Firefox 3: Good PR, Poor Execution

The launch of the final version of the Firefox 3 browser is not going the way Mozilla planned. This was supposed to be Download Day — an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in a 24-hour period. Instead, after the browser was pre-announced to arrive at 10 am PST, all of Mozilla’s download sites are down. For full coverage of the PR vs. the reality, check out OStatic.

Linux is Greener, But Efficient Servers Are MIA

[qi:_earth2tech] Linux was just deemed greener than Windows Server 2008 when running as the operating system for servers — a good 12 percent more efficient. Now that might not sound like much, but the same research also drove home just how difficult it is to get servers to run efficiently. So don’t scoff, and all hail the green penguin…read the full story here on Earth2Tech.

Let’s Justify Facebook’s $300-Per-User Valuation

Some quick math makes Facebook’s $15 billion valuation look even crazier. Apparently the guys over at Silicon Valley Insider also bothered to crunch the numbers.

  • Bebo sold to AOL this morning for $850 million and have about 40 million users, costing $21.25 per user.
  • In July 2005, News Corp. purchased the parent of MySpace for $580 million. At the time, MySpace had about 21 million users, costing $27.62 per user.
  • Those are as direct as we can make it, but let’s say we bring out a crazy deal where the buying company admitted they overpaid. When eBay shelled out $4.1 billion for Skype, it paid about $52 per user.

Admittedly Microsoft has plenty of money and probably didn’t worry too much about the valuation when agreeing to terms with Facebook, so we’ll raise our estimates a bit. Also, Facebook has shown an unwillingness to sell or go public, indicating that it’s building for the long haul, meaning its users could grow in value over time. But at the time of the Microsoft deal, Facebook had about 50 million users who were valued at $300 each. Readers, care to tell me how Facebook users can achieve that value?

Kara Swisher has her own math on the Bebo deal as well.

Acquia Dresses Up Drupal for Corporate Users

Acquia, a North Andover, Mass.-based startup, is announcing a supported product using Drupal, the open-source content managment system that underlies many of the community aspects on the web, from sites such as Fast Company to The Onion. It’s a rite of passage for an open-source project to get its very own shepherd that provides a measure of support beyond the forums and masses of independent programmers who churn out the code. For Drupal, the move is akin to Red Hat offering support for Linux and Sun taking MySQL under its wing for $1 billion.

Acquia has hired Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, as its CTO; it scored $7 million back in December to build its 12-person team to this point. Jeff Whatcott, the VP of marketing for Acquia, says the company wants to continue to contribute to the Drupal code base and has no plans to create a proprietary form of code for enterprise use.

Acquia has readied some modules targeted at specific enterprise markets and will sell subscriptions to Acquia’s Drupal add-ons as well as services that support new and existing Drupal deployments. The Acquia-supported Drupal product is called Carbon, and will be ready in the second half of this year. An automatic update service for Carbon called Spokes will be available then as well.

Defending Apple’s Good Looks

Apple Leopard

The Apple nay-sayers of today offer what they think is a solid argument against the Apple consumer; that Apple’s “game” is solely based on good looks alone and, as such, Apple consumers are nothing more then superficial ego-consumers who buy the product solely for social value. Trend, it would seem, is the buying power for Apple.

Now, before judgment is cast upon my soul, hear me out and see where I’m going with this. First, as a complete Apple fan boy you would think I fall into this argument as well. I, just as any other Apple consumer, may be attracted first by a product’s look, feel, and possible “trend” status. Ultimately however, it’s more than that. Steve Jobs’ goal has always been to meld form with function, and that’s where the meat balances the potatoes. We as consumers can appreciate a beautiful-looking piece of technology, but what is more important is the utility we receive from it. Therefore, arguably, the user experience is the sole foundation for a products success.
To get a better idea of what I mean, let’s take a look at three “competing” products. We’ll base this solely on the actual user experience, operating systems alone.

  • Form and Function equal – Leopard
  • Form but no function – Windows Vista
  • Function but no form – Linux

Function but no form

Let’s go from the bottom up. Linux provides a secure foundation for developers to continue building upon. Just as the Linux community grows, the operating system itself seems organic, and grows with them. An open-source operating system, completely free to use, yet has never become mainstream. Why is that? Could it be due to the lack of form? Maybe by design Linux looks and feels more complicated; perhaps its role as a “developer tool” makes basic users quiver in fear. Whatever the reason, Linux never had the break that OSX has had since its onset.

Form but no function

I hope many will agree that, while Vista is one beautiful piece of glass, it’s a hollow space past the surface. Its innumerable new, eye-catching features are tantalizing, but on a practical scale, it shows little variation from the preceding XP. Coincidentally, like most beauty in this world, it seems to come with a price: either your sanity, or your RAM. It begs the question, why would users put up with such a bad relationship? Naturally, the operating system’s open quality led to its massive globalization, but at what further cost? Interoperability was what seemed to hold Microsoft together, but now with more customization available and the growing abilities of Web 2.0 sharing and creating, it seems more relevant now than ever to rethink what the true balance of form and function is.

Form and Function equal

The key to Apple’s success is their ability to balance function and form. Never will a device hyperextend itself at the risk of failing. Only the most secure features are added slowly into newer upgrades. The jump from Tiger to Leopard alone reflects this. Instead of recreating a completely new operating system that requires massive hardware upgrades, or so many new features that the system itself feels completely unique and unfamiliar, we see a simple system that reflects characteristics of its ancestors. A few features, here, a few features there, and you’re still secure in your space.
So judge us as you will, but remember, that in a world of trend, somethings are popular for a reason.