- Page Speed (Google Code) — an open-source project started at Google to help developers optimize their web pages by applying web performance best practices. Page Speed started as an open-source browser extension, and is now deployed in third-party products such as Webpagetest.org, Show Slow and Google Webmaster Tools.
- What Commons Do We Wish For? (John Battelle) — trying to understand what the Internet would look like if we don’t pay attention to our core shared values. Excellent piece from jbat, who is thinking and writing in preparation for another book.
- The Trouble with Popularity — this blog post on StackOverflow does a great job of explaining why moderators are necessary, and why it’s not in everyone’s interest to give them what they want. Sad to see this come out just as Yahoo! continues to gut and fillet Flickr, which used to be the benchmark for all things community.
- The Ongoing Fight Against GPL Enforcement — interesting! Software Freedom Conservancy, who have pursued several cases against manufacturers who ship GPLed code but do not release their source and modifications to it, have used busybox as a fulcrum for their GPL code release lever. Manufacturers may be attempting to replace busybox with non-GPLed code to take away the fulcrum. In other news, engineering metaphors are like a massless body at light speed before the bigbang: unknowable.
ENTRIES TAGGED "community"
Establishing an effective organization for large-scale growth
In the open source and free software movement, we always exalt community, and say the people coding and supporting the software are more valuable than the software itself. Few communities have planned and philosophized as much about community-building as ZeroMQ. In the following posting, Pieter Hintjens quotes from his book ZeroMQ, talking about how he designed the community that works on this messaging library.
There are, it has been said (at least by people reading this sentence out loud), two ways to make really large-scale software. Option One is to throw massive amounts of money and problems at empires of smart people, and hope that what emerges is not yet another career killer. If you’re very lucky and are building on lots of experience, have kept your teams solid, and are not aiming for technical brilliance, and are furthermore incredibly lucky, it works.
But gambling with hundreds of millions of others’ money isn’t for everyone. For the rest of us who want to build large-scale software, there’s Option Two, which is open source, and more specifically, free software. If you’re asking how the choice of software license is relevant to the scale of the software you build, that’s the right question.
The brilliant and visionary Eben Moglen once said, roughly, that a free software license is the contract on which a community builds. When I heard this, about ten years ago, the idea came to me—Can we deliberately grow free software communities?
New regulations could mark the end of proprietary finance.
Currently, anyone can crowdfund products, projects, causes, and sometimes debt. Current U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations make crowdfunding companies (i.e. selling stocks rather than products on crowdfund platforms) illegal. The only way to sell stocks to the public at large under the current law is through the heavily regulated Initial Public Offering (IPO) process.
The JOBS Act will soon change these rules. This will mean that platforms like Kickstarter will be able to sell shares in companies, assuming those companies follow certain strict rules. This change in finance law will enable open source companies to access capital and dominate the technology industry. This is the dawn of crowdfunded finance, and with it comes the dawn of open source technology everywhere.
The JOBS Act is already law, and it required the SEC to create specific rules by specific deadlines. The SEC is working on the rulemaking, but it has made it clear that given the complexity of this new finance structure, meeting the deadlines is not achievable. No one is happy with the delay but the rules should be done in late 2013 or early 2014.
When those rules are addressed, thousands of open source companies will use this financial instrument to create new types of enterprise open source software, hardware, and bioware. These companies will be comfortably funded by their open source communities. Unlike traditional venture-capital-backed companies, these new companies will narrowly focus on getting the technology right and putting their communities first. Eventually, I think these companies will make most proprietary software companies obsolete. Read more…
An interview with Matthew McCullough
In this video interview, Matthew McCullough of GitHub discusses what they’ve learned over time as they grow and watch projects develop there.
Heavy data, open source strategies for businesses, and collaborating on code.
This week on O’Reilly: Jim Stogdill said data is getting heavier relative to the networks that carry it around the data center; Simon Phipps revealed open source community strategies relevant to the enterprise; and Team Geek authors Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman discussed the importance of developer collaboration.
Key open source considerations for businesses, communities and developers.
OSCON’s theme last year was “from disruption to default.” Over the last decade, we’ve seen open source shift from the shadows to the limelight. Today, more businesses than ever are considering the role of open source in their strategies. I’ve had the chance to watch and participate in the transitions of numerous businesses and business units to using open source for the first time, as well as observing how open source strategies evolve for software businesses, both old and new.
In the view of many, open source is the pragmatic expression of the ethical idea of “software freedom,” articulated in various ways for several decades by communities around both Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the BSD project. The elements of open source and free software are simple to grasp; software freedom delivers the rights to use, study, modify and distribute software for any purpose, and the Open Source Definition clarifies one area of that ethical construct with pragmatic rules that help identify copyright licenses that promote software freedom. But just as simple LEGO bricks unlock an infinite world of creativity, so these open source building blocks offer a wide range of usage models, which are still evolving.
This paper offers some thinking tools for those involved in the consideration and implementation of open source strategies, both in software consuming organizations and by software creators. It aims to equip you with transferrable explanations for some of the concepts your business leaders will need to consider. It includes:
- A model for understanding the different layers of community that can form around an open source code “commons” and how you should (and should not) approach them.
- An exploration of the symbiotic relationship of transparency and privacy in open source communities.
- An explanation of where customer value comes from in enterprise open source, which illuminates the problems with “open core” strategies for communities and customers.
- A reflection on the principle that can be seen at work across all these examples: “trade control for influence”
Part of a series about efforts by VoIP Drupal collaborators to find the right media and tools with which to promote a small, little known software project.
Denise R. Jacobs advocates for new approaches to work and community.
Author and web design consultant Denise R. Jacobs reveals lessons she learned about creativity while writing her first book. She also discusses her efforts to give women and people of color more visibility in the tech world.
VoIP Drupal is a window onto the promises and challenges faced by a new open source project, including its documentation. A meeting at at MIT this week worked out some long-term plans for firming up VoIP Drupal's documentation and other training materials.
Entertainment Industry Booming, Exposing Data, Login Data, and QR Codes
- The Sky is Rising — TechDirt’s Mike Masnick has written (and made available for free download) an excellent report on the entertainment industry’s numbers and business models. Must read if you have an opinion on SOPA et al.
- Tennis Australia Exposes Match Analytics — Served from IBM’s US-based private cloud, the updated SlamTracker web application pulls together 39 million points of data collated from all four Grand Slam tournaments over the past seven years to provide insights into a player’s style of play and progress. The analytics application also provides a player’s likelihood of beating their opponent through each round of the two-week tournament and the ‘key to the match’ required for them to win. “We gave our data to IBM, said, ‘Here we go, that’s 10 years of scores and stats, matches and players’,” said Samir Mahir, CIO at Tennis Australia. Data as way to engage fans. (via Steve O’Grady)
- Data Monday: Logins and Passwords (Luke Wroblewski) — Password recovery is the number one request to help desks for intranets that don’t have single sign-on portal capabilities.
- QR Codes: Bad Idea or Terrible Idea? (Kevin Marks) — People have a problem finding your URL. You post a QR Code. Now they have 2 problems. I prefer to think of QR codes as a prototype of what Matt Jones calls “the robot-readable world”–not so much the technology we really imagine we will be deploying when we build our science fictiony future.