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Profit and FOSS


I could blog about this topic for months but recently I found two interesting articles [1] , [2] related to how can somebody make profit from FOSS.  In this post I would like to mention the parts of the articles that called my attention .

About profit and challenges

First of all you can have a look at the following diagram



” In spite of the future being increasingly open source, there are lurking challenges. One of the biggest challenges is competing against proprietary companies with a different model. “This means that it’s more difficult keeping things open source because a lot of senior partners don’t understand it. So, they think that open source could be a business risk,” says Google’s Sengupta. “But that barrier is now reducing each month and year,” says Evans.

Open source is hard to define and everyone has their own definition of it (see Box). Software’s legal dilemmas are probably messier than the bugs plaguing it. So there are always challenges with licences, software freedom and on reaching a consensus about what is open source and what is proprietary.

Another perception is that being open source means not only free source code but also free of cost, monetarily. This is partly because of the double meanings of the world “free” and partly because there are some very strong free products by organizations like Apache, which are fully free of cost. Then, there’s the trouble of the community: which is the very engine of open source. There are hundreds of thousands of developers. You have to find the right meaningful segment of the developer community, fit for your need, and excite them into building your specific application.

Being open means that your competition can see what you are up to. This may keep you constantly on your toes and ensure that you always keep your products’ quality top-notch. “But because everyone knows what you are up to, you can never have the Steve Jobs/Apple moment of ‘wow!’. So, purely from a PR perspective, open source can be tough,” says Sengupta.

Cloud Computing

” Finding the right line between the indie cult spirit of developer community and a sturdy, trustworthy enterprise-ready product is also another challenge for open source. Things like firewall, storage, and others could not be disrupted by open source for a long time due to reliability issues. But then times are changing and open source’s merits nevertheless outshine its flaws. And even open source red flags like storage are doing well. In October, Babu sold Gluster, his open source storage startup, to Red Hat for $136 million. For a software startup, being open will eventually not be a matter of choice.

Rather than waste precious funds in marketing, being open popularises the startup’s product resulting in a wider adoption. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, opening up its technology can bring a business more money.”

According to some, OpenStack got started when NASA was building their Nebula infrastructure cloud, and were working with Eucalyptus to get the job done. But, there were problems.

Eucalyptus uses an open core model with its customers, which means there’s an open source “core” software product they give to community users for free and commercial add-ons for which they charge customers. ”

Business models

“The freedom to change and rework software can be fairly profitable too. Although open source is a buzzword today, RedHat — the company synonymous with open source — showed way back in the early 1990s that it could be a profitable and sustainable business model. RedHat’s is a subscription-based model wherein users subscribe to its consulting services for free products like ‘Red Hat Enterprise Linux’ and ‘JBoss application server’. Today, the public company has revenue of well over $900 million.

Like RedHat put value into a free product like Linux, IBM too did quite well improving and adding value to existing free products like the Apache web server. It added hooks, which enabled IBM to use its own custom web server platform. IBM also has a basic enterprise software based on Apache Geronimo, wherein again it offers a better product with better capacity.

RedHat’s service offering and IBM’s product offering represent the two major business models in open source. “But just like there is no perfect one-for-all software, there is no particular open source model that’s good for all. You need to focus on what your customer wants,” says Babu. That’s for software, but the philosophy of freedom which open source embodies, is spreading. “If you have a commodity, you may as well be open,” says Greg Stein, an advocate of open source software and director of the Apache Software Foundation. That includes hardware, which might be very proprietary today. But things like Apache’s Arduino platform for instance, are beginning to make inroads into open hardware experimentation.

And as hardware gets increasingly commoditised — with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) becoming ubiquitous — it is destined to go more open source. “Where we are with open hardware today is where we were with open source software a decade ago,” says Stein. Though relegated primarily to enterprise spaces, open source as an idea might be coming to consumers too. Apple’s trademark iTunes was forced to move away to include playing music on non-Apple devices as well. Today, the TV market is in a flurry with a lot of player technology moving into cable boxes. People use their XBoxes to access Netflix movies. Others plug in their tablets to projectors or television sets. And Internet TV is on the rise.

Personal preferences mean that consumers will make their own choices and not be locked into devices like earlier. “Now with everything getting so customized that we will see more open source software at a consumer level,” says Stein. ‘”


While there are load of people who have issues with Red Hat, SUSE Linux, and Canonical (to name three commercial vendors), those issues don’t seem to center around that these companies are out to make a buck (or euro or pound). Making a profit is not immoral. People recognize that delivering value, be it human or code or materials, deserves to get paid. The moral issues come into play when someone goes too far and takes advantage of the customer.

[1] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-11-15/news/30401682_1_open-source-opensource-software-products

[2] http://www.itworld.com/cloud-computing/257812/profits-considered-immoral-open-source-community


Linux profitability [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical]


People involved in the FOSS movement ,claim that FOSS companies do have profits and benefits of open source. In this post  I will present some piece of information about the most significant ones [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical] [1]

Case studies


In the summer 2012, at “SUSEcon 2012,” [3] SUSE itself was announced to be profitable, with revenues above $200 million (USD), with expectations of continued revenue growth into 2013.

I have to point out that, SUSE offers some pretty interesting services and products, including SUSE Linux Enterprise (in both Server and Desktop versions), server management tools, enterprise level support deals and SUSEStudio.

Red Hat :

The last December reported a profit of $38.2 million, with a revenue of $322 million for the quarter. Like SUSE, their success is not terribly surprising. Red Hat Enterprise server alone (and its various support deals and tools) is a huge business with a large user base. You can find more about Red Hats profit and financial statement here [2]

Cannonical :

In Canonical case , things seems to be different as Canonical is a privately held company and hasn’t released a great deal of financial information. But what we do know is this: Back in 2009, Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Canonical) stated that it was “creeping” towards its break-even point in revenue (roughly $30 million).

Then, during the announcement for Canonical’s latest project (Ubuntu for Tablets), Shuttleworth stated that the company was not yet profitable. And that’s just about the most detailed information we’ve gotten so far. Canonical estimates that there are roughly 20 million Ubuntu users worldwide. But, for SUSE and Red Hat, things are a bit more complicated, as there are multiple flavors to consider (Red Hat Enterprise, Fedora, openSUSE, Suse Linux Enterprise).


In 2010, openSUSE installations were estimated at over 2 million. Fedora (the Open Source, community distro that Red Hat Enterprise is based on) reports roughly 3.5 million unique IPs connecting to their software repository for the most recent version. Seems that companies have many and different ways to measure their success and profit.



[1] http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/linux-profitability-how-successful-are-companies-behind-biggest-versions-linux

[2] http://investors.redhat.com/financials-statements.cfm

[3] http://www.susecon.com/archive.html

The Academic aspect of FOSS Legal Issues

Searching in the web for FOSS legal issues you can find articles , posts in blogs -forums and various piece of information. The aim of this post is not to to show how to search for this kind of information but to mention how universities and the academic interpret legal issues related with FOSS..

Let’s see what’s going on then :

a) The Software Freedom Law Center published , before 5 years , a great paper called A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects ( it is also available as  PDF).  So if you are a software user, this is a great read and gives you a better understanding of why software licenses are so important. Furthermore if you are a software developer,  and particularly if you are a developer working in the FOSS world  I couldn’t find any reason not to read this paper.

b) Fitzgerald, Brian F. and  Suzor, Nicolas P.  in 2005 published a paper with title “Legal issues for the use of free and open source software in government”[Melbourne University Law Review, 29(2), pp. 412-447.]. It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here.

c)  Andrés Guadamuz González [University of Edinburgh, UK]  published a paper , in 2005 , with title “The calm before the storm? Legal challenges to open source licences” .  It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here

d) Steve H. Lee [Harvard University,MA,USA] published a paper [in draft form] , in 1999 , with title “Open Source Software Licensing” .  It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here.

For sure you can find more papers and publications related to FOSS legal issues , in my opinion I listed the most important ones.


Top FOSS Legal Issues [part1]

Taking about FOSS and law issues could last for years…To be more concrete I found some stuff relate to FOSS lawsuits…In this post I will list the Top 10 legal issues [with some details] for 2007 , as this year was a very active one. Let’s the issues then :

1. Publication of GPLv3. The GPLv2 continues to be the most widely used FOSS license, yet the law relating to software has developed significantly since the publication of the original publication of the GPLv2 in 1991. However the new GPLv3 license is much more comprehensive than GPLv2 and addresses the new issues which have arisen in software law in the last 15 years.

2. SCO’s Attack on Linux Collapses. SCO filed lawsuits claiming that Linux infringed SCO’s copyrights in UNIX. These suits suffered a fatal blow when the court in the Novell litigation found that SCO did not own the copyrights in UNIX. The ownership of the copyrights is essential to prosecute cases for copyright infringement. The melt down of SCO’s strategy was complete when it filed for bankruptcy soon after this loss.

3. First Legal Opinion on Enforcing a FOSS License. In August, the district court in San Francisco surprised many lawyers by ruling that the remedies for breach of the Artistic License were in contract, not copyright. Most lawyers believe that the failure to comply with the major terms of an open source license means that the licensee is a copyright infringer and, thus, can obtain “injunctive relief” (which means that the court orders a party to cease their violation). On the other hand, if the remedy is limited to contract remedies, then the standard remedy would be limited to monetary damages. Such damages are of limited value to open source licensors. The district court decision has been appealed.

4. First US Lawsuit to Enforce GPLv2. The Software Freedom Law Center filed the first lawsuit to enforce the GPL for the BusyBox software in August. Subsequently, it filed three other lawsuits. Although the first three lawsuits were against small companies, the most recent lawsuit was against Verizon. These lawsuits represent a new approach for the SFLC which, in the past, has preferred negotiation to litigation. SFLC has settled two of the lawsuits. Each of the settlements has required that the defendants pay damages, another new development. These suits may be the first of many.

5. First Patent Infringement Lawsuit by Patent Trolls against FOSS Vendors. IP Innovation LLC (and Technology Licensing Corporation) filed suit against Red Hat and Novell in what may be the first volley in a patent war against a FOSS vendor. Acacia is a well known patent troll which has been buying patents for some time and works through multiple subsidiaries. The FOSS industry provides a tempting target because of its rapid growth. These suits could slow the expansion of FOSS because many potential licensees express concern about potential liability for infringement of third party rights by FOSS.

6. First Patent Lawsuit by a Commercial Competitor against a FOSS Vendor. Network Appliances, Inc. (“NetApps”) sued Sun Microsystems, Inc. (“Sun”) for patent infringement by Sun’s ZFS file system in its Solaris operating system. The ZFS file system posed a challenge to NetApps products because it permits the connection of less expensive storage devices to the operating system.

7. Microsoft Obtains Approval of Two Licenses by OSI. Microsoft Corporation continues its schizophrenic approach to FOSS by simultaneously asserting that the Linux operating system violates Microsoft’s patents and submitting two licenses for approval by OSI. In October, the OSI Board approved the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) as consistent with the Open Source Definition.
8. German Court Finds that Skype Violates GPLv2 The enforcement of the GPLv2 in Germany continues with a Munich court finding that Skype had violated GPLv2 by not including the source code with the binary version of the software (instead, Skype had included a “flyer” with a URL describing where to find the source code version). The suit was brought by Harald Welte, who has been the plaintiff in virtually all of the German enforcement actions for GPLv2. Harald runs gpl-violations.org, an organization which he founded to track down and prosecute violators of the GPL.

9. New License Options. Two of the most controversial issues in FOSS licensing, network use and attribution, were addressed in new licenses adopted this year. A “network use” provision imposes a requirement that when a program makes functions available through a computer network, the user may obtain the source code of the program. Essentially, it extends the trigger requiring providing a copy of the source code from “distribution” of the object code (as required under the GPLv2) to include making the functions available over a computer network. An “attribution” provision requires that certain phrases or images referring to the developing company be included in the program. This provision was very controversial on the License Discuss email list for OSI. The Free Software Foundation published the Affero General Public License in the fall which expanded the scope of the GPLv3 to include a “network use” provision. A limited form of attribution was included in the GPLv3. And OSI approved the Common Public Attribution License which included both the “network use” and “attribution” provisions.

10. Creation of Linux Foundation. The Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group merged to form the Linux Foundation. The FOSS industry is unusual because of the extent to which it depends on non profit entities for guidance. These entities include the OSI, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Apache Foundation and Eclipse Foundation. This merger provides a much stronger platform to promote Linux and open standards.

Seems that 2007 brought to the light legal issues , lawsuits and very interesting piece of information related to FOSS. We can see that Free and Open Source software is not only related with software development but also with courts and various lawsuits.

Reference : http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.blogspot.com.es/2007/12/2007-top-ten-free-and-open-source-legal.html

Top FOSS Legal Issues [part2]

As in the previous post we saw the first part of the Top 10 FOSS Legal Issues , in this article we will focus on other Top 10 FOSS legal issues not for the year 2007 but for the year 2012.

1. Android Patent Litigation. The litigation surrounding the Android operating system has continued around the world. Although some of the cases have settled, the litigation has continued to result in multiple decisions in different countries. One of the most important decisions occurred in Silicon Valley: on August 24, 2012, the jury awarded Apple Computer, Inc. (“Apple”) $1.05 billion in damages for Samsung’s violation of its patents. The decision is particularly interesting because the lawsuit involved four design patents and three utility patents (Since we represent some of the parties in other matters, I offer no opinion on the correctness of the decision). Many intellectual property lawyers have been skeptical about the value of design patents, particularly in comparison to utility patents. This decision will undoubtedly cause a re-assessment of the value of design patents. However, more recently, in the same case, the judge refused to grant Apple a permanent injunction against the distribution of the Samsung products found to be infringing. This decision will be appealed and we will not know the final answer for some time. The multiple cases will undoubtedly continue next year.

2. Protection of APIs: Oracle v. Google. A separate but related case also involved the Android operating system. Oracle sued Google for the alleged infringement of Oracle’s copyrights in the Java software (which it had acquired from Sun Microsystems, Inc.) and certain Oracle patents. Oracle alleged that Google’s Android operating system infringes the copyrights in “twelve code files and 37 specifications for application programming interface packages”. The results of the dispute were complicated because the judge first had the jury make a decision about copyright infringement but reserved for himself the decision about whether the application programming interfaces (“APIs”) were copyrightable. Thus, in early May, the jury found that Google had infringed the copyrights in Oracle’s APIs (although they deadlocked on whether the copying was “fair use”).

3. EU Copyright Law Does Not Protect Computer Language and Functions. The SAS Institute, Inc. (“SAS”) v. World Programming, Limited (“WPL”) decision in the European Court of Justice involved the scope of copyright protection for computer programs and has important implications for FOSS and the scope of “derivative works” under copyright law http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2012-05/cp120053en.pdf. The case addresses issues similar to the Oracle v. Google case described above (in fact, Judge Alsup asked for a briefing from the parties in the Google case after the SAS decision was announced). The case involved the copying of the scripts and certain functions of the SAS analytical software. The SAS software enables users to write and run their own application programs in order to adapt the SAS software to work with their data. These “application programs” are called “scripts” and are written in a language which is peculiar to the SAS software. WPL recognized that a market existed for alternative software capable of executing application programs written in the SAS language. WPL produced the ‘World Programming System’, designed to emulate the SAS components as closely as possible in that, with a few minor exceptions, it attempted to ensure that the same inputs would produce the same outputs. This approach would enable users of the SAS software to run the “scripts” which they have developed for use with the SAS software on the ‘World Programming System’.The court found that such functions and programming language were not protected under the EU Directive on Protection of Computer Programs: Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs must be interpreted as meaning that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs for the purposes of that directive.

4. Expansion of Open Source Initiative. The Open Source Initiative (“OSI”) has decided to broaden its base by expanding its role as an advocacy organization. The OSI has reached started membership programs for individuals and affiliated organizations (as a matter of transparency, I am outside general counsel to the OSI on a pro bono basis). OSI describes this change as follows: “The OSI is moving its governance from a model of volunteer and self-appointed directors to one driven by members. Our high-level objectives in doing so are to provide a broad meeting place for everyone who shares an interest in open source software, with the continuing aim of strengthening the OSI so that it can more effectively fulfill its goals over the long term.” The Affiliate Program has successfully signed up over twenty open source organizations include among others the Linux Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Debian and OW2.

5. Unlicensed FOSS. One disturbing trend is the posting of FOSS modules without licenses. Simon Phipps focused on this problem in his recent blog, particularly on the problems raised by the terms of service at Github. James Governor, the founder of analyst Red Monk, is quoted by Simon as stating: “”younger devs today are about POSS – Post open source software. f*** the license and governance, just commit to github” http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/github-needs-take-open-source-seriously-208046. As I mentioned in my earlier post, http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=708, this approach will undercut the major desire of most FOSS developers: the broad use of their code. The lack of a license ensures that the software will be removed from any product meant to be used by corporations. Corporations are very sensitive about ensuring that all software that they use or which is incorporated in their products is properly licensed. I have worked on the analysis of hundreds of software programs and the response to software without a clear license is almost always “rip it out”. In addition, as I discuss in more detail in the post, this approach could also subject the developer to liability under the Uniform Commercial Code (an admittedly low probability).

6. Qualification of FOSS under the Trade Agreement Act. Talend, a licensor of open source enterprise software, has recently received a ruling from the U.S. Customs Service corroborating that its software complies with the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (19 USC 2511 et seq.) (“TAA”). FOSS adoption by the US Federal government must comply with many regulations, some of which can be difficult given the nature of modern software development.

7. Contributor Agreements Redux. Recently, the issues of contribution agreements arose in the departure of Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos from the GnuTLS project http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/529522/854aed3fb6398b79.  GnuTLS is “a secure communications library implementing the SSL,TLS and DTLS protocols”. The project was commenced in 2000 under the GNU project. As is true of all GNU projects, the copyrights in the contributions are assigned to the Free Software Foundation (“FSF”). When Nikos left, Richard Stallman reminded him that he could fork the project, but that the FSF would retain ownership of copyright in the project code. The LWN article concludes that the basis for copyright assignment “seems to be weak”. I disagree with this conclusion and Bradley Kuhn makes some very cogent arguments in the comment sections. Copyright assignment does provide the manager of the FOSS project (in this case, FSF) with significant advantages in enforcement as well as changing the license of a project. Without an assignment, a licensee can raise several potential defenses (such as a license from an alleged joint copyright owner) whose strength is uncertain. In addition, any change in the project license would require the approval of each contributor to the project. However, copyright assignments also mean that the community needs to be comfortable that the project strategy of the project manager is aligned with the community. However, as FOSS projects continue for a longer period, this alignment may be more difficult to determine in advance. And this approach also poses practical problems for the FOSS project manager: the project manager needs to be very disciplined about getting the written assignments from all contributors. Such assignments may be difficult to obtain from developers employed by a corporation because corporations are reluctant to assign intellectual property rights. This dispute emphasizes the importance of FOSS projects and their contributors carefully considering the needs of the project when deciding on how to obtain the necessary rights in contributions. Project Harmony provides information and proposed agreements to assist FOSS projects to make these decisions http://harmonyagreements.org/. Once determined, the method of implementation of a contribution agreement is important: the Eclipse Foundation also provides an excellent summary of their approach to due diligence issues relating to accepting contributions http://www.eclipse.org/legal/EclipseLegalProcessPoster.pdf.

8. Rise of Open Source Collaborations. Open source collaborations have become an increasingly important strategy for companies to address major software development problems. This trend is best illustrated this year by the creation of the OpenStack Foundation (“Foundation”). The Foundation takes over the OpenStack project from a Rackspace who had managed project for several years (as a matter of transparency, I represent the Foundation). OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter. The Foundation is run by a board of twenty four members, with eight members representing individuals, eight members representing Gold Members and eight members representing Platinum Members. The Foundation has over 150 corporate members and more than 6,000 individual members http://www.openstack.org/. In a second example, Deutsche Bank announced in September the formation of the Lodestone Foundation to coordinate the development of IT solutions for capital market companies http://lodestonefoundation.com/. The OpenStack Foundation and the Lodestone Foundation join the many foundations who manage open source collaborations for combinations of corporations which include, among others, the Linux Foundation, Genivi Alliance and Eclipse Foundation.

9. UK Government Adopts Open Standard Principles. The UK government adopted Open Standards Principles in government IT procurement through a Cabinet Report http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/open-standards-consultation-documents. The report adopted Open Standards to encourage “software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT specifications.” One of the goals of the adoption of the Open Standard Principles was to ensure that FOSS and proprietary software could compete on an equal level. One important requirement of UK Open Standard Principles is that the patent rights for the standards must be available on a royalty free basis: “rights essential to implementation of the standard, and for interfacing with other implementations which have adopted that same standard, are licensed on a royalty free basis that is compatible with both open source and proprietary licensed solutions.

10. More Standardized Process on FOSS Compliance by Large Companies. In my practice, I have seen an acceleration of an existing trend: many large companies are much more focused on FOSS compliance and are developing standardized procedures to ensure compliance. I work with many small companies entering into commercial relationships with large companies as well as large companies entering into commercial relationships and purchasing smaller companies. Although some technology companies have developed and implemented such procedures for commercial relationships for several years, such processes have recently become much more widespread and sophisticated. They range from elaborate contractual provisions relating to remedies to special procedures for “remediation” through removal of certain modules and developing functionally compatible software. Although a limited number of technology companies have also implemented a separate due diligence process for FOSS compliance in acquisitions for several years, these practices are also spreading more widely to both technology companies and non-technology companies. Acquiring companies are even willing to change the form of a transaction to avoid potential FOSS compliance problems: recently, I worked with a company that shifted an acquisition from a merger to a sale of assets primarily based on FOSS compliance concerns. This development emphasizes the need for small companies to have a structured approach to the management of the use of FOSS and to be able to demonstrate such management to both potential commercial partners and potential acquirers.

Reference : http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=721

openSUSE Conference 2013 : La “Llamada de trabajos” se extiende hasta el 17 de Junio

Plazos de entrega….Originalmente, la “llamada de trabajos” de la Conferencia de openSUSE 2013 (oSC13),  la reunión anual de nuestra comunidad, ha terminado el 3 de abril.

Sin embargo, algunos de ustedes parecen haber perdido la fecha límite y todavía hay un puñado de ranuras que quedan por cubrir, así que estamos extendiendo la convocatoria de propuestas hasta el lunes, 17 de junio 24:00.

Sin embargo, tenía que haber un pero, esperamos que el programa le llenan rápidamente, así que su “merde juntos”, “no es que francés nuevo”, y presentar sus propuestas lo más antes posible!

Lo que estamos buscando

Su presentación debe ser una charla, una presentación con diapositivas, o un taller en el que se indica a la gente en una experiencia práctica de laboratorio. El foco de su presentación debe ser uno de los siguientes 3 ​​temas:

Comunidad y Proyectos

Presentaciones en esta área deben centrarse en las actividades del proyecto y de la comunidad openSUSE, incluyendo pero no limitado a la gobernabilidad de proyectos, marketing, obras de arte, informes embajador y así sucesivamente.

Geeko Tech

Presentaciones en esta área deben centrarse en las tecnologías de openSUSE como el embalaje, la distribución, la infraestructura, etc openSUSE


En esta área , invitamos otros proyectos de software libre para compartir su trabajo y colaborar con la comunidad openSUSE. Las contribuciones no se limitan a contenido técnico, que puede optar por hablar de su proyecto  favorito (“pet project”), como la construcción de un barco, un robot, u otros temas de interés.

y ya que estamos en eso, no olvide registrarse!

El registro seguirá abierto hasta que comience el evento e instamos a que se registre tan pronto como puedas! Las inscripciones nos ayuda a negociar con el lugar de celebración, hoteles y otros proveedores, que hace que sea más fácil para nosotros para planificar para la alimentación y la cantidad correcta de la diversión del partido durante oSC13.

Y recuerde: usted puede apoyar al oSC13 mediante con la compra de entradas de aficionados ($ 50) o boletos profesionales ($ 250) durante el registro. Los fondos provenientes de estas ventas de entradas son una parte muy importante del presupuesto para la conferencia general!

Power to the Geeko!

La conferencia de openSUSE es la reunión anual de los muchos que apoyan el proyecto openSUSE y otros colaboradores de software libre y los entusiastas. El evento en Salónica será nuestra quinta conferencia y esperamos que sea una vez más un gran éxito. Las charlas, talleres y discusiones de interés común constituyen el marco para el intercambio de información y conocimiento. En este marco, se proporciona un gran ambiente para la colaboración y la creación de conexiones y recuerdos duraderos.

El “Poder para el Geeko” lema de la conferencia de este año nos conecta con el pasado de nuestro país de acogida mientras se mira en el futuro a medida que continuamos en nuestro camino a cambiar el mundo.

Vamos a tener diversión!

Los filósofos griegos fueron parte de una revolución que cambió el mundo. Así somos nosotros, y por lo tanto, bajo el lema de “El poder de la Geeko”, nos reunimos y trabajamos en nuestra revolución. Permite obtener los engranajes giratorios presentar sus propuestas de sesiones, registrar su asistencia, nos ayudan a encontrar patrocinadores y hacer que la próxima conferencia de openSUSE un evento impresionante.


When Oracle talks about Open Source 2.0 …

Recently i found a very interesting article about Open Source 2.0 (“Open Source 2.0: The Science of Community Management.”) in Oracle web site.

Here i submit the 3 Myths according to the article :

1) Your Open Source Community is a Meritocracy.

“Admit it, the first 10 people to join your project have much more power than the next 10 that join, even the next 100. The first UI person to the project will be “the UI guy,” it will take a serious stumble by him or a person drastically better then him to be displaced. The meritocracy myth is particularly harmful because it creates the promise that if you work really, really hard, you will have the same opportunities as everyone else in the community. Because of human nature, that’s just not true. People are generally creatures of habit and go to the people they already know. It takes real effort to expand the circle/change their ways. For more information, you can read Structurelessness, feminism and open: what open advocates can learn from second wave feminists (this is in part about why open source communities are not pure meritocracies).

2) Open Source is about Collaboration

“The genius of open source is how *not* to work together. It’s about taking complex problems, breaking them into chunks and that individual developers can go work on and then can slide back into the whole. Collaboration is slow, expensive and high touch, community leaders should always think of ways to move from collaboration to cooperation. For example, it used to require long negotiations with the owners of the trunk to get extensions into Firefox (collaboration). With Firefox addons, community members could add functionality and users could pick it up much more easily (cooperation).”

3) Coders Don’t Need Soft Skills

If the success of your open source project is attracting (and keeping) community members, then your soft skills are your differentiator, not your coding chops. Be aware of the assumptions you bring to every conversation (Is this a negotiation? What’s my goal? Is my goal just to prove the other guy wrong?). Your mindset can be resources are scarce, this is a battle, and eveyone else is stupid, crazy and evil. Or, you can believe that the pie can be made bigger, this is cooperative venture and people do what they believe is in their best interest. As a community leader, you can set the tone and maximize the outcome. Your job is not only to listen to what someone is saying, but to find out what are their real interests and concerns. A good solution may be closer than you think.” 

The rest of the article can be found here [1]

True or note is another point of view , maybe not to usual ….

[1] https://blogs.oracle.com/java/entry/open_source_2_0_the

Technical infrastructure in GNOME

1) How to get involved :


2) Version control system :

Git : https://git.gnome.org/browse/

3) Bug-tracking system :

Bugzilla : https://bugzilla.gnome.org/

4) Mailing Lists :


5) GNOME Translation Teams :


Interview with Jos Poortvliet

Jos Poortvliet , tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hey, I’m a Dutch Free Software enthusiast living in Berlin with my Brazilian
wife Camila. I’ve been around Free and Open Source for over 10 years, mostly
active around marketing and community related things.

Which are your main responsibilities and roles inside the openSUSE Project as a community manager?

I’m active in marketing, helping the project communicate to the outside
world. But also internally and between SUSE and openSUSE. I am also active
on the governance side of the project, with strategy or board related things
and helping to handle conflicts if they arise.

How do people from the community understand (or perceive) your role inside the openSUSE Project ?

He, good question. In the beginning, many people expected me to take charge
and play a leadership role. As that is clearly something which does fit
neither openSUSE nor me, I did not do that and made very clear that I did
not see that as my job. Instead, I presented myself as a contributor who had
to earn his place like everybody else. I think I did that, in the last
years, and today people come to me for advice mostly in the areas of
communication, marketing and conflicts – and I happily stay out of
especially technical decisions.

Imagine that you have to build and manage a new community , inside the openSUSE Project. Which are the steps you gonna follow so as to assure that this community will not affect the openSUSE Project? How are you gonna attract  people from the openSUSE Project to participate in the this new community?

Depends on what you are looking for, what you want to create. If it is
something like the ARM project or a new openSUSE derivative, it SHOULD
affect the project – ARM is adding something to openSUSE, so are the
derivatives. That is good!

So, just announce it as that – a cool, new thing in openSUSE. That is not
particularly hard to communicate. I would not communicate it before it has
something to show for and in most cases that means first gathering some
people who want to work on it and making a ‘first release’, then announcing
where you plan to take it and inviting people to join.

Of course, it would be possible to create a project which might not be
naturally seen as an addition. Say, you want to ‘fork’ openSUSE into a more
stable (or more bleeding edge) version. That is an entirely different thing
and should be handled with a little more care: one can imagine that this
takes up resources which otherwise might be put in openSUSE Factory, for
example. But here, too, I think it is important to first talk to some core
people, get a team up, create a ‘proof of concept’ and simply have a clear
plan. Then, based on what objections you expect, make sure to communicate it
in a non-threatening way.

Do you use any tool to manage the information inside the community (e.g bugzilla , statistics in mailing lists,repositories etc) and how?

We have some statistics but these focus around the release, marketing and
user base (number of downloads, page views to our sites, number of active
installations, things like that). And we have some idea about development
(number of commits to Factory, amount of work in devel projects). We have
very little, if any, info on communication related things.

One of the tasks of the community manager is the volunteer management. In terms of measurement and success can you give a percentage of
 “assigned” tasks per volunteer and successfully finished task per volunteer?

I have very little idea here. First of all, because I am restricting myself
to a subset of the community: the marketing area. Second, because my work
frequently shifts and I don’t always interact with the same people. And
last, because I don’t keep metrics like that – I work very much on a one-on-
one base. I’m not saying that that is the best way to do it but I’m not much
of a number man 😉

According to your experience ,  how many months approximately needs a volunteer to be “productive”?

It depends quite a bit in what area and what skills he/she brings. But you
are often looking at quite a long time – a minimum of a month but easily
half a year.

Would you call yourself a mentor? And why?

Sometimes, when I’m actually mentoring new people…

If a project , a task or an idea “assigned” to a volunteer fails, how do you manage this kind failure?
I try to catch it myself but often, I delegate based on trust. So if a
volunteer doesn’t do something, well, it doesn’t get done. That is
responsibility, yes?

Finally tell us , why openSUSE and openSUSE Community rocks?

There are a lot of reasons – but for me, the most important part is the open
mind. Every project has people angry at the world, every project has
friendly and unfriendly people. But overall, openSUSE as a community is very
open to both newcomers and working with others. We’re not such a navel-
gazing community, we pragmatic and willing to look outside our borders,
adopting technologies from other communities and working with them on it.
That is maybe not totally unique, but certainly rare.

Hacking around with the Geekos (openSUSE 12.3 Marketing Hackathon)



From 31st of January to 10th of February I participated in openSUSE 12.3 Marketing Hackathon.   The Hackathon took place in SUSE Headquarters [Nuremberg,Germany] from 4/02 to 10/02. Before that we participated in FOSDEM by promoting to the crowd the openSUSE Project and the oSC13 as well. Our participation in FOSDEM was really successful cause people asked a lot of questions around the upcoming release of openSUSE and expressed their interest for this year’s openSUSE Conference.  Thanks to Carlos we spread out and informed a lot of people about the oSC13.

Apart from that this year I spent more time in joining presentations. I admit that I liked more FOSDEM 2013 than FOSDEM 2012 because I found the presentations (Developer rooms especially) more interesting.

After FOSDEM we travelled to Nuremberg for the Marketing Hackathon . On the way back to Nuremberg I was impressed by the fact that openSUSE development continued even on the bus  with various hackers (SUSE Employees)  sitting behind their laptops, building packages. Apart from software development we drunk a lot of  openSUSE beers.  🙂

Arriving to Nuremberg , after FOSDEM , we begun to work in the 12.3 RC1 release. SUSE Employees helped us by providing all the necessary equiqment [ok , coffee , meeting rooms etc]  since we worked in the SUSE offices. Interacting with people from the company was really interesting , and i admit that during a release there is a lot of work to be done (bug fixing , artwork, ,writing , promotion , etc) .

Apart from the release we enjoyed a presentation by the SUSE Documentation team  , where we tested  a demo of the new ActiveDoc tool.ActiveDoc is used for the documentation of openSUSE and SUSE as well. Furthermore we had visits from company management , from Ralf Flaxa, VP of engineering, and Roland Haidl. During these meetings we discussed about issues  around openSUSE Project , and how the project can be improved. Ralf Flaxa and Roland Haidl thanked us for our work and they confirmed their willing to help the openSUSE Project as much as they can.

As the KDE 4.10 released during the Marketing Hackathon we all joined the KDE 4.10 release party (in Wednesday). KDE president Cornelius Schumacher and Klaas Freitag, (ownCloud Senior Developer) joined us to the party. We had really interesting discussions about various aspects (KDE , ownCloud ,oSC13 etc).


Here i give a brief summary of my work

– 12.3 Screenshots (Screenshots and related wiki page) [although my laptop was broken for a while]

– 12.3 Package list and Feature (the last days)

–  12.3 Social Media messages for RC1 (and the final release as well)

– 12.3 “We are Hispanohablantes”  , a new project begun , willing to centralize the Spanish speaking communities in openSUSE. Here you can find the English [1] and Spanish [2] version of the wiki page. [if you come from a Spanish spoken country , you can add stuff in the “Information Table”.]


I could blog about this experience for years , but i prefered to write a resume of what i have in my mind 🙂
.  Obviously i would like to thank the following people (participants and SUSE Employees) :

Participants :

Kostas , Bruno (tigerfoot – “Champignon”) , Carlos (victorck), Carlos (CarlosRibeiro), Izabel (IzabelleValverde), Marcel (tux93 or “Silent Power”), Richard (ilmehtar), Michal (|miska|).

SUSE Employees:

Jos, Henne , Ralf, Roland,  James, Jan, Ludwig, Cornelius, Suzanne Augustin, Will, Christopher, Adrian, , Jurgen, Kenneth, Cassio, Alberto,
(if I forget someone ,please let me know 😉 )


And yes we all love Vietnam 🙂

You can find the photos of the event here and here as well.

And don’t forget!!

See you in oSC13 [18-22 July , Thessaloniki , Greece]  . As the Cfp is open don’t forget to register yourself and why not submit your presentation [or workshop]!!

A lot of Geekings to everybody,

“Power to the Geeko”

[1] https://en.opensuse.org/We_are_Hispanohablantes

[2] https://es.opensuse.org/Somos_hispanohablantes