Profile of Serdar Yegulalp
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Articles by Serdar Yegulalp
posted in September 2008
The Open Source Census, which I mentioned back in April, just dropped a press release this morning about the data it's been collecting. I chatted the day before with Kim Weins, senior VP of OpenLogic, a key co-sponsor of the census, and how they found a few ... surprises in the results.
My colleague Dave Methvin jumped on the news about Microsoft's use of the jQuery library before I did, but it has to be said: it's something that says as much about the state of open source as it does about Microsoft. Most of it positive, actually.
Netcraft -- er, Jim Zemlin, confirms it: Solaris is dying. Customers are leaving it and legacy Unix behind for Linux, in his purview. Open sourcing the platform was too little, too late. Well, maybe not sundown, but it's getting mighty dark out.
My post yesterday about the Mandriva Mini distribution for Intel Atom-powered machines prompted a response from Adam Williamson, Community Manager for Mandriva. There, we talked more about what makes Mini a special case -- so much so that simply offering it for universal download isn't (in their eyes) a wise plan.
I couldn't let the "divide and conquer road map" for keeping open source at bay, as described by my colleague Randy George, pass without comment. The more proprietary software comes to superficially resemble open source, the harder it will be for people to see the benefits of the latter.
Looks like the "netbook" is shaping up as the major way Just Plain Folks will get a little Linux into their lives. Further evidence for that comes in the form of Mandriva's new Linux distribution specifically for Intel Atom-powered machines: Mandriva Mini. Too bad you can't download it yet.
The first phones sporting Google's open-source phone OS Android are set to be announced sometime today, courtesy of T-Mobile (my own cell provider, huzzah!). Android-powered phones are set to compete with the iPhone, Nokia's Symbian, Windows Mobile, and all the rest -- and the way I see it, it'll be in much the same way Google itself competed with AltaVista, Yahoo Search, and so on: quietly, but decisively.
My comments about Unison in last week's blog from the Web 2.0 Expo -- specifically, that its product was to be distributed through Ubuntu's own repositories -- prompted Gerry Carr, marketing manager for Canonical, to get in touch with me. From the look of it, offering commercial software through Linux repositories is the next big st
Intridea is a Washington, D.C., company that builds collaborative tools for the enterprise. Its big release this week was Present.ly, a "Twitter that runs inside the firewall" -- something I imagine most people reading this will either love or hate on sight! It's all built on open source -- Ruby on Rails -- but, again, it's not an open source app itself.
In the "Long Tail Pavilion" (bad name, interesting people) at the Web 2.0 Expo, one of the companies I took time out to speak with was Yuuguu, which makes an online-meeting system that works across Linux, Windows, and Mac equally. Are they open source? No, but they use a lot of it. Will they be open source someday? Mmmmaybe.
The other year, when I first looked at Zoho, it was (to me) an upstart curiosity. Now it's a force to be taken seriously in the online apps space, thanks to leveraging open source in its work -- even while it faces possible competition from, you guessed it, open source.
So far the award for Single Coolest Thing Done With Open Source at the Web 2.0 show has to go to Ifbyphone. These folks have used open source to make custom telephony applications as easy as designing a Web page. Easier, even.
Time for some serendipity. I sat down with Rurik Bradbury of Unison to talk about its unified messaging solutions for Windows and Linux, and ended up with a strong hint as to how the commercial application space for Linux might get a boost.
When you sit down to talk with someone who has the title "Senior Director, Platform and Disruptive Innovation," the first question that comes to mind is: OK, what's "disruptive"? That was, indeed, the first thing that popped out of my mouth when I spoke with Max Mancini of eBay.
"How will you use the power of the Web?" That's the slogan for the Web 2.0 Expo, courtesy of both TechWeb and O'Reilly Media. I'm there this week to ask that question in a slightly different way: How will people use open source to use the power of the Web?
Word's been circulating that Lenovo's no longer going to be offering Linux on ThinkPad notebooks to individual customers, at least in the U.S. But it's far from the end of Linux for Lenovo, period -- it just means the honeymoon's over.
Some projects derived from open source have licensing fees based on who's using them -- a good idea in practice, but sometimes it can become unintentionally thorny. This goes double if the criterion is "commercial use," one of those terms that, in the words of The Princess Bride's Fezzik, does not always mean what you think it means.
Advocates of open source often echo Google's "don't be evil" slogan, with non-FOSS code (among other things) being evil in this purview. That is, evil until you decide not to open source something you've created. Suddenly, you're the bad guy.
OpenOffice.org's first release candidate for version 3.0 hit the tubes yesterday. It's an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, edition of the open source office suite. It isn't to OO.o 2 what, say, Office 2007 was to Office 2003 -- but it's solid, and most importantly, noticeably faster.
A scenario for you: A company announces that it's going to offer open source drivers for its hardware from now on. Rejoicing ensues. Then the drivers themselves arrive, only to be missing things -- not enough to make them useless, but still frustrating. What happened?
With all the worries people have about the stability, safety, and privacy of Web-based apps and cloud computing in general, why not do it yourself? "It", in this case, meaning hosting your own Web apps via an open source package that you install and manage on your own.
I should be more excited about Google's Chrome browser than I actually am. It's fast on its feet, looks good, runs very nicely even for an 0.2 beta, and has even been released under the extremely liberal BSD license. So why do I feel like it's the wrong solution for the wrong problem?
This September marks the 25th anniversary of the Free Software Foundation, and no discussion of open source is complete without them. They've given a philosophy to the computing world -- and to the world as a whole, let's face it -- but like any philosophy or movement, it's not a static thing. The minute the words leave your mouth, they're not yours anymore.