monetary reputation appraisals

Affero Helps Open Source Developers Take Online Reputations With Them
Henri Poole has been studying the dynamics of online communities for about a decade now. In the early 90s, his first company, Vivid, prototyped a user interface for the Well. Later, as CEO of Linux distributor MandrakeSoft, he says, he became intrigued by the idea of open source communities, and what made them tick. That interest, he says, led to his most recent venture Affero. Launched with two other MandrakeSoft refugees in the summer of 2001, Affero is trying to build a standard system of reputation measurement for the Internet.
i’m glad to see henri get some press for his cool venture. when i visited the company last fall, we had a couple very interesting discussions, and i helped them to debug their business plan. reputation management is crucial. so crucial that i would do some more free consulting for them if i still were in the bay area. i really want them to succeed. so henri, if you read this, hook me up with a plane ticket to san fran, and i’m game :)
we could probably build some infrastructure on top of their system to support OSCOM.

dissecting the oss development process

i have long planned to eventually update my thesis with new developments. apparently, some people are actually reading what i jotted down :)
i got an invitation from ieee to submit an article for their software journal today:
Increasingly, we develop software by integrating components, libraries, and subsystems. The open source software movement has generated an extensive repository of potentially reusable software elements of varying quality and integrability. The free availability of source code might address two reservations often raised when deciding on the use of COTS components: unknown implementation quality and long-term vendor support. However, the use of OSS in commercial software development has not yet been formalized as an established practice. Developers need to know what types of OSS they can reuse, when such reuse is a promising strategy, how they can locate and evaluate OSS, and how OSS will fit into their development and maintenance processes. In addition, drawing on OSS in ways that go beyond unmodified as-is use (by modifying the source) raises further issues of long-term maintainability and its own set of interesting economic, business, and legal aspects.
We seek submissions that address one or, preferably, more of the following topics: taxonomies and repositories of available OSS; searching and evaluation strategies; success stories and failures; development strategies, models, and methodologies based on reusing OSS; economic, business, and legal aspects; the maintenance and integration of evolution paths; cooperation with the OSS community; and challenges and benefits.

the submission deadline is in august, and publication is in january 2004. geez, talk about lead times. on the other hand, it gives me time to come up with something original.


the biggest liability for open source projects are neither software patents nor the “enemy” microsoft, but zealots. these people feel that they somehow have the moral legitimacy to read from the open source scripture, and rip others a new one. by spewing their zealotry, they do triple damage:

  • they drive reasonable onlookers away
  • they waste everyones time
  • they fail to contribute with code

as the saying goes, verba volant, scripta manent.

asia & open source. yummy

About AsiaOSC :: Asian Open Source Centre :: Promoting open source and free software in Asia

AsiaOSC is currently fully funded by MIMOS Berhad. MIMOS Berhad is a technology R&D organization that functions as an adviser to the Malaysian Government on technologies, policies and strategies relating to technology development.

so far, it seems at least from the distance, that open source hasn’t caught on big time in asia just yet. easy to understand when pirated software is widely available. with initiatives like these, maybe my love for asia and my interest in open source can be combined.. looks like another asia trip is in the cards.

feeling guilty about your code

Russell Beattie mentions how much it sucks to feel guilty about not supporting your code:
I know it sounds horrible, but follow me on this. Once a week I get an email about some issue and I feel guilty about not updating my code or not working on improving something I published months ago (that now I’m no longer interested in). Feeling guilty sucks! Or I need to respond to help someone with an install or help figure out some random bug, or something else. Ugh! That’s not fun! That sucks! That isn’t hobby, that’s helpdesk! I mean, I like hearing from people who like my code (then again that means I have to take time to thank them for thanking me which is sort of pain) but this whole having to help people figure out something that many times you can’t even remember writing is a big PITA.
i totally understand russell’s point, i have felt the same way myself. working on open source can be much more grueling than other projects. the internet never sleeps, and popular projects have users that track you down.
one way out, according to russell, is to declare open source software that is quickly hacked, but useful code to be under the OSS PROTOTYPE LICENSE.
We need a license that says something like “I agree, by using this code, never to bug author with any questions, comments, thanks or support-related issues after TWO months of release date when said author has moved on to other more interesting things to work on.”
right-on. heh, reminds me to update my thesis with these new developments now that i have submitted it to the MIT OSS center.

giving the open source spiel

i’m gonna give a talk about open source at the instituto de empresa in madrid when i visit there next weekend. i’m told they are a leading spanish business school. should be fun. i will probably focus on economical concepts as they relate to open source. hopefully, i will be able to engage the crowd in an interesting discussion.

mono: the gpl .net?

miguel de icaza has stirred up the unix community before with his famous unix sucks speech.
in that paper, he argued that unix needs higher-level code reuse and object-orientation. so it seems very reasonable that he wants to clone .net.

the mono project aims to implement several technologies developed by Microsoft that have now been submitted to the ECMA Standards Body.

for the time being, this is a gnome effort. in order to succeed, mono needs to attract a much wider audience, though. kde comes to mind, as do other projects like soap for apache. dave winer of userland seems to be aware of the project, lets hope they can find areas to work together.

miguel gave an interview to oreilly where he said some interesting things about .net. With .NET, Microsoft is starting with a clean slate and building for the future. It’s a new development environment for the next twenty years.
Almost anybody could develop a compatible implementation of .NET, he said, because what you need to know is out in the open.
I don’t think we as a community can design something that is going to be as completely thought out as .NET. It’s taken them several years already to design this, and I believe that Microsoft hired a lot of smart people to build it. It would definitely take us a lot of time and debate to get there. He doesn’t believe that the open source community needs to leapfrog .NET, but rather they should make it their own, much as Unix led to GNU/Linux.

dave winer has, as always, interesting commentary on mono. he argues that open source had to come about in the unix world because there are no easy ways for interop at higher levels (like com or corba provide) than the source code levels. integration is always done at the source level. this has very much truth to it, and dave goes on to argue that the focus should be on interop with .net first, source level compatibility later. a way to leverage the installed base is indeed missing. the unix culture to keep policy out has hampered any attempts to fix this.