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How open source speeds development...the Zipidy example

I spent some time today talking with Cosimo Sperais, CEO of Zipidy. Zipidy provides an interesting mobile solution that currently helps end-users find and pay for parking (the technology, however, has uses well beyond parking). Funny enough, the company was born from Cosimo's problem one day in finding parking in San Francisco.

While Zipidy's platform will allow the deployment of any service for the mobile customers, in this first phase Zipidy is focusing only to support and deploy services that are categorized as "info mobility," and specifically a wireless closed loop parking solution that is designed to provide substantial incremental value to all core parking participants: End-Users, municipalities (making it a lot cheaper to collect parking fees, rather than sending out parking fee collection agents), and merchants. The solution supports all forms of parking mechanisms, including On/Off street meters, gated garages, permit driven spaces and parking lots.

While I find the parking solution interesting (and, yes, I've had the same problem finding parking in San Francisco), I wanted to hear how open source helps a company like Zipidy, which is not in itself an open-source company. The answer was interesting:… Read more

Swisscom decision points the way to the Red Hat ecosystem sale

I normally wouldn't cover a Red Hat customer acquisition--after all, the company earns more than 10,000 new customers every quarter. It's just not news when it adds a new one, even a big one like Swisscom IT Services, as announced today.

But the Swisscom deal is significant, and not because of Linux. In fact, Swisscom IT Services already had a comprehensive Linux solution in place. Indeed, buying Linux is now such a no-brainer decision that reporting on Linux adoption is like reporting on someone buying furniture. You might decide to change the store from which you buy it, but you're not going to stop buying it. Everyone needs furniture.

No, the Swisscom decision points to Red Hat's success in selling operating system-to-middleware ecosystem value, and that, I believe, is very significant.… Read more

With Dell move, Red Hat remembers JBoss

It's nice to see Red Hat investing in JBoss. It's good for the company and, I believe, good for JBoss.

In the first formal offering of the JBoss Application Platform with an OEM, Red Hat and Dell today announced that Dell will be shipping its PowerEdge servers with the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform or the Red Hat Application Stack, which includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform and MySQL.

Most interestingly (though not surprisingly), you can get JBoss Enteprise Application Platform preintegrated and bundled with Windows, too.

The Dell/Red Hat offering features three solutions:… Read more

Resurrecting Marc Fleury

I was fortunate to spend most of my evening here in Atlanta with JBoss founder Marc Fleury. The second-to-last time I had seen Marc, he had cursed me (literally) for hiring away one of his employees (that employee joined us tonight--all is forgiven :-). The next and last time I saw him he told me he was going to bury my company (or, at least, compete with us).

Tonight, however, Marc was mellow. He strikes me as someone who is at peace, perhaps for the first time in years. He looks great. Seriously. Maybe that's the two weeks he just spent in Spain with family, but I also think he has managed to let money be good for him, rather than a cancer.

Yes, the "old Marc" occasionally flared up, and thankfully so. The industry was better for having had Marc in it. But now he definitely comes across as someone who is looking forward, not backward. He pointed out his "Wicked" T-shirt, but it's from the Broadway musical, not a death-metal band. He's changed.

We talked about a range of things, from his kids (he loves them) to his DJ'ing job (still at it). Oh, and we also plowed through his lessons learned from JBoss.… Read more

Learning through adversity

Today is Pioneer Day in Utah, a day when Utahns reflect on the sacrifice that brought 70,000 people 1,300 miles across the United States into present-day Utah. My own family was part of this group. In fact, there's a wonderful quote from Brigham Young about the Asays when he bumped into them while traveling in Southern Utah. He critiqued their sloth in still living out of their wagons, but said they made him the best fish dinner he'd had. Some things never change.... :-)

As I look back on what my family and others did, I'm impressed by how hardship focused and shaped the thoughts and feelings of a people. While some of the pioneers suffered greatly in making the trek, for others it was more hearty inconvenience and discomfort. But for all, it was a formative time.

Years later, a group that hadn't been through the ordeal criticized those who had for foolishly leaving late in the year, such that the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were caught in a terrible winter. Here's the response from one who had lived through it:… Read more

Open source applications...magnets for open source infrastructure

Ian Howells, Alfresco's chief marketing officer, did some analysis of the company's customer and user community, and I found the results interesting. I've been hearing rumblings for some time that Windows increasingly serves as a great evaluation platform for open source, but most companies use Linux when they're serious and want to go into production. Ian's data confirmed this, and more. (Zmanda has published data that corroborates our findings.)

First of all, the Alfresco data shows that Windows is plays a healthy role in the open source ecosystem. (In the graph, Windows = green, and Linux = blue, in case you can't see it well.) We have plenty of companies going into production with open-source Alfresco sitting on top of closed-source Windows. From my work with SugarCRM, JasperSoft and others, I know the same holds true for them. I don't suspect that this is going to change anytime soon.

Windows plays a large role because it's the OS sitting on the most desktops. But when customers are serious about production, the majority favor Linux. Again, I think you'd find very similar results were you to talk with MuleSource, Funambol, SugarCRM, etc.… Read more

Breaking down barriers between buyers and vendors: Aaron Darcy of Red Hat speaks

I spent an hour today with Aaron Darcy, Director of Product Marketing for Red Hat. Aaron works on the JBoss side of the house and is part of the team that has been transitioning JBoss to a Fedora/RHEL model. Perhaps even more interesting, Aaron was a transplant from UBS' IT team. He came to Red Hat with Joanne Rhode, his boss at UBS.

As such, I was interested to hear how the IT world differs from the Red Hat/open source world, and how the JBoss transition has been.… Read more

In the trenches with...Martin Musierowicz of Alfresco

Our next installment of the "In the Trenches" series introduces us to someone that I know very well, Martin Musierowicz of Alfresco. Martin works for me and has been exceptional. He came to Alfresco with ~eight years of open source experience and has put it to work for the company. Martin is proof that while I stink at most things, I hire very well.

Martin grudgingly agreed to talk for The Open Road once a month's salary was withheld. Martin fits this Series' profile perfectly: someone of which you may not have heard, but who has added significant revenue and expertise to the company. Martin is the best open source partner person I've met. JBoss taught him well to request value for value. Indeed, as he says below, open source companies can't afford to partner cheaply...

Name, company, title, and what you actually do

Martin Musierowicz, Senior Director of Channels...responsible for Strategic Alliances and OEMs (i.e., Glorified sales guy).… Read more

Open source demand generation goes 2.0

Today, Loopfuse announced that it has released the 2.0 version of its open source demand generation product. In case you missed David Skok's exceptional OSBC presentation (Detailing lessons learned from JBoss' success, and an upgrade on my own presentation on this same subject). [Note: If you're prompted for a user name/password, try conference/attendee.]

What is demand generation? If you're an open source company, it's your lifeblood. Open source companies grow up and live online. If you're not using a demand generation tool like Loopfuse (or Eloqua - proprietary and pricey but very … Read more