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Drupal is a free, functional and open source modular framework and content management system (CMS) written in PHP. Now a startup company will release the first commercially supported distribution of Drupal, in the second half of this year. Acquia company cofounded by Dries Buytaert, Drupal creator and project leader project leader, will sell annual subscriptions for Drupal software and services:

Our software products will include Drupal core, plus various contributed modules, and, potentially, non-Drupal software, assembled into packaged distributions. Our first planned distribution is code named “Carbon”, more information is available in the Projects section of our site.

Companies such as Forbes and The Onion have used it this service to build web sites. More information available at Acquia web site (via Yahoo news).

This is a must read if you or your organization associated with open source software project. If you are interested in a basic understanding of the legal issues that impact FOSS development and distribution, this primer is for you. The guide, written for developers, has sections on copyrights, trademarks, patents, organizational structure and other legal issues:

First, we provide creative, productive hackers insight on how to interact with the legal system—insofar as it affects the projects they work on—with a minimum of cost, fuss and risk. Second, we present a starting point for lawyers and risk managers for thinking about the particular, at times counter-intuitive, logic of software freedom. While these are the primary audiences we intend to reach, we hope others will benefit from this Primer as well, and we have purposefully given it a non-lawyer style of communication (for example, by intentionally omitting dense citation of judicial or other legal authority that is the hallmark of lawyers writing for lawyers).

While FOSS development can raise many legal issues, a few topics predominate in our work; these are the issues most integral to FOSS projects. This Primer provides a baseline of knowledge about those areas of the law, intending to support productive conversations between clients and lawyers about specific legal needs. We aim to improve the conversation between lawyer and client, but not to make it unnecessary, because law, like most things in life, very rarely has clear cut answers. Solutions for legal problems must be crafted in light of the particulars of each client’s situation. What is best for one client in one situation, may very well not be best for another client in the same situation, or even the same client in the same situation at a later date or in a different place. Law cannot yield attainable certainty because it is dynamic, inconsistent, and incapable of mastery by pure rote memorization

Download Primer

The Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects is available in following formats:

  1. Online HTML version
  2. PDF version [318K]
  3. Postscript version [1.2M]

This is a philosophical post on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. From the blog post:

Linux isn't very popular on the desktop. It's a far third behind OS X, which is a very far second behind Windows. Most people cite pre-installed operating systems as the reason. But as a student of psychology, I see something most people don't. There's one big factor in why Linux isn't popular on the desktop. Linux is free. I know this sounds like complete dog's bollocks, but hear me out before judging my sanity.

My personal experience suggests that people don't use GNU/Linux on desktop because :

  1. Steep learning curve
  2. Software incompatibility or doesn't run the software they want
  3. Installing and obtaining drivers may be issue for average joe
  4. Finally, human psyche is complex subject. There are people who buy expensive apple hardware and install Linux on it. You just can't predicate human behavior.

I use Linux on desktop because I work with a Linux / UNIX server all day and I find that using it on the desktop as well actually makes my life easier. You know one-size-fits-all approach may be unrealistic in a real life. I see my workplace desktops fully loaded with mix of Linux, OS X and dominated by Windows XP pro.

=> Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free (via slashdot)

Nokia to Acquire Trolltech For USD 150 Million

Nokia to Acquire Trolltech Open Source Product Company

Recently, Sun acquired MySQL for USD 1 billion. Today Trolltech announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia to acquire Trolltech for USD 150 million. Congratulations, Eirik, Haavard and the crew.

Trolltech created Qt, a multi-platform C++ Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) framework which also includes packages such as data structures and a networking library. The popular free Unix desktop environment KDE uses. From the press release:
Trolltech Open Source Product Company

Nokia and Trolltech ASA today announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia will make a public voluntary tender offer to acquire Trolltech (www.trolltech.com), a company headquartered in Oslo, Norway and publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Trolltech is a recognized software provider with world-class software development platforms and frameworks. In addition to the key software assets, its talented team will play an important role in accelerating the implementation of Nokia's software strategy.

Nokia will offer NOK 16 per share in cash. The board of directors of Trolltech has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept Nokia's Offer. Holders of 35,024,830 shares, representing approximately 66,43 % of Trolltech's issued shares and votes have as of January 27, 2008 irrevocably undertaken to accept the Offer. Haavard Nord, Vuonislahti Invest AS (controlled by Eirik Chambe-Eng), Teknoinvest and certain funds managed by Index Ventures are among the shareholders who have agreed to tender their shares to Nokia.

Linux Success Story: New York Stock Exchange Moves to Linux

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is the largest stock exchange in the world. NYSE wants to move away from proprietary platforms, so they selected HP hardware with Linux.

NYSE is investing heavily in x86-based Linux systems and blade servers as it builds out the NYSE Hybrid Market trading system that it launched last year. Flexibility and lower cost are among the goals. But one of the things that NYSE Euronext CIO Steve Rubinow says he most wants from the new computing architecture is technology independence. The NYSE has installed about 200 of HP's ProLiant DL585 four-processor servers and 400 of its ProLiant BL685c blades, all running Linux and based on dual-core Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

=> New York Stock Exchange Moves to Linux (Image credit: Wikipedia)

This is yet another Linux success story. PayPal says Linux grid can replace IBM mainframes:

PayPal is currently processing $1,571 worth of transactions per second in 17 different currencies on about 4,000 servers running Red Hat Linux. Thompson supervises a payment system that operates on about 4,000 servers running Red Hat Linux in the same manner that eBay and Google conduct their business on top of a grid of Linux servers. "I have been pleasantly surprised at how much we've been able to do with this approach. It operates like a mainframe," he said.

=> Read complete story here

Microsoft and Turbolinux, a Tokyo-based Linux distributor up with a patent cross licensing deal and agreement to work more closely together. At present, Windows and Turbolinux machines on a mixed network can't access a common authentication database, but their deal should change this, said Noriko Otake, a spokeswoman for Turbolinux in Tokyo.

Yet another distro took the deal for FUD.