It has been years since we have seen a full scale operating system war. Today’s announcement by Nokia that they will be open sourcing Symbian and making it available royalty free is the opening of yet another front in the blossoming mobile OS conflagration.
Open Source is still a disruptive idea. It has moved beyond that in server operating systems, of course, with Linux on 20% of servers shipped these days. That’s known as being “mainstream.” But the effects of open source development and business models continue to be heavily disruptive as they spread into new technology markets. Disruption often benefits consumers directly.
Cell phones are the next device that will move to open standards. Whether the big providers like it or not.
Yesterday as I was sitting in a cafe having a drink, I caught up on my New York Times business section. In a review of the new class of Mini-Notebooks, I wasn’t surprised to see Linux mentioned. After all Linux is the dominant OS in these new class of computers, described by the Times as bigger than a smart phone but smaller than a laptop. While I wasn’t surprised to see Linux mentioned, I was surprised by my reaction.
A few weeks ago we posted video from the first day of our Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit as well as a dozen personal interviews with interesting folks who attended. (And believe me left out so many interesting people it’s painful to think about.) I’ve just been catching up on the personal ones, most of which taught me something new.
Last week, I recorded a podcast with Dennis Byron, analyst at eBizQ. Dennis wanted to talk about how open source is the fundamental enabler of Software as a Service, an idea he started writing about after a conversation with some guy named Jim Zemlin.
On May 3, Linus announced the release of the 2.6.26-rc1 prepatch and the closure of the merge window for this development cycle. So now we know what will be in 2.6.26, which, I predict, will be released sometime around the beginning of July.
In the past I have done media interviews with reporters who question if open source is good for a developers career. Basically they have the outdated notion that open source is for hobbyists and time off from “real jobs.” In reality, open source developers are much in demand. The kernel developers I know certainly have no shortage of job opportunities. Why?
The 2.6.25 kernel has been released at last by Linus Torvalds. The plan had been to get it out a week or so ago, but a couple of stubborn problems prevented that. A marathon debugging session by Ingo Molnar turned up the last show-stopper on April 15, and the final kernel came out shortly thereafter.
When I predicted that the release would be “around tax day in the US” I came pretty close. Maybe I should do this sort of stuff for a living.
“Man bites Dog.” It’s the classic example of how news works: editors pick the unexpected. Recently, Joe Barr from Linux.com wrote on his mixed feelings about attending the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. Specifically he mentioned disappointment that the desktop was not a central topic of discussion at the meeting. I think Joe is a good journalist and have enjoyed working with him on stories over the years. I also think Linux.com is a fantastic source of Linux content, both for articles and increasingly video.