May 18, 2005

Religions of the IT world

Definition of religion is very relevant for what's going in the world of IT. Here is how Wikipeadia defines religion:

Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system— is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. In its broadest sense some have defined it as the sum total of answers given to explain humankind's relationship with the universe. In the course of the development of religion, it has taken a huge number of forms in various cultures and individuals. However, religion today is dominated by a number of major world religions.

We have few entrenched religions in IT and few new ones are developing very fast.  Some of them are quite obvious:

IBM  religion
Microsoft religion
Apple ooh-so-cool religion
Unix religion
Open Source religion
Software-is-dead service religion

Most of these have their own Pope, their own belief system and their own codified rules of engagement. If you work for a software company in the marketing organization it will help you to get the basics of the history of religion.  Sects (market segments), sub-sects (vertical market strategy), evangelism (pitch doctor), codification (Gartnerization), sanctity (NIH), technology Pope (our CEO really gets it !)  coronations in one beta release are some of the secret tools you can learn from the world of religion. 

Religion on the other hand follows fashion world as well. It's cyclical and goes through it's popularity curve.  Some of them even die mysteriously.  What we are seeing around open source tells us how suddenly good religions (like Solaris)  run into bad patches.

Combining fashion with spiritual march generates a powerful force. This force is what open source is right now.  Naturally other religions are threatened by this formula. You can get fashion - like OpenSolaris - but it's very hard to get the spirit.  Getting spiritual high requires a good dose of irrationality which is hard to get on CDDL. 

History tells us that weak and vulnerable (this could be either financial or emotional vulnerability) religions get attacked by evangelicals.  It's not an accident that Africa sees so many  Christians and East Asia has so many Buddhists.

IBM and Redhat are as much open source pretenders as they are market share slaves. They see Unix market ready for the Linux conversion,  and not all the reasons for migration are  rational. The fact that this conversion is based on  irrational ground might work to its advantage.  Remember success of any religion needs two things -  fashion ( which also means timing) and spiritual energy.  It's obvious that Sun needs energy now that it has adopted the fashion.

I will continue to chew on this analogy, more to teach myself how world of religion can teach us few tips about software marketing.  Also  I want to add here why every religion needs to have it's own unique database and application server!

Religion  needs RDBMS.  That too free and of enterprise grade!

May 18, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2005

When proprietary software goes open source

David Berlind interviews Marc Fleury and discusses IBM's Gluecode acquisition.

This "paranoia" proves one thing that the open source business model rides as much on the novelty as much on having strong proprietary license based competitors.  You remove that competition and suddenly high-priced service model falls flat on its face. Selection moves to other ecosystem variables such as tools, adoptions, developer count, third party tools etc.

Also it's very hard to sustain brand-based  revenue margin when the market is full of open source components of the same category. JBoss will have a real challenge now. When the market for J2EE itself is maturing and other stacks are rapidly maturing, selection becomes more tricky.

Different markets buy for different reasons - low end goes for least hassle/low cost  and high end prefers certification/indemnification/mission-critical support. Hard to ignore IBM's pitch on the high-end of the market.

This is getting very interesting now.

May 13, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But to be young was very Heaven

Are we witnessing open source version of the  French revolution ?

Jeff Clavier posts some more tidbits from Microsoft's VC meet:

Q: Statistics report that there are 2M Open Source developers, 70% Europe, 70% under 25. Entire generation "lost to capitalism" ?

Microsoft is going to release a free version of Visual Studio Express targeting students, who traditionally have been using Linux and free stuff.
Ballmer also goes on to stating that the GPL makes it hard to commercialize innovation (b/c of the requirement to contribute changes back to the source tree).

These numbers and segment represents a major new trend.  They are under-25 and very soon they will go into decision making roles in their companies.

Who is betting that they will be advocating purchase of  business packages priced around million dollars ? 

May 13, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

IBM buys Project Geronimo

IBM buys Project Geronimo.  More trouble for JBoss,  Sun and potentially BEA.

If I am not wrong then this is a first acquisition of an open source services start-up. It will atleast force many pundits to sit back and ask the question - what's the big deal here ?  Answer lies in the market knowledge - We are not dealing with one market here. There are multiple niches which can absorb  multiple architectures. SugarCRM will not displace Seibel but it will find enough takers to be profitable.  Similarly for Websphere and Geronimo.

Its a coup for IBM since this Geronimo camp has a history with JBoss. 

It's hard to compete with IBM resources - its not impossible but its very hard. With this acquisition IBM is buying a well respected community via which they can do Linux type  patronage-based development model or they can just outsell every open source services startup on the scale and diversity alone.

This space will see more action now.

May 9, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2005

Sitting Idle? Write Open Source Code

Australian government program using spare labor capacity in building OSS projects. This is a unique initiative where all parties involved come out as winners.  Government gets programming done cheaply and people on the bench get good training.

This  is something which will be replicated in other countries.  And why not, it makes sense. Its a great way to initiate recruitment, utilize idle capacity, and write the kind of software which proprietary world is not interested in writing.

[Link via Slashdot]

May 6, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2005

Open sauce

Dion Wiggins of Gartner urging companies to adopt open source as part of their product strategy.

Denial is not the solution at this stage.  Companies who are able to integrate   open source trend in their overall roadmap and  without sacrificing their immediate revenue stream will be in a good position when this thing hits the roof.

With 99,572 projects already on the board, this trend is accelerating everyday.

May 2, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Pathfinder goes to Sourceforge

This is a significant news as it conveys the cutting edge contribution to the open source pool.

During pre-open source times, this technology would have been spun off as a promising startup. Times have definitely changed and now much of new cutting edge first goes to sourceforge.

NASA is leading the trend here.

April 28, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does open source help innovation engine

Philip Meza (over at Optimize magazine) elaborates on this question . Survey points to more innovation opportunities in the technical side

I think as more and more components come into the open source pool, you will be seeing companies innovating around business models and business processes.

April 28, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

Turn for BI now

After the buzz over open source CRM looks like the attention is turning towards open source business intelligence tools:

Greenplum goes open source
JasperSoft smells money in JBoss model
OpenMFG trying to add some zing in their boring portfolio by releasing the  reporting tool

Good thing is all these tools come with solid corporate backing. There will be many heartaches among all  venture firms who have invested  in this sector.

April 26, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

Petition for open sourcing OS/2

As always interesting insights from the slashdotters.

Potential legal issues alone will discourage IBM from going forward.

April 25, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack