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March 2008

Groklaw: The France Shift From No to Abstain — HP helped Microsoft France do it

Here’s the scoop from Les on France’s sudden change from its No vote to Abstain. Microsoft France’s President Eric Boustouller sent AFNOR a letter [PDF] in French, of course. He tells a tale about OOXML and ODF progressing side by side and how if OOXML is approved, a group will be working hard to make the two more interoperable. Attached was a an HP statement of support for OOXML. HP sings the same song. And AFNOR?

“A la lumière des contributions et des commentaires, il nous est apparu qu’une “Désapprobation” n’était plus justifiée. Pour autant, il demeure encore des incertitudes sur les textes et les engagements, ce qui nous a conduit à nous prononcer par une “Abstention””, a expliqué dans un message électronique samedi Tony Hittema, directeur technique de l’Afnor.

That’s saying that in light of the new information, it seemed to them that disapprove was not justified. But neither was a Yes vote, because there remain issues with OOXML. So that’s why they did it.

Read the full post at Groklaw

Ooooohhhh USAAAAAAA – USA in Olympic Qualifying Finals

After drubbing Canada 3:0, the USMNT u-23 team goes on to face Honduras (again) in the final. Both teams have already qualified for the Beijing Olympics, so this game is almost, but not quite, meaningless. However, it will have an impact on seeding, so winning is still important.

You can see the match live on Fox Soccer Channel (613 on DirecTV) at 2pm PDT / 5pm EDT on Sunday.

Live Twittering a Birth?

My wife is almost ready to give birth to our son. I’m debating whether to live twitter developments from the delivery room. Is this just TMI? Not a good thing to do? I still have a couple of weeks yet to decide…

Nick Carr: Bebo and Digital Sharecroppers

This was an interesting article by Nick Carr that popped up in Google Reader today – it’s about the Bebo acquisition by AOL and how the founders have been rewarded handsomely, to the tune of $800 million, with diddly squat going to the artists who contributed site content. From the article:

As for the millions of members who have happily served as sharecroppers on the Birches’ plantation, they’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that all the labor they donated to their “community” did indeed create something of tangible value. No doubt they’re thrilled that the little Bebo plantation, which they’ve tended so lovingly, is now part of the giant AOL plantation, itself part of the Time-Warner conglomerate.

The article goes on to reference a great NY Times op-ed by Billy Bragg. It’s all must-read stuff.

In the Open Source world, we deal with this all the time. People often ask how we can make money off the backs of free labor, to which I always answer: we don’t. But the question lingers, and for good reason. Being a community-centric company is a double-edged sword. After all, if you’ve successful in convincing a fair number of community members to buy into your vision, what, if anything, is your responsibility to them? Ultimately, my opinion rests on the assumption that is a rather different example from most Open Source community sites, because in those cases, the company gives the community items of great value, whether it’s the software, better documentation, or simply the investment into care and feeding of the community.

This is in stark contrast to a community like Bebo’s, where the vast majority of content comes from the users. Sure, web sites like my employer’s are geared towards providing conduits for community contributions and feedback, but it’s always clear in that case that the owner of the web site is the primary source of an overwhelming amount of the content. In Bebo’s case, without user-generated content, there wouldn’t be anything of value at all.

Well, at least I see a difference. What about you? What do open source companies owe their communities? What are their responsibilities? Put it in the comments below.

More Questions on the Open Source Initiative

In addition to my post yesterday on the subject of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and whether they represent us, I was encouraged to see a few others pop up with a similar line of thinking.

Mark Hinkle actually delved into the OSI by-laws and reported what he found.

Reuven Lerner opened the question of who should lead the Open Source community.

Both of these attack the problem from different angles, but the question remains: is the current setup the best we can manage? I would argue no.

Blogging Hyperic: Whither Initiative?

I just posted this on the blog:

There has been significant conversation around the OSI of late, spurred by Bruce Perens campaign to become a board member. Having had a long history myself in Free and Open Source Software, the recent activity bears reflection and begs the question “What is the purpose of the Open Source Initiative?” Let’s take a look at the definition of Initiative (noun):

  1. an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative in making friends.
  2. readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative.

When I think of the OSI, I think of an organization that started 10 years ago to help define a market around Open Source. That market is now booming, so what is their current “Initiative”? The protection of the term “Open Source”? This is contradictory in that to protect it, they chose echo-chamber myopia as their methodology.

Read the entire post here.

USA vs. Canada Tonight on Fox Soccer Channel

For those of you who have had your fill of March Madness for the day, you will want to check out the Olympic qualifying semifinals tonight between the United States and Canada.

If the US wins, they’re guaranteed a place in Beijing. If you’re interested, the match is on Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN Deportes at 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

The streaker, part deux

For those of you who missed it, the above video clip saves for all eternity the “streak” that took place in last weekends Olympic qualifying match between the USA and Honduras.

Someone managed to track down her MySpace page and interviewed her. And of course, the obligatory snapshot:

(above photo Borrowed from SF at The Offside Rules)

I love ankle bracelets

(photo courtesy of Soccer by Ives)

It’s official – soccer matches are where streakers come to party. Ok, so she’s not a *real* streaker, but close enough for our Puritan value :)

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