January 05, 2005

Giants will be sluggish

At one time, it looked as if the effect of the open-source phenomenon on the software industry would be limited to Linux and a handful of other programs. But new companies are going after parts of the industry many felt would be untouched by open source. Take SugarCRM Inc. The Cupertino (Calif.) startup is tackling the industry giants that sell systems for customer relationship management. Likewise, Sourcefire Inc. in Columbia, Md., is selling software that detects hackers trying to break into computer networks.

JBoss and SugarCRM getting good press coverage. Headline sums up nicely. Expect the giants to stay sluggish. This year we will get to see open source clones. Clones of successful open source business models thereby increasing the pressure on proprietary software vendors. Customer should be happy, all this means more choices. That never hurts.

January 5, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2004

Lawyers as part of your engineering team

Dan Bricklin on open source based development and legal processes getting increasingly overlapped:

You can't put your head in the sand and say "we won't use Open Source." The question for developers is not just how to be involved in an Open Source development project, but also how do you be a part of a normal, for-profit business and deal with the Open Source issues. You have to learn that your lawyer is your friend, that the lawyer is a part of the development team the same way that the Quality Assurance person or the Usability person is part of the team. The same way your compiler gives you warning messages about syntax, you are going to get warning messages from your lawyer and you are going to need to say "let us figure out together how to interface these two products without violating the licenses". This is a new part of development and developers need to be trained about this.

This is a new reality and not many companies realize this. You will see many more deals falling apart,  more inefficiency during the component selection and product launch delays due to this yawning gap between engineers (who spent their nights hanging out on sourceforge) and product manager's understanding of open source licensing.

We at Apptility are going to focus on solving this problem. Team has come up with a quick  version of open source license browser which will be deployed on apptility.net very shortly.

December 27, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2004

Linux market on the hockey stick

The IDC study estimates the overall Linux ecosystem will grow 25.9 percent annually to reach $35.7bn in 2008. Of that, IDC estimates $14bn will be packaged software, $10bn PCs and $11bn servers.

December 18, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2004


News like this throw a monkey wrench in the evolving open source world. Forking is something we are all familiar with but when a company hijacks another company's open source project then it's got to be a legal milestone.

vTiger, a company apparently based out of Chennai, has seems to have done the same with the SugarCRM's open source crm project. I wonder why would a successful company like Adventnet do this kind of thing. Its important to be ethical in open source world while being legal.

December 10, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

Will they open source Navision or Great Plains ?

[Via LinuxInsider] Martin Taylor, global general manager of platform strategy at Microsoft

And so we [ask] what if we could actually build an engine leveraging the assets of Great Plains and Navision to allow ISVs to build on top of to reduce their research and development costs and hopefully increase their time to market with applications, and also have a better integration story within Windows?

Will they open source Navision or Great Plains platform ? It's one of those game changing strategies. Think about it, considering the overall threat they are facing from open source/Linux community giving away few billion dollar worth of acquired technology shouldnt be that painful.

October 26, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 11, 2004


Some of you remember the days when along highway 237 , there was hardly a company to be found whose name didnt end in some form of "NETWORKS". Redback, Caspian, etc etc. Something to be said about the buzz and the prefix/suffix of the start-up names. Current moniker - Source.

When we started Apptility, we started with the idea of filling in the demand/supply gap of open source assurance services and empowering internal IT organizations with the open source support services. At that time the companies involved in this segment were mostly open source "product companies" such as MySQL, JBoss and Covalent among others. Other set of companies which started within 6 to 8 month time interval were on the compliance side, namely - Blackduck and Palamida.

Recent entry of some heavy hitters such as Spikesource and SourceLabs suggests that the support and certification segment of open source is ready for a nice competition. It's good for everybody, more market awareness for the internal IT-driven open source adoption and faster realization of open source as a vendor of choice.

There will be many more start-ups in this space, good scope for healthy competition out there.

Happy days for the open source and happy days for the customer.

October 11, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2004

Once upon a time

Once upon a time working for open source project or believing in open source was more about "having fun". It wasnt very long time ago though. Times have changed and changed very fast. JBoss's childish brag about their win over BEA sounds more like a bloodsport much of the commercial software world is characterized as.

Can these guys just focus on executing and building a better software rather than working extra hard and beating the drum of P in their professional open source.

In a not so distant future, you not only need to worry about the software lock-in from proprietary softwares but also be prepared for lock-in from the most "professional" open source software as well.

Why having fun is so hard ?

October 6, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2004

Middleware round

If the spread of Open Source is a 4 round boxing match then we are into it's third round - call it the Middleware round.

Initial two rounds were obviously OS (Linux/BSD) and Database (MySQL/PostgreSQL). Like boxing, as you go further along the rounds, excitement grows and there is more probability of competitors getting knocked out. Those who gained in the first two rounds are eager to play one-up in the next round. Redhat's move to undermine JBoss on support revenue by bundling ObjectWeb's app server is a step in that direction.

Novell (now fully se***-up) after the Suse acquisition is now aiming to plug all the middleware holes and ready to sing a better complete-stack story against Redhat. Joint announcement with JBoss is meant to undermine Redhat ambitions. IBM is surely in a peculiar position where much of IBM GS charm is riding on the websphere based services. With HP ( and now Novell) pushing their weight behind JBoss it would be interesting to see which way customers put their weight on the middleware choice. Here is a quick equation -

White box + [ OS + Database + Middleware + Applications ] = Services Revenue

So far in first two rounds, it was the OS and Database which was getting heavily subsidized. Now we are into the middleware round and the battle for services revenue is in full swing.

Expect flurry of activities in coming months around this space. Vendors who are short on Linux story (Sun, HP, Oracle, CA and others - where Sun and HP are suddenly looking stupid for not buying Suse when the weather was fine ) may go for some disruptive (read desperate) partnership initiatives.

There is a similar desperation going on in the music world.

August 18, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2004

Social Movement Versus The Litigation Machine

Every significant social movement invariably shakes the existing power hierarchy. When the hubs of influence are shifting as its happening in the world of Open Source there are few winners (customers for example) and lots of losers (it's not just the software vendors who are losing, list goes far and wide in the ecosystem. Keep an eye on the analyst community).

After my discussions at the LinuxWorld I have been gathering all the FUDs thrown around Linux and Open Source movement in general.

Microsoft settling their legal troubles, thus preparing ground for the oncoming patent fights ?
HP caught on the legal tightrope - whether to play Linux game or cater to the lucrative Hollywood market
IBM promising not to enforce their patent rights
OSRM claims Linux infringes on 208 patents (see you can build a reasonable business out of FUD. Thus confirming the fact that Open Source might be the next most lucrative area for the lawyers)
Bay Capital urging SCO to become litigation machine
Interpretation dilemma
How DMCA complicates the matter
Good overview here.

So next time when somebody asks you where is the money in Open Source , point that uninformed person to this link. FSF charging $875 for two day course on understanding the pits and black holes of GPL. If you do the numbers -

Number of enterprises
Number of IT Managers and decision makers
Number of educational and government agencies
Mandatory cross-sell and up-sells

and multiply that number by $875 and despite discounting it by 50% chances are you will be walking happily to the bank. Moral of the story - stay close to litigation machine and you will know your way to the bank.

August 10, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 04, 2004


DOAP -- Description of a Project -- is a metadata initiative aimed at describing the public resources associated with a software project, providing interoperability between software registry web sites and making life easy for project maintainers. This can be a good help for understanding and tracking those thousand odd Sourceforge projects.

According to Edd Dunhill this project will provide -

Internationalizable description of a software project and its associated resources, including participants and Web resources
Basic tools to enable the easy creation and consumption of such descriptions
Interoperability with other popular Web metadata projects (RSS, FOAF, Dublin Core)
The ability to extend the vocabulary for specialist purposes

Use cases for project descriptions include:

Easy importing of projects into software directories
Data exchange between software directories
Automatic configuration for resources such as shared CVS repositories or bug trackers
Assisting package maintainers who bundle software for distri

More details here. This one will be interesting to watch as more and more open source projects dot the landscape.

August 4, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack