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Top Ten Open Source Innovators 152

42istheanswer writes "Open source is so much more than Linux these days. A lot is happening beyond the popular operating system. Open source models are thriving in CRM (SugarCRM), messaging (Scalix), and systems management (Zenoss). Datamation has identified ten leading commercial open-source innovators and the projects they are working on in their article, Ten Leading Open Source Innovators."
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Top Ten Open Source Innovators

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  • Gnus (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <initNO@SPAMinit.sh> on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:13AM (#18118452) Homepage Journal
    so Some GNUz, IS good gnuz....
    • by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @01:01AM (#18118794) Homepage Journal
      Open Source software tends to work on a very darwinian model. Yes, there are "category killers" (who wants to code up a new text editor?) but for the most part, when a new "category" of open source application start taking off, it generates a lot of interest. You see about a zillion projects form up on Source Forge. Those that are able to actually produce usually get weeded through based on the quality and features. With price being removed as a deciding factor, it becomes all about how good the product is. Those that are good, survive. Those that aren't, don't. Occasionally, the old stand-bys get replaced.

      What I see a lot of is companies, like Second Life (gaming company) who will "open source" part of their product, but not all of it, hoping to garner free work from the open source community. Devs are the backbone of the OSS community. With out someone to sling the code, nothing gets done. Most devs are wise to these tactics, since they're not nearly as new as the marketing poohbahs think they are. Not only does it not draw as well as they'd hoped, but it has a serious backlash. Most devs, myself included, view companies who engage in such tactics with suspicion and refuse to work on the projects even if they become fully open source later.

      The other business model I've seen a lot is that the product is "open source" but some how you can never get the stuff to install or work properly unless you pay for them to host the application. This *always* ticks me off and I usually let everyone I know who might be looking for a simliar package not to waste their time. I love my Tivo, and I don't mind paying for it so don't take this the wrong way. This is what I've dubbed the "Tivo business model". If any of you ever downloaded the Tivo open source project, thinking that you might be able to get a working Tivo out of the deal, you know what I'm talking about. Yes, you could eventually get it working if you hacked away at it long enough or you can just buy the thing and get on with your life.

      IMHO, if you don't have a working project that I can download for free, install on my own hardware, and get working without having to hack the source code in a major way, you're not really an open source project.

      2 cents,

      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        IMHO, if you don't have a working project that I can download for free, install on my own hardware, and get working without having to hack the source code in a major way, you're not really an open source project.

        Translation: if you're trying to make money off it, it's not Open Source.

        • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @03:27AM (#18119598)
          "Translation: if you're trying to make money off it, it's not Open Source."

          Retranslation: if you try to bastardize the expression "open source" so you can use it as a buzzword atracting people to your old privative bussiness model, then no, to my eyes it's not open source no matter the distribution license of the bare source code.
          • by XO ( 250276 )
            Both comments appear to be saying the exact same thing, there.

            QueenB doesn't understand "Open Source" in any way, shape, or form.

            • by Deagol ( 323173 )
              Sure he does. More specifically, he knows the spirit of open source licenses, and he gets miffed when companies *just* barely comply to the letter of the licenses to maximize their benefit from using an open source license while at the same time minimizing the benefits the rest of the community get.
              • by XO ( 250276 )
                Open Source is not about everyone getting all the software for free, which is what QueenB believes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbIII ( 701233 )

        The other business model I've seen a lot is that the product is "open source" but some how you can never get the stuff to install or work properly unless you pay for them to host the application.

        One of the oldest examples of this is the venerable PBS queueing system from NASA and other government agencies which was handed over to a commercial organisation to host. Theoreticly to get the source code you email a contact on a website. In my case this was replied to within a week by a salesman who attempted

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
        So what we need to do, is take these intentionally broken source code releases, fix them up and produce ready to go packages for other people to use. Complete with good documentation, and easy to install packages for common distributions.
        Mozilla used to be a huge pain in the ass to build you know.
      • This is very similar, but not identical, to the Cedega model, in which you make something very difficult to compile and install, and in addition, when the community produces tools to make it easier for people to accomplish this monolithic task of installing your software, you very strongly _ask_ them to cease and decist, and have, for example, Gentoo remove their nice ebuild for your source.
      • by XO ( 250276 )
        "With price being removed as a deciding factor, it becomes all about how good the product is. Those that are good, survive. Those that aren't, don't. "

          In that case, there wouldn't BE any open source software. Or at least very little of it. Nothing good has come of open source, except for the Linux kernel, since RMS spent all his time writing the GNU utilities.

        • I've seen a lot of projects that you couldn't get working on *any* platform. I'll go back to my Tivo example. The Tivo OSS project didn't include a lot of proprietary code which was required in order to get the device to function "as advertised". Now, I'm not knocking Tivo for wanting to keep their proprietary code a secret. I'm knocking them for wanting to keep it a secret and still call themselves "open source".

          2 more cents,

    • Some may call "Business Intelligence" an oxymoron, the open source project Mondrian is nicely packaged under http://www.pentaho.com/ [pentaho.com] (added ETL, scheduler, portal, and presentations are written in a language the audience would expect it). The open-source analytic engine called Mondrian is quite good, can serve XMLA (hint: MS Analytic Services). With little time and luck, it might become worthy competitor to Cognos & Business Objects & MSAS.
  • Innovations? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:16AM (#18118476)
    SugarCRM, Scalix and Zenoss are hardly innovative. Equivalent technologies have been around on IBM's various mainframe systems for nearly 30 years now! Sure, they didn't have flashy GUIs like they do today, but the core concepts were well-established decades ago.

    The big battle is usually getting those core concepts to a level where they're applicable, especially on the relatively limited 1960s and 1970s hardware. That's the hard work. Tossing on a GUI, and running on systems equivalent in computer power to 250 S/370s isn't much of an innovation.

  • huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:18AM (#18118504) Homepage
    "Open source is so much more than Linux these days"

    Maybe I'm just old and cranky but I find this really annoying given that my own involvement with what is now called Open Source predates Linux by 15 years.

    If it'd said unix I think it would have been more meaningfull. Linux schminux.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe I'm just old and cranky but I find this really annoying given that my own involvement with what is now called Open Source pre-dates Linux by 15 years.

      Is that you, Stallman ?

    • Free Software might predate linux by that long. And it's worth noting that Linux IS Free Software (GPLv2), NOT Open Source.
  • by Wugger ( 17867 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:26AM (#18118558)
    What do all these stories of open source "innovation" have in common? They all include prominent mention of how much venture money the companies have raised. I can only assume this publication is Straight Out of Silicon Valley (tm).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's no wonder venture funding and AJAX go together so well. Both are built of the same nonsense.

      Venture capitalism is mostly just a game for rich Californians to play. They toss a small portion of their money around, just to feel important.

      AJAX is much the same. It's a game that some web developers play. All they manage to do is partially duplicate the word processors and spreadsheet software that we had back in 1987. Except that what they produce runs at a fraction of the speed as the 20-year-old products
    • They mean the business is innovative, not the product. This could mean an unusual business model, first to open source, first to market, first to commercialise, etc.

      This is linked to why politicians do silly things like pass software patent laws. They understand this type of innovation and want to encourage, they do not understand the invention of new technologies and assume it is solely a side effect of this.

      Ideally we would call one thing invention. I have not got a single word description of the other, w
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tinkertim ( 918832 ) *
      I agree.

      Why does anyone have to be 'the best' or 'most innovative' ? This doesn't make free software authors strive to reach sume inane dumbass lists, it makes them pissed (or some I'd imagine rather happy) that once again their efforts didn't get them the attention others are receiving.

      It also makes people want to get involved in OSS for what (some think) and (I think) are the wrong reasons. Crappier code [ could ] be the result.

      Funding as everyone knows is a double edged sword. Corporate and investment in
      • by gclef ( 96311 )
        I've got to ask, since I was pondering downloading OpenQRM: what don't you like, and what other projects are there out there that do the same thing?
    • Maybe one of the measures of how good open source is, is whether people would have paid for it if they had to. Actually getting people to spend money on it is an indication of that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:34AM (#18118606)
    We recently discovered an open source project that is easily on the leading edge of its industry.

    In my opinion there has been a huge gap in open source software covering the employee payroll and time management industry and TimeTrex [timetrex.com] seems to have stepped up to the plate in a major way.

    Our company used to spend over $30,000 a year outsourcing just our payroll to ADP and another $5000-10,0000 a year on time and attendance software. With TimeTrex we were able to consolidate them into one package and eliminate those costs and integration headaches in one fell swoop.

    If payroll is a headache at your company, check this project out.

  • by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:49AM (#18118712)
    I have been pretty under impressed with SCALIX, which really doesn't do anything that Outlook does. Zimbra I think is breaking new ground, but they really need some serious speed boost to make it competitive with outlook. I do think that if the Zimbra folks get mashups right they will leapfrog Outlook and Exchange, one of the weakest areas out there.

    I think people complaining here are missing the fact that Linux has had a bitch of a time breaking into the enterprise messaging market. That market really drives out Linux IT shops, and replaces them with expensive exchange servers. The larger a company grows, the more you have to make the executives happy. And nothing makes executives happy like blackberries, integrated email and calendaring.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      There are a number of groupware packages for Linux, ranging from the trivial to the fairly comprehensive. True, none of them are "there", I don't know of any that are included on any mainstream distribution, and those that I've seen are trying to copy Exchange rather than go to first principles, identify what is actually needed, and then implement wrappers for compatibility. (You can't win a race by following in someone's footsteps. If they know where they're going, the best you can do is come second. If, a
    • SCALIX, which really doesn't do anything that Outlook does.

      Hmmm perhaps because SCALIX is server-side and Outlook is client side?
      • No, because I mistyped that. It should have read that SCALIX only does what Echange and Outlook do. No innovation. Just a different code base.
  • Where's Bram Cohen? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:54AM (#18118748) Homepage
    If you're talking leading INNOVATORS, Bram Cohen and BitTorrent [bittorrent.com] are notably absent. BitTorrent is IMO absolutely the most novel and fascinating idea that was released straight to open-source. Their funding also ranks up with the other people mentioned. So why were they omitted?
    • Innovator? Novel? I don't know about that. The BitTorrent protocol is extremely simple (it lacks, for example, the ability to batch multiple torrents into a single tracker request), and so is the concept. A large part of its popularity is due to legal reasons, not technical merits. I dunno about you, but I miss AudioGalaxy.
      • It seems simple, and it is, but there's subtlety involved that prevented earlier attempts at the same idea just wouldn't work right. Bram's P2P economy concepts got it working, and working superbly. Nitpicking about features you believe it lacks is missing the point.
      • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @05:53AM (#18120242) Homepage
        Sometimes the innovation is not in what features you add, but which you remove.

        The BitTorrent protocol was such a huge hit not despite its simplicity, but rather because of it. When everyone and their pet hamster can write a client, then it follows that you get incredible diversity in available software for that protocol.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by VE3MTM ( 635378 )
          Exactly. BitTorrent does one thing: co-ordinating clients so they can distribute data. Everything else for creating a complete file-sharing system -- search, accounting (enforcing ratios, etc.), authentication, whatever -- can be layered on top of this, but the hard part is taken care of by BT.

          Saying that BT is "incomplete" because it doesn't do stuff like that is like saying that a coffee grinder is incomplete because it doesn't also brew the coffee
    • There was nothing innovative about Bram's protocol, other than that it was well integrated into the browser (so that you just click and it runs).

      There were plenty of competitive offerings in the market which pre-date the original release of Bit Torrent. In fact, I have a white paper from early 2001 that lists them all, with the pros and cons of each implementation.

      Several cool things that BitTorrent does well were all done by others. Turning the client into a server was done by Gnutella (Gnucleus, Bea

  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:55AM (#18118754) Homepage Journal
    http://www.vtiger.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=22 [vtiger.com]

    Their original SPL was basically a search and replace of "Mozilla" in the MPL, replacing "Mozilla" with "Sugar"

    After another group *gasp* dared exercise their rights provided for in the SPL(MPL), they threatened to sue, pissed and moaned, complained because trademarks were removed (Uh, They HAD to remove trademarks for redistribution of a modifief variant to be compliant with your license!)

    Since then SugarCRM has NOT been open source; it has been shared source. Here's why:

    You cannot derive a new product from SugarCRM; for all practical purposes, the "license" forbids it.

    The license allows you to view and modify the source, and extend to it
    If you contribute code to the core project, you give all ownership and credits to SugarCRM. OK, fine, I can buy that you give ownership to them, but you should be able to be credited in your code contribution.

    If you ever subscribe to the Pro/Enterprise version of Sugar, you agree to waive your rights to use the "Open Source" edition ever again, and are "forbidden" to take your Pro/Enterprise database and import the data into the "Open Source" edition.

    I hardly consider that to be open source, or to be in the spirit of open source.

    If you need a CRM, I highly recommend vTiger over SugarCRM.
    • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:46AM (#18119400)
      Do you understand the difference between "open source software" and "free software"?

      By your description SugarCRM is not free software but it certainly sounds like it is open source. Likewise, it sounds like SugarCRM is keeping to the spirit of open source but is not keeping to the spirit of free software.

      • by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:14AM (#18121142) Homepage Journal
        I'm afraid you are misinformed, and those that moderated you up are misinformed too. SugarCRM certainly doesn't conform to the OSI definition [opensource.org] (redistribution of modified versions), and therefore isn't "open source software".

        It is a wide misconception that open source != free software. In a sense, they are two movements that both emphasize different sides of the same coin. There is a problem with the term "open source" being used as a marketing tool for products not adhering to the proper definition, but the same could apply for the term "free software".

        • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )
          News of my misconception is greatly exaggerated.

          You may be correct that I wasn't using the OSI definition of "Open Source". I was using the definition used by the person who is perhaps the most important proponent of Open Source, Linus Torvalds. I believe the definition he uses is aptly described by the Linux Information Project [linfo.org] as:

          Open source software is software whose source code is freely available (i.e., without any requirement for payment or any other obstacles) for anyone to inspect and study


          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AlXtreme ( 223728 )
            Haha, an anti-Free Software shill. That's a good one. There's no point to troll, lets just stick to the facts and maybe you'll get a wider perspective on this topic. Or maybe I'll become informed. Or both, which would be twice as good.

            I try to see both sides of the FLOSS-coin. If you want to define Open Source, you'll have to start at the source of that term. ESR [catb.org], as we know, is the main proponent, with people like Bruce Perens and Linus who hopped on at the start. He is one of the people behind OSI, and th

            • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )
              AlXtreme exclaimed:

              Haha, an anti-Free Software shill. That's a good one.

              The debate over the GPL-v3 has brought a lot of shills out of the wood work who have been using lies and deception to try to prevent the creation of the GPL-v3. I call these people anti-Free Software shills.

              AlXtreme further opined:

              Linus' opinion on the hoops Tivo has set up for it's users is irrelevant, IMHO [...] even if Linus was a FS-proponent, he wouldn't have been able to do a thing about it.

              I very much disagree with you h

          • > News of my misconception is greatly exaggerated.

            No it is not.

            > I was using the definition used by the person who is perhaps the most important proponent
            > of Open Source, Linus Torvalds. I believe the definition he uses is aptly described by the
            > Linux Information Project as:

            Never heard of LINFO before, the site seems very amateurish. Did you write it?

            You don't argue for why you believe Linus shares your misconceptions, I haven't seen anything from him that indicates that.

            [ More deeply confuse
    • by scarolan ( 644274 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @03:56AM (#18119734) Homepage
      I have an installation of SugarCRM "Open Source" on my laptop that I am using for evaluation purposes. I attempted to install a plugin created by a developer, and somehow it modified the code that displays the SugarCRM logo image on every page. All of a sudden, I was completely locked out of the system. I could no longer log in, even to disable the plugin that I had installed. The error message "Please replace the SugarCRM logos" kept popping up every time. So I Googled around a bit and found this article about "Badgeware":

      http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=867 [zdnet.com]

      Apparently this "feature" was added into the code to try and prevent companies like vTiger from doing exactly what the parent poster said - exercise their rights under the "Sugar Public License". You can't even post the word "vTiger" on their forums without it being censored:

      http://sugarcrm.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20207 [sugarcrm.com]

      There are lots of companies trying to jump on the open source bandwagon, but not many that actually stick with a "real" open source license like the GPL.
    • From TFA:

      Salesforce.com operates in what could be termed a "mixed-source" environment. According to Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff, the line between open source and proprietary can get pretty blurry. "Many open-source licenses don't require you to fully release your own source code," he said. "How far do you have to go to be considered truly open source?"

      The answer isn't clear. Is embracing standards and delivering a solid set of APIs enough, or must you release core source code? It's a debate most end u

    • Wow.

      We were just about to launch into a SugarCRM implementation at our company. Reading this thread, and conducting the associated research with other forums, I've decided to cancel the SugarCRM installation and install vtiger. No feature comparison necessary. No further research necessary. I have hated SugarCRM's philosophy about kinda-sorta-open-source for years. (I didn't know about vtiger.) Goodbye SugarCRM, Welcome vtiger!

      We aren't ones to analyze decisions to death. Pick a market leader and

  • Isn't open source free (as in beer)? The one that caught my eye was "OpenAir" ... which certainly doesn't appear to be in that category (contact us for pricing!).
    • Yes. If I understand correctly, if it's released under the GNU GPL, then they must give you the source, and you are free to do with it as you please, provided if you modify and re-release it, you also release your source modifications. They may charge a reasonable and customary fee for recovering the cost of distribution. However, they can also charge for support. There are also wolves in sheep's clothing touting themselves as open source, when they merely run on Linux, but are not open, and not free.
      • by abigor ( 540274 )
        No, that is incorrect. Under the GPL, they are only required to provide source if you pay for the binary. If you don't pay for the product, they don't have to give source code to you at all. Of course, once you buy it and have the source, you can redistribute it as you wish.

        Many GPL products simply provide the source for download for anyone, but that's not a requirement of the license.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by chromatic ( 9471 )

          Under the GPL, they are only required to provide source if you pay for the binary.

          It's actually if they distribute the binary to you. They can charge or not. The GPL only governs redistribution of copyrighted works. It's up to you how you redistribute a work.

          • by abigor ( 540274 )
            Right, you are of course correct. I was addressing the specific complaint of payment.
    • "Open source" doesn't always mean "free". Open source software is simply software that developers have made the source code viewable for.
      • Open source software also generally allows you to modify the source for your own use, and most will also allow you to distribute the modified version (though sometimes with limitations).
    • by abigor ( 540274 )
      No, open source code is not necessarily free as in beer. Pay for the product, get the source as a form of insurance in case the company goes under, or you want to fix bugs or extend the functionality. Open source/free software is not a charity, unless it's a volunteer project.
      • by SEMW ( 967629 )

        No, open source code is not necessarily free as in beer

        As I understand it, whilst "open source" is not necessarily freeasinbeer, "Open Source" is. Like the difference between "champaign" and "Champaign": both are fizzy wine, but only the latter is made by traditional methods in the Champaigne region of France.

        But anyway; from the OSI definition of Open Source: [opensource.org]

        The Open Source Definition


        Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

        1. Free Redistribution:

        The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.


        • by abigor ( 540274 )
          Under the GPL, an Open Source license (note the caps), you are only entitled to the source if they distribute the binary to you. They can sell it if they like. Afterwards, you can go ahead and give away the source if you wish. In your own quoted definition, you can see that there's no restriction on how a party chooses to redistribute the code; however, the party receiving the code is not entitled to zero cost - it's up to the distributor. In other words, the license doesn't REQUIRE a fee, but there can be
          • by SEMW ( 967629 )
            Hmmm. On further Googling, you appear to be completely right; I was under a misconception. Apologies.
    • by dodobh ( 65811 )
      No, it is free as in speech. Free beer is optional.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @12:58AM (#18118774) Journal
    ...do you guys realise that an open source project [openexr.com] received an Academy Award [oscars.org] this year? I find it weird that it hasn't been reported much in the geek news outlets.
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      OpenEXR is a nice piece of work and I believe it is supported on modern Linux desktops. (Now, if only there were cheap monitors and graphics cards that could support it to its full capacity.... What was that about Linux not supporting modern hardware? What about all the hardware that can't support modern Linux?!)

      One of the benefits of OpenEXR over other very high dynamic range formats is that it doesn't seem to have the Intellectual Property burden. JPEG2000 doesn't look nearly as inviting and some of the

  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork&gmail,com> on Friday February 23, 2007 @01:05AM (#18118818) Journal
    That list reads more like a pump and dump stock tip email. Who's getting paid here?
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by bconway ( 63464 ) *
    I can't seem to find ESR on that list. Maybe I missed it?
  • by mikespice ( 525936 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:10AM (#18119184) Homepage
    They forgot Digium [digium.com], the Asterisk company. Its hard to imagine a list of open source innovations that doesn't include Asterisk!
  • by anwyn ( 266338 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @02:22AM (#18119244)
    Not one of these organization has made 1/10th the contribution of RMS.
    • RMS created gcc. Without gcc there would be no LINUX or BSD. Most of the utilities in the article would be impossible without gcc. Who was the original author of gcc? RMS.
    • RMS created most of the GNU utilities without which most of GNU lINUX and BSD would be worthless.
    • RMS was the first to proclaim the need for a free OS platform. He was the first to try to make such a platform a practical reality. (GNU).
    • RMS created the GPL.
    There is no one who has made contributions to the Free software and/or "open source" software communities equal to that of RMS.

    This includes LINUS.

    I realize that RMS can be idealogical, stubborn and hard to deal with, but the fact remains that in spite of this, or perhaps because of it, no one has made as great a contribution.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      There is starting a project (emacs macros written for another text editor) and finishing a project (emacs written in C to behave like the original macros that were written by RMS). Like it or not things are a team effort and we really don't need to hero worship people - it's even counterproductive sometimes. The GPL was a huge contribution but linux took a lot more effort even if it was dependant on it's existance on a decent licence and the chance to easily collaborate on the net. For various reasons gn
    • by Abattoir ( 16282 )
      What did RMS *INNOVATE* though?

      gcc is a C compiler. There were C compilers around before he wrote gcc.

      Most of the GNU utilities have closed source equivalents on other Unix platforms.

      Doesn't the BSD license predate the GPL? I fail to see what is innovative about the license itself anyway.

      • The FSF is not a research organization, so in principle they don't innovate anything.

        GCC, GDB and BISON were all based on academic research papers by other people.

        Emacs, predating FSF, was pretty innovative for its time, and has been a source of inspiration for other text editors and IDE's for decades. RMS even wrote one of his few academic papers [acm.org] on it.

        The copyleft is a major innovation, RMS used copyleft licences before the GPL, the GPL was also innovative as the first generic copyleft license. The copy
  • This is crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aaron Isotton ( 958761 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @05:49AM (#18120214)

    TFA is total crap. Out of the 10 projects I've heard of 2 (KVM and MontaVista), and I'd hardly call any of them (except maybe KVM) even remotely "innovative". They just happen to be what venture capitalists think is profitable - virtualization and enterprise "management" software. Actually most of them aren't even real products but "platforms" or "frameworks" which can only be described in buzzwords. Quote:

    [bla bla] software helps project-based organizations quantify the nature of each engagement in terms of the resources needed to complete the project and the final value to the organization's bottom line.

    What the hell is that supposed to mean anyway?

    The real strength of open source is its technological superiority in some fields (e.g. LAMP, Mozilla, some open source kernels), new approaches in development (the "distributed development" model) and some technological innovations (BitTorrent etc), but definitely not in "enterprise software".

    • That's about what I got out of it, too. I'm reading one description after another and thinking, "OK, now tell me what this company's software does." Because some marketspeak babble about leveraging synergies doesn't mean a fucking thing to me. Chalk it up to the fact that I've (by choice!) never spent any time in a big corporate environment, I guess.

      Of the products/companies on that list, I'd heard of KVM and SugarCRM.
  • 'Innovation' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Friday February 23, 2007 @06:26AM (#18120370) Homepage

    The word 'innovation' has a funny meaning in OS, doesn't it? Zenoss is a Tivoli clone that now "claims it provides 80% of the functionality of the big offerings". rPath is another virtualizer. Sugar CRM is another CFM system. Linux is a copy of Unix. Even Frozen Bubble is a copy of Puzzle Bobble! They couldn't come up with their own puzzle game??

    COM, Java, Civilization -- those were innovative. .NET, Emacs, Populous -- those I'd call incrementally innovative, not big paradigm shifts but definitely 'new content'. The OSS clone that currently seems to have to exist behind (usually about 2-3 versions behind) every successful piece of large scale commercial software -- not innovative. Useful, sure. Worth working on, sure. But innovation is where you do something _new_.

    Yeah, blah blah blah, linux has more innovation in its little finger that Microsoft has in its whole bloated body, I'm a troll, etc etc.

    • by gosand ( 234100 )
      The OSS clone that currently seems to have to exist behind (usually about 2-3 versions behind) every successful piece of large scale commercial software -- not innovative. Useful, sure. Worth working on, sure. But innovation is where you do something _new_.

      Bittorrent. But not on this list, because this list was more about "10 startup companies someone hopes will succeed". There are truly innovative products out there, but in essence, you are right - most are just incremental improvements on an existing p

    • Linux is a copy of Unix. Even Frozen Bubble is a copy of Puzzle Bobble! They couldn't come up with their own puzzle game??

      Most commercial products are clones, too, even the successful ones. Every Unix-based operating system around is a "copy of Unix". Linux and BSD are more scalable than any other Unix that I know of; they can run on a huge number of architectures, they can be embedded, and they're the best OSes for webservers that I know of (Solaris is great too, but hey, it's now open source as well). Com

    • by XO ( 250276 )
      I think Populous was the first God-game. Populous is from 1989, Civ 1 is from 1991.

    • by dodobh ( 65811 )
      There was oh, Perl. And this little thing called IP. And a few other protocols, like, say, SMTP and HTTP. COM is merely the Windows version of RPC. cfengine, Puppet, config, BCFG2 ...

      What you see referred to often is because "enterprises" want the fancy software (and need it in some cases).
  • Best part of the whole article: the Microsoft Visual Studio ad at the bottom of the first page links to the URL


    Now if that's not truth in advertising, I don't know what is.

  • I work at a company with an Open Source product whose license was modeled after SugarCRM (modified MPL). We just made some key decisions on the direction of the company with respect to this product (not sure if it's kosher for me to mention its name, so I'll keep you guessing). There were two arguments in this decision-making:
    1. Go full-out ASP (Application Service Provider) and close the doors on the source release (becoming like SalesForce.com or Google's services)
    2. De-emphasize the ASP and merge the clos
  • Or whatever you can think of:

    For example:

    Knoppix - msft doesn't have anything like it.

    maybe Zimbra . .

The absent ones are always at fault.