think a lot - I'm following their blog as it looks like their other interviews have been as thought provoking as I found mine to be.
I blogged a couple weeks ago about the OpenLogic-hosted panel at OSBC consisting of three enterprise visionaries sharing advice on creating open source policies and managing open source risks. In Part 2, I wanted to share the highlights from their advice on open source policies.
Halmaka John thinks that 2008 is the year of the desktop. I think he did a good job of describing the things that don't work well enough yet. Hopefully this will serve as a call to arms not only to the open source community - who has been working really hard on this issue for a long time! - but also a call of arms to the hardware companies that could help. Here are some of the things he listed that I think still need work:
So I've been asking if you are working for free and then you get paid, if you no longer get paid, will you continue working (for free)? Jimmy Guterman asks a related question, "Do You Work Better If You're Working For Free?" I don't know but I'll add two points:
Six Apart will be releasing an open source version of their product Movable Type. I think this is great. Many in the blogosphere have said that Six Apart has been forced to move to open source because its largest competitor, WordPress, is open source. (Both WordPress and Movable Type are blogging platforms.) Maybe. Maybe customers had gotten used to WordPress' modularity and wanted the same from Movable Type. On the Movable Type website they say that their customers wanted an open source version:
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