Administrivia

The House-hunt shuffle

Our house hunt continued on Monday night, as we looked at a few more houses in Bel Air. Nothing was a home run; that's okay, because we have a LOT of work to do before we can even think of putting our house on the market.

Paula panicked a bit afterward thinking about all that, after having faced the hard-sell of the mortgage broker who did a pre-approval for us (which we had asked for just to make sure we could get a mortgage if we needed one). She felt like the press was on her. I was irritable to begin with on Monday, and her vibes made me even more so. And it didn't help that we only saw one house that remotely fit into our criteria.

So, now we're just sort of waiting for the right listing to come to the surface. We've set the end of the school year again as our target move date, subject to change if the right house suddenly pops up and we have to scramble to get it. Of course, the big question is where interest rates will be by then, and what the state of the housing market will be.

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buzzword compliance, General Chaos

Closed Open Source

A pointer from Mike Sax led me to venture capitalist Tim Oren's weblog entry about open source software as a business model. Oren raises the case of MySQL's two-track licensing: a GPL license for open source developers, and a commercial license for those who want to write commercial, non-open source applications with it. The commercial license protects developers against the “viral” nature of the GPL, meaning that anything they do with the code can be kept proprietary. (Novell recently acquired a commercial license of MySQL for its new version of NetWare.)

That's an intriguing approach–one I had been aware of before, but I hadn't really considered the the implications of it. The commercial license includes access to the MySQL JDBC, ODBC and C-based database access drivers from MySQL AB, which are not open source. Developers building pure open source applications can use MySQL freely under the GPL license; anybody who wants to tweak the code of MySQL itself has to buy a commercial license.

Again–the core is GPL; the tools to exploit the core for commercial purposes are not. Open source development is encouraged, while a revenue stream–the real revenue stream, in my mind–is maintained.

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General Chaos

People need not apply (here at least)

In today's Times:

Demand Rises, but Will U.S. Manufacturing Rebound?. Prices of industrial commodities are rising swiftly, but U.S. manufacturing jobs are still on the decline. By Jonathan Fuerbringer. [New York Times: Business]

The answer to the question is: U.S. manufacturing may rebound, but there won't be many jobs created in the process. With even high-skill jobs being moved overseas, and major manufacturers outsourcing more and more of their labor-intensive processes. They're all about efficiency, and maximizing their margins in a low-margin business.

My prediction–we'll see prices go way up before manufacturers start to up production here; they'll let demand get red-hot before they add to the supply. And as much of that increase in production as possible will be pushed off on overseas outsourcers, while America becomes more and more a nation of Wal-Mart associates.

Standard
buzzword compliance, General Chaos

Sun’s Open Debate

Alan Williamson and Simon Phipps are playing a bit of “point-counterpoint” on the profitability of open source. What's interesting here is that Simon, the Sun insider, is the one taking the pro-open source position. [Of course, Simon has been taking that position for quite some time, so it's not really that interesting. ]

I've had a bit of debate with some others over this issue myself. How, one friend asked, can Sun take Java (for example) open source when Jonathan Schwartz is shifting its whole business model toward software?

As Simon says (no pun intended), that question is based on confusion between a development methodology and a business model. Sun owns more than just Java–it owns a stack of software and services built upon Java. The Java language development process is a money-losing effort for Sun–it makes all its money off of the technology that is built on top of that language. So, if Sun were to pull, say, a C# with Java and make the language itself an open standard, while keeping its pieces of the runtime technology proprietary, it would still be able to derive a profit from its products built on Java and improve the cost structure (and the quality) of the maintenance of the underlying programming language.

There are already major chunks of Java technology in the open source domain–Tomcat and JBoss come to mind. But what Sun really needs to do is open up the language itself to the community, while continuing to build a profitable business further up the stack, so to speak.

Standard
buzzword compliance, General Chaos

Sun's Open Debate

Alan Williamson and Simon Phipps are playing a bit of “point-counterpoint” on the profitability of open source. What's interesting here is that Simon, the Sun insider, is the one taking the pro-open source position. [Of course, Simon has been taking that position for quite some time, so it's not really that interesting. ]

I've had a bit of debate with some others over this issue myself. How, one friend asked, can Sun take Java (for example) open source when Jonathan Schwartz is shifting its whole business model toward software?

As Simon says (no pun intended), that question is based on confusion between a development methodology and a business model. Sun owns more than just Java–it owns a stack of software and services built upon Java. The Java language development process is a money-losing effort for Sun–it makes all its money off of the technology that is built on top of that language. So, if Sun were to pull, say, a

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