Category: "Computers and Internet"

OSBC2007 SF Session 4

CIO Hotseat, Niel Armstrong, Activision, Eugene Ciurana, Leapfrog, S. Christopher Gladwin, Cleversafe, Ilan Kinreich, RadView Software, Inc. Oliver Marks, Sony Playstation, Dave Rosenberg, MuleSource, and Moderator: Steve Fox, InfoWorld

The Open Source Companies make a pitch, and the CIOs decide if they would buy. From the fine Tiffany bag, er, or not, the decision is made, who goes first...


Brings open source IDA technology: inherently secure, inherently private, dispersed storage for all the world's data.

The benefits of dispersed storage:

  • Secuity/Privacy
  • Reliability
  • Scaling
  • Cost Effective
  • Infrastructure for all sorts of Mobile to Enterprise solutions

Five minutes and done with the pitch. Now the grilling begins.


Dave showed the normal ESB architectural diagram, and told the CIOs that if they hadn't seen before, they're not reading enough trade magazines... :D

235 reasons from Microsoft to retain FIVE law firms.

Done in four minutes, and Eugene, a two-time Mule production user, wants to know what will give him a warm fuzzy. MuleSource has so much money, Dave's going out to buy a boat tonight. [I want to know what kind of boat and when's the party? Update: MuleSource Closes 12.5MM$US in funding.] And they use Palomino and other tools to assure that all their IP is rightfully theirs. There is a clause in their contracts for subscribes that MuleSource will bear all the legal costs if there should be a problem.

Mule works with all other ESBs; if there's a way to get data into and out of the application, it can ride the Mule.

MuleSource advocates multiple ESBs - isn't this adding complexity not reducing it? Putting a box in front of some wonky application and let it talk to Mule and Mule talk to everything is much less complex than trying to work with funky data.

RadView WebLOAD

Identify performance bottlenecks, pinpoint the root cause and monitor the production environment. JasperSoft is their reporting/analysis tool.

Five minutes and the CIOs want to know more - like what the product really does.

RadView was closed and is taking WebLOAD open - how are they building their community? has a lot of information, and working with partners and customers


WebLOAD looks great for downloading, but not being mission critical, there may not be a reason to pay for it; the presentation wasn't convincing.

MuleSource makes a lot of sense, being used - kick the tires; marketing message is confusing to some.

CleverSafe, from a regulatory stance, and whether or not one can recreate their data no matter what, is scary; needs a better business case, especially regarding governance.

OSBC2007 SF Session 3

Online Strategy for Open Source Business, Mark Burton, MySQL, Mark de Visser, Zend Technologies, Inc. Michael Evans, Red Hat, Inc. John Roberts, SugarCRM, Inc. and Moderator: Steve Fox, InfoWorld

Steve Fox provided the introduction, discussing the synergy between Web2.0 and Open Source, and then the panel introduced themselves.

The first question is how the open source communities use online strategies.

  1. Get the word out from downloads to community forums.
  2. The online world is the starting point for anyone interested in an open source project.
  3. Starting with a $25/month shared account and Sourceforge, and recognizing that traditional sales model wouldn't work, SugarCRM provides a strong self-service infrastructure, including the exchange for selling extensions and their forge - three years later
  4. Provide a global reach
  5. Making the technology easily available: downloads, documentation, conversations
  6. marketing
  7. Red Hat has learned that you can't half-ass, part-time your online presence; you must have dedicated, knowledgable people

Who downloads the software, and what do you know about them?

  1. Fedora is free and there is very little tracking, especially as Fedora is available from a variety of mirror sites; RHEL line is not a free download; JBoss brought a lot of tracking sophistication
  2. SugarCRM was impressed with how strong the MySQL and Red Hat brands are, without advertising; information from downloaders is voluntary; proving the value of the software is the main strategy; SugarCEM has been translated, by volunteers into 70 languages, and has been downloaded into over 100 countries
  3. MySQL has massive distributions through mirror sites, but once they come to MySQL, they start to gather information about uses and needs; about 80% of paying customers have already used the product
  4. Zend doesn't know who download until they come to Zend for services or more information

What customer data do you have, and how do you use it?

  1. To be open source, you must be very open, totally transparent, the code, development plans, and bug databases are all open to everyone
  2. MySQL tries to understand use trends and some demographics; e.g ~three-quarters of their customers are SMB
  3. The folk who reveal that they are a competitor when they download an open source product are the best
  4. By capturing demographics, e.g. developer, DBA, etc, Zend can target content to particular users
  5. SugarCRM tries to look more at the ideas that users bring to the forums, as well as generic data about underlying databases and platforms, and uses; they also use newsletters and developer groups; there is a mechanism through the "heartbeat" information from the code, as to what is being used: version of the underlying infrastructure, how is MySQL being stressed, etc
  6. Web tracking tools are used at Red Hat provide some interesting data, but the customer data through sales is the most interesting; a subscription model causes an interesting problem as customers want to co-terminate subscriptions that were bought at different times from different channels
  7. Open Source companies must always be thinking about the customer, and how to make subscription renewal attractive and easy

How do you convert online downloads to sales?

  1. Poorly... Zend, if we could double the conversion rate... make it easy and compelling; add value so that the customer wants to further engage; make your message clear
  2. SugarCRM went from counting downloads and modeling conversions to realizing that providing great software and a great service, regardless of open source or not, regardless of the license, is how coversion happens
  3. Make it very easy to complete the transactions, from phone calls inbound to inside sales, to click-through transactions
  4. Red Hat makes things easy at all levels, and provides options to customers to allows them to self-select up; at times there are too many leads for any size sales force or automated system to follow
  5. MySQL doesn't even like to talk about conversion; one thing is that the differentiation between the community and enterprise versions must be very clear
  6. If an open source company runs out of leads before they meet their sales number, they should go back to their product and figure out what is wrong with it or how it can improve
  7. The product must be easy to download and easy to install and easy to use, and the blogs, forums, online interaction, and free training really help
  8. A top priority is self-service from subscription renewals to security updates
  9. Providing help through forums and documentation, targeting the community user; there is a significant community that won't ever need more than what is freely available
  10. The opportunities for enterprise apps may be winding down; the time when three people could work together for a summer and grow an enterprise application may be gone, though timing wise, 'tis an excellent time to start an open source company as the models have been proven
  11. A question was asked how SugarCRM serves the business user
    1. IT is still important
    2. They know a good CRM app from a bad one

How does one develop the services?

  1. Under GPL, once can't sell a license, so Red Hat has always been service oriented, which have developed into a subscription model; the Red Hat network is at the core
  2. The Red Hat Exchange is all about making it simpler: support, licensing, reviews - a fully online global marketplace - only two weeks in, the reviews are 80-90% positive
  3. MySQL has done something similar to the Red Hat network, by adding a lot of service value to the MySQL Enterprise Edition that makes it easy to install security patches, updates, and tuning
  4. Zend follows suit with the Zend Network, and the Zend Network makes management of the application stack built on Zend PHP even easier
  5. SugarCRM does ondemand and onsite subscriptions; the subscription model forces a providing company to stay sharp and keep adding value

OSBC2007 SF Session 2

Open Source in the Battleground for Mobile Dominance, Benoit Schillings, Trolltech, Inc

In many ways, I'm glad that my first choice for the second session, see my schedule, was so packed, I couldn't even get into the room after talking with Nick and Ian of JasperSoft during the break. As anyone who reads our TeleInterActive Lifestyle blog knows, I'm very interested in mobile and wireless solutions, so listening about the open green phone for mobile development is great.

Benoit's talk brought forth the ways in which open source can overcome some of the barrier to mobile development. One of the major frustrations for enterprises in extending their data analytics and collaboration platforms to their increasingly mobile workforce is the lock that carriers have on what can go onto a device and what can go over the air waves. Some of this has been mitigated with smart phones using PalmOS or Windows Mobile or Symbian on GSM networks. Unfortunately, there have not been much uptake in the enterprise space.

Another very interesting discussion was around language: C/C++, Java and its versions, Python and even Ruby.

There has been talk of convergence for a decade, without much real delivery. Open Source could make this happen. Standards is very important in this area as well.

OSBC2007 SF Session 1

The Convergence of OSS and SaaS: The Business Model of the Future, William A Soward, Adaptive Planning

Discussion of Open Source converging with SaaS

  • Use before vs. Try before you buy
  • convert downloader or trial into paying customer
  • plus subscription, consulting, training
  • lower sales with slightly lower R & D vs. Lower R & D and maintenance
  • most SaaS is North America

Adaptive Planning sees customers start on demand & bring it in house later

New SaaS about customization & feedback; rapid development cycle

SaaS & OSS culturally very similar

William went into financial and business performance metrics; for me, the most interesting point & the least proven is awareness of the lifetime value of a customer

A high percentage, perhaps one-third to one-half, of their downloads from sourceforge are business users who need help getting into production

Emerging Distribution Options

  1. appexchange
  2. sourceforge marketplace
  3. Intel Suite 2
  4. Red hat
  5. Spikesource
  6. Goggle?
  7. I would add Amazon EC2 and S3 and future possibilities for a marketplace from them

OSBC2007 SF Keynote 2

Open Source: Leveraging the Capabilities to Drive Consumer Product Innovation by Marc West, SVP & CIO of H&R Block, Inc. Marc states that he'll not have the passion of Matt and Matthew, but his customers are open source's customers, and he brings the innovation of open source to their customers.

As Marc was told as a young programmer... it's about the customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and your fellow employees.

More than 10 years ago, if you wanted information you went to a training class, now you go to your peers via the Internet.

Niche is good, but scale is critical.

Marc states that we are now in our third generation of driving core technology changes and have not yet fully delivered on the value that "technology" has long pormised to bring.

Marc has a very interesting slide on how the F500 view Open Source...

Brigh Shiny Objects: "newest is not always best, neither is most mature. It's the mix of the best that wins. Without standards you will fail, because you will create a middle layer that you cannot unwind. H&R Block has used open source to make fundamental CHANGES in how they serve their customer. Marc then gave some context on H&R Block. Large market, competitive and highly regulated. They open 10,000 of their 13,000 offices and hire about 100,000 additional seasonal employees for TAX SEASON, with training and retraining to keep up with regulatory changes that happen every year, often at the last minute, which requires rebuilding their systems to match those changes... while serving customers. They make about half of their annual revenue in 12 days, near the beginning of February.

H&R Block is innovating for consumers, using mostly open source or [in-house] open sourced solutions.

  • Organizit: web product using Lazlo but store your data online or on your desktop, 10 weeks to design, build, launch with over 2 million copies in distribution through download or CD.
  • Tango: helping understand what you're doing when filling out your taxes, not just filling out boxes. An emotionally designed product, using Hollywood producers and consumers. Without open source, this product would never had happened. Five months to build.
  • Zimbra: email, think about rolling out and rolling back all those email accounts for those 100,000 seasonal employees
  • Vpro: virtual [tax] professional is a new platform to connect the consumers with tax professionals real time; eight months using multiple open souce components integrated into a simple platform that provides the right expert; a key part to "Taxes your way" and accounting your way.

Marc went into all the things that H&R Block learned, some of which are somewhat obvious, like open source still needing support, and some are less obvious, like the value of SCRUM, getting standards right, and that open source is a viable option for them. Within five years, the key Open Source components will be in the same place as UNIX was in the late 1990's; SasS will get it right and applications/computing in bite-sized chunks, on-demand, will be usable and trusted; the shift towards I creation over writing interesting code - different pipelines to manage; innovation pipeline continues to get compressed through features/competition and ubiquitous access; global teams are required to make it all work - talent is critical. Another interesting point that Marc brought up, is that there is more computing power for less dollars - do we know how to use it?

Open Source is not about saving money, it's about performance and flexibility. So says Marc, so say we all.

OSBC2007 SF Keynote 1

Matt has signed off, and the music is back as we await the first Keynote Presentation. With the music, an interesting slide show is going on, with pictures from the late 1800's and the 1900's and statements from folk like the chief of the U.S. Patent Office and Thomas Edison, all mistakenly saying that innovation was dead, but then showing things like the Wright Brothers, and Amelia Earhart and a very young Bill Gates.

And now "The Evolution of Open Source in the Enterprise by Matthew J. Szulik, Chairman, CEO & President of Red Hat.

There are more opportunities and more choices for the enterprise than at any other time, in part because open source is now in the second and third generation of providers. [As an aside, the room is really filling up - I'm crunched between two others, one typing, one not, and I can hardly keep Vate on my lap. Er, if you don't know, Vate is my MacBookPro. &#59;) ] The industry has changed, and it's a wonderful thing that some folk in the industry today doesn't know what VSAM is. The opportunities being presented to IT customers today cover new abilities in BI to virtualized appliances from developers around the world. The opportunities for the industry is to unlock trillions of dollars in critical data still riding in legacy systems like Pick. [This I know from experience when we did a dW for a large, F100, organization whose ordering data was still in Pick/Universe.]

For the customers with whom Matthew speaks, it's not the bits, it's how fast open source can scale and apply project management skills to solve their needs today and in the future. All interesting systems change. But where do these skills come from to meet these opportunities?

Lock-in vs. interoperability, proprietary vs. open source... There are no open source vendors that have a problem with interoperability. The transparency of the source code leads to open standards, federated data models, better BI, real-time, effective decision making information.

Governments around the Globe are putting money into thinking about and implementing open standards, such as ODF. Customers are thinking about new data models, federating data, and how this will happen in 2010, 2020 with thousands of virtualized clients, virtualized servers and virtualized appliances. Companies like Greenplum are looking at this now.

Patents... Focus on what is original, what is truly an invention. Patents can stifle innovation. The EU is addressing this in a multi-year legal action. Another point brought up by Matthew is that the relation between the customer and the provider of IP has changed, the customer is much more involved. Matthew brought up a project Red Hat is doing right now with J.P Morgan. Another example is what's occurring in DRM free digital music. One of the most compelling arguments for open source is that the customer is an active part of the process. Education about patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and differing patent law from country to country. Open development is creating an open, federated portfolio of intellectual property. Open source is building on the last 30 years of the IT industry without barriers to sharing knowledge. An hardware example, as brought up by 60 Minutes last week, is the One Laptop per Child project - all open, all about sharing. The OSBC assemblage has an opportunity to meet this challenge through dialog and discussion. Matthew also brought up generational issues; the younger generation embraces sharing much more than those over 40. [As a 51 year old, once hippie, I dispute this idea by the way. Though as hippies became YUPpies, hmm].

The discussions don't center on VC funds and the exit strategy, but on innovation strategies around technology. Matthew knows he has been chasing windmills for over 10 years, and he is amazed at faces in the audience today, of people who wouldn't return his phone calls 7 years ago.

Projects coming out of Rice challenging the traditional text books and their cost... Indiana University Sky project... Throwing away 11 years of Breast Cancer research because of system incompatibility...

How will we create a vibrant culture around the value system that is open source? Don't be held hostage by the past. Really think about this exciting industry, this value system, that can unlock human potential, solve new problems, in all areas.

OSBC2007 SF Welcome

The rock music has stopped and Matt Asay's Welcome is happening as I type. This is the seventh show and the fourth year for the OSBC. There is a revolution going on in Open Source solutions, with over 2 billion US$ in V.C. funding and 65% of enterprises stating that open source has spurred innovation in their industry.

Open source's only real friend...
... is the customerend quotation
A friend of Matt said this

A very interesting point is that proprietary vendors create ecosystems around their products that do create value for their customers, but are also designed to keep competitors out of the ecosystem and out of the market. Organizations, such as the Open Source Alliance, are creating ecosystems for Open Source projects and companies, that create value for customers and communities across open source projects, but invite all open source providers.

OSBC2007 SF Registration

I've arrived and registered at the OSBC2007. There are several conferences happening at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco today, but OSBC seems to be the biggest, at least with the longest Agenda and most rooms.

I've found the WiFi and have checked out the equipment. I'm just watching the passerby and looking for folk that I know.

I have heard back from Lidia Fiorini of Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, S.p.A. who told me to speak with Gabriele Ruffatti and Grazia Cazzin about SpagoBI.

And now I'm off to find coffee and get settled in from Matt Asay's Welcome.

OSBC2007 SF Schedule

This year's Open Source Business Conference being held in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel spans two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 22 & 23. The doors open at 7:00 each morning, with Tuesday's agenda lasting through a networking reception ending at 8:00 p.m.

BART willing, I'll get there by 7:30 each morning. In addition to Matt Asay's welcoming address each day, there are two keynotes on Tuesday morning, one Tuesday afternoon, and three on Wednesday morning. There are showcases and demonstrations planned, with normal coffee and lunch breaks. The sessions are grouped into four tracks: "Products and Services", "What's Legal?", "What's Next: Emerging Opportunities and Strategies" and "Whats Now: CIO Issues and Channel Delivery". As always, there are concurrent sessions that make me long for cloning, astral projection or some other form of bi-location technology. &#59;D

I'll be bringing along the portable podcast equipment, sans mixer, with the intent to get some one-on-one interviews, especially with folk interested in open source solutions for BI, data analytics, project management of remote teams, collaboration, mobile/wireless, data management and the TeleInterActive Lifestyle. Gianugo Rabellino won't be returning to San Francisco after his JavaOne visit, but suggests that I meet with Fabrizio Capobianco of Funambol. Dave Dargo will be attending, and we hope to connect. Nick Halsey and some other folk from JasperSoft will be there as well, and we're planning on getting together. Clarise and I first met Nicholas Goodman at the Thirsty Bear following last year's OSBC, but he won't be making it to San Francisco this year, though others from Pentaho will be. It would be neat to meet some folk from SpagoBI, and I see that Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, S.p.A. is a sponsor, so maybe that can happen. I'm also hoping to see the folk from MuleSource, as well, though Travis Carlson won't be attending; Travis and I had a great talk about BI, SOA, BPM and ESB at MuleCon2007. Perhaps I can even meet Coté from Redmonk.

Here's my schedule:

  1. 2007 May 22 from 10:30 to 11:20, The Convergence of OSS and SaaS: The Business Model of the Future, William A Soward, Adaptive Planning
  2. 2007 May 22 from 11:30 to 12:20, Constructive Disruption: An Enterprise Perspective on Open Source, Daniel Cahoon, H&R Block, Russ Danner, The Christian Science Monitor, Wilson D'Souza, MIT, Oliver Marks, Sony Playstation, and Moderator: Robin Vasan, Mayfield Fund Update Open Source in the Battleground for Mobile Dominance, Benoit Schillings, Trolltech, Inc
  3. 2007 May 22 from 14:00 to 14:50, Online Strategy for Open Source Business, Mark Burton, MySQL, Mark de Visser, Zend Technologies, Inc. Michael Evans, Red Hat, Inc. John Roberts, SugarCRM, Inc. and Moderator: Steve Fox, InfoWorld
  4. 2007 May 22 from 15:00 to 15:50, CIO Hotseat, Niel Armstrong, Activision, Eugene Ciurana,, S. Christopher Gladwin, Cleversafe, Ilan Kinreich, RadView Software, Inc. Oliver Marks, Sony Playstation, Dave Rosenberg, MuleSource, and Moderator: Steve Fox, InfoWorld
  5. 2007 May 23 from 11:00 to 11:50, Risks and Rewards: How Enterprises Are Adopting and Managing Open Source, Bill Whurley, BMC Software Inc. Tim Golden, Bank of America, Jon S Stumpf, AIG Technologies, and Moderator: Steven Grandchamp, OpenLogic
  6. 2007 May 23 from 13:00 to 13:50, The Art of Picking Your Poison - Open Source and the Choice of an Application Architecture, Eugene Ciurana,
  7. 2007 May 23 from 14:00 to 14:50, Community Development: Business Development for the 21st Century, Danese Cooper, Intel Corporation, Chris DiBona, Google Inc. Andy Dreisch, SugarCRM, Inc. Dawn Foster, Jive Software, and Moderator: Raven Zachary, The 451 Group
  8. 2007 May 23 from 15:00 to 15:50, Open Source, SOA, and the Next-generation Data Center, Akash Garg, hi5 Networks, Dave Rosenberg, MuleSource, Sanjiva Weerawarana, WSO2, and Moderator: Michael Cote, RedMonk

If anyone else attending the conference would like to meet, chat, or even be recorded, please get in touch with me. See you at the Palace Hotel.

OSBC2007 San Francisco

The Open Source Business Conference 2007 being held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on May 22 & 23, have graciously provided the TeleInterActive Press with a pass. [Thank you, Patty.]

In addition to writing about the sessions that I attend, and the people with whom I meet, I'll have my portable podcast equipment with me. I'm not lugging around the mixer, so I'll be doing one-on-one style interviews. If anyone is attending the conference and would like to meet, chat, or even be recorded, please get in touch with me.

BTW, if you're an open source developer, Matt Asay is offering free registration. If you can, take advantage of this generous offer.

I look forward to seeing you there.

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At the beginning, The Open Source Solutions Blog was a companion to the Open Source Solutions for Business Intelligence Research Project, and book. But back in 2005, we couldn't find a publisher. As Apache Hadoop and its family of open source projects proliferated, and in many ways, took over the OSS data management and analytics world, our interests became more focused on streaming data management and analytics for IoT, the architecture for people, processes and technology required to bring value from the IoT through Sensor Analytics Ecosystems, and the maturity model organizations will need to follow to achieve SAEIoT success. OSS is very important in this world too, for DMA, API and community development.

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