This story highlights the fact that to make a successful open source software project out of existing code, you have to find a champion and a group of users/developers. Tesseract OCR, an optical character recognition engine, was orginally developed by HP Labs. However, according to this article, Google Code - Updates: Announcing Tesseract OCR, HP wasn't using it and they asked UNLV to help them open source it. UNLV asked Google to help them, and Google, after putting some work into it, recently released it as open source on Sourceforge. It looks like Google is going to continue to work on it as they are hiring OCR engineers. It would be interesting to know how UNLV found Google as that is usually the hardest link to make - finding individuals or companies that have a use for your software and that are willing to work on it in open source. Any successful open source project needs to have a group of individuals or companies that are willing to sponsor it and work on it. Companies that have code they are no longer using (and are therefore willing to open source) often have a hard time finding those sponsors.
I'm all for blogging, and I think part of blogging is being honest about your mistakes. Your personal mistakes and your company's mistakes. However, I can't help but wonder how it feels to be the employee that Jonathan Schwartz is referring to in this blog post. The employee made a presentation about Sun's open source strategy that Jonathan refers to as "a very uncomfortable customer presentation." It can't be comfortable to have your boss, the CEO of Sun, criticize you in public even if it is anonymously! (Jonathan wasn't criticizing the strategy rather the fact that it was the wrong message for the audience. You can read the post here: Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog.)
My new office mate doesn't talk much but he's learning lots! He's up for any new experience as long as he gets fed every two hours.
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