Recent Posts

  • Less is More…what’s so hard about simplicity?

    I am continuing to process Made To Stick, a Guns, Germs, and Steel-quality treatment about why some ideas survive and others die. I heard the authors interviewed courtesy of our local National Public Radio affiliate WUNC (which does their share of great content generation, btw), and to fit the ultra-dense format of radio, they said “there are six success factors for making an idea stick, but the first three, Simple, Unexpected, and Concrete, are the most important.” As the authors tell it, experts suffer from The Curse of Knowledge, and the nature of the curse is such that it is almost impossible for those so cursed to keep things simple or, for that matter, concrete. Complexity is fun, and abstraction is what gives theories their power. It also makes them notoriously transient in people’s minds.

  • Yes, the ‘open source’ label is still relevant and powerful

    Nat Torkington asked recently Is “Open Source” Now Completely Meaningless. Certainly not; in fact, there are several reasons this label is still valid and important. I’m a pragmatist, so I’m not going to wave any flags or sing any anthems to argue this, just point out what has worked and continues to work.

    First of all, let’s be clear about what “open source” means. Software is ‘open source’ when it is issued under a license compliant with the Open Source Definition. Nothing any clueless or malevolant corporate marketeer does can change that, because the term originated in the open-source developer community and only we have the authority to redefine it.

  • Brent Williams gives the best open source presentation ever?

    That seems to be the opinion of Stephen Walli in this blog posting. I just finished reading Made To Stick, a book recommended to me by my trendspotting wife Amy, and it’s quite obvious that Brent has both a command of the facts, an understanding of the context, and a gift for relating them in ways that are simple, unexpected, concrete, and other ways that make the ideas stick. It is wonderful (and refreshing) to see a presentation that is at once so right on the facts and so complete in its explanation. Great work, Brent!

  • Open Source and Open Standards

    For some time, the term “Open Standard” has been gaining in market popularity. Unlike Open…

  • Yes! Open Source Is As Relevant As Ever!

    There’s an idea that’s becoming increasingly popular here in Chapel Hill, and it’s expressed by one of two bumper stickers. The first is: Ignore Your Rights And They’ll Go Away The second is: No, You Can’t Have My Rights, I’m Still Using Them These apply equally well to the definition of Open Source software. For quite some time, we’ve faced opposition from those who want nothing more than to spread ignorance–to tell people it’s OK to ignore what rights may or may not convey with the software they buy. They believe that if enough people simply ignore Open Source, it will go away.

  • Alfresco shifts to the GPL

    Three cheers for Alfresco for changing their license to the GPL. The first cheer is because they are shifting away from a license which, as a modified version of an OSI-approved license, was not, technically, Open Source as the OSI defines it. We all remember the days when high-flying technology companies reported “pro-forma” financials instead of pure GAAP financials. The logic was that GAAP was the standard upon which their model was based, but they just wanted to make a few tweaks to better reflect the true value of their company. The liberties some companies took with GAAP created a slippery slope for both the companies and their investors, leading to massive discrepancies between reports and reality. Starting with an OSI-approved open source license and then making some discretionary changes without getting the new license approved can (and has) led to similar problems with respect to the spirit and the letter of the OSD. By stepping away from a modified Mozilla license and embracing an OSI-approved license, Alfresco makes their intentions clear to all–they are an Open Source business.