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VMware Releases Free Server Software

Posted by egovindia on July 13, 2006

VMware Releases Free Server Software

Publication:BetaNews

Date:Jul 13 2006

Reporter:Nate Mook

 VMware on Wednesday released the final version of its VMware Server virtualization product, the successor to GSX Server. Just like the beta release that debuted in February, VMware is making the software available free of charge, much like Microsoft has done with Virtual Server 2005 R2

VMware Releases Free Server Software

By Nate Mook, BetaNews

July 12, 2006, 3:31 PM

http://www.betanews.com/article/VMware_Releases_Free_Server_Software/1152732708

VMware on Wednesday released the final version of its VMware Server virtualization product, the successor to GSX Server. Just like the beta release that debuted in February, VMware is making the software available free of charge, much like Microsoft has done with Virtual Server 2005 R2.

The company hopes that by giving away its entry-level product, it will drive users to upgrade to its for-pay ESX Server, as well as position the company as the leader in virtualization technology. While VMware Server will require a “host” operating system in order to use its features, ESX requires no host.

VMware Server enables customers to provision a single physical server into multiple virtual machines. With computing power continuing to far surpass operating system requirements, virtualization is becoming a key way for businesses to get more bang for the buck.

“VMware Server offers unparalleled operating system support, ease of use, manageability with VMware VirtualCenter and support from the industry’s most experienced support organization for virtualization,” said Brian Byun, vice president of products and alliances at VMware.

VMware Server runs on any x86 based computer, and supports 64-bit guest operating systems including Linux, Windows, NetWare and Solaris. 2-way SMP is supported experimentally, enabling a virtual machine to utilize two physical CPUs.

Other features include capturing the state of a virtual machine and instantly rolling it back, along with support for Microsoft’s virtual machine format and Symantec LiveState Recovery images.

The new software can be downloaded from VMware’s Web site at no cost. Support for VMware server runs $350 USD for a one-year subscription per two processors for Gold level, and $450 USD for Platinum level. Businesses can also purchase VMware VirtualCenter for $600 USD per two processors.

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Mirus, Linspire and AOpen Introduce $399 Mini Linux PC

Posted by egovindia on July 2, 2006

Mirus, Linspire and AOpen Introduce $399 Mini Linux PC

 

Publication: eHomeUpgrade Date: Jun 30 2006

Linspire, Inc., developers of the leading consumer desktop Linux operating system, along with AOpen and Mirus Innovations, announce the availability of the Linspire Mini Koobox, the first small form-factor Linux machine on the market. Starting at just $399 after $100 mail-in rebate, the Mini Koobox is based on an Intel platform built by AOpen and comes with the easy-to-use Linspire Linux operating system, which includes full Microsoft file-compatible office suite, DVD player and DVD-playing software, music and photo management software, Internet applications, e-mail and instant messaging capabilities.

Mirus, Linspire and AOpen Introduce

 $399 Mini Linux PC

 Category: Entertainment PCs – June 29, 2006 

http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/2745/mirus_linspire_and

By NEWS RELEASE [1482 Reads]

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koobox mini linspire pc Linspire, Inc., developers of the leading consumer desktop Linux operating system, along with AOpen and Mirus Innovations, announce the availability of the Linspire Mini Koobox, the first small form-factor Linux machine on the market. Starting at just $399 after $100 mail-in rebate, the Mini Koobox is based on an Intel platform built by AOpen and comes with the easy-to-use Linspire Linux operating system, which includes full Microsoft file-compatible office suite, DVD player and DVD-playing software, music and photo management software, Internet applications, e-mail and instant messaging capabilities. The Linspire Mini Koobox is now being sold online through Mirus Innovations as part of its Koobox line of desktop computers. For more information about the Mini Koobox, visit www.koobox.com.

“As the prices of desktop computers continues to drop, consumers are starting to bring multiple computers into their homes,” said Kevin Carmony, president and CEO of Linspire, Inc. “However, low cost isn’t the only consideration. As you add more computers to more rooms, space and aesthetics also start to become factors. Buying a low-priced Linux machine usually means you’ll have to sacrifice on style and select from a limited supply. We developed the Mini Koobox with Mirus and AOpen because we know there is high consumer demand for ultra-compact home computers that not only look great and perform well, but also don’t cost a fortune.”

Measuring in at just 6.5 x 6.5 x 2 inches and weighing 3.0 lbs., the basic configuration boasts a brushed matte-platinum case with clear blue plastic accents, slot-in slim CDRW/DVD combo drive with DVD-playing software,integrated Ethernet card, and is based on the Intel 915 chipset. To add to the streamlined aesthetic, ports are located in the back of the unit, including two USB 2.0 ports, one IEEE 1394 port (Firewire), speaker-out, S-video, and mic. The Mini Koobox also has a DVI monitor connector and includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter so that it can be connected to plasma-display or large-format monitors. Inside, the machine checks in with 256 MB DDR2 RAM, Intel Celeron M 370 1.5 Ghz processor, and a 40 GB hard drive.

Upgraded versions of the Mini Koobox are also available, including a version priced $499 after mail-in rebate with Intel Celeron M 370 processor, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB hard drive, and a CDRW/DVD combo drive. For $50 more, a third model priced at $549 after mail-in rebate includes an Intel Pentium M 725 1.6 Ghz processor. All Mini Koobox units come with a 15-day free subscription to Linspire’s CNR software download service, plus keyboard, mouse and speakers. These Koobox models are aggressively priced, considering the Mac Mini starts at $599 for a basic configuration that does not include a keyboard, mouse, or speakers. Complete system specifications and a comparison chart on Mini Koobox options are available at www.koobox.com.

The Mini Koobox features the stable and secure Linux-based operating system from Linspire, which comes complete with major desktop applications, including OpenOffice.org (a Microsoft file-compatible office suite); Web browser, e-mail and instant messaging clients; multimedia viewers; photo and music managers; calendaring tools; and more. Access to additional software and applications is available through Linspire’s innovative CNR (“click and run”) Warehouse, a software library where users can download and install thousands of Linux and open source programs. For more information about Linspire, visit www.linspire.com.

“Right out of the box, you can use the Mini Koobox to do everything you’ve been doing on your existing Windows machine – without buying extra software,” Carmony added. “Average home computer users don’t need to spend thousands on a fancy computer just to browse the Internet, send email, share photos or do basic office functions. The Mini Koobox is the perfect second, third or fourth computer for your home, apartment or dorm.”

In addition, consumers who are interested in switching to Linspire Linux from a Windows system can take advantage of several tools to make the transition, including software such as Win4Lin and Crossover Office, which allow key Windows software to run under Linspire Linux, and a desktop migration tool called Progression Desktop from Versora that allows easy transfer of files, bookmarks, and programs from Windows to Linspire. Win4Lin, Crossover Office and Versora are all available for Linspire users through the CNR Warehouse (www.linspire.com).

The Linspire Mini Koobox, like other Koobox computers sold by Mirus, includes a 90-day warranty, but for $29 consumers can purchase an optional premium warranty with toll-free support and replacement parts. Other expanded warranty options are available as well, including on-site technical support. For warranty details, see www.koobox.com.

Koobox computers are built by AOpen, manufactured and shipped directly by Mirus, fully certified by Linspire and tested by quality of standards that are ISO 9001 certified and 100 percent compliant with industry standards.

Pricing and Availability
The Linspire Mini Koobox is now available through Mirus as part of their Koobox line of desktop computers. The basic version is $399 after $100 manufacturer’s mail-in rebate, and upgraded versions with enhanced memory and hard drive capacities are available starting at $499. Details on all available specifications and information for system builders who are interested in selling the Linspire Mini Koobox are available at www.koobox.com.

About Linspire, Inc.
Linspire, Inc. (www.linspire.com) was founded in 2001 to bring choice into the operating system market. The company’s flagship product, the Linspire operating system, is an affordable, easy-to-use Linux-based operating system for home, school, and business users. Linspire pioneered CNR (“click and run”) Technology, which allows Linspire users access to thousands of software programs, each of which can be downloaded and installed with just one mouse click. The thousands of software titles available in the CNR Warehouse (www.linspire.com/cnr) include full office and productivity suites, games, multimedia players, photo management software, accounting tools, and more.

About Mirus Innovations
Mirus Innovations, a value-added manufacturer of computer products, strives to bring innovative digital lifestyle experiences to end users. Its products for consumers and small businesses include high-value, low-cost personal and mobile computing solutions, as well as On-Site and Life-Time Tech Support options. Its products are installed in hundreds of thousands of households and small businesses throughout North America.

About AOpen
Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, with AOpen America’s headquarters in San Jose, California, AOpen Inc. is the world’s largest total PC component solutions manufacturer and a member of an $18-billion technology group. Leveraging more than 28 years of technology manufacturing experience and more than 1,000 Group patents, AOpen designs, manufactures and markets high-quality, state-of-the-art motherboards; housings; small-form-factor bare systems; VGA cards; white-box notebooks; optical drives; multimedia headsets and headphones; multimedia and network solutions; as well as numerous other PC component products sold through VARs to institutional, corporate, education and government customers, and via retailers to small business and end-user customers.

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MySQL gets cosy with Microsoft

Posted by egovindia on July 2, 2006

MySQL gets cosy with Microsoft

Joins VSIP

Security White Papers – Download them free from Reg Research

 http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2006/06/30/mysql_microsoft_vsip/

MySQL, the open source database firm, is to receive Microsoft marketing support along with Visual Studio technical integration.

The company has paid $3,000 to become a member of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program in a move that will help cement the database’s use on Windows. MySQL joins more than 240 other ISVs also working with Microsoft.

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MySQL says 40 per cent of its downloads are for Windows, and VSIP membership will provide greater integration between the database and Microsoft’s development environment. Using a plug-in, developers will be able to build forms and objects inside Visual Studio with Microsoft languages lsuch as C# and Visual Basic, browse data and records, and perform basic data management.

VSIP also gives MySQL access to co-marketing opportunities, which include the right to sport the “Optimized for Microsoft Visual Studio” logo on product boxes and its website, eligibility for inclusion in partner promotions at Microsoft developer events, and the ability to participate in VSIP developer labs.

Membership is handy for both companies. For Microsoft, it means developers using Windows with MySQL continue using its tools and don’t drift off into alternatives. It should also ensure companies who need a low-cost database don’t investigate products from Oracle and – as a result – ultimately adopt Linux over Windows, according to MySQL.

“Unlike Oracle, we don’t have a platform agenda. Oracle tries to get people to run from Windows to Linux,” MySQL executive vice president of products Zack Urlocker told The Register. “Microsoft is ultimately a very pragmatic company and their customers are asking them to resolve their issues and support their customers.”

For MySQL, VSIP means greater exposure to developers in the Microsoft user base. Integration reduces the need for developers to switch between different environments, and takes the pressure off MySQL to build its own IDE or forge lots of different IDE partnerships.

Looking ahead, MySQL is investigating integration beyond Visual Studio, including integration with Microsoft’s Operations Manager (MOM). ®

Related stories

MySQL critical of ‘crippled’ closed-source databases (27 April 2006)
MySQL close to SAP certification (1 March 2006)
Oracle would be smart to love Sleepycat (22 February 2006)
Sugar ‘n Spike in open source deal (16 February 2006)
Microsoft and JBoss work together (28 September 2005)

 

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Virtualization: A Case Study of the Impact of Open Source

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Virtualization: A Case Study of the Impact of Open Source

The Open Source

In my most recent post, I wrote about the impact open source software will have on the proprietary software industry. In contrast to many others who seem to feel that open source and proprietary software operate in two parallel but separate universes — that open source is used by people who can’t afford “real” software, while proprietary commercial software is for organizations that need reliability, scalability, and all the other “abilities”, I believe that open source is already challenging the proprietary software world. The anemic growth rates and consolidation of the proprietary software industry reflect the subtle effects of lower cost and easily available open source alternatives.

Fine. That’s my opinion. You may think I’m spot on, or that I’m talking through my hat. How about a case study to test the theory?

Let’s look at virtualization. Virtualization is something I’m spending a lot of time on now, and I think it has tremendous potential with a very clear payoff: reduced costs for IT organizations, both hard (power, machines) and soft (admin and operations personnel). Virtualization evinces an undeniable fact: machines are improving so fast that they make possible — even dictate — a change to the traditional hardware infrastructure, breaking the bounds of the one machine, one application practice used by most IT shops. With such a clear value proposition, virtualization is red hot in IT circles.

In 2004, EMC decided to jump on this trend, figuring virtualization would be a complementary offering to its existing storage business. EMC paid over $600 million to buy VMWare, the leading virtualization provider. VMWare had a very capable, albeit pricy, line of products. VMWare offered them via a hands-on, expensive, direct sales force. These products and their sales strategy melded perfectly with EMC, which sells expensive storage solutions through a hands-on, expensive, sales force.

Today, less than two years later, VMWare has completely restructured its product line and its go-to-market strategy. VMWare offers a significant part of its product line available for immediate download at no cost. That’s right, EMC paid $600 million to buy a company that doesn’t charge for its products.

Why the big change in strategy? In one word: Xen.

Xen is an open source virtualization product emanating from Cambridge University, with a commercial arm called Xensource.

The entrance of an open source product into this market has caused the effective price of virtualization to head toward zero (Microsoft has also announced that its virtualization product will be free, although you have to purchase other Microsoft products to run underneath the virtualization product).

What’s really interesting about this market is how fast commoditization has occurred. Unlike databases, where Oracle has a huge installed base which it can milk at traditional prices, virtualization is a nascent market where user choices are being made today. VMWare faced its own choice: maintain its historical pricing and end up a bit player, or hold its nose, chop prices, attempt to establish a dominant market share, and figure out how to make money from the resulting user base. (For a fascinating look at the financial impact of much lower pricing entering a high-priced market, see Martin Fink’s discussion of the impact of generic drugs on sales of patent-protected proprietary drugs in his excellent The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source.)

To its credit, VMWare recognized that attempting to maintain its existing pricing was a recipe for irrelevance, and cut its prices with gusto.

Of course, the flip side of this change is that VMWare expects you to download the product and do the work of figuring out whether it’s right for your purpose. They’ll be glad to engage in a sales conversation once you’ve done the exploratory work and decided the VMWare solution is right for you.

To my mind, this poses one of the great challenges open source presents to IT. Unlike databases, where the entrance of open source offerings was supported by a large trained technical workforce (the build up of which was supported by all of that expensive Oracle software), nascent markets like virtualization suffer from a lack of skilled expertise, which makes successful implementations much more difficult — with no skilled technical staff, and a hands-off vendor that can’t afford to spend much time with users, there appears to be an adoption dilemma.

I’m not sure what the answer to this dilemma is, but I’m pretty sure the momentum of commoditization through open source is unstoppable. The next five or ten years should be pretty interesting for the IT industry. 

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Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 3

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 3

In Parts 1 and Parts 2 of this series of posts I covered two important reasons that every IT organization needs to incorporate open source software as part of their overall IT strategy.

The first reason you need to begin using open source software is that IT budgets suffer from two simultaneous imperatives: low-growth and increasing demand. One important way to respond to these imperatives is to lower your cost of delivering technology. Open source can be an enormous help in this response.

The second reason for using open source is that the software industry itself is undergoing change and will increasingly resemble the open source model: the software itself being freely downloadable, but with far fewer ancillary services delivered by the vendor for free. Beyond the obvious service cuts — no free proof-of-concepts, architecture roadmap presentations, and so on — other, less obvious services will be trimmed as well — things like informative advertising, vendor-sponsored analyst reports. The effect of these changes is that IT organization will need to take more responsibility for technology decisions and processes — a hallmark of the open source world.

Now, let’s discuss the third reason you need to jump on open source — and this one extends the impact past the confines of the IT organization: open source can offer competitive advantage to the overall organization — in other words, open source can help businesses perform better financially. 

How is that?

Well, let’s look at the example I offered in a recent blog posting, relating the story of a small company that selected JBoss over BEA. That company, doing around $30 million in annual sales, saved $450K by going with JBoss. In other words, they saved about 1.5% of their annual revenues by using open source.

What do you think they did with that money? Hired more people. Reached further down into their IT backlog list. Invested in additional marketing. Whatever. The point is, they were able to implement a powerful software system while also saving a ton of money — and then were able to redeploy that capital to another purpose.

Meanwhile, if you’re their competitor that chose BEA instead, where do you stand? Most likely, you have a functionally equivalent software system — but you are missing 1.5% of your revenues to invest somewhere else.

Over time, don’t you think the lower-cost company is going to build a lead? It will continue to incrementally save money that it can reinvest elsewhere in its business. 

Let’s take another example. Sabre Holdings. They wanted to data mine the traffic patterns on their Travelocity site. Travel, as you probably know, is a tough business with razor-thin margins. They didn’t have the $500K that a commercial BI system would typically cost, so they created a home-grown system using MySQL running on a 4-way box yoked to a special-purpose RAID box. Total investment? Around $50K.

In Sabre’s case, they most likely didn’t reinvest the saved dollars — they’re stretched too thin. However, they were able to create a revenue-building application with open source that they never could have afforded if they used commercial equivalents.

The counter-argument to the cost advantage of open source software is that the cost of licenses is unimportant in the overall budget of IT. In individual projects, licenses are often a small part of the total project cost — perhaps only 10% to 20% of the entire project. In the IT shop as a whole, I’ve heard 6% of total budget  described as the portion devoted to software licenses.  Therefore, the argument goes, the savings available by using open source are really not critical in the overall scheme of things.

This reminds me of the dismissivenss that Detroit used to evince toward Japanese automakers. It used to take US car manufacturers two weeks to perform annual model tooling changeovers. Toyota figured out how to do it in less than a day. So what, was the attitude of US automakers. The cost of model changeover is peanuts compared to everything else.

But Japanese car companies continued to incrementally improve their cost structure — quicker changeovers, less inventory via JIT techniques, lower manufacturing cost by creating option bundles. One day the US industry woke up and Japanese makers had an unbeatable cost advantage; thirty years later, the domestic manufacturers are still trying to catch up.

I believe in learning from history. Marginal improvements can have enormous cumulative impact. Open source is a marginal improvement tool — and if you fail to put it in your IT toolkit, you may be handicapping your company in a competitive economy. 

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Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 1

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 1

The Open Source

Many IT organizations are starting to experiment with open source. There is an element of kicking tires about these experiments, as in “I’ve heard a lot about this new open source stuff — let’s take a trial spin to see how it goes. Of course, we’re still committed to our proprietary infrastructure, but we might as well check it out.” It’s like you might try out that new exotic restaurant that just opened — not that you’d ever stop eating at the tried-and-true place that you’ve been going to for years.

Get over it. Your future depends on open source — and for reasons that have nothing to do with open source being a better way to develop software, enabling less contentious relationships between users and vendors, and certainly nothing to do with abstract notions of “open source is free as in free speech.”

Your future depends on open source because of fundamental economic trends in the IT industry. You need to get on the right side of these trends or face real danger to your organization — and your career. You ignore them at your peril.

There are three important reasons you need to adopt open source. This post will address the first; I’ll address the other reasons in subsequent posts.

Reason #1 to Adopt Open Source: Your Budgets Demand It 

 IT Capital Investment chart

The above chart (source, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce) shows the historical trend in IT capital investment (including both hardware and software) over the past 30 years.

As you can see, in the early 70’s, IT made up only about 15% of total Equipment and Software Capital Investment (the category also includes items like machine tools and the like); the percentage of total capital spending for IT increased steadily over the years to around 40% or so. It has stayed at that level for several years; this percentage is not likely to grow any further going forward — after all, the economy still has to invest in things besides IT.

What this chart doesn’t show, however, is the multiplier effect on IT spending due to the strong economic growth during the 80’s and 90’s. Multiplying the increased percentage of capital spending by the underlying economic growth gave us the heady IT budgets of those years, where increases in IT spending within organizations routinely ran 7% to 10% (remember “Get us on the Internet, no matter what it costs” and “We have to get ready for Y2K”?). 

That was then, this is now. The multiplier effect of increased capital spending percentage is over. And good economic growth these days is 3% to 4%. That means that future IT budgets are going to grow pretty much in line with the underlying economic growth; after employee raises, that means IT budgets for the foreseeable future are going to be a zero-sum game.

On the other hand, however, the demands on you and your organization aren’t staying constant. In fact, they seem to be growing. Your organization needs a mobility capability. SarbOx requirements must be met. What about RFID? And you want to implement analytics to run the business more effectively, too.

In a zero-sum game, if you want to increase one thing, something else needs to shrink. Which brings us to open source.

IT organizations must direct their capital investment to customer-facing, business-improving, revenue-growing initiatives. In the IT budgets of the future, spending millions of dollars on plumbing — storing, pushing, and presenting bits — is out. IT organizations — you — have to reduce spend in non-essential places to have any chance at all to deliver on all the commitments your boss is demanding.

Moving to open source is not an option to be explored at leisure. It is a deadly serious strategic necessity. If you aren’t seriously looking at open source yet, you need to get with the program.

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Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 2

Posted by egovindia on June 30, 2006

 Why Your Future Depends on Open Source — Part 2

The Open Source

“Will software be a business that generates a lot of profit in the future? Is open source essentially a disruption that will cause the software business to be less profitable? ”

                        — Steve Ballmer, addressing an audience of financial analysts, July, 2004

Let me end the suspense, Steve, and offer the answer: “Yes.” The software business will be less profitable in the future — much less profitable.

The enterprise software business is changing dramatically and tomorrow’s industry will look very different to today’s. The converging impacts of slowing growth, competitive pressures, and more demanding customers will cause a splintering of today’s monolithic industry offerings — and in a surprising turn of events, the software industry of the future will look much more like the open source software industry of today. But what will that mean for you, the software user?

Some of this pressure will be caused by open source itself. Obviously, if an inexpensive alternative is available, it’s harder to charge premium prices for a good or service. I liken it to bottled water — if you’re dying of thirst in a desert, almost any price for water is acceptable. You’d pay a hundred dollars for a bottle of Perrier. If you’re standing in your kitchen and water is freely available from your tap, though, there’s a limit you’ll pay for the convenience and putatively higher quality water available in a bottle. Open source has the effect of serving as the kitchen tap — and putting a ceiling on the acceptable price for proprietary software. I addressed one example of this issue in a recent blog posting.

However, even more damaging than the price pressure of open source is the impact it will have on marginal profitability of software companies. Software is an unusual — even unique — good, in that it costs practically nothing to manufacture. All the expense is in creating it; a CEO of a software company I once worked for described software companies as looking like they are all fixed costs, since there are practically no variable costs of manufacture.

The implication of this is that once your fixed costs (principally headcount) are covered, nearly all your additional revenue drops to the bottom line as profit — but every copy you don’t sell trims your income statement by nearly the entire price of the software. So every piece of software that an open source product displaces disproportionally harms the profitability of the vendor of the proprietary counterpart. So, as an example of this, every copy of OpenOffice that goes into use costs Microsoft around $300 in profits.

Consequently, it’s clear that open source will have a significant impact on the profitability of the software industry. But it is far from the only trend that is harming software profitability. Just as troubling to the industry is its lack of growth — which will have, perhaps, even more impact on profits than will open source software.

The evidence of poor growth is everywhere. In a recent presentation, IDC forecast software sales growth of around 5% for the next few years; this is a far cry from the heady days of 30% industry growth of the 90’s. Software has suffered the ultimate indignity of being dropped from growth-oriented mutual funds, sure evidence that the tide has turned on software sales. 

This lack of growth has the effect of making software companies desperate for sales. Interesting evidence regarding this desperation became public during the Department of Justice hearings on the Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft. Testimony revealed that Oracle offered discounts of 90% to seal deals against SAP and PeopleSoft. 

Clearly, going forward, there’s less revenue dropping to the bottom line from sales — which is bad news for software company executives. After all, you don’t get those juicy stock multiples that accompany growth stock-like profitability if your net profitability is shrinking.

Between commoditization by open source and reduced revenues due to discounting, the top line is looking weaker, resulting in lower net margins. So what’s a poor software company to do?

Well, one obvious option is to use financial engineering to increase profits. This is a common tactic in slow-growth markets — merge two companies and increase profits by maintaining the existing revenue stream while trimming common functions like finance and HR, while. This tactic drove Oracle’s PeopleSoft acquisition.

Say what you will about Larry Ellison — he’s a very sharp operator. When he recognized that the software industry has a slow-growth future, he changed Oracle’s strategy from license sales at any cost to milking the installed base — sorry, moving to a subscription business model. This model allows Oracle to continue to achieve its traditional profitability via 85% gross margins on subscriptions. It’s really quite brilliant; growing the installed base via acquisitions allows him to grow profitability through ongoing maintenance fees, something Computer Associates discovered 20 years ago.

There’s only one problem with this strategy if you’re a large software company. There aren’t that many targets large enough to make your earnings grow sufficiently to keep those growth stock price-earnings ratios extant. It gets harder and harder to, as they say, move the needle.

So, what’s your next tactic to keep earnings up? It’s obvious, really. You reduce costs. We’ve already started to see that happen in the software industry. In a widely noted move a couple of years ago, Microsoft cut health care benefits, shortened vacation time, and reduced the stock purchase plan discount. 

We’ll see more of this in the future. Large software companies will nip benefits here and there, all in an effort to trim employee costs, which, as already noted, account for almost all the ongoing costs of a software company.

However, if you’re a software company, there’s a limit to this tactic as well, particularly as your business depends, relatively speaking, on happy, motivated employees.

The next tactic to increase profits is one that will directly affect you, the end user. Instead of today’s bundled, monolithic product, software vendors will move to selling an unbundled product, charging for things that currently are thrown in with the license fee.

What will this look like?

There will be far fewer services available at no cost to customers. Today, if you are a large user and are considering purchasing a package, there is no end to what the vendor will do for you. Want a product overview and roadmap presentation? The sales rep will be glad to bring a team to your site for a meeting. Want to understand how the product will integrate with your existing infrastructure? How about a proof of concept that the vendor will help build at no cost to you?

But when there’s far less revenue available through a license fee, all those free services will go out the window. They’ll all be available, alright — for a fee. Get ready for a future in which you’ll get far less personal attention from the vendor and in which you’ll have to take on more responsibility for decisions or, at least, expect to pay for advice to help you make decisions.

In other words, the software industry of the future will look a lot like the open source industry of today. Cheap (or free) software, but more responsibility for the user.  Which is the second reason your future depends on open source. Your organization will increasingly need to do more research, make more vendor-independent decisions, and implement more community-shared systems. You need to start sharpening your open source skills if you want your organization ready for the software industry of the future.

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Red Hat CEO Says Linux Could Become U.S. Standard

Posted by egovindia on June 29, 2006

Red Hat CEO Says Linux

Could Become U.S. Standard

Publication: E Week Date: Jun 28 2006
Reporter: Wayne Rash

Red Hat Chairman, CEO and President Matthew Szulik told attendees at the C3 Expo here that open-source software is already highly successful.

Szulik was the opening keynote speaker at the C3 conference the week of June 26. He said the best-known open-source product, Linux, already runs on 13 platforms ranging from laptop computers to mainframes, and that it would soon be running on handheld devices and smart

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1982623,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03129TX1K0000616

Red Hat CEO Says Linux Could Become U.S. Standard
By Wayne Rash
June 27, 2006

NEW YORK—Red Hat Chairman, CEO and President Matthew Szulik told attendees at the C3 Expo here that open-source software is already highly successful.

Szulik was the opening keynote speaker at the C3 conference the week of June 26. He said the best-known open-source product, Linux, already runs on 13 platforms ranging from laptop computers to mainframes, and that it would soon be running on handheld devices and smart phones.

Szulik also said “content democratization” was critical to innovation because it would lead to access to information worldwide.

PointerRed Hat completes its acquisition of JBoss. Read more here.

Szulik and Red Hat, along with MIT, are part of a team that is trying to create a $100 laptop computer for use in the third world. Szulik said there is already strong interest in such a product in Eastern Europe, Africa, China and India. He also said this type of product was entirely within reach.

“All you need is a platform, Linux, a browser, a power supply and access to the Internet,” Szulik said. He noted that one reason today’s laptops are so expensive is because they cost so much to sell, mostly because a large percentage of their cost comes from advertising and marketing expenses.

C3 Expo NYC 2006

Szulik argued that a major reason why the existence of low-cost computers would spread innovation is that they would encourage the growth of computer skills. Of all the challenges he has as CEO, “Finding qualified people is the hardest,” he said, adding that the situation in the United States is getting worse every year. “Federal funding for R&D has declined,” he said, “and state funding has been declining overall.”

Szulik said open-source software is already more popular outside the United States, and that this is where he’s finding the talent he needs to continue innovating. Describing what he called an epidemic in the decline of technically trained people in the United States, he said students in grades K through 12 aren’t being taught technical skills and aren’t being encouraged to take up careers in computer science and engineering.

PointerAlso speaking at C3, the CEO of Transitive announced new virtualization software that will support Solaris/SPARC applications on Intel hardware. Click here to read more.

“The need speaks for itself. There isn’t a technical CEO that I’ve met that hasn’t spoken publicly about the need to reform and improve the quality of technical education at the earliest levels. It goes beyond just hardware and software. It’s [about] curriculum and a move from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning,” he said.

eWEEK.com Special Report: Open Source in the Enterprise

Szulik said the current problems with technical education need to be solved at the highest levels, starting with the President. He suggested that today’s educational crisis could benefit from something like the spur President John F. Kennedy gave to science and engineering for space research in the early ’60s.

In his wide-ranging talk, Szulik also said programs such as Firefox are helping to spread interest in open-source software, and he said efforts such as the one by the NSA to create a trusted version of Linux could make open source a standard in the United States—as, he said, it is already becoming the standard in other countries.

Szulik said he couldn’t speak specifically about Red Hat because the company has its earnings call later this week.

PointerCheck out eWEEK.com’s Linux & Open Source Center for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Open Standard & Proprietary Standards on eForms

Posted by egovindia on June 26, 2006

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:20:30 -0000
To: eGovINDIA@yahoogroups.com
From: "c_p_balu" <p.balu@nic.in>
Subject: Open Standard & Proprietary Standards on eForms

I submit the following observations on eForms for the kind considerations 
of all members; 
now many initiatives are considering use of eForms for all e-Governance projects; 
both Open Standard  & Proprietary Standards are available for eForms. 
The members are requested to consider & promote  the use of xForm which is based 
on Open standard & Open solution for eGovernance.   
A)    There are 3 common standards & solutions for e-Forms;  
i)   xForm + all standard-XML from W3C    
( Open Standard & No Royalty)  
ii)  pdf + arbitrary-XML from Adope      
(Proprietary Standard & License Fee)  
iii) Infopath + arbitrary-XML from MS      
(Proprietary Standard & License Fee)   
 
B)  Supports for Open Standard xForms from W3C Organisation:      
The support of various browsers including Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, IE, etc 
for xForm is given in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XForms.      
OpenOffice-2.0 also supports xForm.     
Further xForm will be part of XHTML-2.0.     
Other implementations of xForm include the open source Chiba and Orbeon projects, 
both based on Ajax technology  
 
C) Comparison of Open & Proprietary Standards on eForms    
---------------------------------------------------- 
i) Similar, Different:  
How comparable is InfoPath to XForms? At a high level, 
both seek to overcome a similar challenge: 
translating user interaction into XML. 
Upon closer examination, however, the two technologies differ in focus, 
target audience, 
and scope.  ii) Focus:     
The InfoPath application is focused on providing a superb visual environment, 
of similar quality to the rest of the Microsoft Office System suite, 
for creating and filling out forms. 
In contrast, the XForms specification is designed to encourage 
implementations not to 
focus exclusively on visual media, but rather to define only the 
intent behind various data-gathering controls. 
The XForms specification gives implementations wide latitude in 
choices relating to 
how a particular form control can be implemented, though 
new CSS properties can 
narrow down the specific appearance of a form control. 
Additionally, while XForms is designed to be readily produced by automated tools, 
InfoPath appears to be put together in such a way that 
only mouse-designed forms are readily 
possible.  
 
iii) Target Audience:     
 
The recommended system requirements for InfoPath demand a fairly modern 
Intel-compatible 
computer: a Pentium III or better as well as Microsoft Windows 2000 
(with Service Pack 3) 
or greater. Further, the software is bundled only in the 
Enterprise version of Office System, 
which will in practice be most often used by larger, 
more Microsoft-committed organizations. 
By contrast, the XForms specification was designed to work on the
 broadest possible range 
of devices, from tiny phones and PDAs to beefy servers. 
XForms software is being made 
available in a variety of packages, both open source and commercial, 
on an assortment of platforms.  iv) Scope:     
 
XForms encourages development using a defined declarative XML syntax, 
while InfoPath, 
like HTML forms, continues to encourage the deployment of script. 
 
Some interesting differences are also found in the choices of form 
controls supported. 
For example, InfoPath includes ordered and unordered lists as a form control, 
but doesn't support the equivalent of a multiple selection or free entry select 
form control (combobox).  
v) A Word on Standards Used:  
InfoPath is built upon an impressive list of standard technologies, 
including WXS, DOM, and XSLT. For web developers modifying existing 
InfoPath content, such a design can be of great assistance. 
Other design decisions in InfoPath, 
however, tend to reduce the ability to use InfoPath with 
non-Microsoft browsers, platforms, 
or servers. For example, any investment in designing InfoPath solutions can 
be difficult to recoup in the face of changing to a different set of tools, 
no matter how standards-compliant they are.  
 
 D) Further Details at  
http://www.xml.com/lpt/a/2003/10/29/infopath.html  
http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Forms/  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XForms  
----------------------------------------------------------------------  
With best regards & Thanks.  
Dr. P. Balasubramanian  

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Indie Podcasting with Open Source

Posted by egovindia on June 23, 2006

Indie Podcasting with Open Source

by John Littler

 http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2006/06/22/floss-podcasting.html?CMP=OTC-0O724Z062301&ATT=Indie+Podcasting+with+Open+Source
06/22/2006There have been quite a few articles and books on podcasting already, and some of them are excellent–particularly the ones that deal with some small part of the process. Quite often, however, they neglect to mention a common goal of podcasting: to be like a radio station, slick and with easily understood formats. That's odd to me. Podcasting is an ideal medium for experimentation because the costs are so low, so you should try out some off-the-wall stuff.

That said, how do you put a podcast together?

Equipment

For gearheads this can be a difficult area, because there is absolutely no limit to the amount of expensive gear you can accumulate! However, the basics are straightforward and relatively cheap. You need a computer with a sound card and audio ins and outs, a net connection, web space, some editing and recording software, and a mic. For intensive, multitrack editing with effects, you need quite a hot computer. For straight interviews, you can concievably get away with something like a Pentium I.

For location work, you need something that can travel, such as your laptop. Mstation uses a minidisc recorder purchased secondhand, plus a tiny Sony stereo mic (ECM719) that provides quite reasonable quality. This sort of setup is ideal if you want to be semi-invisible and not make a big deal of what you're doing. The flip side is that some interviewees might regard that sort of setup as looking unimportant. More than likely, though, they'll settle down sooner without having a big mic stuck in their faces.

Information on sound cards is readily available, but researching mics can be more difficult, especially if you want to record music or ambient sound. If you want to really get into it, reading some of the audio-engineering specialist texts will be rewarding. If you don't, then going to a couple of pro audio shops and asking around will yield an answer within your budget. Brand names such as Shure are usually pretty safe; even Radio Shack has some good models.

For recording standard phone calls, there are two types of special mics. One is an induction loop that attaches to the handset, but the sound quality is pretty low. The higher-quality option is one that goes inline with a wired phone handset.

Recording something like Skype doesn't require any mics beyond the one necessary for the phone call. Here are a couple of how to's: Recording Skype in Linux, Recording Skype in Windows.

Recording

The Audacity application has occupied a lot of column inches in podcasting articles, and rightly so. It is easy to use, free, and runs on all the major platforms. You can record directly into it, edit, and use the LAME plugin to produce an MP3 from inside it.

A lesser-known alternative is Ardour. Its goal is to become the Open Source competitor of high-end products such as Pro Tools. It's big and powerful, and while not quite as intuitive as Audacity, it is more rewarding for power users. Among other things, it plays with multi-in audio cards such as the RME Hammerfall, and works with control surfaces. (Yes, that's part of the no-limit gear goal.) Control surfaces are digital mixers that let you use knobs and faders rather than a mouse. A mouse can do only one thing at a time, whereas you can perform many tasks simultaneously on a control surface. They also provide a nice tactile sense, even though most control surfaces aren't actually all that nice. This sort of setup only becomes really necessary if you need to balance a lot of inputs.

Ardour is available for Linux and Mac OS X.

One point worth making here is that more powerful apps give you more choices. You might find it easier to be creative with them once you know the basics.

Program Decisions

In the world of indie podcasting, format decisions are the servant of content rather than vice-versa. (I just made that up but it sounds valid to me.) If you think about it, some of the most annoying moments of commercial TV and radio have to do with formatting decisions determined mostly by the need for advertisements; the same goes for quite a few web pages. The fact that this sort of programming can be lively and appealing to those with no attention span, no need for actual information, and no IQ worth mentioning, is beside the point. (Or, maybe it is the point.)

There are no rules for indie media, other than maybe "honor the content," where content is some combination of the idea and truth. Otherwise, especially with something like an interview, there wouldn't be any creativity at all–just the raw data.

Another topic of discussion has been the assumption that you should always look for the biggest market for your output. What is it about gigantism that gets people's juices flowing? What is it about "big" that makes some people equate it with "good"? Personal podcasting removes the need to cover the costs of expensive studios, license fees, and various employees. Make the most of it and let your mind roam free.

Enough of the rhetorical questions.

Everyone needs some affirmation and ego-stroking, of course, and the number of downloads you get is a direct affirmation. The question is: how big is big enough?

Editing and Quality Control

OK, you've clicked the big red button in Audacity or armed a track and pressed record in Ardour, and recorded yourself putting the world to rights.

In instances where people need to figure out what you're saying or the detail of what you're recording, quality is important. How much quality do you really need? It's safe to say that the better the quality, the longer people will listen. Lots of people will sit still for recordings of Skyped interviews, but quite a few will not. Part of it depends on how compelling the subject matter is.

At this point, you're beyond the quality of the equipment in the recording chain. That's a done deal for now. This is the stage in which you can get rid of any major annoyances, such as a door slamming or a coughing fit. Audacity and Ardour both make it quite obvious where the noises are and the areas you need to delete, but what happens if the door bangs just as someone makes an important point? What if there is no possibility of a retake? It's your judgment call. Beyond that is the real editing phase, which is where your real taste, honesty, and true intention come in. Practice!

Putting the Files Up

What makes an audio file a podcast? There isn't anything special about the actual file data. It's still an MP3 (or whatever format). What makes it special and what enables people to subscribe to your podcasts is the RSS (Really Simple Syndication, some would say) 2.00 feed. RSS 2.00 added the enclosure tag that makes the whole thing doable.

There are several easy ways to get your podcasts on the web. If you're already a blogger through one of the organized blogging sites, then most likely there's a section where you can simply upload your podcast files and your site will do the rest. Another easy alternative is to use something such as ourmedia.org, which is free and allows you to upload all kinds of video and audio files.

If you're rolling your own, there are a few things to know. (None of it is exactly headache material.)

The first task (assuming you already have web space) is to create a directory for the podcasts. At Mstation, it's podcast_files. You can then use the dircaster PHP script:

If you put this in the files directory and head for http://my_url/podcast_files/dircaster.php, you will find a genuine RSS 2.00 feed that people can subscribe to.

The resulting tags that are sent to a browser might look like the following:

At Mstation, we also have a separate Blosxom page where we discuss what the Mstation podcasts are about and how you can subscribe. We've used the Blosxom plugins enclosures, interpolate_fancy, and headlines to produce the layout and enable you to use the Mstation RSS 2.0 Podcast subscription feed with very little work on our part.

Blosxom handles the new m4v format for the TV iPod, while dircaster (at this stage, anyway) does not.

Once you have a subscription URL, you can also register it with iTunes or another feed syndicator such as Wikipedia list of podcast syndicators. On iTunes, you must create an account, but you don't actually have to buy anything to register your feed.

Good luck, and may your mind flow free!

John Littler is chief gopher for Mstation.org.

Related Articles:

Pioneer Podcasters Share Insider Tips: Techniques & Equipment
Listen in as Jack Herrington, the author of Podcasting Hacks, chats with pioneer podcasters Doug Kaye and James Polanco. Doug is the founder of IT Conversations, the influential site that features podcasts covering important events, programs, and interviews with industry luminaries. James is the founder of "Fake Science," the popular podcast radio show covering all things digital music–news, reviews and profiles of digital artists.

What Is Podcasting
So, you're ready to hop on the podcasting bandwagon, but you're not sure how to get started? This article by Phillip Torrone briefly describes what podcasting is and the software you'll need, then takes you right to the fun with a comprehensive step-by-step guide to podcast production. From recording to editing to publishing and syndicating your podcasts, Phillip covers everything you need to know to serve up your first podcasts.

Related Articles:

Pioneer Podcasters Share Insider Tips: Techniques & Equipment
Listen in as Jack Herrington, the author of Podcasting Hacks, chats with pioneer podcasters Doug Kaye and James Polanco. Doug is the founder of IT Conversations, the influential site that features podcasts covering important events, programs, and interviews with industry luminaries. James is the founder of "Fake Science," the popular podcast radio show covering all things digital music–news, reviews and profiles of digital artists.

What Is Podcasting
So, you're ready to hop on the podcasting bandwagon, but you're not sure how to get started? This article by Phillip Torrone briefly describes what podcasting is and the software you'll need, then takes you right to the fun with a comprehensive step-by-step guide to podcast production. From recording to editing to publishing and syndicating your podcasts, Phillip covers everything you need to know to serve up your first podcasts.

Posted in eGovernance Projects around Country, OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »