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Marketers, Open Source is Different

How Not to Market to Open Source Communities
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Thu, 08/25/11 - 3:59pm.

As an open source community manager, I am often asked about the best way to market solutions to open source communities. For example, many open source projects have ecosystem solutions built specifically for the open source solution and these companies want to engage the developers and users to promote their technology. This is a common activity; however almost all the marketers for these ecosystem companies do it wrong!

Typical Scenario:

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It's All About the Platform Now

Technology Industry and its Love Affair with Platforms
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 08/17/11 - 5:09pm.

Robert Fabricant's article, The New Political Platforms ( in the September edition of Fast Company is certainly an excellent read. He compares the current platform battles in the smartphone landscape (Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone) with the way that political campaigns are run and covered. Here are a few quotes from the article that are spot on with the way technology companies are run these days:

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Open Source Support Reward Mechanisms

Does a Gold Star Make People Answer Questions?
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Fri, 08/12/11 - 9:46am.

In the last few weeks I have participated in several meetings on the topic of adding a reward system to community forums. As an example, some online forums give people points for answering questions and as the user obtains more points they are given various badges to demonstrate their status to the community. I will present the two arguments I have heard for and against this model and ask my readers to give their thoughts. As of right now, I am neither for nor against but am trying to decide the value of reward systems.

Positive Argument

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Can you be open source and not open source?

Are there rules for open source projects/companies?
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Sun, 08/07/11 - 12:16pm.

Most people think of open source projects having the following features in common:

•    Source Code Access
•    Process to Submit Code Changes
•    Process to Submit Bugs
•    Documentation (at varying levels of quality)
•    Ownership of Project Trademark
•    Public Release Schedule

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OSCON Interview with

Cool Open Source Project Introduction
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 07/27/11 - 8:22pm.

Interview with the open source project at OSCON 2011:


The Garden and the Horse Race

Strategic Open Source Implementation
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Sat, 07/23/11 - 12:51am.

The concept of this blog post come from some recent discussions I have had about open source communities but the concepts of the garden and horse race are from another who has the amazing skill to craft analogies that put my thinking in proper perspective. I thank this anonymous person for assisting in today’s blog.

When a new implementation of an already existing feature is submitted to an open source community, the community can take several actions; however, I want to focus on two such choices:

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Open Source Contributors - The Days of Volunteers is Over

Most Open Source Projects are Developed by Corporate Professionals
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 07/20/11 - 5:51pm.

Matthew Aslett at the 451 group posts an interesting article on the breakdown of contributions to the Eclipse project based on looking at 22 random sub-projects. His article focuses on the way that many open source communities, such as Eclipse are significantly run via corporation contributions and not a collection of individuals.

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Developer Transitions from Corporate to Open Source

Who is training the next generation of open source developers?
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 07/13/11 - 3:09pm.

The expansion of the open source development model to companies who are just starting to submit code and take part in communities is leading to an interesting problem for their developers. How do they transition from a corporate development model to an open, global development environment? Who is training these developers on the “rules” or methodology commonly found in open source development environments?

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Great Collection of Open Source Documentation

Documents, I don’t need a stinking Document
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 07/06/11 - 12:28pm.

I came across an interesting post on this week from OStatic about a great document repository site for open source projects, FLOSS Manuals. I checked out the site and came across an amazing number of manuals in multiple languages for almost all the open source projects I could think of.

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Buying a Linux Machine - Where to Shop?

Traversing the Maze of Linux Hardware Providers
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 06/29/11 - 3:53pm.

I am thinking of purchasing a new Linux machine, probably a desktop or laptop, and wanted to share the process of searching for a machine. My first thought was to simply visit Dell, HP and other standard manufacturers however I discovered a whole range of companies that I have never heard of when doing a simple search.

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Virtualization Industry Shakeup

Simon Crosby and Ian Pratt Leave Citrix to Form Bromium
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 06/22/11 - 11:41am.

Attempting to be a reporter today... Simon Crosby, previously the CTO of Citrix System announced today that himself, Ian Pratt, previously VP of Engineering of Citrix Systems and Chairman of, and Gaurav Banga, creator of Phoenix Hyperspace are launching a new startup, Bromium, Inc.

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Xen Hypervisor Goes Mainstream

Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 06/08/11 - 1:03pm.

Last week, the community announced a significant milestone in the world of Linux virtualization with the news that open source Xen code for Dom0 was accepted into the Linux mainline kernel. The complete announcement is at

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Linux Kernel Moves to 3.0 For No Reason

Numbers are Just Numbers and in the Linux Kernel they Mean Nothing
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 06/01/11 - 3:18pm.

This past Monday Linus Torvalds released the first release candidate (-rc) of the next kernel series, which was expected to be 2.6.40, but instead renamed it to Linux 3.0 kernel. From Linus’ commit statement (;a=commitdiff;h=55922c9d1b84b89cb946c777fddccb3247e7df2c):

.. except there are various scripts that really know that there are

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The Future of Software is in Data

Stephen O'Grady on Software's Future Direction
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 05/25/11 - 4:13pm.

Thanks to a fellow colleague at work I had the chance to read a great blog post from Stephen O’Grady at, Welcome to the Age of Data: My OSBC Talk. The basic overview of this post is that we have entered the fourth generation of software producers where the focus is data not software.

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Open Source - Phone Home, Phone Home

How to accurately count the number of deployments
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 05/18/11 - 4:25pm.

I am often asked to determine the total number of open source deployments of a given open source product. This turns out to be a challenging problem as most open source solutions are available by download directly or indirectly from a website thus you can get a total download count; however, each download could be for multiple deployments or even none. In fact, the number of “offsite” downloads from mirrors or other sources are most likely not even known about by the people trying to count the deployments.

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Alas Poor Skype, I Knew You Well

I Need an Open Source Alternative to Skype
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 05/11/11 - 4:25pm.

With the announcement that Microsoft is buying Skype, I thought I would help promote an alternative solution from the GNU team, GNU Free Call. From the GNU site:

GNU Free Call is a new project to develop and deploy secure self-organized communication services worldwide for private use and for public administration.
We use the open standard SIP protocol and GNU SIP Witch to create secured peer-to-peer mesh calling networks, and we welcome all participation in our effort.

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Turning Sharks into Minnows

Making Open Source Friendly for Potential Contributors
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 05/04/11 - 3:22pm.

I came across an interesting blog post at The Daily Flux titled “Why I still don’t contribute to open source.” The author lists several reasons as to why he is not an active contributor to open source projects:

•    No certification that you are ready to contribute
•    Where to start?
•    Guidelines make contributions difficult
•    Open source is for people better than me

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Open Source is Expensive

How much money would you invest for free software?
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Thu, 04/21/11 - 3:03pm.

This week’s blog post relates to an area we often dismiss with open source software, money. In fact, the most common thought on money and open source is “hey, it’s free and works.” The reality is of course more complicated and I argue that open source is very expensive for the organizations running a project and sometimes they might not even consider all the costs when considering a new open source project.  For this discussion, I am not referring to open source projects run by individuals, but large-scale solutions run by public companies or foundations.

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The Sky is Clear

Open Source Takover of the Cloud
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Wed, 04/13/11 - 3:43pm.

I'm exhausted. Trying to keep up with all the recent announcements on cloud computing and open source is becoming a full time job. In just the past week we had two announcements from Facebook with Open Compute and VMware with Cloud Foundry in the cloud computing space.

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Facebook Goes Open Source

Facebook Launches Open Compute Project
Submitted by Stephen Spector on Fri, 04/08/11 - 3:07pm.

Yesterday afternoon, Facebook announced new initiative, Open Compute, a open specification for server and data center hardware to support modern computing demands in a more efficient and less expensive manner than is commonly used.  These specifications come directly from Facebook’s current computing infrastructure that has finished a 1-year overhaul taking into consideration efficiency and cost. Here are some of the details from Facebook on their energy efficiency:

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