No surprises: the demise of Blackberry and Nokia

Friday saw confirmation of BlackBerry’s near-billion-dollar loss.  BlackBerry and Nokia both tried to muscle their way back into the smartphone game, essentially by imitating the closed model used so successfully by Apple and which they themselves had previously done well by. The grip of the established app stores however, ensured that neither of the impostors would be able to win over either customers or  developers to their cause. Another closed platform simply holds no appeal to a market very much enthralled by what’s already available. Continue reading

Not just cash…

There are many ways to support open source software. However your business uses it, supporting its development is key to ensuring that the software continues to be maintained and improved. When I wrote “Supporting its development”, did your mind jump straight to “making a donation”? Other ways of contributing support abound and are just as crucial to the health of the project.

From participating in the community and buying from community members to promoting the project and contributing directly to the code, there are a lot of options out there. What’s encouraging about many of these options is that they flow very naturally out of a businesses needs and practices.

To read Simon’s full article “7 ways your company can support open source”, check out the article in InfoWorld now.

EU Open Data Cities Workshop

The Open Data Cities Workshop is on the afternoon of the 27th of September in Bolzano, Italy and will explore practical issues encountered by cities already engaging in Open Data practices. It will also create a space in which to share experience, advice and ideas with the intention of forming a collaborative ad hoc network of Open Data cities to continue sharing experience, collaborate on projects and reduce costs through collective use of software. The event is running as part of  the Festival of Innovation, yet is itself a by invitation only event. If you wish to be issued an invite, please do get in touch.


Open Data Hackathon

Whether you’re all about developing applications, creating impressive information visualisations, manipulating statistics, or telling the stories behind the numbers, there’s a place for you at the Open Data Hackathon in Bolzano from 25th to 27th September.

Entrants will have 24 hours to work on creative applications for publicly available data in an effort to impress the jury, who will award prizes on the basis of creativity, innovation, usability and of course, use of open data. Entry is free of charge, the prizes great and Bolzano a beautiful place to spend the weekend, so you may well be tempted to hang around for a few days to recover once the hacking is done.

Registration is open right up to the event, but tickets are limited, so sign up now and we’ll see you there.

Open Data – Digital Gold

Bolzano LogoThe delightful Tyrolean city of Bolzano will be the locale for a “Festival of Innovation” running from the 26th to the 28th of September this year.

On the Friday of the festival there will be  a half day open data conference entitled “Open Data – Digital Gold“. The event will feature notable keynote speakers Mark Madsen from Third Nature and ODI’s Ulrich Atz as well as case studies from two Italian municipalities exploring the value of open data. Essential material for all those seeking to understand how open data can make a difference for their cities and citizens.

SUSE LibreOffice developers move to Collabora

Along with SUSE’s announcement that they are stopping development of LibreOffice, they also announced that they’re facilitating the migration of their staff LibreOffice contributors to Collabora, a new home for LibreOffice support. The core of SUSE’s LibreOffice developers (contributing around three quarters of SUSE commits), will now continue their work from within the newly created Collabora productivity suite business unit, named Collabora Productivity.

Whilst many of those left behind remain committed to contributing to LibreOffice on their own time, the developer core moving to Collabora Productivity ensure that both LibreOffice community support and continuity for SUSE’s enterprise customers remain priorities.

For the LibreOffice project overall, the news seems a very natural step for SUSE and highlights the importance of The Document Foundation’s role in managing the project; even in times of corporate change for contributing companies, impact on the project itself is minimal, as all infrastructure for development and distribution is managed by the Foundation. For more commentary, check out Simon’s InfoWorld article.

Nokia: Microsoft’s new patent troll?

Since the announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia there have been numerous assessments of what this says with regard to Microsoft’s future business model. Are they becoming another Apple clone? Much less attention has been paid however to the remains of Nokia.

You see, Microsoft didn’t acquire everything. They’ve got the traditional mobile phones, the smart devices and all related services. That’s all the important bits right? Not quite, Nokia has been left with a mapping data business, a technology business providing phone companies with infrastructure, and (significantly) a considerable portfolio of patents.

Having sold on their physical devices, Nokia is now free to ruthlessly pursue anybody they feel is “infringing” those patents without worrying about counter attacks against their own technologies. Licensing the patents to Microsoft but keeping the patents themselves in hand, Nokia is left as a potentially very unpleasant patent troll, presumably seeking to harass Microsoft’s rivals. For the full story, see Simon’s InfoWorld article.

Can Ballmer’s exit boost Microsoft’s Open Source profile?

News of Steve Ballmer’s departure has already created a lot of speculation, but what might it mean for Microsoft’s open source commitments?

Simon’s seven step process model for understanding the shift towards full adoption of open source in large corporations is a useful tool for understanding Microsoft’s open source profile. He explains the model and gives some observations about Microsoft’s current position within that model in his current InfoWorld article (where an insider comment suggests his evaluation that Microsoft is stuck at stage 3 is spot on)..

Progressing to the 4th step, (“A new C-level exec is able to defend actions by the open source office and to counter strategies elsewhere in the corporation that threaten to destroy the reputational credit the open source office creates.”) might seem unlikely, but perhaps now is the time. There are several factors which could contribute to this, ranging from the legacy of the Microsoft’s Codeplex forge to the spate of executive leavings over the last few years.

Perhaps it’s still wishful thinking, but there’s never been a better time for Microsoft to commit more solidly to open source. For more detailed discussion check out the InfoWorld Article.