The following are some of the announcements/blog posts/news items on my radar today, Wednesday October 31, 2007:
- Stephen O'Grady's Q&A about OpenSolaris. I'm particularly high on the links to the OpenSolaris Forum discussions, therein. There's something about being able to peer straight into the interactions, ideas and conflicts that compose a good chunk of the decision making process. In the case of Solaris, branding is paramount in light of its positioning relative to Linux. On a related note, I've already spoken to why I think Sun needs to put more effort into defining an overarching brand that characterizes its entire open source portfolio, in addition to how the nature of the open source brand is nearing an inflection point. In the case of OpenSolaris' binary distribution, it's not a brand identity being debated but its naming, as Stephen highlights:
"[T]here are a variety of opinions on the matter...those favoring the branding of Indiana as OpenSolaris point instead to the potential for user confusion, where newcomers to the community are forced to navigate between unfamiliar choices because there is no simple OpenSolaris downloadable image."
Note: It is conceivable that the confusion complicit with downloading OpenSolaris is best addressed by tackling it vis-a-vis from the perspective of the "borderline user," to borrow Stephen's phrase. A task which sounds intuitive but is far easier said than done. I surmise that something as simple as an icon/mascot for OpenSolaris based distributions/communities might do a world of good. After all, a likable visual image with which characteristics, functionality and identity are linked, never hurts.
- A kinder, gentler open source CEO. Chris Keene, ActiveGrid CEO, provides some interesting observations about how the heads of open source companies differ from their counterparts at proprietary companies. Obviously the priorities for the CEO of an open source vendor are entirely different considering the size and scale of most qualifying companies. Nonetheless, I'm apt to agree with Chris that open source CEO's have to do more than pay lip service to topics collaboration and openness. The question is how/if this will change as the average size of an open source company begins to reflect that of their proprietary brethren. Just as organizational cultures tend to change as companies grow so does the personality of its leadership. There are also suggestions that a large majority of the now independent open source vendors won't emerge from marketplace consolidation in their current form.
- An "ODF backer" abandons the file format. This is where perception does, in fact, matter. Yet after reading it I can't say that its author, Elizabeth Montalbano, provided enough contextual background on the issues. Despite its uber official sounding name, the OpenDocument Foundation, in actuality, ceased to operate in the same vein as other truly pro-open standards organizations such as the ODF Alliance, the ODF Fellowship, the OASIS ODF TC, or the ODF Adoption TC, long before this announcement. One of the Foundation's main gripes about ODF is the fact that it hasn't addressed ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives that require: "Standards designed to facilitate interoperability need to specify clearly and unambiguously the conformity requirements that are essential to achieve the interoperability." [https://www.jtc1sc34.org/repository/0856rev.pdf pg. 145] However, this hardly calls for the abandonment of the standard altogether, especially by an organization that, by all accounts, consists of just two people (Gary Edwards and Sam Hiser). If anything it accentuates areas of weakness that should be highlighted in ODF 1.2. Additionally, this particular message posted by an anonymous individual affiliated with the Foundation casts the organization's perspective as anything but principled and/or objective. Unfortunately, these facts are entirely ignored by the media.