Markus Rex, formerly the chief technology officer of Suse and currently on leave from Novell, is back in the saddle as acting general manager and senior vice president of Novell's Open Platform Solutions business unit, reporting to Novell CTO Jeff Jaffe, as Novell announced Monday.Rex had been on loan to the Linux Foundation as its CTO for the past year. He's a fervid community believer, someone who will help balance Novell's interest in driving Linux-based revenue with the need to rebuild its relations with the Linux community that soured on Novell in the wake of its patent deal with Microsoft.… Read more
“Motivating the committed outperforms persuading the uncommitted” (Seth Godin)
Now that we have a President-elect Obama, it’s time to reflect on how this was possible. The Web is full of thoughtful analyses that examine Obama’s victory as one made possible through state-of-the-art marketing--from Tomi T. Ahonen’s “For a We species, a We president: Yes we can,” to John Quech’s “How Better Marketing Elected Barack Obama” in Harvard Business Online, to Seth Godin’s "Marketing Lessons from the US Election," to The New York Times and, of course, the all-inclusive, behind-the-scenes "How He Did It" … Read more
Can an open-source project be acquired against its will? Apparently, the answer is "yes," as the recent experience of the TWiki community demonstrates.
In this case, TWiki.net (the company) has taken over Twiki.org (the project), booting all nonemployee contributors from the core project, leaving the TWiki.org community fuming (and forking).
In fact, the TWiki.org community is calling it a "hostile takeover," and the name may well be apt, though no shares have changed hands. TWiki.net has sought to reform the TWiki.org community under the auspices of the Relaunch Twiki.org Project, but it's not clear that this kind of reform was needed, at least from the community's perspective.
TWiki.net, however, begs to differ. The company suggests that its new governance model is based on Ubuntu, and is designed to foster clearer direction and better brand protection. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen's classic line to Dan Quayle, "I know Ubuntu, Mr. TWiki, and you're no Ubuntu."
Indeed, while Ubuntu seems to be in no hurry to turn a profit, it is almost certainly a desire for cash that has spurred TWiki.net's overhaul of the TWiki.org governance model. Founded in 1998 by Peter Thoeny, the company raised a small series A funding round in early 2007 and has been on the prowl for more funding in 2008. The company almost certainly needs more cash.
Does it also need more community? If so, it chose the wrong way to go about it.
Back when Thoeny spun up a company around the TWiki.org open-source project, some within the TWiki.org community worried that the move would damage its community, concern that now seems fully justified:… Read more
The title to this post--"Is commercial open source possible?"--is meant as bait, of course. I work for a commercial open-source company and definitely feel that it's possible. Indeed, without "commerce" I don't think open source would be nearly as mature as it has become. Cash fuels code.
But even so, Larry Lessig raises an interesting question on whether commercial and community ever really mix:
It would be very odd if a friend apologized for missing lunch and offered you $50 to make it up. And it would very, very odd if your … Read more
An e-mail snafu has led to the leak of Microsoft's decision to shutter its MSN Groups service, according to LiveSide.net. It's not a surprise, as MSN Groups was one of the last vestiges of Microsoft's Web services strategy pre-Windows Live.
MSN Groups will be closing on February 21, 2009. It'll be replaced with a new service, Windows Live Groups, which debuts on November 17.
Here's the catch: The LiveSide post indicates MSN Groups will not be migrating to Windows Live Groups; the new Windows Live service will be different enough so that the transition … Read more
Web-based chat and IM company Meebo has announced a few updates to its "Community IM" chat project, which it announced this summer as a means to power live chat features on partner sites. More specifically, there are more partners on board to add to the original eight.
According to CEO and co-founder Seth Sternberg, putting Meebo on partner sites will mean that it has a reach of more than 70 million people worldwide. Eventually, there will be ads placed on the chat app, and revenue will be split between Meebo and the partner in question.
As was the … Read more
Tokoni, a community site for "sharing stories," has formally launched after nearly a year of public beta. It has taken investment backing from eBay as well as the auction giant's founder, Pierre Omidyar, and was founded by former eBay executive Mary Lou Song and Alex Kazim, former president of the eBay-owned Skype. Kazim serves as Tokoni's CEO.
"We created Tokoni to fill the distinct need for an online community where individual stories of life's experiences have a voice and are valued, and where the collective wisdom of the community is celebrated," Kazim said … Read more
One might expect James Bond's MySpace page to list shaken martinis, Walther PPKs, and Aston Martins among his interests.
While that scenario is a bit far-fetched, agents for the CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency are testing a social-networking site designed for use by analysts within the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, according to a report on CNN's Web site. Instead of posting thoughts on music and movies, the agents use the site--called A-Space--to share information on terrorist activities and troop movements around the world.
The social networking site has been undergoing testing for months and is expected … Read more
Google has a new browser, called Chrome. That's now old news. The Wall Street Journal suggests that it's all about taking on Microsoft, and it's probably right. Glyn Moody cogently argues that this is not about browsers at all, but rather about shifting the ground under everyone's feet to the "Google operating system." He's probably right, too.
Chrome, however, lacks the very same thing that Android and every other Google product lacks, with the exception of its Search/Page Rank technology:
Mozilla Firefox has community in spades. Mozilla isn't the one developing killer extensions to Firefox like Adblock Plus, Forecastfox, etc. The community does.
Even Microsoft has community in spades, though on the operating system side of its business, not its browser. Look at the ecosystem around Windows and Office: pretty impressive.
Google, however, seems to want to go it alone, whatever the collateral damage. It is telling that Chrome was a secret leaked and then announced to the world, rather than a transparent, community effort. Google did the same thing with Android, creating a closed-door community that left would-be Android developers riled.
Does it matter? Or is Google powerful enough to take on Microsoft by itself, community or no community?… Read more
I was really pleased to see Joe Brockmeier get new digs over on ZDNet, and even happier to see that he's writing a blog focused on community. People talk ad nauseum about "community" these days, but few recognize the science (and back-breaking labor) that goes into it.
Enter the Zonker.
His first real post focuses on where community managers should reside within a company:The idea that a community manager should be in support, though... I guess that really depends on the company. In my experience, the support group would almost certainly be the wrong group to … Read more