Instability

The problem is that the "world out there" is constantly changing, everything is impermanent and it is impossible to make a permanent relationship with anything, at all.

From a brief introduction to Buddhism by Mike Butler.

The idea behind open source

Karl Fogel has it pretty much clear in Chapter 1 of his book: "Open Source Development with CVS - 2ND EDITION":

Imagine a science-fiction device that allows any sort of food or physical object to be infinitely duplicated. If somebody then tried to sell you a tire for your car, why in the world would you buy it? You could just throw your friend’s tire into the duplicator! However, you might want to pay somebody to design a new tire for you or perhaps to install the tire on your car. Or to help you when some other part of your car breaks, you might want to buy a warranty for future support. Or maybe just hire a personal mechanic.

Similarly, in a world where all software is in the public domain and infinitely reproducible, programmers and software companies are able to make a good living not by restricting the flow of software, but by providing a service. Users pay the programmers and companies to design and write new public domain software, as well as install, maintain, customize, troubleshoot, and teach others about it. A programmer or company sells labor, not products — much like a mechanic, plumber, or electrician.

Introducing i18n and l10n

When you develop a piece of software or a website up to a certain point, there comes a time when you try to reach an international audience.

No doubt your first move will be to provide an English version of your software or website.

However, you will soon realize this is not enough. Of course, many people do understand English to some extent; but you have to realize how painful it can be for them. Maybe you don't even realize how easily you can understand English compared to the average. Of course, if you are yourself a native English speaker, you need to try and imagine that every software you use comes in French or German by default! How would you feel about that? :P

Furthermore, you may have spent some time on making your software or website accessible. Users can now change the font size and enhance contrast if they have trouble reading those lines of funky rendered text... That's fine... but what's the use if their problem is not with the formatting but with the language!?

Full story »

When the browser wars began...

Eric Sink has this very interesting piece about how he witnessed the beggining of the browser wars, working at Spyglass (the company that licensed the original IE rendering engine to Miscrosoft).

About Spyglass:

"We considered ourselves to be the arms dealer for the browser wars."


IT independant innovation... dead?

Two quotes from PHPeverywhere:

"Perhaps the problem is that the computer industry is maturing, so all the cool corners where you could do your own thing in peace are disappearing slowly..."

-John Lim: "Gamma Radiation from Microsoft turns open source advocates into Sulks"

"[We] are caught between a rock and a cheap place, where your software cannot get enough market share in a world dominated by Microsoft (and other BigCos), and at the same time your niche is being commoditized by free software.

The only way to make money in the IT industry nowadays unless you have colossal market share (which you use to eat up niches such as anti-virus software) or are creative enough to compete in the PC-gaming industry, is by combining your products with services. And make sure your services is the main component, otherwise you risk going out of business when your product is commoditized. The whole industry is moving this way, from minnows like my company to giants like IBM (which is the furthest in this transition, buying up Rational and PWC). Sun is learning it the hard way."

-John Lim: Tim O'Reilly: "The Open Source Paradigm Shift"

And make sure you don't miss Eric Kidd's "The Missing Future". Excellent!