The why and How of Open Source Participation

Today I had the opportunity to attend to Matt Assay talk in Barcelona (he was invited by the company that I'm working for) about the The why and How of Open Source Participation. I uploaded the slides (PDF format) of his presentation.

For those not familiar with Matt, he co-founded Novell's Linux Business Office in 2002 and was an early agitator and architect for the company's shift to open source. He is currently the VP Business Development at Alfresco, a board member at Open Source Initiative and advisor of several leading open source vendors (including SugarCRM).

Matt started with a cool video merging images of FC Barcelona with Openbravo and commenting on the success of our project and community. After the video, his presentation was focus on the dynamics of open source business and economics, which are the market trends, customer's options (based on polls) and successful strategies.

Here are some highlights of his talk:
  • If the community does not do well, the company will not do well.
  • When someone copies your software, the proprietary vision is that people are stealing your software. In free software world, the vision is that people is using your software.
  • The focus has to be on writing exceptional open source software.
  • A big problem for any software startup is to get people to use your software (dissemination), something that open source solves very well.
  • Proprietary software, you pay up front, the customer assumes all the risk. With open source, the customer buys services after has evaluated the product.
  • The failure of "express" editions from IBM/Oracle against open source database (you can not fool people).
  • In all open source projects, 85% of development is done by less than 15 developers.
  • GPL is the most suitable license for business.
  • Forking happens when you fail to take care of your community (Compiere/Adempiere, Joomla/Mambo)
  • Only 10 open source vendors will do over $10m in 2007.
I recommend Matt's talk to anyone interested in the dynamics of open source business or the role of community in open source projects.

More blog cover

jordi | Saturday 27 October 2007 - 8:06 pm | | Default | Three comments

Openbravo community stats: looking 10 months behind

Once in a while you like to look backward and to see your evolution. I have always  been a big fan of metrics because they help you take better decisions and see how your efforts impact in your evolution. Today I decided to blog a bit about Openbravo community evolution for the last 10 months.

Looking after the community services at most of the companies also means investing lots of time on helping your company to setup processes and methodologies that are open source friendly. One of the few people that I know doing this job is Quim Gil, that is also Catalan (the other few people that know are around the Open Solutions Alliance). During a dinner in Helsinki a few days back he mentioned that working inside doors was also taking an important part of his time. Same for me.  Well, this kind of work I think that is very important and has a big impact on your success.

Let's see the statistics.

Downloads
A download is the starting point for a person that at some stage may become user or developer of your application and it is one of the best indicators to measure dissemination. We went from 20.000 downloads per month to 31.250 (average of the last three months).

Wiki

We setup Openbravo Wiki at the beginning of February 2007. At the time we had little documentation and it was in PDF format. We moved all the documents to the Wiki and started to create new documents directly in the Wiki. It has been a complete success in terms of pageviews, unique users (15% increase per month) and collaboration. Many people every week fixes, creates and translates documents. There are still many things to document in a system as complex as an ERP but we will get there.

Forums
The forums are the main communication off-line tool (we use IRC for real-time) for Openbravo users and developers. We have forums for different subjects ranging from development to help. You can clearly notice how our Spanish speaking community is around 50% of our forum traffic. In January 2007 we had 350 messages per month. Last month we had more 872 (see the All graphic). From those, 30% where from Openbravo employees assisting other users. We had 157 users participating.

Quality Assurance
Our community has been quite active in helping on Quality Assurance. We recently have created the Acceptance Test and other tools to help us to increase it. As you can see in the graphic the number of bugs reported and fixed are correlated to our release cycle. Last month, we had 175 bugs reported and 123 fixed. Since the start of the project we had 2056 bugs submitted from 117 different reporters, 24% of the reports were from Openbravo employees. We have some really active community members in terms of bug reporting.

Localizations
In January 2007 we had 12 localization efforts registered and 3 completed (two by Openbravo). Today we have 41 projects registered, 6 released and 16 that have produced already some kind of deliverable. The localization of a system like and ERP requires a person with accounting skills (accounting plan, taxes for every country) and also translation. It is a hard work and our community deserves all the merits.

Finally, last month we were selected SourceForge Project of the month (that personally make me very happy). We actually have been in the top 10 position (today we are at fourth) of the SourceForge ranking for a few months.

Note: All the data (except Wiki traffic) is available to everyone at SourceForge.

jordi | Thursday 25 October 2007 - 4:29 pm | | Default | Two comments

openSUSE 10.3 o fregant la perfecció

Porto ja més d'una setmana usant openSUSE 10.3. Aquesta és sense dubte una gran versió: estable, polida fins l'últim detall i amb un rendim òptim. Hi una llista completa de millores que incorporà la versió 10.3. A la web d'openSUSE teniu com baixar la versió i molta documentació tècnica.

La versió 10.3 inclou les darreres versions de l'escriptori GNOME, el navegador Firefox i el paquet ofimàtic OpenOffice.org. Les aplicacions per defecte, almenys a GNOME, són l'F-Spot, el Beagle i el Banshee, que ja són les eines que uso habitualment.



Per altra banda l'evolució a nivell de comunitat els darrers anys ha estat força espectacular. Des dels temps que el Yast era codi tancat i no es podia baixar la distribució d'enlloc fins a openSUSE on ja podem començar a parlar d'un projecte amb una comunitat important. El sistema de BuildService i la integració dels dipòsits de comunitat obren més el procés de distribució de programari per part de tercers i la comunitat en general.

En quant al nivell de catanalització és molt acceptable. La instal·lació i eines de configuració estan pràcticament en català, ja que s'ha importat la feina feta per Novell a Linkat (basada amb la versió comercial). L'openSUSE no serà mai tant cool com la Ubuntu però funciona tant bé o millor. I sense els frustrants problemes (que encara pateix Gutsy) de gestió de traduccions per culpa en gran part d'eines propietàries a les quals no deixen remenar.

jordi | Monday 22 October 2007 - 11:20 pm | | Default | Three comments

L'Ajuntament de Barcelona oblida el compromís amb el programari lliure i signa més acords amb Microsoft

Al maig d'enguany es publicava la notícia en Vilaweb i altres mitjans de que l'Institut Municipal d'Informàtica de Barcelona i Microsoft acordaven de comprar sis mil llicències de Microsoft Office 2007 per 524.000 euros a fi de renovar els paquets ofimàtics dels treballadors de l'ajuntament. Fonts de l'IMI declaraven que "passar ara a fer servir exclusivament programari lliure com l'OpenOffice.org resultaria massa car, perquè moltes aplicacions depenen de Microsoft" (sic).

Aquesta acció contradeia completament la mesura de govern (aquí teniu una versió completa de la mateixa, tercer apèndix), presentada pel regidor de Ciutat del Coneixement, Jaume Oliveras (ERC), comprometent el govern de la ciutat a fomentar el programari lliure i a fer migrar els sistemes de l'ajuntament i d'organismes dependents al programari lliure. El Consell Rector de l'IMI va acordar també, tot just fa menys d'un any, d'instal·lar, d'una manera generalitzada, als ordinadors de l'administració municipal, el paquet ofimàtic lliure i gratuït OpenOffice.org.

Avui, 16 d'octubre, l'Ajuntament de Barcelona i Microsoft han ampliat el seu compromís de col·laboració presentant en roda de premsa (aquí teniu una còpia convertida a PDF del document DOC que han enviat) tota una sèrie d'iniciatives que Microsoft i Ajuntament han volgut resumir així:
- Ambdós col·laboraran per atreure a Barcelona projectes d'investigació i desenvolupament, i per promocionar la ciutat de Barcelona com a punt de trobada europeu, afavorint l'impuls de l'esperit emprenedor.

- Ambdues entitats impulsaran tasques d'alfabetització digital entre els grups socials més desfavorits.

- Microsoft col·laborarà amb l'Ajuntament en el desenvolupament de serveis avançats de mobilitat contribuint a l'eficàcia de la gestió municipal.
La comunicació de l'acord inclou alguns paràgrafs més precisos:
Així mateix, d'ara endavant els centres cívics i educatius dependents de l'Ajuntament -que promouen sense ànim de lucre serveis d'accés dels ciutadans a la cultura digital podran accedir a tecnologia Microsoft en condicions especials, gràcies a un programa que la companyia té establert per a les institucions formatives. Microsoft també aportarà a aquests centres eines de gran utilitat per al desenvolupament de la seva tasca, com a programari per a educació a través d'Internet (i-Learning), materials d’ajuda per a tasques d’alfabetitzacuió digital o continguts curriculars que es poden trobar a portals com ProfesoresInnovadores.com.

També en l'àmbit de la formació tecnològica, Microsoft i el Consistori impulsaran una "Aula Microsoft" a Cibernarium -dins del Parc Tecnològic Barcelona Nord- en la que s’impartirà formació dirigida a professionals del sector tecnològic.
Davant de la pregunta feta des del públic al batlle de Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, sobre quin paper tindria el programari lliure la seva resposta ha estat "que ells estaven a favor" (sic).

Opinió personal: Microsoft ha aprés que a l'administració pública no se'ls pot només anar a vendre llicències. Se'ls ha de donar també contrapartides perquè es puguin lluir els corresponents polítics, i de pas, Microsoft. Ja sigui fent les traduccions parcials al català, iniciatives per l'educació, pels desafavorits, o bé llançant campanyes a favor de la innovació, la competitivitat, la internacionalització o la paraula de moda del moment. La història sempre és la mateixa, ben poca cosa però ben venuda.

Més informació

jordi | Tuesday 16 October 2007 - 6:10 pm | | Default | Fifteen comments

gbrainy 0.3

Here we have gbrainy 0.3. gbrainy is a brain teaser game and trainer to have fun and to keep your brain trained. What is new in version 0.3 from the NEWS file:
Version 0.3
* Many bugs fixes and corrections
* Many questions and answers are more precise
* Custom game support: define which puzzles you want to play
* 3 new logic puzzles: Divide circles, matrix groups, Balance
* 2 new math puzzles: Greater divisor, two numbers
* Fixes in gbrainy.glade to make it work on Win32
* Small UI enhancements


Thanks Siegfried-Angel Gevatter (and Sebastian Dröge) gbrainy is packaged and accepted in the Debian project and most likely in a few months in Ubuntu. I also managed to run gbrainy on win32 (after doing some small fixes) on top of the Microsoft .Net runtime and installing GTK# for Windows that includes all the necessary assemblies and regular binaries.

I also want to thank the following people for translating gbrainy to the following languages:
* French - Stéphane Démurget
* Galician - Ignacio Casal
* Italian - bautz
* Spanish - Jorge González
* Swedish - Daniel Nylander
It is cool to have gbrainy translated to all of those languages (I maintain the English and Catalan versions).

Thanks to everyone that has given help or feedback to this version: Siegfried-Angel Gevatter, Phil Bordelon, Sebastian Dröge, Núria Pedrola, Stéphane Démurget, Jorge González, Jordi Irazuzta, Fraggle and Koszatka.

jordi | Wednesday 10 October 2007 - 9:32 pm | | Default | No comments

Openbravo Get Together meeting in Barcelona October 27th-28th

During October 27th-28th we are holding the Openbravo Get Together community days in Barcelona. This is an informal meeting free of access to everyone. We just ask you please to get registered to help us to better scale the space rooms needed.

Different people on the Openbravo ecosystem: developers, consultants, users, companies, partners, and newcomers are welcome to the event. The objective of the event is get all together and share experiences around Openbravo ERP technology. We also welcome people from other open source projects. It is a good opportunity to meet with the main Openbravo developers, learn about our plans for the future, Openbravo success cases and how to make business and do successfully implementations.

Open source business guru Matt Asay will be giving the inaugural keynote speech. His presentation Community Capitalism: The Art of Corporate Involvement in Open Source Communities will take place on Saturday the 27th at 10:00 a.m. His keynote explores the successful mechanisms that commercial open source vendors and community open source projects have found to improve the depth and breadth of their communities, as well as how end users can derive significant benefits from participating in and contributing to relevant open source communities.

Looking forward to see you there.

jordi | Tuesday 09 October 2007 - 1:43 pm | | Default | No comments

9 anys de Softcatalà

El 2 d'octubre de fa 9 anys es va presentar Softcatalà públicament. Ens donàvem a conèixer amb la traducció del Netscape en català en la que havíem estat treballant des de feia pràcticament un any. Com que tinc memòria de peix, fa temps vaig escriure un petit resum en clau personal dels inicis previs a la publicació del Netscape. Al quisom tenim un recull de l'història però ja força desactualitzat.

Darrerament a Softcatalà hem tingut la discussió de quan cel·lebrar els 10 anys. Penso que la data hauria de ser el 2 d'octubre de l'any vinent quan faci 10 anys que vam començar a publicar les primeres traduccions. Crec que el gran repte per l'any vinent, més enllà de continuar amb la nostra feina, serà fer una renovació completa del lloc web, quelcom que portem pesant de fa força temps.

jordi | Tuesday 02 October 2007 - 12:11 am | | Default | Two comments