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  • January 2010 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    the added cost will probably be very low but more important is the overall greater maturity in terms of encoder and decoders In fact I believe that Theora in its more recent implementations can provide comparable quality to H264 as was shown by Greg Maxwell but the encoders still need to demonstrate that the excellent quality demonstrated in Greg s encoding are maintained for a wide range of material in this sense I am quite sure that in the next few months the quality differential will become very small up to the point where Theora and H264 are more or less technically equal The problem is all the material already encoded as H264 that will need to be converted And this means that it will never happens as the cost of doing so is higher than the cost of buying a license for H264 What will happen is that if Flash continues to be developed outside of the main browser code more and more content providers will prefer to use HTML5 and the open standards because this way it will be easier to provide a better quality to end users increasing the number of potential viewers This does not means that Flash will go away as much as I would love to as most of the functionality that is offered outside of video is not directly replicable in a sensible way through other means Gordon is capable of render level 1 codes Gnash has some level 7 codes but in general there is no realistic way to ask for all the websites and content developers to throw out all their flash toolchests and start using something else And there is no chance in hell that Adobe will open source their plugin due to IPR issues mainly What HTML5 can do

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  • November 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    ephemeral device that can substituted with limited configuration needs and that large numbers of devices can be upgraded and managed without human intervention and in total security Applications are embedded in web pages and managed as web pages so the maintenance and training requirements are limited It is not really tied into Google Of course in this first release it heavily uses Google services for everything but changing that is trivial The authentication part is managed by a PAM module that can be easily swapped and login completion that actually turns your login name in a gmail account is just a small modification of the SLiM login manager used by the OS to perform the initial login and can be changed with a few lines of code The same for the application list the first icon on the top left of the screen that is merely a hardwired URL change it with your own portal address and you get the same result without using Google The only part that requires some work is the integration of Google SSO through a complex cookie exchange mechanism augmenting that with something like OpenSSO from Sun would not require more than a few days of work anyway It is not a SplashTop clone There are several Linux based instant on environments designed to be integrated inside of a flash BIOS the most famous one is SplashTop used in many motherboards and notebooks from Asus Acer HP Sony and many others The problem of this approach is that it is fixed the image is difficult to update and upgrade and this means that it rapidly loses appeal ChromiumOS uses a trusted boot mechanism to ensure that upgrades are legitimate but integrates it in a clean and smart way making sure that the users will continuously be up to date It does require the net most of the time but not always The first login requires a working connection but then the credentials are hashed and stored in a cache wallet that allows to enter even in absence of a connection If the pages allow for detached operation using Gears HTML5 persistent storage or similar mechanisms the system will work even without a connection It is a stopgag solution but is sensible most of the time spent in desktop applications is centered on online services that are unusable without a connection so it makes sense when considering the OS as something that is not competing in the same market as a traditional PC Local cached web applications may provide in the future more flexibility in this sense but moch effort needs to be done to make it a worthwhile path If we consider how people spend time on the PC we can use the data from Wakoopa that ublished recently a measurement of time spent per application on Windows OSX and Linux and shows that for example on Windows the time is spent with Firefox 28 71 Internet Explorer 6 88 Google Chrome 6 62 Windows

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  • October 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    Contributors consider that their predictions about Cloud Computing may have to be revised due to accelerating adoption of the concepts by the market The number of mature FLOSS projects addressing all technological and organizational aspects of Cloud Computing is confirming the importance of FLOSS in this area Actually the future of true Open Clouds will mainly depend on convergence towards a common definition of openness and open services Open Cloud Tribune Following the various discussions and controversies around the topic FLOSS and Cloud Computing this opinion column aims to nourish the debates on this issue by freely publishing the various opinions and points of view 2009 s article questions about the impact of Cloud Computing on employment in IT Contradictory evolutions While significant progress was observed in line with 2020 FLOSS Roadmap the 2009 Synthesis highlights contradictory evolutions the penetration of FLOSS continues but at political level there is still some blocking In spite of recognition from intellectuals the alliance between security and proprietary has been reinforced and has delayed the evolution of lawful environments In terms of public policies progress is variable Except in Brazil United Kingdom and the Netherlands who have made notable moves no other major stimulus for FLOSS has appeared on the radar The 2009 Synthesis is questioning why governments are still reluctant to adopt a more voluntary FLOSS attitude Because FLOSS supports new concepts of society and supports the links between technology and solidarity it should be taken into account in public policies Two new issues Considering what has been published in 2008 two new issues have emerged which will need to be explored in the coming months proprietary hardware platforms which may slow the development of FLOSS and proprietary data which may create critical lock ins even when software is free The global economic crisis While the global crisis may have had a negative impact on services based businesses and services vendors specializing in FLOSS it has proved to be an opportunity for most FLOSS vendors who have seen their business grow significantly in 2009 When it comes to Cloud based businesses the facts tend to show a massive migration of applications in the coming months Impressive growth in terms of hosting is paving the way for these migrations Free software and financial system this new theme of the 2020 FLOSS Roadmap makes its appearance in the version 2009 in order to take into account the role which FLOSS can hold in a system which currently is the target of many reflexions Sun Oracle The acquisition of Sun by Oracle is seen by contributors to the 2009 Synthesis as a major event with the potential risk that it will significantly redefine the FLOSS landscape But while the number of major IT players is decreasing the number of small and medium size companies focused around FLOSS is growing rapidly This movement is structured around technology communities and business activities with some of the business models involved being hybrid ones FLOSS is like forests The 2009

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  • September 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    using NET elsewhere thus having paid for the right of use limiting its growth potential The scenario is not so unbelievable after the unveiling of a real Silverlight port to Moblin that makes Mono more or less redundant Some open core systems suffer of the same problem the user is forced by the proprietary part to abide to whatever decision is made by the vendor independently of what OSS license the open part is licensed with The uncritical embracing of online services is similarly flawed what happens if the company goes bankrupt or discontinue the service If you use EC2 you can always create your own infrastructure using Eucalyptus and continue your work Can you say the same of all the services that are being promoted right now Can you get a complete copy of your data move it somewhere else Control is what really matters on premise and online Who how such control is performed what it may affects You may prefer the ethical angle like Stallman did or the economic angle like I do but the end result is the same exactly like free software and open source are the same The critical aspect is being able to assess this control and weight if the lack of control is compensated by the features you get which is reasonable or what kind of risk are you accepting in exchange You like the integrated set of features proposed by Microsoft That s good as long as you know that some of the actions that they did in the past were not exactly transparent and that your control of their offering is very limited You like Google Good Just understand what happens if Gmail does not work You prefer open source Good But with the increased control you get with it you also get responsibility and increased effort Always ask yourself it is your software or not Think about it and don t let the question disappear from your mind because your business may depend on it FLOSS open source software patents 9 Comments ChromeOS Jolicloud and web desktops Posted by cdaffara in blog divertissements on September 15th 2009 There is very little that Google says that is not analyzed to death and that sometimes leave people puzzled The announcement of Google Chrome OS a Linux based lean operating system designed to streamline the use of web based applications especially for NetBooks left a few scratching heads in the blogosphere and was promptly dismissed by Microsoft as irrelevant It is true that examples of the same concept abound like the nicely executed Jolicloud or the various Ubuntu netbook remixes at the same time the clout and market power of Google has of course an undeniable impact The interesting point is that more than the idea of a lean Linux desktop the fact that an enhanced web browser along with some additions like Flash HTML5 Gears and whatever can nowadays be considered an effective desktop replacement is something that just one or

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  • August 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    believer that there will be a move toward consortia managed projects something similar to what Matthew calls the embedded age the availability of neutral third party networks increase the probability and quality of contributions in a way similar to the highly successful Eclipse foundation FLOSS OSS adoption OSS business models 7 Comments Libre Software for Enterprises new issue of the European Journal for the Informatics Professional Posted by cdaffara in OSS adoption blog on August 21st 2009 It is available online the new issue of UPGRADE the European Journal for the Informatics Professional edited by Jesús M González Barahona Teófilo Romera Otero and Björn Lundell The monograph is dedicated to libre software and I am grateful to the editors for including my paper on best practices for OSS adoption This is not the first UPGRADE edition devoted to libre and free software the june 2005 edition was about libre software as a research field june 2006 centered on OSS licenses december 2006 was devoted to the ODF format and the december 2007 edition was centered on free software research all extremely interesting and relevant FLOSS open source OSS adoption OSS migration No Comments DoD OSCMIS a great beginning of a new OSS project Posted by cdaffara in OSS adoption blog on August 20th 2009 OSCMIS is a very large web based application more than half a GB of code created by the Defense Information Systems Agency of the US Department of Defense and currently in use and supporting 16000 users including some in critical areas of the world like a tactical site in Iraq It is written in ColdFusion8 but should be executable with minimal effort using a CFML open source engine like Ralio it is currently using MSSQL but there is already a standard SQL version alternative The application implements among others the following functions Balanced Scorecard extensive balanced scorecard application implementing DISA quad view strategy initiatives issues and goals accomplished graph practice Designed and built in house after commercial vendors didn t feel it was possible to create DISA Learning Management System Enables fast easy course identification and registration with registration validation or wait listing as appropriate and automated supervisory notifications for approvals Educational Development Specialists have control as appropriate of course curricula venues funds allocation data reporting and more Automated individual and group SF182 s are offered Includes many other training tools for intern management and training competitive training selection and management mandatory training mentoring at all levels etc Personnel Locator System completely integrated into HR Training Security and other applications as appropriate System is accessible by the entire DISA public PLS feeds the Global Address List COR TM Qualification Management Acquisition personnel training and accreditation status and display Tracks all DISA acquisition personnel and provides auto notification to personnel and management of upcoming training requirements to maintain accreditation and more Designed and built in house after the Acquisition community and its vendors didn t feel it possible to create Action Tracking System automates the SF50 and process throughout a civilian personnel operation Security Suite a comprehensive suite of Personnel and Physical Security tools to include contractor management Force Development Program individual and group professional development tools for military members to include required training and tracking of training status and more Network User Agreement automated system to gather legal documentation CAC signed PDF s of network users agreements not to harm the government network they are using Used by DISA worldwide Telework comprehensive telework management tool to enable users to propose times to telework with an automated notification system both up and down of approval status JTD JTMD management provides requirements to manage billets personnel vacancies and realignments plus more comprehensively or down to single organizations Employee On Boarding Tool automates and provides automated notification in sequence of actions needed to ensure that inbound personnel are processed provided with tools and accounts and made operational in minimal time DISA Performance Appraisal System automates the process of collecting performance appraisal data Supervisors log in and enter data for their employees This data is output to reports which are used to track metrics and missing data The final export of the data goes to DFAS ER LR Tracking System provides comprehensive tracking and status of employee relations labor relations actions to include disciplinary actions and participants of the advance sick leave and leave transfer programs Protocol Office comprehensive event planning and management application to all track actions and materials in detail as needed to support operations for significant events VIP visits etc This is a small snippet of the full list at the moment covering more than 50 applications some are specific to the military world while some are typical of large scale organizations of all kind personnel management for example The open source release of OSCMIS is important for several different reasons It gives the opportunity to reuse an incredible amount of work already used and tested in production in one of the largest defence groups It creates an opportunity to enlarge improve and create an additional economy around it in a way similar to the release of the DoD Vista health care management system another incredibly large contribution that spawned several commercial successes It is an example of well studied carefully planned release process while Vista was released through an indirect process a FOIA request that leaved the sources in the public domain and later re licensed by independent groups OSCMIS was released with a good process from the start including a rationale for license selection from Lawrence Rosen that acted as counsel to OSSI and DISA It cannot be underestimated the role of both people inside of DISA like Richard Nelson chief of the Personnel Systems Support Branch John Weathersby of OSSI and I am sure many others in preparing such a large effort This is also a good demonstration of good cooperation between a competence center like OSSI and a government agency and I hope an example for similar efforts around the world By the

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  • July 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    on its own and eventually be reused by others and because it shows that the proprietary code part is less and less important in an ecosystem where services are the real key to add value to a customer FLOSS open source OSS adoption OSS business models 4 Comments Conference announcement SITIS09 track Open Source Software Development and Solution Posted by cdaffara in OSS adoption OSS business models blog on July 3rd 2009 I am pleased to forward the conference announcement I believe that my readers may be interested in the OSSDS track on open source development and solutions The 5th International Conference on Signal Image Technology and Internet Based Systems SITIS 09 November 29 December 3 2009 Farah Kenzi Hotel Marrakech Morocco http www u bourgogne fr SITIS In cooperation with ACM SigApp fr IFIP TC 2 WG 2 13 IEEE pending The SITIS conference is dedicated to research on the technologies used to represent share and process information in various forms ranging multimedia data to traditional structured data and semi structured data found in the web SITIS spans two inter related research domains that increasingly play a key role in connecting systems across network centric environments to allow distributed computing and information sharing SITIS 2009 aims to provide a forum for high quality presentations on research activities centered on the following tracks The focus of the track Information Management Retrieval Technologies IMRT is on the emerging modeling representation and retrieval techniques that take into account the amount type and diversity of information accessible in distributed computing environment The topics include data semantics and ontologies spatial information systems Multimedia databases Information retrieval and search engine and applications The track Web Based Information Technologies Distributed Systems WITDS is devoted to emerging and novel concepts architectures and methodologies for creating an interconnected world in which information can be exchanged easily tasks can be processed collaboratively and communities of users with similarly interests can be formed while addressing security threats that are present more than ever before The topics include information system interoperability emergent semantics agent based systems distributed and parallel information management grid P2P web centric systems web security and integrity issues The track Open Source Software Development and Solution OSSDS focuses on new software engineering method in distributed and large scaled environments strategies for promoting adopting and using Open Source Solutions and case studies or success stories in specific domains The topics include software engineering methods users and communities interactions software development platforms open Source developments and project management applications domain case studies In addition to the above tracks SITIS 2009 includes workshops the final list of workshop will be provided later Submission and publication The conference will include keynote addresses tutorials and regular and workshop sessions SITIS 2009 invites submission of high quality and original papers on the topics of the major tracks described below All submitted papers will be peer reviewed by at least two reviewers for technical merit originality significance and relevance to track topics Papers must be up to 8 pages and follow IEEE double columns publication format Accepted papers will be included in the conference proceedings and published by IEEE Computer Society and referenced in IEEE explore and major indexes Submission site http www easychair org conferences conf sitis09 Important dates Paper Submission July 15th 2009 Acceptance Reject notification August 15th 2009 Camera ready Author registration September 1st 2009 Local organizing committee Cadi Ayyad University Morocco Aziz Elfaazzikii Chair El Hassan Abdelwahed Jahir Zahi Mohamed El Adnani Mohamed Sadgal Souad Chraibi Said El Bachari Track Open Source Software Development and Solutions OSSDS IFIP TC 2 WG 2 13 The focus of this track is on new software engineering method for Free Libre and Open Source Software FLOSS development in distributed and large scaled environments strategies for promoting adopting using FLOSS solutions and case studies or success stories in specific domains Software Engineering methods users and communities interactions software development platforms Architecture and patterns for FLOSS development Testing and reliability of FLOSS Software engineering methods in distributed collaborative environments Licencing and other legal issues Documentation of FLOSS projects CASE tool to support FLOSS development Agile principles and FLOSS development Mining in FLOSS projects Applications domain case studies success stories Geospatial software services and applications Bioinformatics FLOSS for e government and e administration FLOSS in public sector e g education healthcare FLOSS solutions for data intensive applications FLOSS and SOA middleware applications servers FLOSS for critical applications FLOSS in Grid and P2P environments Tools and infrastructures for FLOSS development Scientific computing Simulation tools Security tools Development and project management Ecology of FLOSS development FLOSS stability maintainability and scalability FLOSS evaluation mining FLOSS data FLOSS and innovation Experiments reports field studies and empirical analysis FLOSS for teaching software engineering Revenue models Security concerns in using FLOSS Users involvement in design and development of FLOSS Building sustainable communities Track Chairs Thierry Badard University of Laval Canada Eric Leclercq University of Bourgogne France Program Committee Abdallah Al Zain Heriot Watt University UK Claudio Ardagna Universita degli Studi di Milano Italy Carlo Daffara Conecta Italy Ernesto Damiani University of Milan Italy Mehmet Gokturk Gebze Institute of Technology Turkey Scott A Hissam Carnegie Mellon University USA Frédéric Hubert University of Laval Canada Puneet Kishor University of Wisconsin Madison and Open Source Geospatial Foundation USA Frank Van Der Linden Philips Netherlands Gregory Lopez Thales group France Sandro Morasca Universita degli Studi dell Insubria Italy Pascal Molli University of Nancy France Eric Piel University of Delft The Netherlands Eric Ramat University of Littoral France Sylvain Rampacek University of Bourgogne France Marinette Savonnet University of Bourgogne France Charles Schweik University of Massachussets Amherst USA Alberto Sillitti University of Bolzano Italy Megan Squire Elon University USA Marie Noelle Terrasse University of Bourgogne France Christelle Vangenot EPFL Switzerland Add new tag FLOSS open source OSS adoption OSS business models 3 Comments Just finished the final edition of the SME guide to open source Posted by cdaffara in OSS adoption OSS business models OSS data on July 2nd 2009

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  • June 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    contribution Think about it imagine yourself as a developer working in a company and after some work the CEO allows for a linux based product to be launched As such you make some patches and contributions and instead of maintaining your own branch you try to send back your patches To who Is it really that easy to discover the kernel mailing list What is the proper form If you need to send back patches to GCC for example for some embedded board processor who do you contact Is it really that easy to do On the side of the project how are contributions managed Each question is a stumbling block for a potential contribution Of course the larger project to have a channel but sometimes it is not that easy to find and manage properly I believe that an independent structure can increase the contribution process by providing social skills what is the proper contribution form What groups and networks should be contacted technical skills what is the proper form Is the contribution fulfilling the project internal rules for contribution legal skills has the contribution the proper legal attribution has it been verified has it been properly checked marketing show that software exist that it can be used and how Such a structure may be created for a limited cost especially by leveraging the many voluntary activities that are now scattered in many individual projects Instead of making yet another repositry a local government could probably spend their money better in making sure that there is a realistic feedback channel If this effort can increase the participation probability even by a small percentage the potential return on investment is significant FLOSS open source OSS adoption OSS business models 2 Comments Horses carriages and cars the shifting OSS business models and a proposal Posted by cdaffara in OSS business models OSS data on June 8th 2009 If there is a constant in this research area is the fact that everything is constantly changing While we debate about whether mixed models are really that important or not or while free software experts are fighting against brand pollution I still find amusing the fact that most of what we debate will be probably not relevant in the future at all Exactly like the initial car models that resembled the horse driven carriages that were planning to supplant some actual OSS business models are half hearted attempts at bridge the gap between two different worlds with some advantages and disadvantages of each All OSS business models are based on the idea of monetization of a code base and this monetization can happen in many different steps of the acquisition or use process Monetization of services for example usually happens in the initial adoption step through training and set up fees while support monetization happens in the long term use phase and in large scale companies tend to be limited in time as the internal IT staff becomes more and more expert at the

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  • May 2009 Archives « carlodaffara.conecta.itcarlodaffara.conecta.it
    OSS business models on May 6th 2009 Matt Asay just published a post titled Community is an overhyped word in software where he collects several observations and basically states that Most people don t contribute any software any bug fixes any blog mentions or any anything to open source projects including those from which they derive considerable value They just don t Sure there are counterexamples to this but they re the exception not the rule While true to some extent the way the post is presented seems to imply that only commercial contributions are really of value as he states later So if you want to rely on a community to build your product for you good luck You re going to need it as experience suggests that hard work by a committed core team develops great software whether its Linux or Microsoft SharePoint not some committee masquerading as a community This is somewhat true and somewhat false and this dichotomy depends on the fact that community is an undefined word in this context Two years ago I gave an interview to Roberto Galoppini and one of the questions and answer was What is your opinion about the community Alessandro Rubini is right in expressing disbelief in a generic community there are organized communities that can be recognized as such Debian or Gentoo supporters are among them but tend to be an exception and not the rule Most software do not have a real community outside of the developers and eventually some users of a single company it takes a significant effort to create an external support pyramid core contributors marginal contributors lead users that adds value If that happens like in Linux or the ObjectWeb consortium the external contributions can be of significant value we observed even in very specialized projects a minimum of 20 of project value from external contributors I still believe that by leaving the underlying idea of community undefined Matt does collate together many different collaboration patterns that should really not be placed together In the mentioned example the 20 was the result of an analysis of contribution to the OpenCascade project a very specialized CAD toolkit As I mention in my guide In the year 2000 fifty outside contributors to Open Cascade provided various kinds of assistance transferring software to other systems IRIX 64 bits Alpha OSF correcting defects memory leaks and translating the tutorial into Spanish etc Currently there are seventy active contributors and the objective is to reach one hundred These outside contributions are significant Open Cascade estimates that they represent about 20 of the value of the software In a similar way Aaron Seigo listed the many different ways contribution are counted in KDE and noticed how those contributions are mostly not code based Artwork Documentation Human computer interaction Marketing Quality Assurance Software Development Translation Or take the contributors area map from OpenOffice org While the yellow area is code related lots of other contributors are outside of that and help in localization dissemination and many other ancillary activities that are still fundamental for the success of a project The Packt survey that Matt mentions is explicit in the kind of contribution it was mentioned Despite this apparent success individual donations play an important role in its development Its team still maintains a page on the project website requesting monetary donations which they utilize for the promotion of phpMyAdmin This highlights the importance of individual contributions and how they still play a vital role in sustaining and opening up open source projects to a larger audience This kind of monetary contribution is the exception not the role and using this data point to extend it to the fact that most projects are not dependent on external contributions or do so in limited way is an unwarranted logic jump I must say that I am more in agreement with Tarus Balog that in his post called humorously sour grapes wrote The fact that marketing people can t squeeze value out of community doesn t mean that communities don t have value OpenNMS is a complex piece of software and it takes some intense dedication to get to the point where one can contribute code I don t expect anyone to sit down and suddenly dedicate hours and hours of their life working on it Plus I would never expect someone to contribute anything to OpenNMS unless they started out with some serious free loader time This resonates with my research experience where under the correct conditions communities of contributors provide a non trivial benefit to the vendor on the other hand as we found in our previous FLOSSMETRICS research monetization barrier can be a significant hurdle for external disengaged participation and this may explain why companies that use an open core or dual licensing model tend to see no external community at all On the other hand when community participation is welcomed and there is no cross selling external participations may provide significant added value to a project A good example is Funambol that has one of the best community managers I can think of and a Twitter post I recently read about them HUGE contribution to funambol MS Exchange connector from mailtrust Way to go community rocks Are commercial OS providers really interested in dismissing this kind of contributions as irrelevant FLOSS open source OSS adoption 5 Comments Economic Free Software perspectives Posted by cdaffara in OSS business models OSS data on May 4th 2009 How do you make money with Free Software was a very common question just a few years ago Today that question has evolved into What are successful business strategies that can be implemented on top of Free Software This is the beginning of a document that I originally prepared as an appendix for an industry group white paper as I received many requests for a short data concrete document to be used in university courses on the economics of FLOSS I think that this may be useful as an initial discussion paper A pdf version is available here for download Data and text was partially adapted from the results of the EU projects FLOSSMETRICS and OpenTTT open source business models and adoption of OSS within companies COSPA adoption of OSS by public administrations in Europe CALIBRE and INES open source in industrial environments I am indebted with Georg Greve of FSFE that wrote the excellent introduction more details on the submission here and that kindly permitted redistribution This text is licensed under CC by SA attribution sharealike 3 0 I would grateful for an email to indicate use of the text as a way to keep track of it at cdaffara conecta it Free Software defined 1985 is defined by the freedoms to use study share improve Synonyms for Free Software include Libre Software c a 1991 Open Source 1998 FOSS and FLOSS both 200X For purposes of this document this usage is synonymous with Open Source by the Open Source Initiative OSI Economic Free Software Perspectives Introduction How do you make money with Free Software was a very common question just a few years ago Today that question has evolved into What are successful business strategies that can be implemented on top of Free Software In order to develop business strategies it is first necessary to have a clear understanding of the different aspects that you seek to address Unfortunately this is not made easier by popular ambiguous use of some terms for fundamentally different concepts and issues e g Open Source being used for a software model development model or business model These models are orthogonal like the three axes of the three dimensional coordinate system their respective differentiators are control software model collaboration development model revenue business model The software model axis is the one that is discussed most often On the one hand there is proprietary software for which the vendor retains full control over the software and the user receives limited usage permission through a license which is granted according to certain conditions On the other hand there is Free Software which provides the user with unprecedented control over their software through an ex ante grant of irrevocable and universal rights to use study modify and distribute the software The development model axis describes the barrier to collaboration ranging from projects that are developed by a single person or vendor to projects that allow extensive global collaboration This is independent from the software model There is proprietary software that allows for far reaching collaboration e g SAP with it s partnership program and Free Software projects that are developed by a single person or company with little or no outside input The business model axis describes what kind of revenue model was chosen for the software Options on this axis include training services integration custom development subscription models Commercial Off The Shelve COTS Software as a Service SaaS and more These three axes open the space in which any software project and any product of any company can freely position itself That is not to say all these combinations will be successful A revenue model based on lock in strategies with rapid paid upgrade cycles is unlikely to work with Free Software as the underlying software model This approach typically occurs on top of a proprietary software model for which the business model mandates a completed financial transaction as one of the conditions to grant a license It should be noted that the overlap of possible business models on top of the different software models is much larger than usually understood The ex ante grant of the Free Software model makes it generally impossible to attach conditions to the granting of a license including the condition of financial transaction But it is possible to implement very similar revenue streams in the business model through contractual constructions trademarks and or certification Each of these axes warrants individual consideration and careful planning for the goals of the project If for instance the goal is to work with competitors on a non differentiating component in order to achieve independence from a potential monopolistic supplier it would seem appropriate to focus on collaboration and choose a software model that includes a strong Copyleft licence The business model could potentially be neglected in this case as the expected return on investment comes in the form of strategic independence benefits and lower licence costs In another case a company might choose a very collaborative community development model on top of a strong Copyleft licence with a revenue model based on enterprise ready releases that are audited for maturity stability and security by the company for its customers The number of possible combinations is almost endless and the choices made will determine the individual character and competitive strengths and weaknesses of each company Thinking clearly about these parameters is key to a successful business strategy Strategic use of Free Software vs Free Software Companies According to Gartner usage of Free Software will reach 100 percent by November 2009 That makes usage of Free Software a poor criterion for what makes a Free Software company Contribution to Free Software projects seems a slightly better choice but as many Free Software projects have adopted a collaborative development model in which the users themselves drive development that label would then also apply to companies that aren t Information Technology IT companies IT companies are among the most intensive users of software and will often find themselves as part of a larger stack or environment of applications Being part of that stack their use of software not only refers to desktops and servers used by the company s employees but also to the platform on top of which the company s software or solution is provided Maintaining proprietary custom platforms for a solution is inefficient and expensive and depending upon other proprietary companies for the platform is dangerous In response large proprietary enterprises have begun to phase out their proprietary platforms and are moving towards Free Software in order to leverage the strategic advantages provided by this software model for their own use of software on the platform level These companies will often interact well with the projects they depend upon contribute to them and foster their growth as a way to develop strategic independence as a user of software What makes these enterprises proprietary is that for the parts where they are not primarily users of software but suppliers to their downstream customers the software model is proprietary withholding from its customers the same strategic benefits of Free Software that the company is using to improve its own competitiveness From a customer perspective that solution itself becomes part of the platform on which the company s differentiating activities are based This as stated before is inefficient expensive and a dangerous strategy Assuming a market perspective it represents an inefficiency that provides business opportunity for other companies to provide customers with a stack that is Free Software entirely and it is strategically and economically sane for customers to prefer those providers over proprietary ones for the very same reasons that their proprietary suppliers have chosen Free Software platforms themselves Strategically speaking any company that includes proprietary software model components in its revenue model should be aware that its revenue flow largely depends upon lack of Free Software alternatives and that growth of the market as well as supernatural profits generated through the proprietary model both serve to attract other companies that will make proprietary models unsustainable When that moment comes the company can either move its revenue model to a different market or it has to transform its revenue source to work on top of a software model that is entirely Free Software So usage of and contribution to Free Software are not differentiators for what makes a Free Software company The critical differentiator is provision of Free Software downstream to customers In other words Free Software companies are companies that have adopted business models in which the revenue streams are not tied to proprietary software model licensing conditions Economic incentives of Free Software adoption The broad participation of companies and public authorities in the Free Software market is strictly related to an economic advantage in most areas the use of Free Software brings a substantial economic advantage thanks to the shared development and maintenance costs already described by researchers like Gosh that estimated an average R D cost reduction of 36 The large share of internal Free Software deployments explains why some of the economic benefits are not perceived directly in the business service market as shown by Gartner Gartner predicts that within 2010 25 of the overall software market will be Free Software based with rougly 12 of it internal to companies and administrations that adopt Free Software The remaining market still substantial is based on several different business models that monetize the software using different strategies A recent update february 2009 of the FLOSSMETRICS study on Free Software based business model is presented here after an analysis of more than 200 companies the main models identified in the market are Dual licensing the same software code distributed under the GPL and a proprietary license This model is mainly used by producers of developer oriented tools and software and works thanks to the strong coupling clause of the GPL that requires derivative works or software directly linked to be covered under the same license Companies not willing to release their own software under the GPL can obtain a proprietary license that provides an exemption from the distribution conditions of the GPL which seems desirable to some parties The downside of dual licensing is that external contributors must accept the same licensing regime and this has been shown to reduce the volume of external contributions which are limited mainly to bug fixes and small additions Open Core previously called split Free Software proprietary or proprietary value add this model distinguishes between a basic Free Software and a proprietary version based on the Free Software one but with the addition of proprietary plug ins Most companies following such a model adopt the Mozilla Public License as it allows explicitly this form of intermixing and allows for much greater participation from external contributions without the same requirements for copyright consolidation as in dual licensing The model has the intrinsic downside that the Free Software product must be valuable to be attractive for the users i e it should not be reduced to crippleware yet at the same time should not cannibalise the proprietary product This balance is difficult to achieve and maintain over time also if the software is of large interest developers may try to complete the missing functionality in Free Software thus reducing the attractiveness of the proprietary version and potentially giving rise to a full Free Software competitor that will not be limited in the same way Product specialists companies that created or maintain a specific software project and use a Free Software license to distribute it The main revenues are provided from services like training and consulting the ITSC class and follow the original best code here and best knowledge here of the original EUWG classification DB 00 It leverages the assumption commonly held that the most knowledgeable experts on a software are those that have developed it and this way can provide services with a limited marketing effort by leveraging the free redistribution of the code The downside of the model is that there is a limited barrier of entry for potential competitors as the only investment that is needed is in the acquisition of specific skills and expertise on the software itself Platform providers companies that provide selection support integration and services on a set of projects collectively forming a tested and verified platform In this sense even GNU Linux distributions were classified as platforms the interesting observation is that those distributions are licensed for a significant part under Free Software licenses to maximize external contributions

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