Today's must reads: Novell's lead pony, Microsoft on open source, and more

A random sampling of blogs that I would have liked to have tackled in earnest, but ran out of time.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay
2 min read

It's my end of quarter, and I can't blog at the volume that you deserve. Only seven posts today....I have failed you! :-)

There were a string of posts, however, that deserve to be noted, even if I lack the time to comment on them in detail. Here they are:

  • Dana Blankenhorn has one of his best posts yet, this time comparing Novell to a "lead pony" in horse racing. I'm glad to see Novell doing well with some areas of its business, but I agree with Dana that I'd rather see Novell doing this as a real contender, rather than as Microsoft's sidekick (On Novell's Moonlight, Dana writes "...to say [Moonlight] is open source is like calling a lead pony a thoroughbred").

  • Gordon Haff calls out the "natural" dynamics of markets that limit monopolies beyond a generation or two. In Microsoft's case, "shifting an entire product foundation is enormously challenging and past skill sets and ecosystem don't necessarily travel well from one generation to another." Bingo.

  • Jason Matusow of Microsoft (and a good friend) ponders why we can't get beyond the politics of open source to the collaboration of open source. But Jason, being Jason, isn't content to leave it there:
    There is a reason that Harvard Business School found that more than 95% of all OSS venture funding went into fewer than 20 projects. Those heavily commercialized projects are just another way to deliver high-value, mass-consumed, supported technology. Finding the value of OSS beyond those projects for the average organization is all about applying collaborative development against real-world problem sets in small, efficient projects.

    Actually, I think I can't leave that one alone. I'll have to tackle it in a longer piece tomorrow.

  • OStatic does a good dive into DimDim's next release of its open-source web conferencing solution. Of DimDim's revised business model OStatic writes, "It's nice to see the company supporting both versions, as well as finding a path to profitability that does not depend solely on selling support for open code."

  • On the question of what constitutes an open-source company, Stephen O'Grady rightly notes, "Those in the industry that might care have, I would argue, already formed their opinions on whether or not a project such as MySQL's is or is not open source. And those outside the industry, well, I don't expect they'd care. At all."

  • Alex Barnett of Bungee Labs hosts an interesting analysis of how to apply the GPL and open source, generally, to the Software as a Service world, ruminating that "the 'meaning' of FOSS is central question in these different contexts has many possible answers with many non-trivial implications...Three dimensional chess as it were.

  • Finally, 20 percent of the US population don't use email. These people are wildly, ecstatically happy.

Now I'm kind of, sort of caught up. Except for that post on MySpace applications taking off, open-source code quality not being hugely different from proprietary code, and more. But that's for tomorrow.