The past year was the most tumultuous in recent memory for the field of open-source software. Instead of mere sniping, such as the "Truth About Linux" campaign, open source has come under more direct assault.
It's almost axiomatic at this point: the more open source succeeds in the enterprise, the more threatening it is to entrenched interests.
IT managers are asking the questions that are making many commercial software suppliers set for battle. "If commercial software is so good, how come it can be matched by a group working for free?" "If free is bad, show me the value your company has added to its commercial code that makes it worth more?" "I'm plugged into this project. What have you got that's better?"
The dominant software suppliers have yet to answer, not to a bunch of wild-eyed, wobbly coders, nor to the IT managers with the purchasing power. And that's a different ball game.
If you want to slow down open source code's onslaught, subtlety isn't going to work. It's time to bring out the heavy artillery. And, alongside the actual deals and advances in open source, that's what we saw in 2007.
Indeed, there were important advances in GPL, Apache, Web services, and Java, which made commercial software suppliers more worried than ever. For my complete list, with perspective on each of the important developments of the just-ended year, read Top 10 Open-Source Software Stories of 2007.
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The BI Explosion
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NFL, Cable Giants Face Off In New Broadcast Universe
On Saturday night, the New York Giants will face off against the powerful New England Patriots, who are chasing all sorts of historic NFL records - most significantly, the second perfect season in league history (New England is already the first team to go 15-0 and can finish undefeated on Saturday). This game might also be billed as "The NFL vs. The Cable Guys."
Avoiding The Mobile Device Marketing Mire
I'm working from home this week while my twin boys' day care is closed for the holidays. This morning, as one child screamed about his missing toy and the other demanded a cookie for breakfast, my cell phone rang. Foolishly and without thinking (or looking at the incoming number), I answered it.
Cisco's Approach To Green: Sensible Or Stupid?
Maybe It's all in the interview. Cisco recently hired green guru Paul Marcoux from APC. As is typical for a hire like this, which is as much for public relations as anything, Marcoux set out for a round of interviews, and depending on which story you read, his plans lie somewhere between sensible contributions to the green movement or a very unlikely attempt at world domination.
Wipro Reportedly Trying To Acquire Capgemini
There are reports coming from India that IT outsourcing vendor Wipro is preparing a $7 billion bid for Capgemini. The companies aren't commenting directly on these reports, but a Wipro exec did say something that underscores this fact: Indian companies are under the gun to move beyond their Indian workforces.
VectorLinux: Save A PC From The Dumpster
From time to time I've mentioned Linux distributions specifically designed for low-end systems -- some of which I've used to save machines from the dumpster. This week I've got a new release of one such Linux distro: VectorLinux version 5.9.
The Rise Of The Two-Screen TV Audience
Startup Jacked.com is building a business around people who use a PC, laptop, or cell phone at the same time that they're watching TV. These so-called "two screeners" may represent the rising class among TV viewers.
Three New Year's Resolutions For CIOs
It's the week before the new year, when we try to distance ourselves from that lingering platter of holiday cookies and contemplate what we'll do next year to live simpler, leaner, easier lives. For many CIOs, that will include taking a second look at 2008 IT spending plans.
BlackBerry Maker Proposes An Angular Keyboard For Mobile Devices
Apple stole the show this year by introducing its touch-screen-only iPhone. But mobile innovation doesn't stop there. Many device makers are stepping up their game, including Research In Motion, which, according to a recent patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is proposing an angular keyboard for (what appears to be) future BlackBerry smartphones.
Top Five Open Source Stories Of 2007
It's been a landmark year for open source, and in so many different ways that even a casual survey of the year's events will range far and wide. Here's a quick rundown of what to me were the top five open source events of the year -- not an exhaustive list, of course, but the things that best reflected how important and widely entrenched open source software (especially Linux) has become.
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