Thursday, March 27, 2008

From OSBC 2008: Open Source and True Innovation

Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst delivered the first keynote of the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco with a state of the union on Red Hat’s leadership in open source - $500 million dollars in revenues, millions of servers, thousands of customers. Whitehurst highlighted Red Hat’s leadership in the Linux market with 80 percent marketshare with RHEL and 30 percent of the application server market with JBoss. His speech sounded like it was being delivered to “shareholders” of open source.

The new CEO is not quite 90 days into his job. But he’s been all around the globe - meeting customers, heads of government and policy makers in China, Russia, and Europe. He feels that open source is gaining more popularity internationally due to anti-US sentiment.

Whitehurst explained that one of Red Hat’s key challenges is to bring the value of the open source community development model to enterprise customers. For example, the “oVirt” project for building management tools around virtualization is helping Red Hat engage enterprise customers as participants in building these tools together. Another challenge is for Red Hat to be the defining company of open source for the 21st century - by changing the way technology is developed through “iterative innovation“. Patent reform is one of the biggest issues that Red Hat is currently facing and he hoped to see a broader strategy of protecting the whole community instead of just focusing on individual companies.

From OSBC 2008: Bringing Television to the Web with Open Source

In another interesting keynote at OSBC by Steven Pearson, VP of Advanced Technologies at CBS Interactive, we learned about how deeply open source is being used in his organization. Almost every online property of CBS -,,, - is using open source for their application requirements, ranging from news simulcasts, live election reporting to connecting users who share similar tastes in music and customizing radio streams.

Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, Lucene, Tomcat, PHP, Spring are among technologies that CBS is using heavily. Open source has offered greater ROI for CBS with increase in speed of development, ease of access to source code and documentation, and the ability to enhance source code when needed. CBS Interactive has also contributed back to several open source projects such as CPAN.

The future of open source is bright at CBS with more and more open source projects for the online services that CBS is offering its audiences. Interestingly, Pearson did not feel that competition with other media organizations such as NBC, ABC, and Fox prevents CBS from contributing to open source projects. After all, having content platforms, made robust through open source practices, for delivering ads helps drive up CBS’s revenues.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Support ODF on Document Freedom Day

Keep your data free. Free from vendor lock-in. Support Document Freedom Day on March 26. Activities and events will be held around the world to promote awareness of free document formats such as ODF.

It is great to see that India voted NO for OOXML yesterday. According to Venky Hariharan, 13 members voted "No", 5 members voted "Yes" (including Microsoft India, Infosys, TCS, Wipro and NASSCOM), 1 member abstained and 3 members did not attend.

It appears that revenue partners and their special interests take precedence for India's software export companies over preserving freedom of knowledge and rights of users to share data using open formats. Can money buy standards?

Take a stand and just say no! Support free document formats next week on March 26th. Organize awareness programs in your community, work with your favorite Linux Users Group and support Document Freedom Day.