☞ Wrong Doings

☞ Consequences of Paranoia

  • I’m not big on boycotts, as I believe freedom is about what we are free to do rather than about what we must not do, but I don’t buy stuff from Sony any more and am unlikely to do so until I see a track record of positive engagement with the meshed society of the 21st century.
  • I’ve heard a number of these historic anecdotes. Resisting and denouncing change has been with humanity from time immemorial. Despite fine stories to help us understand the folly of it, each generation still experiences privileged incumbents using fear of change as their excuse for perpetuating their privilege.
  • Surely there has to come a point where policy makers say “hang on, if this copyright violation stuff you’re comparing to kidnapping and murder is so important, how come you keep making record profits?”

☞ Community Effects

  • It took just a week for over 2000 donors to donate the €50,000 that The Document Foundation needed to act as their capital reserve in order to be registered in Germany as a “Stifftung” (capital-based non-profit trust). Once again an example of the amazing community support that’s present in the community upon which LibreOffice can draw. If they can also harness that support to provide operating income, at least to get started, we have just seen a new force on a par with the Mozilla Foundation created.
  • Hard to believe how badly Canonical have allowed this situation to become in their pursuit of so little money. Is it just me imagining it or have Canonical made a series of surprisingly tone-deaf community moves recently?
  • Very plausible analysis from Fabrizio here. My view is that Nokia’s desperate position is the result of failing to create true community around their offerings in a way that allowed confident operation of the meshed-competitive dynamic that operates in open source. I honestly can’t see Microsoft changing that.

☞ Community Missing?

  • Excellent move here, although of course the devil is in the details. The big problem with getting open source into government procurement anywhere in the world is that the system by which software is procured is weighted heavily in favour of proprietary software. The changes that are being discussed in the UK are good, but it will take more than this sort of step – easily assimilated by grudging but powerful proprietary vendors and the SIs they own – to make a difference until software freedom becomes the focus.
  • Simple but good comments about the role of community management.
  • The account Ted gives in this nicely placed spin omits some of the events that I recall, and unfortunately treats the whole event as a matter of unwarranted competitive assault rather than anything to do with community. There’s some indignant stuff in the comments from multiple sources and at the end of it all I don’t feel anyone comes out looking very good. Ugly and unfortunate.

☆ The Open Source Procurement Challenge

I am speaking at the ODF Plugfest here in the UK this morning, on the subject of the challenges facing the procurement of open source software by traditional enterprises (including the public sector). Based on a selection of experiences from ForgeRock’s first year, my talk considers procurement challenges that legacy procurement rules raise for introducing true open source solutions. My slides are available online. I consider two different needs:

  • The need for legacy procurement barriers to be removed. Examples:
    • requirements for indemnity that are only truly proportionate for proprietary software
    • requirements for copyright assignment and license negotiation
    • comparison of open source subscriptions with only the service portion of proprietary bids
    • a preference to sustain the lock-in caused by previous procurement
  • The need to recognise new value available from open source. Examples:
    • Removal of the need to administer end-user licenses
    • Long-term continuity – “community escrow
    • The ability to create ecosystems without vendor mandates
    • Enablement of adoption-led deployment

If we’re to see open source solutions bringing budget and change flexibility to government IT as the Prime Minister wants, both kinds of change – addressing legacy processes and lock-in (so that SIs are out of excuses) and seeking new kinds of value – are essential.

☆ OBR Progress Report

The Open-By-Rule Benchmark I talked about recently has now had several workouts, and there are a number more under review ready for future posting. So far, it seems to be working out well, with projects receiving scores that (to my eyes at least) are an accurate reflection of the openness. It’s been clear that every project has it’s strengths and weaknesses and that there’s no perfect model. I like the way the benchmark allows for this; as the dial I’m displaying suggests, I think an overall score below -2 suggests a closed project, a score over +2 suggests an open project and in between is a twilight zone.

While this is very satisfying, there’s certainly a need to do more work. I think I should revise the Benchmark in the light of experience (for example to make it clearer how scores work), but before doing that I’d like to rank a few more projects with it – preferably smaller than the ones ranked so far. I’d welcome your submission – just follow the instructions.

If you’ve not been following the process so far, take a look at the project scorecards to date:

The Problem With Bilateral Agreements


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