Business

Five questions about building community with Chris Blizzard of Mozilla

I've always been a fan of the Mozilla Foundation, and not just because of the Firefox web browser. As catalyst for some of the great communities in the open source world, Mozilla is something of a recipe factory for what to do right when it comes to building community. As it turns out, Mozilla's Director of Developer Relations, Chris Blizzard, is a long time friend of mine. » Read more

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How much transparency is too much?

Years ago when I interned at Red Hat, the company had an intranet traffic competition. Employees were encouraged to create or improve their page on the intranet, then post a link that told why you should visit. The person with the most traffic at the end of the week would win a prize.

I don't remember who won—maybe the guy whose link advertised “naked chicks”? But I do remember one entry: a certain software engineer posted his current salary “in the interest of transparency.” It was a surefire way to draw traffic—and spark conversation. » Read more

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Thoughts from OSBC: What's driving open source acceptance?

Recently I was in the audience for the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) keynote panel on the future of open source, and part of the discussion was about the rapidly increasing use of open source in both the public and private sector. No one seemed surprised by this fact, but there was some disagreement on the cause. The one thing all the panelists agreed on was this: IT departments are suddenly much more accepting of open source. One of the panelists asked the question, "What is driving IT's acceptance of open source?"

Having worked with IT departments for the better part of two decades--and currently working in the IT department of a major municipality--I knew something the panelists didn't: this is the wrong question. » Read more

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Open Biodiesel

I’ve had a number of career changes. I went from poetry to technology to metal sculpture to the Internet to biodiesel. And I must admit that although I have brushed against open source a number of times, I have had a hard time getting my head around it. » Read more

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Can truly great design be done the open source way?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Apple and open innovation. The discussion in the comments about Apple's success, despite their non-openness, was pretty interesting. Greg DeKoenigsberg started things off with this salvo: » Read more

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Is Jaron Lanier just a hater, or should we be paying attention?

Last week, my friend Greg DeKoenigsberg posted an article about Jaron Lanier's negative comments regarding open textbooks. At almost very same time, I happened to stumble upon an article Jaron wrote back in 2006 criticizing Wikipedia. » Read more

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Building an open source business

In 2002 I was working for Oculan, a company that founded an open source network management application platform called OpenNMS. Oculan used this platform as the basis for a network management appliance, but my job was to create a services and support business around the platform itself.

In May, just after the release of OpenNMS version 1.0, Oculan got new investors, who decided to focus on the appliance and to stop working on OpenNMS.

I knew that without at least one person dedicated to OpenNMS it would die, and I wasn't ready to give up on it. So I went to the CEO and asked to become the administrator of the project. We talked for a bit, and then he looked at his watch and said that if I was off his payroll by Friday, he'd give me a couple of servers, the OpenNMS domain names, and his blessing to continue on with OpenNMS. » Read more

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The Wikimedia Foundation: doing strategic planning the open source way

Earlier this week I wrote a post about some of the cultural challenges Wikipedia is facing as its contribution rate has slowed. The comments you made were fantastic, including one by Dr. Ed H Chi (the PARC scientist who published the study I referred to in the post) linking to a prototype dashboard his team created to showcase who is editing each Wikipedia page (totally fascinating—you have to go try it!) » Read more

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The open source renaissance

By Brian Gentile, Jaspersoft CEO

It occurred to me recently that the open source movement is really nothing less than a renaissance.  Perhaps that sounds grandiose, but stay with me.
» Read more

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Love, hate, and the Wikipedia contributor culture problem

Last fall, a group of researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) released a study showing an abrupt leveling off in the number of editors and edits to Wikipedia, starting in about 2007. » Read more

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