Friday, May 30, 2008

UK developers favour open source

The majority of UK developers working with proprietary platforms would prefer to work in an open source environment if given the choice, according to a report from Kingpin Intelligence.

A survey of 400 developers from Kingpin's database revealed that 62 per cent of those who do not use open source for professional purposes prefer to use it when outside work.

More than two fifths of respondents also believe that the 'Lamp' software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) threatens established proprietary platforms.

"This research confirms increasing interest in open source technologies in the UK developer community," said Claire Roy, head of research at Kingpin Intelligence.

"The cost and flexibility benefits of using open source technologies are appealing for developers and organisations in the current financial climate."

However, the report also concluded that existing licences and client requirements are hampering migration.

Quality control is also an issue. Fewer than a third of respondents believe that the open source development process produces higher quality software than Windows-type environments.

Source :

EU says to study Microsoft's open-source step

The EU executive will investigate if steps announced by Microsoft to make it easier for users of an open-source rival to work with Microsoft Office would give consumers greater choice.

"The Commission will investigate whether the announced support of ODF (Open Document Format) in Office leads to better interoperability and allows consumers to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice," it said in a statement on Thursday.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that starting some time next year it will make it easier for users of an open-source rival to work with Microsoft Office.

Without adding any special software to Office, users will be able to open documents sent to them in the open source Open Document Format (ODF), the company said. Users will also be able to edit and save documents in that format.

The Commission has fined Microsoft 1.68 billion euros (US$2.7 billion) since 2004, in large part for the company's failure to provide proper interoperability between its dominant Windows operating system and other software.

Source :

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Using the open-source model for IT development

The question is, can OSS be used to establish innovation networks for IT departments?

Following the open source model for collaborative software development can cut costs while providing a basis to create other innovative networks to develop technology specific to your company. While few have tried to develop industry-specific or vertically oriented open-source solutions up to now, it could become the future of software development.

Open-source software (OSS) is a development process that requires collaboration between individuals and organizations that isn't necessarily driven by a traditional hierarchy of command and control. Simultaneously, IT departments are driven to be more efficient while creating innovative new solutions to meet their business needs. More and more companies are turning to external sources for ideas that drive innovation. A series of books by Henry Chesbrough has coined the term innovation networks to discuss R&D departments that treat their systems as open--meaning, how do you include your partners, customers and even competitors as part of an extended R&D team?

The question is, can OSS be used to establish innovation networks for IT departments? What steps are required to establish a successful software innovation network, and what are the resulting benefits for organizations?

The Drive for Collaboration

Determining the scope of collaboration is often the most challenging aspect of starting an open-source project. The key challenge is to understand the areas of technology that are a core business value of the organization. Based on previous experiences in the software industry, OSS tends to lead to two logical strategies for collaboration:
  1. Collaborating on the implementation of industry standards or protocols, and
  2. Establishing an industry platform to grow a market.
Collaborating on Open Standards

Globalization and government regulation have increased the importance of industry standards and protocols. There are many examples of consortiums that define standards and protocols for specific technologies or specific industries. However, the implementation of these standards is often left to ISVs or individual IT organizations.

Software vendors were expected to implement technology standards such as HTTP, XML, Java, etc., in their products, but the implementations provided very little differentiating features and customer value add. Open-source software provides an effective mechanism for creating a common implementation that drives the adoption of these standards; the Apache HTTP Web server is a great example of driving the httpd standard.

A similar case can be made for IT organizations that need to implement specific industry standards and protocols. The actual implementation of these standards provides very little benefit to the core business of an organization. Today, IT organizations typically rely on ISVs or internal development groups to implement these standards and thus incur the costs of sourcing the implementation.

The drive for collaboration is propelled by the need for IT organizations to quickly and efficiently implement new regulations or standards for their business. Organizations within the same industry can join together as a software-innovation network to create a shared implementation of a standard. A common implementation would mean that the cost is shared and the common deployments would result in greater interoperability.

Collaborating on a Common Platform

Creating a common industry platform can address the IT challenge of integrating solutions from different vendors and help accelerate the growth of a fragmented market.

A consistent requirement of BPO Services , Freelancing Projects & IT organizations is the need to integrate solutions from different vendors. For instance, CRM systems often need to be integrated with e-mail systems; financial institutions need to integrate data feeds from many providers; and large-scale manufacturers, such as automotive or aerospace OEMs, have extensive supply chains that need to integrate across the product lifecycle. Typically, the integration is a cost of doing business, not a core value, so creating a common platform that is adopted by a number of industry players effectively streamlines the integration requirements.

Establishing a common platform in a fragmented market of providers can help grow the entire industry. In fragmented markets, significant investment is often duplicated across solution providers but provides no real customer value. In addition, a valuable market ecosystem cannot develop because the market share of each provider is not big enough to sustain investment on one particular platform. Therefore, if multiple players agree to collaborate on a common platform, it can reduce the barriers for increasing the size of the overall market.

Factors to Consider When Establishing a Software-Innovation Network

Open-source software development provides a proven model for creating shared implementations, however, the ultimate goal of a software innovation network is to increase business value. Therefore, we need to consider several aspects of OSS that allow for value creation and value capture when establishing a collaboration amongst equal partners.

Open-Development Process

The success of OSS development in facilitating collaborative development is in an open-development process. Most major open-source communities, such as Apache, Eclipse and, work on the following principles:
  1. Openness: being open to participation by any individual or organization, including competing organizations.
  2. Meritocracy: Openness does not mean democracy; in fact, successful open-source projects work on the principle of a meritocracy. Therefore, newcomers are invited to participate based on their proven merit and ability.
  3. Transparency: having important project discussions, plans and meeting minutes available in a transparent manner so anyone can view them.
Enabling a Governance Model for Collaboration
All successful long-term organizations require a set of rules that establish a governance model for setting policies and strategies. Governance becomes even more important if the organization is a collaboration among competitors. It is, therefore, critical that the governance model not allow a single player to control or influence the organization. The perception or reality that a single participant controls the overall community can inhibit the participation of others.

Intellectual-Property Management

Intellectual-property management is a critical consideration when you are creating a shared technology base. Effective IP management includes the selection of an appropriate software license, legal agreements for participants that cover the contribution of IP, and scanning of source code to ensure pedigree and license compatibility.

For instance, the Eclipse Foundation has a well-established IP management system. All participants in the Eclipse community sign the same exact agreement and follow the same IP processes. All Eclipse open-source project committers sign a "committer agreement" that specifies that their contribution is licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL). All source code that is contributed to Eclipse projects is automatically scanned to ensure that all of the code is licensed under the EPL or a compatible open-source license. The result is that the technology created in the open-source projects has clear software license and IP pedigree.

Creating a Community

Tim O'Reilly coined the term architecture of participation to describe how open-source projects are able to build and engage a community. The idea is that an open-source community forms around the ability of an individual, regardless of his or her affiliation, to participate. An architecture of participation is created by:
  1. Making it easy to extend the technology, and
  2. Having an open development process that is transparent to all.

Participation then occurs when those individuals contribute directly back to the project or build new technology on top of the base technology. The end result is an ecosystem that adds the needed components for quick adoption of new technology.

The network effect of smaller communities within the larger communities has also proven very beneficial for starting new projects. A significant challenge for any new community is generating awareness and participation. Organizations such as Apache and Eclipse allow new projects to leverage the larger community to raise their profile with potential community members.

Establishing the IT Infrastructure
The IT infrastructure to host a community-oriented software-innovation network is nontrivial. Typically, open-source collaborations will require a website, source-code repository, bug-tracking database, wikis, mailing lists and newsgroups. Consideration needs to be given into the ongoing administration and management of the infrastructure.

Open Business Models

A goal of a software innovation network is to create an ecosystem of organizations, commercial and not-for-profit, that benefit from a common platform. These organizations will employ a variety of business models and strategies. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the choice of license and governance model allow for maximum flexibility.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Most IT organizations have reduced software-licensing costs by being users of OSS. The next step to additional IT efficiencies will be their participation in OSS projects. Open-source communities like Apache, Eclipse and Linux have demonstrated a model for collaborative software development that can be the basis for any software-innovation network. Visionary IT departments have already begun to leverage this model to collaborate on the development of technology specific to their domain. Over the next few years, open software-innovation networks could very well be the future of software development.

Ian Skerrett is the director of PPC Services & marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation supporting the Eclipse open-source community and commercial ecosystem. In this role, he is responsible for implementing programs that raise awareness of the Eclipse open source project and grow the overall Eclipse community.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Open source code crawling with fewer bugs

The quality of open source code has improved over the last two years, according to an audit sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security.

The security and quality of more than 250 open source projects - including Apache, Linux, Firefox and PHP - was assessed using code analysis tools from Coverity as part of the federal government's Open Source Hardening Project. Coverity set up a scan site that invited individual developers to put their code through its paces with its static source code analysis tool, Coverity Prevent.

The same approach was used to analyse 250 popular open source projects, containing more than 55 million lines of code, on a regular basis. This analysis revealed a 16 per cent reduction in "static analysis defect density" across popular projects over the last two years, reflecting the discovery of 8,500 individual defects. The site divides open source projects into rungs on a ladder based on how far each project gets in fixing bugs.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Technology: MySQL to remain as open source

MySQL community worries and continues to feel that Sun Microsystems is about to make the database giant a closed source product.

Marten Mickos, former CEO at MySQL and now senior vice president of Sun's database group, explained that the company has developed high-end add-ons such as encryption, native storage engine-specific drivers, that they will deliver to Enterprise customers only. Mickos stated, "MySQL isn't going closed source."

Sun Microsystems, which purchased MySQL this year for over $1 billion, ephasizes that the database will remain open source despite what critics say.

Sun has faced critism from the MySQL community after Sun suggested that some high-end features due to arrive in MySQL 6 would be available only to paying customers.

Critics condemned this potential decision and assused Sun and MySQL of betraying the community that has graciously helped make it successful.

Marten Mickos, former CEO at MySQL and now senior vice president of Sun's database group, backed off the statement, saying that Sun has not made an official decision.

Mickos explained that the company has developed high-end add-ons such as encryption, native storage engine-specific drivers, that we will deliver to customers in the MySQL Enterprise product only. Sun has not decided under what license they will release the new add-ons. Mickos stated, "MySQL isn't going closed source."

However, even the high end tools aren't necessarily going to be proprietary. Such a move might be bad news for paying customers as well, since it would mean the tools they pay for wouldn't enjoy the widespread community testing that ensures they are usable and secure.

Even if Sun ultimately does end up making some MySQL tools proprietary, it's very unlikely to affect the average user. The core database components would remain free and open source, only the extra tools would be affected.

Marten Mickos, former CEO at MySQL and now senior vice president of Sun's database group, explained that the company has developed high-end add-ons such as encryption, native storage engine-specific drivers, that they will deliver to Enterprise customers only. Mickos stated, "MySQL isn't going closed source."

Source :

Why Open Source Java will Win SaaS Platform Wars

McKinsey & Company published a report predicting the market size for Software as a Service (SaaS) will exceed $37B market over the next 5 years. In particular, the report described the need for Independent Software Vendors to SaaS-enable their products using special-purpose SaaS development tools. Matt Asay also wrote recently that the growth of the top BPO services providers companies & 60 software companies is driven by SaaS.

McKinsey claims that traditional J2EE and .NET platforms are poorly suited to building SaaS applications. According to McKinsey, this opens up a $3B market for Platform as a Service (PaaS) products from new entrants like WaveMaker, Coghead and SalesForce. From the article:

Although SaaS development platforms like SalesForce and Coghead have gotten a lot of attention, this market has so far been remarkably closed and proprietary. The Platform as a Service leader, SalesForce, has both a draconian hosting policy (host your apps and data anywhere, as long as it’s with us!) but also a proprietary language (who needs Java when you’ve got Apex!?).

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Can Microsoft 'do' open source by 2015?

The recently appointed head of Microsoft's global Linux and open source team hopes the company will have a clear and comprehensible open source strategy by 2015.

Sam Ramji wants people to clearly understand what projects the company is contributing to, and what code Microsoft is making available - along with the terms - on a routine basis.

It seems Ramji is talking about people both inside and outside Microsoft knowing what’s going on.

"We don't have hard rules... right now, it's still careful judgment case by case. By 2015, I think it would be set up," he told Reg Dev, just before his promotion.

"It'll be understood, woven in to the fabric and in product-development cycles, so it's well understood: 'Here is the parts of our product that will be open source.”

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is Open Source software safe and secure?

It’s a big question: how trustworthy is the software I use on my computer? When it comes to open source, can you trust the quality of programmers who work for free? You can, according to a new report out this week – which also proves major open source offerings to be especially well written. It equally shows up the projects which are slow to respond to vulnerabilities.

One argument for open source has always been that you have inherently more security because anyone can examine the underlying program code and verify it does what it ought to be doing. But then, does this really mean anything for non-programmers? In one sense, you’re still depending on the word of others; open source does remove a major barrier by giving you the program code but that’s only part of the puzzle. You also need both the time and the expertise to analyse it.

Here’s where Coverity come in. They are a commercial code analysis company which began at Stanford University. Coverity have been running a project called Scan for two years with funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security in line with its own objectives to harden open source apps. This week Coverity released their Open Source Report for 2008. This report is interesting stuff; it draws on two years’ worth of data from over 250 significant C/C++ open source projects – like PHP, Perl, Python and Samba, all veritable household names (albeit in a fairly geek household.)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Free software helps Indian techies in many projects

BANGALORE: Free software and open source tools are helping a range of Indian entrepreneurs to build software solutions that enhance the potential of computing for millions.

With names like Hindawi, Zmanda and Dhvani or KDE Hindi, these products are helping an entire new generation of software developres.

Hindawi ( is a suite of BPO services & open source programming languages. It allows people to write computer programmes in languages other than English.

The Zmanda Recovery Manager ( is a perl-based utility used to automate backup and recovery of MySQL databases. Prominent on its management team are Indian names like Chander Kant, Paddy Sreenivasa, Ram 'TK' Krishnamurthy, and K.K. George.

Dhvani ( is a text-to-speech Indian-language initiative. It allows a Simputer to read what the user types. It was built to ensure that literacy and English skills were not essential to use the Simputer.

Using images in conjunction with voice output in local languages makes a computing device accessible to a larger section of the Indian population. Other winners are Fedora Spins, and KDE Hindi of

MayaVi ( is an open source tool that allows easy and interactive three-dimensional visualisation of data.

In 2000, Prabhu Ramachandran, then a IIT Madras aerospace engineering student, started work on the MayaVi project with his colleagues to visualise computational fluid dynamics data.

"Popular tools available for the purpose at that time were proprietary and prohibitively expensive," noted the Linux For You magazine, published from Delhi, which has announced its FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) India Awards for those involved in a "saga of innovation".

Peter Thomas of Satyam here worked on JTrac (, a FOSS "issue-tracking web application". That is a computer software package which manages and maintains lists of issues, as needed by an organisation. It is used to create, update and resolve reported customer issues.

Abhas Abhinav's DeepRoot Linux team here has developed deepOfix (, which "gives many proprietary mail servers a run for their money", commented Linux For You.

Another of the Indian winners was TuxType - into which five students of the Government Engineering College at Thrissur built Unicode Malayalam support.

This made TuxType ( the first FOSS typing tutor to bundle Unicode support for Indian languages, at a time when Indian language solutions in computing is eagerly awaited, so that the potential across the country can be better tapped.

WANem ( is a wide area network (WAN) emulator, coming from the Tata Consultancy Services. It was built to provide team-members WAN access. Other WAN emulators were hardware-based, expensive and available to only a select few in test labs.

Source :

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Open source security improving rapidly

Two-year quality analysis studied 250 popular applications

The quality and security of open source software is improving rapidly, according to an in-depth analysis of over 250 popular applications including Linux and Apache.

Coverity's Scan Report on Open Source Software 2008 was developed with support from the US Department of Homeland Security.

The report analysed more than 55 million lines of code on a recurring basis from over 250 popular open source projects.

The two-year investigation was conducted with Coverity's Prevent static source code analysis tool as part of the US government's Open Source Hardening Project.

Coverity reported a 16 per cent reduction in "static analysis defect density " in the past two years, reflecting the elimination of more than 8,500 individual defects.

'Null pointer dereference' emerged as the most common defect, according to the study, while 'Use before test of negative values' was the least common defect.

Findings in the report seemed to contradict conventional wisdom in that projects with large average function length are not prone to higher defect densities.

"The improvement of projects that already possess strong code quality and security underscores the commitment of open source developers to create software of the highest integrity," said David Maxwell, open source strategist at Coverity.

The report represents 14,238 individual project analysis runs for a total of nearly 10 billion lines of code analysed over two years.

The conclusions may apply equally to open source and commercial software regarding the relationship between variables such as code base size, defect density, function length, 'Cyclomatic complexity' and 'Halstead effort'.

Source code analysis from the report is freely available to qualified open source projects.

Source :

Monday, May 19, 2008

Open source code examined

Coverity finds improvements during project to examine more than 55 million lines of code

A code analysis of popular open source software projects has revealed that the quality and security of open source software continues to improve.

In its "Scan Report on Open Source Software 2008," Coverity analyzed more than 55 million lines of code on a recurring basis from more than 250 open source projects. Detailed Tuesday, the project utilized the Coverity Prevent static source code analyzer and was done during a two-year period. Some of the projects analyzed included the Apache Web server, Linux, Firefox, and the Samba file and printer sharing system. Scripting languages such as PHP and Ruby were examined as well.

"We run the source code through our static analysis tool, which identifies certain types of software defects for them and developers can look at the result," said David Maxwell, open source strategist for Coverity.

Coverity in its analysis found that open source developers are interested in code quality and making efforts to make it better and more secure, Maxwell said.

"We can see from the statistics many developers are quite passionate about writing good code," Maxwell said.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The open-source industry is worth $60 billion

John Powell, CEO of Alfresco, has declared that the open-source industry is worth $60 billion, not necessarily because of its vendors' collective revenue, but rather because of the value of the cost savings for customers.

That's the right way to think about software: From the customer's perspective.

  • Open source is now the world's largest software industry....You measure it in the savings people are making in licence fees....Licence fees don't add any value to the product and are purely a transfer of wealth from consumers to software vendors.
Subscription-based business models are ideal for customers because they focus the vendor on delivering constant, consistent value. License-based businesses? Not so much.

As a case in point, Alfresco (Disclosure: I work for Alfresco) just closed a deal with a large US federal agency. The project is worth over $50 million, with Alfresco at the core. But if all of that $50 million were going into my pocket it would be a success for Alfresco and a failure for the customer. Why?

Because as it stands, most of that money is going to integrators to customize our software (and others' - it involves a few big proprietary vendors, too) to fine-tune it to the agency's needs. Our proprietary competition on the deal started the bidding at $2.5 million, and would have cost multiples of that to get it do what the agency actually needed, as the agency determined.

So, we shaved costs off the project, and allowed the agency to divert funds from license costs to system integrators to ensure a close fit. Perfect.

Open source tends to be less costly because of its $0.00 acquisition cost, but also because it is more easily customized and integrated with other systems, including proprietary ones. Open source, open APIs, open standards. They tend to travel together.

Source :

Friday, May 16, 2008

Open source industry worth £30bn

One open source manager has claimed the industry is worth £30 billion, despite the software being given away for free.

John Powel, the chief executive officer of Alfresco, an open source content management firm, has said it is "now the world's largest industry".

When asked how to value an industry which gives the software away for free Mr Powel said: "You measure it in the savings people are making in licence fees".

"Licence fees don't add any value to the product and are purely a transfer of wealth from consumers to software vendors."

He added that the open source industry has created the "most profound" change in the IT sector since it began.

The licensing form has allowed software to be distributed in a way which has not been allowed before and is powered by the people, Mr Powel added.

Recently the research firm Gartner predicted that most software-as-a-service providers will incorporate open source technology in two years' time.

Source :

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Open source largest software industry: Alfresco CEO

How can something given away for free end up being the world's largest industry of its type? Well, according to open source content management vendor Alfresco CEO John Powell the value of open source is not what it generates, but what it saves, and that's worth billions.

How can something given away for free end up being the world's largest industry of its type? Well, according to open source content management vendor Alfresco CEO John Powell the value of open source is not what it generates, but what it saves, and that's worth billions. BPO services are booming in industry now a days.

"Open source is now the world's largest software industry," Powell declared during his keynote address as the first Alfresco community conference in Sydney, Australia.

"You measure it in the savings people are making in licence fees," he said. "Licence fees don't add any value to the product and are purely a transfer of wealth from consumers to software vendors."

By that rationale, the open source software industry is worth $60 billion - not from sales but from what customers have saved by choosing an open source product over a proprietary one with hefty licence fees attached.

"Open source itself is powered by people and it is allowing software to be deployed in a way that hasn't been possible before, and what that is doing is commoditizing the industry," Powell said. "If the database industry is worth $10 billion, the open source database industry might be worth $1 billion and the nine billion left over stays with the customer to help make the product work."

Powell boldly remarked that open source is not just software, it's "the most profound change in the computer industry since its inception".

"In the last couple of years it has moved from being the province of geeky individuals to becoming mainstream," he said. "Sun bought MySQL, Yahoo bought Zimbra, and Citrix bought XenSource for $500 million - a company with less than $1 million in revenues showing open source is about more than the traditional revenues of proprietary software companies."

Powell also talked up the success of the Alfresco open source content management system, saying the product has been downloaded over a million times and is running on some 30,000 production servers.

"We now have over 500 enterprise customers and to acquire this customer base in the traditional way would have been virtually impossible," he said. "We've gained some of the largest enterprises in the world. Governments love alfresco because of the economic benefit. If you buy proprietary the economic benefit directly goes to the vendor because the only people that can change the binaries of the code is the vendor. With open source local companies can support the product which helps the local economy."

Locally, Alfresco claims to have chalked up 1500 installations of its community edition in addition to a number of paying enterprise edition customers it has acquired with Sydney-based partner Lateral Minds, including Mincom, Sensis, ANU, and Leighton Contractors.

"Alfresco is the fastest, most scalable CMS on the planet," Powell said. "A large retail bank is using Alfresco for loading 80 faxes per second and an unnamed US government agency - one that takes pictures of eyeballs at airports - is loading 200 million objects into Alfresco."

Powell also digressed into a lengthy discourse as to why classical enterprise content management is the wrong vision that was "artificially constructed by content management vendors in the 90s to sell more product".

"ECM implies silos of information," he said. "People want transparency and trust, and rather than thinking about ECM as a product, think about content services delivered to users on demand in the application of their choice. It should be available to everyone. Open source is driving this change and so is the Web 2.0 revolution. The open source model is built on the Internet and collaboration. ECM leaves the boundaries of the enterprise and can be used through Facebook or Google."

Powell touted Alfresco as "the open source alternative to Microsoft's SharePoint", saying it is the only software distribution model that will level the playing field.

"Many organizations are deploying SharePoint because it's included in the Microsoft distribution, and suddenly I need SQL Server, SharePoint Portal, and I'm locked in the Windows platform and you must pay licence fees," he said.

"We don't care what the operating systems is, what the database is, whether it's Java or .Net, so there is no hidden lock in and you won't end up in a position you will regret."

Source :

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Open-source tool creates OOXML docs for the blind

Microsoft has helped develop an open-source tool that translates Word files into a "talking" digital book format, which makes documents easily accessible for the 160 million people worldwide with impaired vision.

The tool was developed in an open-source project with Sonata software and the Digital Accessible Information System (Daisy) consortium. It translates OOXML files into the Daisy format, which can be used in software such as Book Wizard Producer and the Daisy pipeline, to create a talking book.

Listening to a Daisy audio file is different from an MP3. With an MP3, the listener can only navigate between tracks. But someone listening to a Daisy format file can do things a sighted person would do when reading a document, such as skip to specific page numbers, hear a table of contents and look up references in an index.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Open source survey: many questions remain

Used in the right context, statistics can often illuminate and point the way. On the other hand, these days, given the degree of spin around, they are more often used to confuse and blur an issue.

That's why I am always suspicious about surveys. Over the years I've been writing about free and open source software, I've seen numerous surveys from the proprietary software crowd - which always tend to paint a positive picture of proprietary software. Curious.

And then there are surveys from proponents of free and open source software - which, mysteriously, end up favoring the FOSS community and its software.

It's not surprising that the great Benjamin Disraeli once referred to statistics as being the third kind of lies - after lies and damn lies.

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Application Security for Open Source - The New Frontier

Building a partnership between security and engineering teams

Hybrid applications made up of proprietary, open source and third-party components are the result of today’s fast-paced and complex software development landscape. Applications developed within the last five years – whether internal or external – are at least 50% open source software (OSS) and third-party components. Of that amount, over one-third of it is undocumented. What were once purely proprietary applications are now complex code mashups. It’s safe to say that open source is everywhere – it’s woven throughout your enterprise network whether or not you are aware of it.

IDC Research has called the use of open source “the most significant, all-encompassing and long-term trend that the software industry has seen since the early 1980s.” [1] The study also revealed that open source was being used by 71% of worldwide developers, and was in production at 54% of their companies. Although upper management has only recently signed off on its use, developers have long understood that open source is the fastest (and cheapest) path to software innovation.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Open source IT surveyed

INFORMATION technology can protect the integrity of democratic processes delegates at a United Nations-sponsored seminar on land management heard yesterday.

More than 25 delegates met at St Margarets College, Dunedin, to discuss the development and implementation of land management systems based on free ‘‘open source’’ computer software.

University of Otago School of Surveying lecturer Dr Donald McKinnon said the software could be adapted to record land ownership, and help with transfer of land titles and retrospective land claims at virtually no cost to people in developing nations.

‘‘In Cambodia, for instance, the Khmer Rouge destroyed all land records in the ’80s. Since 1995, every province has been reviewed. In the future, these systems might assist with land tenure cases like this, or after natural disasters,’’ he said.

The Open Source Cadastre and Land Registration seminar was funded by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and was hosted by the University of Otago School of Surveying.

FAO land tenure officer Mika Torhonen said the organisation regarded effective and efficient land management and registration as a way of improving the standard of living in developing nations.

‘‘Information technology is great for democracy and holds great promise for developing nations. It is very reliable and can be modified for specific groups. Its use could improve governance, make land tenure processes more equal and less susceptible to corruption. It also makes it easier to share information between countries,’’ he said.

New Zealand had a large role to play in developing land management systems which could be implemented elsewhere because of the country’s relatively successful resolution of land tenure issues with its indigenous people, he said.

Although the system was used in some developed nations such as the Bavarian states, in southern Germany, where state policy dictates local government use open sourced software it would gain momentum if developing nations ‘‘found a champion’’ country to implement the scheme, he said.

Delegates from Nepal, Vietnam, Fiji, the Kyrgyz Republic, Albania, Switzerland, Cambodia, Samoa and New Zealand attended the two-day conference, which concluded yesterday.

Source :

Thursday, May 8, 2008

IBM Commits to Open Source

IBM gives a support to utilize open standards based tools. IBM is also challenging people in Indonesia to unleash their natural talents to utilize open source technology and become master thinkers who can innovate solutions and solving the problems that people face today.

According to Suryo Suwignjo, President Director, IBM Indonesia, organisations are looking for innovative software applications while the corporations of the future are looking for developers with tools and skills of tomorrow. "We want to raise the bar for the future of open source technology," said Suwignjo.

Currently, IBM closely partnered with the local government and academia to create an enabling environment by allowing free access to IBM software, course materials, training and curriculum development, helping Indonesia become an innovators's nation by investing in skills development and technology enablement. Such efforts will empower future workers with the right skills to be able to compete in the larger global workforce.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Oracle: Eating its Own Open Source Food

The database giant isn't just into Linux and Xen for the money, is it?

Where in the world's largest database vendor does open source fit? At the very heart, according to Wim Coekaerts, Director of Linux Engineering at database giant Oracle.

Coekaerts leads Oracle's Linux and open source support, which includes OracleVM, the open source Xen-based virtualization hypervisor effort.

In an exhaustive interview with Coekaerts outlined where Oracle is going with its unbreakable Linux distribution, Linux kernel development and virtualization. (Oracle's Linux support stepped up in 2006 when it announced its own support of Linux based on the binaries of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the number one Linux distributor.)

Coekaerts said the critical thing for Oracle is to actively contribute to the Linux and virtualization communities that serve as the base for Oracle's open source offerings. That doesn't mean he necessarily agrees with what other vendors, in particular Red Hat and XenSource are doing, even though the company works with both of their open source products. The ultimate impact of Oracle's open source effort could well lead to a broader use of Linux and Xen or it could lead to greater fragmentation among the various open source groups supporting the two projects.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Open source software requires governance, Burton warns

Uncontrolled use of software components can affect IT operations as well as development. - Joe Niski Senior Analyst for Application Platform Strategies, Burton Group

Open source software (OSS) frequently flies under the radar in IT organizations, and if governance is not in place to identify it and manage legal licensing implications, it may crash and burn, Burton Group Inc. warns.

Developers working on SOA and other software projects are making use of OSS components, and IT, QA and legal departments are ignoring the licensing ramifications at their peril, according to a new Burton report.

The growing popularity of the Java Development Kit from Sun Microsystems Inc., and the Eclipse IDE are resulting in a proliferation of OSS components in applications that organizations consider proprietary, according to the report's author, Joe Niski, senior analyst for application platform strategies for Burton. Legal problems arise because, while open source licenses are more liberal than traditional vendor licenses, they are still licenses. Terms and conditions that must be observed, the analyst explains in a 27-page report, "Open Source Management: Who Owns That Software?"

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Best of open source in software development

InfoWorld editors and reviewers award the Best Open Source Software for the enterprise, here's what they say about software developement

The wealth of open source software development goodies is heaven for the developer community, but it's hell on an awards committee. Considering IDEs, debuggers, defect trackers, code coverage tools, unit testers, load testers, and so on, we could have come up with more awards here than the rest of the Bossies combined. Then there were paths that could only lead to trouble. Could we really choose a best language? Or a best development platform? Could we pick Python over Perl, or Rails over Mono?

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Open Source is the 'software establishment', report says

A new report examining trends in the open source market says more and more organizations are jumping on FOSS, for more reasons than just the price tag.

IT researcher the Standish Group released the report which surveyed participants over five years, and claims “the Open Source movement is no longer the anti-software-industry establishment... Open Source software is the software establishment!”

Though measuring the Open Source market can prove difficult, Standish’s research estimates Open Source software will save users upwards of US$60 billion annually.

In general, Standish found that an increasing number of users believe Open Source software to be more secure, better quality, and more reliable than its commercial counterparts.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Will market reject Sun’s open source vision?

Matt asks today whether open source will save Sun Microsystems.

Good question. But it depends on what we mean by open source. (Copies of this lovely poster are for sale at eBay.) And what we mean by saving.

As I noted here in January, while Sun sits at the bottom of the open source incline, having embraced GPL licensing, it actually sits near the top of the open source development incline.

This means Sun’s projects are essentially proprietary efforts. Sun decides the strategy, Sun controls the code releases. Sun “owns” mySQL, and takes that ownership seriously.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Microsoft Uses Open Source To Extend Systems Management To Linux

Microsoft is extending its management software to Linux and Unix by integrating some of the open source OpenPegasus project's code into System Center Operations Manager.

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s management software has never quite measured up to that of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), IBM (NYSE: IBM), BMC (NYSE: BMC), or CA (NYSE: CA), the "big four" of IT systems management. But the company hopes to begin changing minds about that at the annual Microsoft Management Summit this week, and much of the impetus comes from a rather unlikely place: the integration of open source code into a System Center management product.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it's extending its management software to Linux and Unix environments by integrating some of the open source OpenPegasus project's code into System Center Operations Manager, and will contribute back. The addition of cross-operating system management, the number one customer request for System Center, represents further recognition by Microsoft that it's not a Windows-only world. It also is a significant move toward putting Microsoft on equal footing as a legitimate enterprise management vendor.

"I don't care what enterprise you walk into, they're not going to be single platform. You just don't see that," said Clear Channel solution architect Curt Smith, a System Center customer, in an interview. Clear Channel uses Linux to operate its radio Web platform, has a bunch of creative employees on Apple OS X, and uses VMware for virtualization. "I want the ability to manage it all from one spot. You can't have a bunch of tools all over the place, or else you'll just end up cracking up."

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