Friday, August 21, 2009

open source vs. commercial software

not an open source vs. commercial software blog again, please!! - oh yes, again, sorry!!!

the open source software community is growing bigger and bigger. now, for almost every commercial software product there is a open source pendant (well, thats at least true for home users). you get open source operating systems, office packages, development tools,... but is open source software actually good or bad? i would say its good for most people, as all home users get affordable (free) high quality software. its not bad for the it industry as well as open source software is a hoard of innovation and invention.

but, and of course there is a but, it changes how people think about software. open source software creates the impression that all software is for free and that all software should be for free.

software enterpreneurs always had the problem of pirate copies, and it definetley is a problem of explaining the system of software licensing to standard computer users. many think, that, when they buy a software product, they actually buy the product itself, but that is not quite true of course, because they only buy the right to use the software (often only over a limited period or without updates).

so with the rise of open source software the very lucrative business with software licenses will come to an end sooner or later, as people just don't want to buy a license for the product, a support license,...

you might think, "who cares??, its primarily a problem for microsoft". that is true, of course, but only partly. its a much bigger thread to small software enterpreneurs and small start-ups who have a really cool application and wants to sell it for maybe 50$ - 150$. they are the real losers of the rise of open source software. this software are mostly specialised tools and are aimed to home users primarily. but as mentioned above, home users don't want to buy software, they want to have it for free.

so are those small business all going bankrupt? - the answer is maybe they are, but with the rise of open source software, there also appeared a different light for small software businesses. the light was the iphone. yes, the iphone, no typing mistake. what the hell has the iphone to do with open source software as the iphone is definetly not open source?

the answer is apples appstore. i think this is a revolutionary development. it offers everybody, capable of programming, a global sales platform. yes, yes the internet might also be a global sales platform but you have to get interent users on your website, unlike the appstore where you search for products or only keywords. the appstore also created a market place for small, cheap and specialised tools.

if you are offering a software product on your homepage for about 50$ for an unlimited license you may be happy when you sell a dozen per month. but in the appstore, you have a lot more audience so you may create for your software product a mobile version and you offer it for about 5$ and you may sell it hundreds of times per month.

but apples appstore was only the beginning, nokia started ovi, rim started the blackberry appstore, windows started the windows market place, google started its android store and sun, announced a few month ago the java appstore. these are good news for all software developers as you have with these appstores, a global sales platform available - at very low cost.

back to open source software for a moment, because there is still a lot of money you can make with it, especially, when you offer it for enterprises. you may not charge them any license fees, but what you can offer is, implementation/installation, support/maintenance, customisation and tools or training. this is no revolutionary thought and sooner or later, i believe, that the licensing business will die, including licenses for enterprise software such as offered by sap, oracle and others.

so when one door closes (commercial software), another one opens (commercial software offered in appstores).

i am looking forward to developing software for the appstores and i am looking forward to participating in open source software. the it industry is heading towards a bright future full of innovation and invention

Saturday, August 15, 2009

thoughts on twitter

i'll give you a short introduction, because probably that post might get a little longer.

but before there's a warning: if my conclusions or arguments are wrong or if you think, all i'm writing about is either thrash or already known for decades, then simply tell me :-)

this post is going to be all about twitter, why i think its useless but also rocks.

are you considering twitter as "real hot stuff"? well actually i do and i don't. afaik they don't even have a real business plan. i think the final product, so the application itself that allows us to tweet 140 char blogs and allows us to follow celebs and find out how long they've been on the toilet today and other crap that is considered to be essential knowledge that the whole world should know about, is a nice wrap around for the actual asset that twitter has: their real time search engine. the technology thats under the hood is most interesting. and as always the more users aka twitteres there are the mightier twitter will become.

i always thought most of those 140 char blogs are just idiotic. everyday you have a whole bunch of tweets, no is absolutely interested like, "just got up and made a coffee" or "waiting for my plane/train/taxi/friend/whatever". tweets are also useless when cnn or bbc are posting the news of the day, because sometimes you don't even get the essence of it, "obama meets merkel to discuss bla bla bla". so this might be interesting 'cause you know they've met and discussed some stuff but is this really everything that happened??

but now back to the live search engine which really rocks. what twitter can do is statistically evaluating all those posts and then what? well if they really can evaluate all posts, then they may foresee new hypes. it's about the same as google did with its flu recognition, only much, much hotter.

you want an example? you have a few twitterers that are always posting stuff like "sitting at the airport", "waiting for my plane", "just landed in XXX and its raining heavily". is this useful information? not for mankind actually. for twitter yes. why? ads, ads, ads and ads. at least some refinancing for them. that's nice but what about hypes? that's the clue, most standard twitterers post what is on their mind. "only 2 days until the neil young concert", "just visited vienna, and it rocked!!!". so with posts like that you may find out which city is in and which is out. you find out which new movie rocks and which sucks. you know what are people looking forward to. thats potentially more personal information than those people have on facebook (ahhh that's way they just bought friendfeed...).

maybe this is just obvious (which i think it is, thats why i posted it and thats also why i am actually not a high paid analyst at fortune 500 company...). and analytic tools are going to have a really big future, so the war is going to be about who's got the hottest analytics tool. actually that's no news as hal varian just said so recently in the ny times

the web is full of personal data, and evaluating them is not just for advertising purposes. will there be the possibility that maybe some insurance companies evaluate tweets to find out who's a strong smoker? possible. is there the possibilty that maybe banks are trying to evaluate if there is much risk of giving any client a credit after their client posted "just lost 1000$ at the casino again". i am a software developer which implies that i am a nerd in one or the other way which also implies that i am paranoid...yes i believe all that is possible.

so concluding, twitter is sitting on a big treasure (all our thoughts) and they probably are smart enough to know that. and their treasure is probably bigger and worthier than googles and maybe also facebooks treasure. i think they know about that as well.

the good for twitter is they are absolutely hyping at the moment and can build and improve their real time search engine through that. even if, maybe tomorrow, no one is interested in twitter any more, they still have their analytics stuff which is their hottest asset.

Friday, August 14, 2009

hell yeah, this is my first post, in itunes beethovens 9th is coming to its climax to emphasise the importance to the world and the web of this moment. i am trying to think of any intelligent quote of maybe nietzsche or platon but that would be stupid.

as nobody but me will ever read that crappy post again, i am posting some own creation, of what i think is most philosophic:

behind the doors of heaven
is hell
behind the doors of perception
is yourself