Wednesday Jan 20, 2010


The news is in that the EU has finally approved Oracle's purchase of Sun, and while there are some more hurdles to cross I think James' response is very fitting so I'll reproduce it here too.

I doubt there will be an official wake given what happened when James tried to arrange one before, so we'll need to have drinks ourselves.

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

☝ Starting November With Some Free Music

I just posted this week's free music downloads list over on my personal blog.

Saturday Nov 07, 2009

☝ Music for a Bad Week

It may just be that you need some free music to soothe away the bad taste from a bad week. There are a bunch of pointers on my personal blog.

Thursday Oct 29, 2009

☝ Reptiles

Smiling Crocodile

Several years ago, we had the chance to visit a crocodile farm in Queensland, Australia. There were several highlights, not least the chance for the children to hold a crocodile - a very small one, of course, with its jaws taped shut. Even with one that small, the frisson of terror remained and the children all laughed nervously for the camera.

[☝ Continued on Webmink Personal...]

Thursday Jul 16, 2009

☝ Marketing In The Connected Age

Readers here may be interested in the article I just posted on my personal blog.

Saturday Jun 06, 2009

☞ End of an era

Friday Apr 10, 2009

Faith Restored in TripIt But Not In BusinessWeek

I couldn't decide where to write about this though, since the two stories span two blogs, so it's over on my personal blog.

Update April 14: BusinessWeek now looks fixed.

Tuesday Apr 07, 2009

On Sun's Board?

On Monday and Tuesday I had calls from a persistent journalist trying to get me to comment on the rumoured IBM/Sun negotiations. My reply was the same as it has been to everyone else who has asked - "what way would you like me to say 'no comment'?" - but I wondered why she was bothering me, a fairly small and isolated cog in the big machine.

Yesterday evening, someone showed me the BusinessWeek listings for Sun's Board and suddenly I understood the attention. As you'll see from the snapshot to the right, I appear to have been promoted to Sun's Board.

Before you start to throw accusations my way, look at the original page. If you scroll further (assuming the page hasn't been withdrawn yet), you'll see some other unexpected names with incorrect affiliations. They are all, like me, members of the OpenSPARC Board (shown as a Board Committee by BusinessWeek).

Oops. Someone working from search results can't tell the difference between Sun's Board of Directors and the advisory board of an open source project.

I had always assumed that a publication like BusinessWeek would fact-check this sort of page all the way to eternity, but clearly they have not. It makes you wonder just how much else in the media is fact-based and how much is a random construction by a novice in a hurry. I've advised the Editor-in-Chief, let's see what happens next.

Update 11pm BST: I just got a reply from a person at BusinessWeek. He's clearly cutting and pasting a form letter and hasn't even checked how serious the error is. He says:

The fastest way to have the error corrected is to use the "Update/report content errors" link in the "Companies Toolbox," which is found in the left margin of every CIC page in the CIC. Doing so instantly puts the accurate data in the hands of the researchers who will investigate your report and, if necessary, make the change. Be sure to fill out the short form completely.

I've replied saying I have no idea what the correct data is and why don't they check some official sources. Watch this space.

Update 1:45am Thu: No news from BusinessWeek and I'm heading to bed. Decided that despite the fact I am not an authority I'd better fill out their form - I just sent a pointer to this page. Hey, BusinessWeek, go look at the SEC filings, they are definitive.

Update 1pm Thu: The plot thickens. Seems no-one at BusinessWeek can alter the page; they have referred the matter to a division of Standard & Poor called CapitalIQ. I'm assured it has been "forwarded on priority to our research staff for review."  Right now I am still on the Board, though, seems I may have missed a meeting on Tuesday according to press reports. That are presumably as accurate as this data...

Update 2:45am Fri: Heading to bed with BusinessWeek still unchanged. E-mail during the day shows Sun's Investor Relations people sent full, correct details a day ago that can be verified against the SEC filings. Rather surprised there has been no attempt to fix anything yet after > 48 hours.

Update 11pm Fri: BusinessWeek just sent a note apologising for the error and saying correcting the error "involves a team in India removing it from a data feed, so it may take a day or two to show up on the site." My analysis is on my personal blog.

Update Apr 13, 1:45pm: Just got an e-mail from CapitalIQ in India to say they have updated their database so it now includes only the actual members of Sun's board. They say "The same should start reflecting on BusinessWeek in a day or so."

Update Apr 13, 5pm: Tweet from BusinessWeek tells me I am no longer on the Board; sadly, Jose Renau and Robert Ober (of the OpenSPARC Board) still are...

Update April 14, 4:25pm BS: All the names I know to be wrong have now been removed. Well done, BusinessWeek - that proves you're a weekly!

Sunday Mar 29, 2009

Manchester, Olso, San Francisco - Upcoming Gigs

I've got some speaking engagements coming up, two of them free of charge.

  • This Wednesday I'll be at Manchester United FC delivering the opening keynote at the Local Government Open Source Conference.
  • Then on April 15 I'll be speaking at CommunityOne North, which is still open for registrations free of charge.
  • It is immediately followed by GoOpen 2009, where I have just agreed to deliver a short keynote and to join a panel with Bruce Perens, Maddog and Larry Wall.
  • I also just got the acceptance note for a session at CommunityOne West in San Francisco - this is free to attend as well, and last year came with a free day-pass to JavaOne the next day, no idea about this year. I've not been asked to speak at JavaOne (must be a conspiracy against... oh, I don't know, who is the conspiracy against these days?)

If you're attending any of these, be sure to come and say hi!

Saturday Mar 28, 2009

Twilight Zone Over

That's it - Europe is now messing with the clock too, so the usual northern hemisphere time-zone spacings are back in place and the Twilight Zone is ended. Now we all need a new excuse for missing those telephone conferences.

Saturday Mar 07, 2009

Twilight Zone

Homeward Bound

Just a reminder to everyone I have calls with that Summer Time (Daylight Savings) starts in Europe on the last Sunday of March and not today like it did in the USA. That means we're in for a freaky month of people missing conference calls because they didn't check the world clock (or at least claiming that's the reason). In particular, the OpenSolaris elections fall squarely into the twilight zone and candidates and voters need to watch out for unexpected deadlines.

This is also the month to complain to the provider of your electronic calendar solution that they don't have time-zone support where you can specify the meeting timezone with the meeting (unless you are in the luck position that they do, of course!) Without that rather basic feature, it's impossible to automatically adjust meetings that fall into the twilight zone so they show the correct time. So if you're looking for someone to blame, looks like (say) Google is in the frame...

Thursday Feb 26, 2009

See you at CeBIT?


Next week is CeBIT, the monster IT trade show that has outlived COMDEX and all the others. Held in Hannover in Germany, it is an exhibition of staggering proportions that every geek should attend at least once (my preference: only once).

This year for the first time they have an open source sub-conference hiding pretty much unadvertised inside the event and I'll be speaking there on Wednesday March 4th at 3:15pm. I'll also be presenting one of the open source awards on March 5th in the evening.

Tuesday Jul 22, 2008

Un-Booth at OSCON

One of the perennial problems of sponsoring an open source conference is that the organisers always seem to want the sponsorship to pay for an exhibition booth. Exhibition booths need furnishing and decorating. They need things to exhibit. They need staffing. Most of this would be fine at a traditional exhibition, but at an open source conference there aren't many people attending to choose things to buy and thus the sales staff aren't keen to do all the above.

So what should we do with that booth? An approach we first tried at FISL a few years ago was to stop treating it as a selling space and start treating it as a social space. This year at OSCON in Portland we've decided to open up and dedicate our booth to hosting a micro-unconference. We've set it up with whiteboards, tables, electrical outlets and fresh coffee. And if having a place to veg isn't enough, we've invited all comers to deliver lightning talks throughout the two days. There are still a few slots on the agenda if you want to deliver a talk, but the quality of the speakers already listed is high (check out Monty's talk on Maria for example).

By the way, the legendary (or is that "mythical") Sun FOSS Party is back again this year, 8pm in the parking garage at the Doubletree hotel on Wednesday (July 23). Loads of cool diversions and I gather there is plenty more to drink this year than last. All welcome.

Sunday Jul 20, 2008

Holistic Role

I'm in Portland, Oregon this weekend for an interesting meeting, but I'll not be able to stay on for OSCON this year because a change of my role at Sun necessitates attending a meeting in California that's a direct conflict with OSCON. It's not an especially closely-kept secret but I've now moved from Sun's software group and taken the Chief Open Source Officer role over to a newly-formed team reporting more directly to the CEO and working on Sun's relationships with communities globally.

The new team comprises some of Sun's best experts in open standards, open IPR and open source. It's called the Sun Open Technologies Practice, and in particular manages the Sun standards and open source websites. It allows us to take a more holistic approach to Sun's engagement in open standards and open source, especially in the area of influencing open standards bodies to have IPR policies that allow - or even encourage - open source implementation.

I'll let the new members of my team use their own channels to say they have joined, but suffice to say I'm excited by the challenging new opportunities this presents around the world.


Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.


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