Nothing like a handgrenade of doubt to cause the venture capitalists to scuttle for cover. Is the investment in open source a bubble? Fuck no. $144 million into open source based companies is nothing at all. A drop in the bucket compared to the amount of venture money out there right now. Unfortunately something like this ends up causing doubt, and putting pressure on the open source folks to post immediate returns when their venture backers start getting nervous that they bought into open source and now others are pausing before dipping their fingers into the pot. As for any open source company requiring a community, sure it’s a good base metric. If all you’re doing is cookie cutter matching of investment profiles, sure, put that in there as a checkbox. But I’m sure there’s someone else who’s going to come up and prove that wrong at some point. A company with a strong internal development team and an open source product that uses the open nature of their offering as more of a risk management lever for their customers than a development technique for including outside resources. There are other models out there I’m sure. I thought venture was supposed to help find those other models, not just pile on the one that’s already there.
After Defcon I mentioned the big blowup with Cisco. Just to follow up on that thread, they’ve now announced a patch for the vulnerability. Pretty much blowing away the theory that some folks had that this was an attack that didn’t really work in the wild. Three month response time for a major security issue. Wow that sucks. It’s a good thing they have all that money to use to supress the information so that they can take their sweet time.
I went to Tagcamp this past weekend, fantastic event. I met a ton of new people, which is always fun. A lot of great information and new projects. Although I missed her presentation, I found out about Rashmi’s cognitive analysis of tagging while I was there. I think the two images there explain why tagging is different than categorization better than anything else I’ve seen before. The session that Marshall Kirkpatrick was very lively. The conversation focused on making tagging more accessible to users. If tagging really is a different model for organizing information how can we provide that in a way that doesn’t include a large cliff to adoption? Some of the folks proposed getting together sets of user stories as a start to finding the common bits and root drivers for successful adoption. Unfortunately I can’t find where anyone has written down that tag, the notes from the session seem to have gotten rightly fucked. Anyone have another copy of the notes floating around on a hard drive?
I’ve been wandering around a bit lately, so fixing the DHCP problem I had with the ipw2200 drivers under Linux on the Thinkpad was finally a priority. I was about to apply a patch I had a pointer to, when I saw that there are new versions out:
One of the things I hear pretty often is “sometimes you just have to go with the lesser evil”. Now, granted, I probably tend to get myself into situations that would spark that remark more often than is normal. But I’m sure most of you have heard it somewhere along the line. It’s not like that really solves anything though. Evil is supposed to be all trixie and insidious. Make you think you’re doing good when you’re really doing evil. The ol’ bait and switch. If I knew which was the lesser evil I wouldn’t be pondering in the first place. So instead of pondering I just built an app to help: Lesser Evil. So that I can find out what everyone else’s take on Lesser Evil is. Should help right around election time. And I threw Cthulhu and Evil Lincoln in there as controls, cause everyone knows nothings really more evil than Evil Lincoln except Cthulhu. So if they end getting voted the lesser evil I know all you people are lying.
What Russ says is definitely true, taking a videocast and putting it up on The Big Screen in the living room is certainly much different than watching it on your desktop or on a device. I knew that though, and I’ve been a pretty big video fan for a long time. So I just want to give a hat tip to the folks who I’ve been watching who made it obvious that peer produced video content was going to make a huge difference:
I’m moderating a panel tomorrow on social software. It looks like the impetus for the discussion might have been a recent article in the MIT Technology Review about Social Computing. The panel participants and I have been emailing this week talking about what the discussion points for the panel should be. It’s pretty obvious that “Social Networking” has become a pretty corrupted term meaning just about any software that involves a community of users. I know that I’m personally jazzed about continuous/ubiquitous computing and the transformation in online services that accompanies access to information at the decision point instead of just on the desktop. I’m also pretty happy about the decomposition of the silos of information that made up the previous versions of online services into services which include APIs as major components of their offerings.
Jeff Clavier posted a pointer to a liveblogged session with five teenagers at Web 2.0. Definitely worth a read if you’re thinking about consumer internet services.
Apple is apparently updating hardware without telling folks so that they can clear inventory. Interesting. Wonder what happens when the Intel based systems come out? They just going to get quitly slipped in too?
This mention of lightweight cooperative multithreading and coroutines caught my eye for some reason. Maybe cause it’s been a while since I wrote anything in C and I got a patch this morning for one of my open source palm programs. Which of course got me thinking about programs that write programs, a concept which gets discovered and rediscovered often enough that I think I’ve seen it about a half dozen times in my relatively short career. Given the new gig I’ve been thinking a lot about domain specific languages, abstraction, and metaprogramming. In particular I’ve been thinking about the tradeoffs between mature systems that exhibit good abstraction and the cut-and-paste reuse that most people instinctively sneer at. Programming in C actually tends to mix the two styles quite a bit. C code tends to be maleable because of the tools available to shape it, the (often abused) macro facility, and the ability to do just about anything you want with your types if you use pointers. Watching something like the Linux kernel evolve through sets of patches makes you realize that there is a metalanguage in the deltas. Over time interface points in the code shift and join, moving from interfaces used in change sets to interfaces instantiated in the model of the program itself.
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