OSBC and Apachecon: ubiquity machine, anyone?

I just realized that the first OSBC Europe is going to happen in the very same days of Apachecon EU. This sucks in so many ways: I know the target audience is somewhat different, but I really don’t think I’m the only one who was planning to attend both.

I’ve been looking with a lot of anticipation to OSBC Europe, and we were also planning to have a booth or something, yet seeing how the OSBC producers didn’t give a dime about colliding with one of the major Open Source events out there it’s not a good sign at all. I’m sure there have been plenty of good reasons to choose those dates, yet I really don’t feel comfortable in having to choose between the two, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Matt, can you share any insights about this mishap?

We have a winner!

The logo contest is finally over, and now we know how we will look like:

Sourcesense new logo!

Congratulations to Lara Ariganello for a clean and modular logo we expect to play with in the future. Lara: your shiny Macbook Pro will be on its way shortly!

I should also mention Antonio Moro, our (close) runner-up, who is going to receive an iPod Nano:

Sourcesense logo runner up

Phew! It has been a bumpy ride, and it was really hard to see a lot of notable submissions left behind. However, it’s now time to focus on our upcoming web site and our overall Internet presence: way to go, Sourcesense!

Sourcesense logo contest: almost there!

It took us much longer than expected, but we weren’t really anticipating we would get more than 550 logos overall, which meant a painful exercise in choosing our favourite designs. We managed to narrow the choice to 30 logos, and we’re about to choose the winner: you can see the finalist gallery here, and I expect to be announcing the winner later today or monday at the latest. If you’re a participant and you’re reading this entry, sorry to keep you waiting: just consider it’s not an easy choice given the sheer amount of good stuff we’ve got!

Please stand by while rebooting…

I guess I’ve been asking too much from myself in the past few weeks: my agenda became horribly packed and I’ve been running throughout Europe way too much. As a result, friday night my body decided to give up and shouted for some rest with a 39°C (or 102.2°F, if you prefer) fever who knocked me down for the whole week-end.

I slept for a couple of days and I’m slowly getting back to normal, but that would teach me I should listen to my body and slow my pace down. I’m now indulging myself with a couple of days of rest, so don’t keep checking your email if you’re waiting for something from me: I’ll be with you shortly, but now it’s really time to recover.

Five-freakin’-hundred!

With little more than 10 minutes left to the end of the contest, we managed to upload the 500th logo to our gallery. More are still coming, and the inbox is still full.

Gosh. I would have never imagined we would have got this far. I shouldn’t have asked my wife is she was willing to take care of posting logos in the gallery: she’s staring at her screen in total despair, wondering how long it will take to catch up with the backlog. Once she’s done throwing insults at people sending bad submissions, I guess some funny anecdotes will face up over here. Meanwhile, for all of you who have been submitting, rest assured that your logos will all be posted. It might require a few days, so don’t hold your breath, but they will be there, promise.

The “real Open Source” blogfest

Touching a nerve is always interesting: useful discussion is bound to happen when a lot of people with different backgrounds talk about controversial matters. I guess it’s time to put a few more irons in the fire responding to the feedback I’ve got so far.

Matt: I guess I deserve to be called an elitist after being labeling most of the OSS business arena as a bunch of baitware-based suckers. I wouldn’t have been stretching the paradigm so far to include racism in the picture (the Aryan bit was unfortunate in my opinion), but that might just be a problem of language/cultural barrier. Oh, and I don’t give a damn about soccer, despite being italian. :)

More to the point, I think that as of today there is no way to describe Open Source apart from using the very minimal common definition: a set of licenses with some common principles in terms of non-discriminatory access to software, designed to ease access to source code. As such, Open Source is legitimately up for grabs by anyone willing to comply with a few legal requirements: it’s a very pragmatic concept, which worked really well to turn the software industry tables and still able to make a lot of a difference thanks to its simplicity.

The devil is in the details, though: the easy to understand concept behind Open Source isn’t able to differentiate enough the value of community developed software versus a different way to perform software distribution. The former aims to provide quality solutions via peer-based production system, achieving notable goals such as avoiding lock-ins while at it, while the latter is able to provide “just” source code at best, and aims to actually lead to lock-ins at worst.

As much as some value source code per se, I’m more and more inclined towards leaving that camp: thanks to the Open Source and Free Software movement, availability of source code isn’t a big deal anymore and tends to be taken for granted even in notable and traditionally proprietary solutions. As Matt himself correctly pointed out in the past, there are quite a few Open Source benemoths out there (OO.o, Firefox) who can’t be touched with a six feet pole by the average developer, so what’s the real deal with Open Source then apart from bare availability? I don’t really think that the net effect of having tons of freely available source code is going to make any difference that matters in the end.

Also, I’m not buying what Matt, Matthew and Ugo are saying about some sort of Darwinian selection being able to discriminate the good from the bad (assuming there is actually “good” and “bad” – I just tend to think we have different objectives): it’s hard enough to move the CIO masses beyond the “Open Source means Linux” meme, go figure explaining why they should care to consider the difference between Open Source built within the virtuous cycle of community based development and Open Source as a pure distribution model of conceptually proprietary and closed to participation code. This is why I really think we need to be more vocal about it, possibly with a new term or brand that clearly specs out what we really perceive as the real value around open development.

Last but not least, I have been invited to check out the Free Software definition and consider it as an alternative. Well, thanks for the heads-up, but I’m still a pragmatic guy: I think that there is still a lot of room between the social implications of the Free Software Foundation guidelines (which I might buy as a natural consequence, not as a given precondition) and the practical effect of healthy communities providing great software because it just makes sense. I remain unsold on forcing freedom down the throat of anyone: technical merits and shared itches are the still best community builders around.

Now, where do I signup for that Open Source panel? :)

The”real Open Source”blogfest

Touching a nerve is always interesting: useful discussion is bound to happen when a lot of people with different backgrounds talk about controversial matters. I guess it’s time to put a few more irons in the fire responding to the feedback I’ve got so far.

Matt: I guess I deserve to be called an elitist after being labeling most of the OSS business arena as a bunch of baitware-based suckers. I wouldn’t have been stretching the paradigm so far to include racism in the picture (the Aryan bit was unfortunate in my opinion), but that might just be a problem of language/cultural barrier. Oh, and I don’t give a damn about soccer, despite being italian. :)

More to the point, I think that as of today there is no way to describe Open Source apart from using the very minimal common definition: a set of licenses with some common principles in terms of non-discriminatory access to software, designed to ease access to source code. As such, Open Source is legitimately up for grabs by anyone willing to comply with a few legal requirements: it’s a very pragmatic concept, which worked really well to turn the software industry tables and still able to make a lot of a difference thanks to its simplicity.

The devil is in the details, though: the easy to understand concept behind Open Source isn’t able to differentiate enough the value of community developed software versus a different way to perform software distribution. The former aims to provide quality solutions via peer-based production system, achieving notable goals such as avoiding lock-ins while at it, while the latter is able to provide “just” source code at best, and aims to actually lead to lock-ins at worst.

As much as some value source code per se, I’m more and more inclined towards leaving that camp: thanks to the Open Source and Free Software movement, availability of source code isn’t a big deal anymore and tends to be taken for granted even in notable and traditionally proprietary solutions. As Matt himself correctly pointed out in the past, there are quite a few Open Source benemoths out there (OO.o, Firefox) who can’t be touched with a six feet pole by the average developer, so what’s the real deal with Open Source then apart from bare availability? I don’t really think that the net effect of having tons of freely available source code is going to make any difference that matters in the end.

Also, I’m not buying what Matt, Matthew and Ugo are saying about some sort of Darwinian selection being able to discriminate the good from the bad (assuming there is actually “good” and “bad” – I just tend to think we have different objectives): it’s hard enough to move the CIO masses beyond the “Open Source means Linux” meme, go figure explaining why they should care to consider the difference between Open Source built within the virtuous cycle of community based development and Open Source as a pure distribution model of conceptually proprietary and closed to participation code. This is why I really think we need to be more vocal about it, possibly with a new term or brand that clearly specs out what we really perceive as the real value around open development.

Last but not least, I have been invited to check out the Free Software definition and consider it as an alternative. Well, thanks for the heads-up, but I’m still a pragmatic guy: I think that there is still a lot of room between the social implications of the Free Software Foundation guidelines (which I might buy as a natural consequence, not as a given precondition) and the practical effect of healthy communities providing great software because it just makes sense. I remain unsold on forcing freedom down the throat of anyone: technical merits and shared itches are the still best community builders around.

Now, where do I signup for that Open Source panel? :)

Busy, busier, busiest…

I’m writing this from seat 12D on a AMS-MIL flight, while we wait for at least another hour to leave the dock and proceed to the de-icing station. So much for your Amsterdam spring, Andrew. Remind me not to team up with you on weather forecasts, given I had my share of screwed previsions in the past.

At a very least, this is a good time for a small update on what’s going on over here. First of all, let me state that the whole concept of “here” is somewhat blurred: I’ve been constantly traveling all over Europe and Italy, in the past few weeks, frantically trying to keep up with my schedule and playing catch up with the load of good stuff happening. But yes, I’m starting to wish I had a dime for every mile I’ve been traveling lately, and it’s not going to be over anytime soon.

Enough with the gripes, though: these are very interesting times indeed from the business point of view. Sourcesense is progressing nicely on all fronts: growth has been incredible for guys still operating somewhat undercover, so much that we’re actually considering turning the tables (uh-oh, more travel ahead) to face a constantly changing, and always more exciting, scenario. The logo contest played a significant role in all that: we’re happily sailing towards 250 entries (which could be happening this very moment, while I’m writing this status update in a disconnected fashion), which goes some 5x beyond our best expectations, and we definitely generated quite a lot of buzz. So much we decided to have an iPod Nano as a runner-up/consolation prize. I definitely wish I could submit something myself. :)

The downside of this very exciting scenario is that I’m getting to a state where I’m constantly tired to the point of feeling dizzy. While adrenaline from great news definitely helps, it’s hard to keep up with a schedule that keeps me working 12-14 hours a day on a constant basis, with barely enough time to cope with personal stuff such as getting a haircut (if you know me, you’re aware that’s not big business, but yet…). Moreover, I’m definitely missing some quality time with my better half, which makes me think it’s time to plan a few days off, assuming I’m not going to just sleep over them. I know this is supposed to be a spike, and in the end I’m really enjoying the moment, yet sometimes I’d just feel like someone who needs to sleep in his own bed much more (even had that weird sensation of waking up in the morning and require a few seconds to figure out where on earth are you?) and be able to just go out and play golf once in a while. But hey, overall the balance is definitely on the plus side, so as long as I survive it I’m happy and eager to share more news once we get a logo and we start working on our public presence.

By the way, the logo contest I mentioned before is due to hit the deadline soon: there are barely five days left to submit stuff, and competition will be tough. The unexpected number of entries is likely to give us some (happy) problems: when we started the whole thing we figured out it would have quite easy to choose among 30-50 proposals, which is what we expected to get. At 250, and counting, the task is going to be much harder, and we’ll need to devise a process of some sort. Since I want to get as much people as I can to choose what’s going to be their logo for years to come, and since I’m a convoluted guy, I imagine the best scenario will be:

  • every judge is required to nominate her favorite ten images. Hopefully, this should reduce the initial choice and bring us to 70-100 proposals;
  • everyone will have a right to veto (e.g. delete from the remaining pool) up to two images;
  • the result will then be ready for the final ballot, and I’m planning to use some kind of voting tool that allows to declare preferences, ending up with some sort of scoring (suggestions, anyone?). Ideally, the results of this vote should be able to provide us with the final leaderboard, and the winner.

If everything goes smoothly as axpected, I hope we will be able to choose a winner in a reasonable amount of time, and send the Macbook Pro/iPod combo to the winners. From then on, it will be a massive rush to get our site designed, our content crafted and translated and everything else ready for our public start!

Update: we spent 2.5 hours waiting for de-icing to happen, which was enough time for a bunch of middle-aged Dutch guys to get drunk and keep on shouting, especially while the captain was trying to tell us what was going on. I hit home around midnight, and my first meeting tomorrow is at 9AM sharp. Oh my…