Monday, August 13. 2012
BBC on Webinos (Webinos is open source Web Operating System technology designed to run on PCs and Android-operated mobile handsets - see Webinos.org)
More than 5,400 developers have downloaded a new open-source operating system designed to enable digital devices to communicate with each other. They are now looking at ways in which Webinos could be used to connect a range of devices such as mobile phones, car stereos, heart monitors and TVs. Webinos is a 15m euro ($18.4m; £11.8m) project supported by more than 30 organisations, including the EU.
Just as the Internet needed open standards to develop to its fullest potential, the Internet of Things (IOT) does too. Right now all the major players are attempting to build walled garden solutions that won't interoperate. Its the same old same old. The other same old lesson is that it always limits innovatio (and quite often an openly available system breaks the walls0
I don't know if this will be the Mosaic of the IOT, but let us hope something will.....
Friday, August 13. 2010
I'd like to claim we were as prescient in seeing Oracle sue Google over Java infringement as we were in working out that Google would break out of the Net Neutrality camp, but I can't - we don't really track whats under the hood in mobile OS.
(I suppose in that context we count as dozy bloggers )
What I can tell say though is that we weren't surprised at all to hear it - as we have written many times, the issue with Open Source and its IP rights is a very tricky area and a potential minefield once it becomes valuable. (see here and here for example).
Nor, it seems, were some of Java's original patent holders very surprised - from eWeek:
And Sun didn't survive, gentle beastie that it was.
You hav eto wonder what Google was thinking though - these are not stupid people, surely (we ask) they would have realised that:
Infringings patents + Making a valuable business = Lawsuit
It is, after all, the American way
But I am trying to understand their logic - I can see 3 options:
Up till the Great StreetCam Debacle I would have plumped for 3, now I don't know.....
Thursday, May 20. 2010
From Venturebeat - Dave McClure says "Open is for Losers":
Couldn't put it better myself...so I didn't . Question is - this was true 10, 5, 2 years ago - so why was it anathema for Web 2.0 gurus to say this then?
Thursday, December 24. 2009
Average Temperature, Port Elizabeth, since 1880.
Given all the hoo-ha around Global Warming, Climate Change and those leaked emails, it has been rather fascinating to play around with Geo-Me, a Tim Berners-Lee inspired Open Data project that mashes up temperature records from weather recording stations globally, some of which have been running for 300 years. For the first time it has been easy to get at the raw data oneself.
The (un?)intended consequences, I suspect, are profound - in that anybody looking at these (I've looked at about 20 around the planet from places I've been to, mainly airports - sad, I know) is going to go "Um, so where exactly is all this global warming then?". Never mind man-made (anthropomorphic) global warming or AGW!
Its an inconvenient truth, but the benefits of Open Data cut many ways, pulling down myths with little respect for whose they are.
For your delectation I have put up Port Elizabeth in South Africa above, where temperatures are logged since 1880 in their database (in fact its been recorded soon after the 1820's when my forebears landed there) and as you can see, the increase has been tiny - and explained more by PE 's expansion as a deep-water port city (and thus the heat island overrunning the recording station) in the 1960's.
Or, to put it in the local vernacular - Anthropogenic Global Warming? Ek kan fokol daar sien, man!
(For the record, I believe it is quite possible to want sustainable resource usage and a diminution of fossil fuel dependence - "Classical Green" I think the shade is now called - without buying AGW)
Thursday, August 21. 2008
Nice article by Umair Hacque on the shift in platform economics as the underlying technology moves from closed to open, and as the convergence / consolidation increases:
Today, platform wars ain't what they used to be. On the one hand, there's Facebook - playing a textbook game of platform strategy, but slowly suffocating the utility of its own network. On the other, there's Apple - ignoring many of the rules of platform strategy, but radically redesigning the long-suffering mobile value chain with the iPhone App Store.
I think calling Apple an "open" market is a misnomer - the iTunes end to end value chain is pretty locked down, which is Apple's traditional approach - an iConic consumer device with a locked down supply chain behind it. Nonetheless, I think Umair is directionally correct when he notes that:
We have done quite a lot of work with various clients in the last year or so on how platforms can best be operated as market ecosystems, but (frustratingly) are bound by NDA's in various areas - but one can always nod vigorously (albeit raising the eyebrow to temper the Apple-o-philia) when Umair notes that:
- Markets alter the basis of competition. Apple took something terminally closed - the mobile value chain -and pried it radically open. Facebook - still thinking in yesterday's terms - took something radically open - the www - and is trying to make it a little bit more closed.
(As an aside, this is also our view with approaches such as VRM - until they create new market forms, we think it will be hard for it to get traction).
[ Update - I think its necessary to make clear that market here - in my view - does not imply just a simple buy/sell relationship. More that it is open to trading, in a range of models, from a variety of players. I think the word ecosystem - where eco is also for economy - is possibly the better word, which is what I tend to use - but Umairs' phrase is more pithy]
As we also showed in our work 2 years ago on Advertising models for Telcos, the convergence also forces different business models onto hitherto safe platforms - so media ad -based models start to impinge on Telco rental models (hence Blyk, for example).
I'll let Umair end off this post with another point, which I will discuss in more detail in a later post and at the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin.
This conclusion also helps us answer another critical question on the minds of today's investors, entrepreneurs, and would-be revolutionaries: when will today's crop of startups start making serious cash? The answer: when they shift from platform logic to market logic.
Quite - ending FreeConomics and charging money will create an Akerlofian revolution, and allow quality to chase crap out of so many of the digital 2.0 markets.
Saturday, August 16. 2008
I was reading Confused of Calcutta's post on Open Source Leadership (or its lack), and was struck buy these paragraphs: Firstly, an excellent definition of Open Source:
Opensource is about democratised innovation, about creating value faster than via traditional models. It is about better code, about Linus’s Law, Given Enough Eyeballs All Bugs Are Shallow. It is about lowering the cost of failure by its peculiar compartmentalisation. It is about creating affordable operating systems and software for the millions, the billions, that are underconnected because of closedsource operating models and business approaches. Opensource is about choice, choice shown in the very way the community moves and adapts and forks.
But the issue was that:
With the result that:
JP is correct imho when he says that this reflects badly on the movement's leaders, in that:
But, and with all respect to JP, I see the origin story of Open Source slightly differently - I think Andrew Orlowski of The Register was more on target when he noted that the Web 2.0 memeplex (Open Source being a big part of it) was initially largely supported by people who probably did want to believe in pinko treehugging utopias etc in that it:
makes enough sense to get past your analytical faculties, is all embracing and unspecific enough for loads of people's dreams, fantasies and so on to be projected into it
And the movement's leaders let that happen in the early days as it needed to get its core of supporters etc (and if that was the idealism that drove many people to spend their "free" time writing code, so be it). The problem then being that when it has to think about how to capture the value on the table, there is a huge amount of baggage.
If I can paraphrase this in Geoffrey Moore's "crossing the chasm" terms - its not just individual technologies that go through that painful readjustment when they have to move from Early Adopter to Early Mass market - I think philosophies and movements have to do the same.
And to JP's points on the same issues facing IPR and Identity (and Net Neutrality to boot), I think the risk is the same - the early leaders in these segments are again letting the core principles of Next Gen IPR and Identity be hijacked by the idealists who are cleaving to it in its Early Adopter phase. I've written quite a bit on the risks of getting hijacked by the "Freetard" community before ( Freetards are those who conflate Free rights and identity with Free goods - i.e. paying nothing ) - start here with this article on the Limits to Freeconomics - so there is also a risk of these ideas being hijacked by the Utopian Fringe.
The problem of course, is that many of these Utopians are the dreamers and idealists who got in early and inspired so many others to join the movement in the first place. Without these enthusiastic early adopters, these ideas would never get off the ground to be in a position where the leaders do have to grasp the nettles.
So what to do?
I think JP is right - it behooves the leaders of these communities to come clean early, learn the lessons from Open Source's travails, and start to disown, gently but firmly, the more impractical views of the utopians some time before the Chasm looms on the Event Horizon. And if the current crop of leaders won't or can't (as frequently they are too close to the Idealists) then another cadre must.
To take back the management of the meaning......
Success or failure in this task probably determines whether a movement crosses the Chasm, or crashes in the attempt.
An afterthought - maybe the largest amount of courage ever shown is by early leaders to realise they are not the people to take things forward?
Wednesday, August 13. 2008
From Larry Lessig's Blog, good news for the Creative Commons type of licences - the US "IP Court" has upheld open source copyright licences:
In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you're simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.
So, for those who scrape this blog and on-sell for profit..... you are now a copyright infringer and...we can sue!
Tuesday, June 17. 2008
Firefox wishes to set a record for number of downloads of FireFox 3 (and in the process get a large lump of users of course). Sez the Beeb:
With the release, Firefox developer Mozilla is attempting to set a record for the most downloads over 24 hours.
We use Firefox, but heed some Broadsight advice - being first is all very nice, but hold your horses unless you want a few days (weeks?) of inconvenience - the very early adopters are always a part of the Debug Crew
Wednesday, June 4. 2008
From Marc Andreessen, commenting on the days of the early Internet in Vanity Fair:
Still trying to work out What It All Means when Vanity Fair runs a 9 pager on The Internet. The Convergence clearly goes further than I thought - I look forward to the first reviews of the Paris catwalks on TechCrunch.
Friday, May 9. 2008
Edmund Burke noted that:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
There was a post on Techdirt that to my mind exemplifies how this will play out in the Open Source world - as it becomes more valuable, commercial interests are increasingly trying to subvert its precepts.
One of the recent Open Source issues was the Skype attempt to avoid the implications of having some of its code under GPL, and avoid having to release their adds to it. They have since backed down on this, as it was a fairly easily defendable direct contradiction of the terms of the GPL - see more here on Groklaw.
What interested me about the Techdirt piece is I think it shows the way the commercial interests will now try and play the game, by chipping away at the rationale for strong Open Source Licences, and trying to subvert by overt reasonability, but with a clear subtext - what I have previously called the 3-cup-shuffle tactic: I extract the following lines from the piece to show examples:
If you read the original, these lines are thrown into paragraphs which sound very reasonable...but the thrust is clear - we don't need to have GPL anymore, Open Source freedom is assured etc etc, we can let up a bit, we're all reasonable people after all - and those Open Source people are such Zealots, no?.
You can see the line taken - Militant? Copyleft. We're all reasonable people here chaps, right - lets see if we can reach a compromise......
At this point you hopefully wake up from the spell and go "Waiitaminute - it wasn't broken - why are we compromising here again"?
Sadly, the usual outcome is that a lobby of a few organised parties can usually walk off with the spoils from under the noses of the disorganised, distracted masses.
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