On account of some interesting announcements and developments recently, here's some analysis:
Medsphere looks to put its legal dispute behind it and move forward. It might be useful for Medsphere to actually provide a coherent story behind the legal disputes which have racked the company for the last 14 months. Not that they owe the truth to any particular group of outsiders, but it stands to reason that a small, privately owned company with a cloud of strife-laden events hanging over its head could benefit from setting the facts straight. A little transparency would go a long way in this case, maybe a blog or two from members of the "new and improved" Medsphere team. It wouldn't hurt at all, seeing how I, for one, have heard rumblings that other flavors of VistA are being considered as a direct result of the recently resolved situation...
SAP gives open source a whirl. I called them out last week and here's news of them contributing to Eclipse. I actually didn't know that SAP is a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation. Knowing that, I'm definitely surprised they haven't been more active, publicly at least but maybe that's their style. Does the mention of Eclipse RCP mean that SAP has a hand in Riena? That's an interesting angle to be sure. Still my question is how long does it take before SAP realizes that cultivating an open source friendly economy is just as, if not more, valuable as demonstrating support of open source communities as a corporate entity?
The Linux Desktop Workgroup at the Linux Foundation is coordinating the third Linux Desktop Survey. Results, from this the third year, when coupled with those from [PDF warning] 2006 and [PDF warning] 2005 should serve to construct a more complete picture of what's missing from Linux as a desktop distribution. However, what's more critical is how the collected data is used to drive the Foundation's activities and tasks going into 2008. Will the answers, perspectives and preferences reflected by the compiled data actually be put to use in adjusting some of the boundaries of the Foundation's agenda for fostering the growth of Linux moving forward?
Last week, Savio predicted that the current group of open source vendors is in for consolidation. I agree to the extent that consolidation more or less occurs naturally as a result of pressures exerted by competition, capital and the profit motive. However, I'm less inclined to side with the view of markets similar to that of VC's, where "winning" is artificially restricted to getting IBM big or selling out to one of the global behemoths. It really does take all types and reality says that not every company even has the opportunity to achieve either of the two. Maybe the most relevant question is how well the eventual group of consensus winners in the OSS vendor category are prepared to continually leverage the value of their open source ecosystems as they increase in both size and breadth.
Yesterday, Citrix closed the books on the $500 million XenSource acquisition. I definitely like the fit that XenSource technology has within the Citrix vision for enterprise class application delivery, yet I still anticipate more information about the fate of the XenSource open source community. I've already called for Citrix to take a clue from IBM and turn governance responsibility over to a not-for-profit organization a la the Eclipse Foundation. An approach along these lines would effectively transform the Xen hypervisor into the epicenter of a potentially powerful open source virtualization solar system.
There's something equally amusing and compelling about talk surrounding whether Linux is pushing the limits of the open source software development model. I would love to see what most members of the media would write if given access to the workings of the proprietary software development model applied to any large scale software product. Is Linux perfect? No. Could Linus do things differently to please various critics? Of course, but its worth noting that such questions can be posed courtesy of a transparent development process. The fact is, the decision making and authority structure is subject to external inspection and investigation. Personally, I count this as a positive characteristic and one worth examining with as much vigor as the nuances of the Linux community structure are. By the way, the Linus gas pedal metaphor is slightly off, seeing how he only really holds the authoritative accept/veto vote for patches, features and the like.