The Cloud Will Force Networking Vendors to Change Their Stripes

Many operational clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, still require their customers to corral their own machines, however virtual. On the other hand, development clouds like Salesforce.com or Google’s App Engine hide the underlying machines, and handle all the networking equipment — virtual and real — on behalf of their customers. Either model means a big transition for the makers of traditional networking equipment.

The Cloud Opens Up

We are only ten days away from Structure’08, our web infrastructure conference. As part of our preparation for this event, our team of reporters & bloggers is finding new & interesting open source projects that are tackling various aspects of Cloud Computing, a concept popularized by Amazon through its web services efforts. Here is a list of some of the recent projects and our reports around them.

GigaOM PM: The Hadoop Meetup, May 1

As part of our renewed focus on technologies that matter, we are launching a series of events called GigaOM PM, occasional meetups at which we will gather to discuss topical and important technology breakthroughs. I will host these gatherings, and we will keep them small and focused.

To kick off the series, we will hear from Hadoop, which is quietly turning into one of the more important open-source projects out there, especially for startups looking for new ways to handle high-volume data processing. Hadoop is sponsored by the Apache Software Foundation, and is subsequently able to take advantage of huge clusters of computers to produce fast results for queries and more.

Here are the details of the event:

When: May 1, 2008, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: GigaOM office at Pier 38 in San Francisco

Who (the speakers):

1. Doug Cutting, head of the Hadoop Project

2. Eric Baldeschwieler, VP of grid computing at Yahoo

3. Larry Heck, VP of search and Advertising Sciences at Yahoo

4. Chad Walters, director of engineering, search and platform at Powerset.

The event is free; click here to sign up. We can only host 50 people, and spots will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Our thanks to EventBrite for providing the event registration services.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the GigaOM PM series — that is, if you want to suggest some technologies on which to focus — please get in touch with us at info at gigaom dot com. For other inquiries, such as sponsorship opportunities, e-mail events at gigaom dot com.

Here Comes the Open Source Metaverse

While Second Life is frequently described as a 3D web browser, there’s a chance it may be remembered as the (late and lamented) Netscape Navigator of metaverse browsers.

That thought occurred to me as I was attending the “Open Source Virtual Worlds” panel at last week’s Virtual Worlds 2008 conference in New York. Like Netscape, Linden Lab last year open-sourced its viewer code, which led to a number of unofficial versions, some of which have been reverse engineered to run on non-Linden servers. And at least one of them already looks significantly better in some respects than Linden’s official viewer.

While IBM showed off its contributions to the open-source 3D Internet on the showroom floor, two of the SL spinoffs were featured at the panel, along with two unrelated platforms — one from a startup and another from Sun Microsystems. Here’s a look under their BSD-friendly hoods: Read More about Here Comes the Open Source Metaverse

Nova iSync plugin supports 158 phones for Mac synching

Novamediaisync

Got a handset that isn’t natively supported by Mac OS X? Consider dropping $9.95 on Nova Media’s iSync add-on. With the newest iteration, version 6, it supports over 155 cell-phones that don’t play nicely with iSync on their own. Once installed, you can synchronize Contacts and Calendar events to and from your BenQ, Siemens, Motorola, Nokia, Samsong and Sony Ericsson device. You’ll want to check the list of supported devices to see if your handset will work and you’ll need Mac OS X 10.4.9 or 10.5.2.(via Macworld)

Open Source, Closed Minds: Can an OS company be part of the OS community?

Editor’s Note: with the recent launch of GigaOm’s, Ostatic, which promotes Open Source by matching users to the right OS tools and resources, we offer this essay on the virtues and vices of OS dogma, by Found|READ contributor Chris Lyman. Chris is founder and CEO of VoIP startup, Fonality, which uses OS. A list of Chris’ earlier F|R pieces is below. Also check out his blog, the Janitor/CEO.

This Open Source world for me has been a mixed bath. I have always felt that making money and ethics were not mutually exclusive. In my early 20s I had the “Microsoft is bad and Bill Gates must die” mentality. But, my Orwellian rant faded over time and I began to have a more balanced perspective on the world, and the technology which fuels it. Perhaps this is the pragmatism which piggybacks aging. Perhaps this is a byproduct of having to pay rent. Either way, I slowly came to see a world where proprietary and 100% free software had their place. I found solace in betwixt – the world of “Open Source”.

Most people don’t actually know the roots of “Open Source”. This term was consciously crafted in a hotel room in the 90s by a huddled council of six wise men. They removed the term “free” — an intentional “fork” from the absolute free path of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) — not to make it less free, but rather, to bake in some of the fundamental tenants of capitalism, and to steer clear of the moral bent of the FSF. Call them pragmatic, call them sell-outs. They foresaw a model that could both defend the free and allow for profit. Read More about Open Source, Closed Minds: Can an OS company be part of the OS community?

Recession-Prep: Don’t focus on cost-cutting. Focus on growth.

moran.jpg These are turbulent times: Bear Stearns, tough credit, long returns, and everyone worried. A time when everyone is once again, focused on cost. What can we cut? Where are there some savings? Are there any heads we can let go?

My experience is that cutting costs is not that hard. As a consultant, I once had a client ask me to only get paid for costs I could cut. I thought to myself, “This could be my biggest payday yet. I will cut all costs. I will get expenses down to zero.” I didn’t say that and we came to an agreeable compromise but it is a good reminder that cutting costs is not hardest part of organizational transformation – growth is harder. Growth is what makes an organization successful, it is what keeps people in their chairs and it is the hardest thing to do.

Don’t believe me? Here is a scenario that has taken place in a thousand conference rooms in the last three months. Read More about Recession-Prep: Don’t focus on cost-cutting. Focus on growth.

Can ad-supported B-2-B software be as fun as iTunes?


Editor’s Note: It is no longer a new idea that innovation in the enterprise space is driven by creativity in the consumer space. (GigaOM guest columnist M.R. Rangaswami wrote about this last year.) Last week M.R’s own site, Sandhill.com had a nice post with tips for how b-to-b startups can succeed with ad-supported models–even be “entertaining, like iTunes”! Winning with an Ad-Supported Model is authored by Scott Abel and Jay Hallberg, cofounders of Spiceworks, which sells free, ad-supported IT management software for small to medium-sized businesses.

Scott and Jay write:

In the past, enterprise software companies have thrived with a variety of business models. We should know: We’ve worked for a lot of them. [These include] software-as-a-service (SaaS), open source and others …

So when we set out to develop a software product that would be supported by an advertising revenue model, several experts urged caution. However, we believed that the “consumerization of the enterprise” – corporate adoption of consumer-like services and business models – would accelerate during this decade … [to include the free, ad-supported model]. Fast forward two years: Our product, the Spiceworks IT Desktop, has evolved to become what we call the “iTunes of IT” with a user base of 250,000, and we’ve added 50,000 new users in the past two months alone.

But the secret to succeeding with a free ad-supported software business has to do with far more than just advertising…and is not for the weak of heart. Read More about Can ad-supported B-2-B software be as fun as iTunes?

ActiveState Takes Komodo Edit To The Community

Komodo Edit IconAs I’ve been catching up from an illness backlog, I came across this press release from ActiveState – providers of commercially-supported versions of Perl, Python & TCL – on their decision to take their great editor Komodo Edit open source. This editor has been based on the Mozilla code base, and the open source version incorporates the same licenses as Firefox: Mozilla Public License (MPL), GNU General Public License (GPL), and GNU Lesser Public License (LGPL).

Komodo Edit has many features features found in other editors (e.g. TextMate, Xcode) such as code-completion, a code-snippets library, virtual project folders, code folding, and language recognition. Like many editors, it can also be extended via plug-ins with the additional benefit of Komodo plug-ins really being XPI extensions, the same type used in Firefox, with support for all standard Mozilla APIs based on XUL, XBL, and XPCOM. There is also support for Python and JavaScript plug-ins.

Komodo Edit works well on the Mac and is an especially enticing alternative to other editors if you work in a multi-platform shop and would like to use a common tool-set for all developers. Having the full source code available can also be a great learning tool for new developers looking to create large-scale Mac applications or for porting their applications to other platforms.

Coders looking to grab or contribute to the open source version can find out more via the Open Komodo project.