Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
January 24, 2009, 12:04 pm

Contests, at their best, can highlight creative thinking and originality.Â¬â  In the Linux community, there seems to be an serious overabundance of both.Â¬â  Four different contests âÃî all starting this January âÃî are doing their best to crowdsource and give out significant prizes to the winners.Â¬â  Vote, participate, or just soak it all in, these contests are great ways to get involved. ¬â 


For one âÃî the Linux New Media Awards âÃî IâÃôm a judge and would love to have your input.Â¬â  See the categories below and if you have suggestions on who I should vote for, please email me at amanda (at) linux-foundation (dot) org.



The four contests all involve creativity, judges, and significant prizes including a trip to France for one, and a trip to Japan for another.Â¬â  So, whether you look at these contests as a chance to show off your video skills, go after real prize money, or just a fun way to participate in the big, online discussion that is Linux, thereâÃôs room for all.


So, donâÃôt sit on the sidelines.Â¬â  Get involved.Â¬â  Let the contests begin.




*** âÃúThink Inside the BoxâÃù Contest


CiscoâÃôs Application eXtension Platform (AXP) developer contest, termed the âÃúThink Inside the BoxâÃù contest, is offering Linux developers $100,000 in cash prizes.Â¬â  The AXP is a Linux blade server running Linux kernel 2.6 and is compatible with Fedora Linux.Â¬â  The skills and knowledge of Linux development used in the contest are the same skills used in general Linux application development on servers.Â¬â  Brian Proffitt of the Linux Developer Network bloggedâÃú>about the details and reasoning behind this contest being sponsored by Cisco.Â¬â  HereâÃôs theâÃú>Cisco Application eXtension Platform Overview. AndâÃú>hereâÃôs a number of examples of how Linux can be used to run server applications from inside of the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR).Â¬â  There are over 5 million Cisco ISRs currently deployed.Â¬â  All of these routers can accept the Cisco AXP Linux blade server.


More information can be found on the Cisco Innovation blogâÃú>here.




*** The âÃúIâÃôm LinuxâÃù Video Contest


The idea is simple.Â¬â  Create a video that explains why Linux is great.Â¬â  You can parody the âÃúIâÃôm a PC, IâÃôm a MacâÃù ads, you can go serious, you can go crazy.Â¬â  ItâÃôs up to you.Â¬â  The contest opens January 26 and will close at midnight Pacific Time on March 15, 2009.Â¬â  ItâÃôs judged by a panel of open source and advertising professionals.Â¬â  Judging criteria will be based on originality, clarity of message, and how much it inspires others to use Linux.Â¬â  The judges will also take into account community votes on The Linux Foundation video site such as number of favourites and starred voting.Â¬â  The winning video will be unveiled at The Linux FoundationâÃôs Collaboration Summit in San Francisco on April 8, 2009.Â¬â  The winner will receive a free trip to Tokyo, Japan, to participate in The Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009. There are already some very cool entries.¬â 


Contest rules and guidelines are available here:Â¬â



*** Linux New Media Awards


The Linux New Media Awards recognize the most significant products, projects, people, and organizations related to Linux during the calendar year, 2008.Â¬â  Instead of trying to cover all categories each year, they select a few specific topics that âÃúrepresent the major themes and trends of the past year.âÃÃ¹Â¬â  Only products, projects, people and organizations that have been prominent in 2008 will be nominated.Â¬â  The Linux New Media Awards will be presented during CeBIT Open Source in Hannover, Germany, on March 5, 2009.


As I mentioned above, IâÃôm a judge and would love your input for the categories below.Â¬â  Please drop me a line with your suggestions at amanda (at) linux-foundation (dot) org





– Outstanding Contribution to Open Source / Linux / Free Software

– Most Linux / Open Source-Friendly Hardware Vendor

– Most Innovative Open Source Project

– Best Open Source Contribution for Mobile Devices

– Best Open Source Programming Language

– Most Significant Contribution for Security in Open Source




*** Trophâ©es du Libre 2009 (The Free Software Development Awards 2009 or âÃúTL09âÃâ¥)


Trophâ©es du Libre looks for the âÃúbest existing free softwareâÃù in seven project categories.Â¬â  Registration is now open through February 15.Â¬â  This is the fifth year of the competition, and last year there were over 149 projects from 29 different countries.Â¬â  The panel of judges is composed of about 30 experts in the open source field including developers, researchers, journalists, business managers, and company owners.Â¬â  The winner of each category will be presented with $3800 to be put towards funding their project.¬â Â¬â 


The Trophâ©es du Libre 2009 award ceremony will take place in May in France.Â¬â  For more information:

Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
January 13, 2009, 11:24 am

The last few weeks have seen a number of posts about the health of open source office productivity software Open Office. Michael Meeks, open office developer, started this controversy with his recent blog post on whether Open Office is a “dying horse.”

OO.o peaked at around 70 active developers in late 2004 and is trending downwards, the Linux kernel is nearer 300 active developers
and trending upwards. Time range Рthis is drastically reduced for the Linux kernel Рdown to the sheer volume of changes: eighteen months of Linux’ changes bust calc’s row limit, where OO.o hit only 15k rows thus far. Diversity: the linux graph omits an in-chart legend, this is a result of the 300+ organisations that actively contribute to Linux; interestingly, a good third of contribution to Linux comes from external (or un-affiliated) developers, but the rest comes from corporates. What is stopping corporations investing similarly in OO.o ?

Last week Sun formally responded with a post that details their own statistics that not surprisingly paint a different picture, even though they concede that issues being fixed are going down.

Let’s start with the basics. Does Open Office matter to those of us who want to see and use free software exclusively? Michael says:

Everyone that wants Free software to succeed on the desktop, needs to care about the true success of it is a key piece here. Leaving the project to a single vendor to resource & carry will never bring us the gorgeous office suite that we need.

He’s right. While I agree with him that OpenOffice is important, I worry even more about the alternatives if it were allowed to fail. Google’s office suite works increasingly well and supports open standards; thus it’s highly preferable to Microsoft. Yet, are we coming down to a two horse race in the office productivity space, to a world dominated by Microsoft and Google? Since neither are open source solutions, I worry that we would be beholden to the same proprietary forces that have shaped the desktop market. We shouldn’t rely on Sun to save us here. In fact it may be counter-productive to do so.

It’s shown again and again that too much central control of an open source project by one entity impedes its growth, especially in the ranks of the development community. But make no mistake: commercial support for open source is incredibly important. As the paper we published last year on kernel development shows, a wide range of companies support the majority of Linux development (IBM, Novell, Red Hat, etc).

Do those companies support Linux for charity? Absolutely not. There are market incentives for them to pay developers to enhance the platform. Instead of beating up on Sun, we should all thank them for their support for Open Office. At the same time, we should urge them to make the structural, licensing and organizational changes needed for the widest number of individuals and companies to benefit from contributing to Open Office. That means giving up control.

Some make the argument that Linus, Andrew and company assert a large amount of control on Linux development. What’s the difference? First of all, Linux development has clear rules of engagement that are well understand and tested. (See Jon Corbet’s How To Contribute to the Linux Development Community book.) These rules are based on merit. While some would argue that personal politics play a role, it’s clear that a wide range of code gets merged into the kernel every release, and that a healthy discourse and analysis of the merits of that code are the contributing factors to its inclusion. Linus is an engineer whose primary motivation was building good software. He is a practical person and his organization reflects that, as well as his motivation.

Another important difference is that the Linux community is made up of individuals, not companies. (Meaning: in the kernel community you gain standing through your own code contributions, not who pays your paycheck.) Decisions are made by individuals, not by companies. Why is this important? It’s difficult to trust companies since you don’t know who will be making the decisions in the future. Companies are a vessel for shareholder value, and their motivations spring from protecting and growing that value. This is why open source developers mistrust projects controlled by commercial entities. Unless licensing and an organizational charter is strong enough to ensure its survival and operation outside of shareholder concerns, most developers won’t invest their personal capital in the project unless they are being paid to do so.

To be fair to Sun, perhaps building a large and thriving ecosystem and development community is harder to do with office productivity software than with infrastructure. Many have said that the open source development model is best suited for infrastructure: software that runs closer to the machine like an OS or web server, software that is more abstract, modular and not as reliant on features and feedback from users.

As Thorsten Ziehm, developer from Sun says,

But we need a lot of more people in all projects on OOo to increase the success of OOo in future. Some people talk about code contribution only. I talk about we need more people in all areas and projects – User Experience, QA, L10N, Development or any other project on OOo – to get dreams fulfilled.

He’s right. Open Office needs more involvement from those who care about its existence. I think Open Office is far from a dying horse. Their last release had 28 million downloads. That is success by any measure.

Point by point comparisons with its community and Linux’s are far from an ideal way to gauge Open Office’s health, yet there are warning signs. I am by no means an expert on their community’s organization, yet it seems clear that the project may benefit from a lessening of control and organization and licensing changes that encourage and reward other parties to participate.

Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
December 22, 2008, 5:17 pm

Last week, we launched the Linux Foundation video site. The site will of course house the growing collection of Linux Foundation original video from our events, but I hope it will also become a place for the Linux community to share their Linux video content. The intention is for it to become the central location for Linux videos, so Linux users and developers can easily find pertinent and educational Linux video information. If you have Linux video, we would appreciate your uploading it to this site.

As part of the video site, we will also be holding a Linux video contest that kicks off in January. I’m extremely excited about this contest — the reaction to it has been astounding. I’ve personally received scores of emails and there has been about a dozen media articles. The highlights:

• In 60 seconds or less, showcase your take on “I’m Linux.” This should be why you love it and should inspire others to use it. The video can be an extensive production, a plain testimonial or as simple as a screen capture with a voice over. Be creative, be authentic and have fun.

• While you may be inspired by the Apple or Microsoft commercials, it’s not a requirement to parody or make reference to them.

The winner will receive a free trip to Tokyo, Japan to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009. The winning video will also be unveiled at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit in San Francisco on April 8, 2009.

The contest reaction hasn’t been without controversy. Many emails and articles have asked, “Why are you copying Apple? Linux should be original!” My answer is that I originally thought of this contest while sitting through multiple Apple and Windows ads during a football game. It occurred to me that messages about operating systems are everywhere, but that Linux, by nature of its distributed organization, is not well represented in the video realm. I wanted the Linux Foundation to help marshal the forces of community to showcase the originality and passion of Linux users and developers. Or as I said on the video site:

While the Linux Foundation would love to spend millions promoting Linux on TV, it’s simply not our style (or in our budget). Even more importantly, Linux isn’t a top-down, commercially controlled operating system. It’s a grassroots product of mass collaboration. That’s why we’re sponsoring a community contest to create a Linux video that showcases just what Linux means to those who use it, and hopefully inspires many to try it.

The other thread in articles inspired by the contest is best summed up by this headline: “Linux Starts “I’m Linux” Ad Campaign, Will Probably Fail.”

So if you’re bored have nothing to do, why not take on the multi-million dollar ad campaigns and trained, professional actors of Microsoft and Apple, and make your own commercial for your favorite operating system (No, not windows, oh and definitely not Mac, I’m talking about Linux.)?

The author seems to imply that a community can’t equal “professional” product. I guess the author hasn’t heard of Linux, or Firefox, or WordPress (despite running their site on it). But the post has a point: I think it would be hard for our community, however passionate, to equal the production of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Then again, today with a computer, a $300 video camera and originality you can create amazing video content. What’s important is how compelling, original and persuasive your ideas are. I think that’s the basis of open source software and I believe it will work with videos.

So let’s prove the naysayers wrong and come up with original and impressive Linux videos.

Article Source Amanda McPherson’s Blog
December 19, 2008, 9:40 am

It never seems to fail: this time of year brings out predictions, and with them debate about the future of Linux, especially on the desktop. It’s a good sign that we go through this back and forth: it shows the wide and diverse community of users, developers and pundits who feel they have a stake in Linux. (Either that or they just need something to write about this time of year.)

So this week, a dozen articles and posts appeared either stating or refuting that this year really will be the year of the Linux desktop.

It started with Fast Company:

The biggest catalyst for the Linux revolution will be netbooks: Gartner [IT] has predicted that about 8 million of the diminutive machines will be sold next year, with that number rising to 50 million (yes, 5-0 million) by 2012. Right now, many netbooks come pre-loaded with Windows XP, but Microsoft has set a deadline of June 2010 for XP installations. Since most of the machines in question feature low-power chips like Intel’s [INTC] Atom and inexpensive parts, and sell for less than $500, Windows Vista isn’t really an option; the per-machine licensing fee is too high, and the software itself is too bulky and power-hungry for low-end hardware.

While I agree that Netbooks are giving Linux on the desktop greater life than ever before, I wouldn’t go so far to say they are striking a deathblow to Microsoft. Monopoly advantage doesn’t disappear overnight, or without a fight. The question this article raises: Will Windows 7 solve the issues with Vista that prevent it from working well on these new architectures like Atom? Windows 7 is upgraded Vista — it is not a new operating system. And certainly the more people use Linux on Netbooks, the more they realize it would work perfectly fine in other applications. You have a network effect in progress.

Matt Asay on CNET then enters the fold with “Yet Again, Linux on the desktop won’t claim a year”:

As I wrote recently, we already have the Linux desktop: it runs in the cloud and is called Facebook, Google, etc. There is little need to have Linux running on my local laptop when the real game is in the cloud now.

It’s time to move on. Next year won’t be the year of the Linux desktop anymore than 2010 will be. Why? Because we don’t need a Linux desktop. We need to accelerate efforts toward the cloud, which is open source’s game to lose.

I have two problems with his argument:

  • That we don‚Äôt need a Linux desktop because Facebook et all is the new desktop. (You still need software to control your hardware and connect to the Cloud.)
  • That it‚Äôs an either or proposition: that the Linux community has to choose between accelerating efforts in the cloud or improving the desktop. Linux, unlike many other source projects controlled by one company, has a huge community that is motivated by their interests. If a need exists, a community pops up to satisfy it.

Matt may not need a Linux desktop because he’s willing to pay a premium for Apple products. He is obviously in a position to do so. But if he was a CIO rolling out workstations for 3,000, he may think differently about paying that premium. Linux on the desktop combined with products like IBM’s Collaboration Client are proving to be very attractive to certain enterprise computing segments.

Gordon HaffMichael Dolan (as quoted by Gordon Haff) says:

Here’s the thing, everyone who hears “Linux desktop” has a knee-jerk reaction and thinks of all the things they do on their own PC, laptop, Mac. The reality is you’re probably not the target market for virtual desktops. The market is large desktop environments that have thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of users and who are not doing consumer-oriented work (or shouldn’t be). The cost savings of moving from physical PCs in a 1 user to 1 PC model to a managed model with virtual terminals can be significant. We’ll see where the market goes for this model, but I know of a few very large companies that want to make this model very real. The economic situation and the impact on IT budgets may act as an accelerant..

Here’s another example: there are millions of Vista orphans out there. These are PCs who lack the computing power to run Vista (or Windows 7 I bet) but are well suited for Linux (or XP!). Thankfully we’re moving out of the age of hyper-consumption and throw-away culture. Having a choice for those machines — whether you’re a house wife in the US or a struggling business in the developing world — does matter. Pressure from Linux has resulted in Microsoft lowering their prices in the developing world and with college students. Without meaningful choice on the desktop, I doubt they would have done this.

When you have no choice, monopolies are created, and monopolies inflect their pricing on consumers. Choice matters.

I think Serdar Yegulalp of Infoweek says it best:

I don’t believe for a second that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) or Windows will go completely off the map, whether due to their own incompetence or because of open source making something as good or better for less. I do believe that Windows will no longer be the de facto choice, that having competition from everything from Linux to the Mac to the Cloud will be and is exactly the kick in the rump it needs. And vice versa, too — that future editions of Windows ought to have the same effect on those concerned with desktop experiences.
Here’s another way to put it: 2009 will be the year of choice on the desktop. Better?

The fifth Open Voices podcast installation features a conversation with Mozilla Chairman, Mitchell Baker, and the Linux Foundation Executive Director, Jim Zemlin. Baker admits that Mozilla’s open source strategy was in direct reaction to market and competitive pressures and calls out Microsoft for illegal activities. As one of the first software projects to “open source” its technology, she explains how the Mozilla Foundation navigated community, licensing and growth issues. Baker also shares her opinions on the motivations and ingredients involved in mass collaboration, specifically around the Mozilla and other open source projects.

To view the transcript, click here.

{enclose 1 audio/mpeg}


 icon for podpress  Mitchelle Baker Interview MP3: Download
icon for podpress  Mitchelle Baker Interview OGG: Download

This Open Voices installment features Edward Screven, Chief Corporate Architect of Oracle who sits down with Jim Zemlin to discuss Oracle’s current and future market positioning, as well as his thoughts on a variety of topics, from cloud computing to a single Linux distribution. If you’d rather not listen, you can read the transcript here.

{enclose 1 audio/mpeg}

 icon for podpress  Interview with Edward Screven MP3: Download
icon for podpress  Interview with Edward Screven OGG: Download

This Open Voices installment features Ron Hovsepian, CEO of Novell, who sits down with Jim Zemlin for a candid discussion on Novell’s current standing in the market and its commitment to its customers, and the community as w whole. He also shares his thoughts on new trends in the market, Sun and OpenSolaris, managing the consistency and balance of rapid innovation and much more. If you’d rather not listen, you can read the transcript here.

{enclose 1 audio/mpeg}

icon for podpress  Ron Hovsepian: Download
icon for podpress  Ron Hovsepian: Download

This Open Voices installment features Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical, who sheds light on the roots of Ubuntu, trust relationships, his desire for increased collaboration in the Linux community and much more in a casual conversation with Jim Zemlin.

Tune in soon for Jim’s interview with Novell President and CEO Ron Hovsepian.

If you’d rather read a transcript, you can find it here.

{enclose 1 audio/mpeg}

icon for podpress  Interview with Mark Shuttleworth MP3: Download
icon for podpress  Interview with Mark Shuttleworth OGG: Download

Jim Zemlin’s conversation with Linus Torvalds continues with the posting of Part II of their interview. Linus comments on a variety of topics including patents, internal and external competition, the broader adoption of Linux, Microsoft and much more. The interview transcript can be viewed below.

Upcoming Open Voices installments will feature Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Project (2/25/08) and Novell President and CEO Ron Hovsepian (3/17/08).

If you’d rather read a transcript, you can find it here.

{enclose 1 audio/mpeg}

icon for podpress  Jim Interviews Linus Part II: Download
icon for podpress  Jim Interviews Linus Part II: Download

Today the Linux Foundation is launching a podcast series that will feature conversations with the leaders of open source. For our inaugural post, we are pleased to present part one of our conversation with Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux Operating System and fellow at the Linux Foundation.

We have broken the conversation with Linus into two parts. Part II will be available in the beginning of February. Future Open Voices installments will feature Novell President and CEO Ron Hovsepian; Martin Mickos, CEO of MySQL; and Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Project.

If you’d rather read a transcript, you can find it here.

{enclose… 1 audio/mpeg}

icon for podpress  Jim Interviews Linus: Download
icon for podpress  Jim Interviews Linus: Download