Mitch Kapor's Weblog http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ en-us mitch@osafoundation.org Copyright 2006 2006-01-16T18:21:44-08:00 hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 No More http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000967.html This blog is closed. I'm leaving it up for historical purposes only.... This blog is closed. I'm leaving it up for historical purposes only.

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967@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2006-01-16T18:21:44-08:00
New OSAF Blog http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000929.html We've opened a new blog for all things OSAF. Many OSAF staff will be posting there. It's intended to be a good place to keep up with project developments without having to make a huge investment of time and effort. I'll be posting there from now on.... We've opened a new blog for all things OSAF. Many OSAF staff will be posting there. It's intended to be a good place to keep up with project developments without having to make a huge investment of time and effort. I'll be posting there from now on.

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929@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-06-15T14:55:23-08:00
Chandler at the D Conference http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000923.html I gave a demo of Chandler at the Wall St. Journal's "D: All Things Digital" conference last Monday. It was billed as the first public demonstration of the program, which is a bit ironic for an open source project which can be downloaded off the website at any time.... I gave a demo of Chandler at the Wall St. Journal's "D: All Things Digital" conference last Monday. It was billed as the first public demonstration of the program, which is a bit ironic for an open source project which can be downloaded off the website at any time. To be fair, though, several staff members and I spent a bunch of time preparing several data sets and working out the choreography of the demo. Even if you were to download the actual demo branch used, it would be a lot less impressive than watching me spin the product through its paces with good data. A lot of it is that I know both where the good features are and where the bad bugs are.

All caveats aside, the demo came off well. Enough of Chandler's calendar is working to give a good demo. I showed basic calendar functionality, leveraging the GUI to show double-clicking for new events, dragging events to change the time and date, switching between day and week view, using the mini-calendar to navigate etc. Before Alec Flett went on paternity leave, he got the color gradient fill working, and he and Mimi Yin worked on selecting a basic set of colors, so events looked pretty. Overlaying multiple calendars also works, and I showed that as well.

Performance on the PC version of Chandler is getting to be a lot better. The main demo calendar I used had several hundred events and was quite responsive. I also showed the Mac version, more briefly. Its performance still has a ways to go, but we are working on it.

I demonstrated interoperability with Apple iCal by publishing from iCal to our 0.1 Cosmo server, and then subscribing from Chandler.

The last two parts of the demo went off into some of Chandler's more innovative features, showing generalized sharing of mixed collections, not just events, between Chandler instances. I did a little mini-demo reminiscent of ON Technology's Instant Update, a collaborative word processor.

Finally, I showed two parcels (Chandlerese for plug-ins) which had been quickly developed using the developer platform. One fetched items from an Amazon wish list using the Amazon web services API and plunked them into the repository complete with graphics and intermixing them with the other events, tasks, and notes already there. The other did the same with FlickR photos identified by tag.

Net net, I think it came across that:

(1) we're serious about putting a usable calendar in people's hands as soon as possible

(2) Chandler starts looking like something easy to get into, but is also going to be innovative.

Remember, the goal is that the 0.6 release will be usable by early adopters this fall.

Thanks especially to Pieter Hartsook for putting together the data sets and basic demo script, to John Anderson and Morgen Sagen for fixing last-minute bugs, and Aparna Kadakia for QA.

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923@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-05-29T14:03:40-08:00
Design Patterns for the Open Source Era http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000903.html Tim O'Reilly has given a couple of good talks lately about design patterns for innovation. Here is a summary of his Etech talk, and here (5 MB PDF) are the slides from his presentation at the Eclipse conference.... Tim O'Reilly has given a couple of good talks lately about design patterns for innovation. Here is a summary of his Etech talk, and here (5 MB PDF) are the slides from his presentation at the Eclipse conference.

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903@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-04-15T08:39:45-08:00
Chandler 0.5 Released http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000894.html We've released Chandler 0.5. It focuses on building out some of the core calendaring functionality for supporting basic individual and collaborative calendaring tasks. Feel free to play with it, but PEASE NOTE IT'S NOT READY FOR REGULAR USE YET. NOT READY YET. NOT. (Am I afraid of this point... We've released Chandler 0.5. It focuses on building out some of the core calendaring functionality for supporting basic individual and collaborative calendaring tasks.

Feel free to play with it, but PEASE NOTE IT'S NOT READY FOR REGULAR USE YET. NOT READY YET. NOT. (Am I afraid of this point being missed?)

In 0.5, you should be able to:

  • Create, edit and delete calendar events.
  • Navigate around the calendar in the near and distant future through the calendar summary and mini-calendar views.
  • Review past and upcoming events in daily and weekly granularity.
  • Collaborate on a shared individual calendar, allowing multiple authors to read, create and edit events on the shared calendar.
  • Experimentally import/export iCalendar files.


In addition, the 0.5 Release provides:

  • Initial support for extending Chandler: early adopters can experiment with building form based parcels.
  • Improvements in performance and reliability.
  • Email attachment infrastructure.
  • New improved sharing architecture.
  • Incremental visual improvements.


You can
download the release for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. For more information, see the Chandler 0.5 Read Me document

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894@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-31T08:52:51-08:00
A Chandler User Diary http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000890.html I've been playing with the pre-release builds of Chandler 0.5, due out next week. As an end-user, you definitely don't want to try to use this version yourself (thank you for your continuing patience), but if you want to see how a real product emerges step-by-step, you might find... I've been playing with the pre-release builds of Chandler 0.5, due out next week. As an end-user, you definitely don't want to try to use this version yourself (thank you for your continuing patience), but if you want to see how a real product emerges step-by-step, you might find my diary interesting, and if you are adventurous you might want to play with 0.5 when it comes out. I will blog the event, how to download etc.

I am no doubt asking for trouble from shoot-from-the-lip readers by being so open about this. Without a more detailed understanding of where we've been and where we're going it will be hard to know what to make of my observations, i.e., it may sound very critical. What's important to understand is that we're now at the point of having enough actual application behavior to make it interesting to note where the next big improvements need to come from.

I am very proud of the team behind this and all of their efforts and I know when we are ready, we will do a product that people will love.

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890@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-23T12:59:08-08:00
EDUCAUSE REVIEW http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000888.html EDUCAUSE Review has published an article by me: "How is Open Source Special". Thanks to Pieter Hartsook for all the help.... EDUCAUSE Review has published an article by me: "How is Open Source Special". Thanks to Pieter Hartsook for all the help.

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888@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-22T08:50:03-08:00
Snippets from Emerging Technologies - Tuesday A.M. http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000881.html Networks of amateurs (in astronomy, publishing) are displacing the professionals -- Leabeater, quoted by Rael Dornfest Too much important knowledge is locked up on paper where it's not searchable and hard to get to. -- Jeff Bezos, also by Rael. Pay attention to design patterns for innovation -- Tim... Networks of amateurs (in astronomy, publishing) are displacing the professionals -- Leabeater, quoted by Rael Dornfest

Too much important knowledge is locked up on paper where it's not searchable and hard to get to. -- Jeff Bezos, also by Rael.

Pay attention to design patterns for innovation -- Tim O'Reilly. Examples:

  • Build with "Small Pieces, Loosely Joined": (borrowing the David Weinberger book title)
  • Design for participation, e.g., have users add value to your data (Amazon user book reviews)
  • Make participation the default: Aggregate user data as a side effect. (Flickr's default for sharing is public)
  • Data is the next "Intel Inside": owning a unique, hard-to-replicate data source as a competitive advantage

I introduced Cory Doctorow of EFF to John Markoff, the results of which will hopefully be reflected in coverage in tomorrow's New York Times. My take on the issue under discussion: This conference started as a P2P event in 2001, but has gone very far beyond it. Sharing is no longer about downloading music and movies. The most interesting applications like Del.icio.us and Flickr are based on sharing of information owned by the poster and have spawned intense ecologies of innovation because of their open API's. While an adverse outcome in the Grokster case would definitely not be desirable, in will not slow the tide of innovation. Hollywood's business interests don't enter into this equation.

Conference coverage here.

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881@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-15T15:08:09-08:00
Heading to O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000879.html I'm at the airport on my way to San Diego. Should be a good chance to catch up face-to-face with lots of folks. Report to follow.... I'm at the airport on my way to San Diego. Should be a good chance to catch up face-to-face with lots of folks. Report to follow.

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879@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-14T17:16:11-08:00
Should Groove Have Gone Open Source? http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000878.html Andrew from Blogging on the Free Web asks whether I discussed taking Groove open source with Ray Ozzie prior to the Microsoft acquisition. Unfortunately, one of the constraints of working in the proprietary world is the loss of liberty to be open about the details of business transactions (at... Andrew from Blogging on the Free Web asks whether I discussed taking Groove open source with Ray Ozzie prior to the Microsoft acquisition. Unfortunately, one of the constraints of working in the proprietary world is the loss of liberty to be open about the details of business transactions (at least until I write my memoirs). Part of the joy of open source by the way is that it permits, if not virtually requires, a degree of transparency that is congruent with my approach to life and business.

What I can say is that I have consistently had substantive conversations over the past several years whenever the opportunity presented itself to discuss open source opportunities involving ALL of the companies I've made investments in and have at one time or another had board seats on. This includes Real Networks, Groove Networks, and Linden Lab (which makes Second Life, an increasingly popular virtual world).

There are advantages to going open source as well as challenges. In some cases it may even be necessary to forestall a competitive threat, i.e., do it before it is done to you. When I see businesses whose strategies involve defending a class of business model which is simply going to be obsolete going forward, my heart sinks about all the wasted effort.

Caveat altert: In a transitional era like the one we are in now, it is notable that it's harder to convert a code base developed in a proprietary context to be open source than it is to start from scratch for the same reason renovating a house completely is harder than new construction. Trust me if you haven't been through this. I have. This is one of the reasons it took seven years from the day Netscape announced it was going to open source the Mozilla browser to get to Firefox 1.0.

It typically requires a complete overhaul of the code and the development process, which is much harder than starting from scratch. Typically, the existing code base is not one which is amenable to community development. There is major code re-factoring and rewriting to be done, rethinking and reworking of API's, switching to open standards, and changing of the tool set to use transparent, community-oriented tools for source code management, issue and bug tracking, build status, knowledge base, and synchronous messaging.

On top of this, it requires investment to build a developer community and potentially much more investment to create a perception of trustworthiness.

Going the open source route ought to be considered but it is not always really viable given the resources at hand.

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878@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-11T15:13:51-08:00
Microsoft Acquires Groove http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000877.html Microsoft acquired Groove Networks yesterday and Ray Ozzie was named CTO. The press is focusing on this as about Ray joining Microsoft, which underplays the potential importance of Groove's technology. Microsoft has been a substantial investor in Groove for years and Bill Gates' huge respect for Ray is well... Microsoft acquired Groove Networks yesterday and Ray Ozzie was named CTO. The press is focusing on this as about Ray joining Microsoft, which underplays the potential importance of Groove's technology. Microsoft has been a substantial investor in Groove for years and Bill Gates' huge respect for Ray is well known in the industry. The companies have been working closely together.

Ray has been a colleague and friend for over 20 years. He came to Lotus is 1982 with the vision of Notes already in mind, having been inspired by the PLATO system he used as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois. He paid his dues as the technical lead for Lotus Symphony, the intended successor to Lotus 1-2-3. Ray, I promise never to ask you to build a word processor out of a spreadsheet. It just doesn't work.

Ray conceived and led the Notes project, which I chartered, from its inception in 1984 through IBM's acquisition of Lotus 1995, and for a while thereafter. We created a unique arrangement based on a large measure of trust in which Ray and his team were firewalled off in Iris, a separate company from Lotus, to give it the room it needed to grow. I left Lotus prior to the launch of Notes, which proved to be a key early Windows application. Ray and his team were so trusted by Microsoft that they were a given a copy of the Windows source code to help debug it.

In 1998 I was privileged to be invited by Ray to be the first outside investor in Groove and I served on its board until 2003. I had determined to step down then because my path in open source was taking me further away from Groove. This decision was accelerated by the disclosure that the ill-advised Total Information Awareness project was using Groove but would have certainly occurred anyway.

When Ray came to me the other week and said that the Microsoft acquisition would keep the current Groove employees in place in Massachusetts and create incentives for them and that it was best way to continue to realize the company's vision of peer-to-peer information sharing, I decided I could support the transaction even though a surface reading of my career might suggest otherwise.

In several press calls I've tried to emphasize that the world looks very different in 2005 than it did in 1998 when Groove started. Now I would say a project like Groove should most likely be started as free/open source software. You could not do it as a cathedral; it would have to be put together as a set of incremental pieces. Additionally, there would still the problem of how do you innovate in the context of open source, which is the same challenge we are facing at OSAF, but I believe it is solvable. On the other hand, by leveraging a worldwide developer community, open source projects require enormously less capital and can pursue strategies for growth with dramatically more flexibility than firms needing to meet the expectations of investors. It would be a very different path.

Open source has shown itself to be capable of massing enormous efforts to develop computing infrastructure and applications. Web technology, and more broadly Internet-oriented client-server technology, has made enormous strides in all dimensions, making it all that much more difficult for peer-to-peer solutions to be equivalently good, despite its unique affordances.

With the prospect of open source-based server capabilities of all kinds becoming more like the electrical power and distribution system, universally available on demand in whatever amount is needed, a whole class of objections to client-server architectures such as dependence on non-local, unreliable and inconvenient infrastructure diminishes. Groove's peer-to-peer architecture performs uniquely well in areas where the telecom infrastructure is weak, such as conflict-ridden areas of the Middle East and Asia where both military and humanitarian aid groups have deployed it successfully, but this alone is a niche application.

The challenge now is whether Ray and Groove, which represent forces of architectural innovation, can have a successful impact at Microsoft, which after all, is a large (58,000 person), middle-aged (30 year-old) company. It's hard to know whether the loss of nimbleness due to size and age is a greater challenge to Microsoft than is open source.

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877@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-11T06:55:21-08:00
How to track a PC anywhere http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000872.html ZDNET Australia This is frightening. By tracking micro-variations in computer clock speed it's possible to uniquely identify a PC connected to the net, regardless of firewalls, anonymizers, etc. So far, a Ph.D. thesis, but practical implementation can't be far off. Has the NSA had this for a long time?... ZDNET Australia

This is frightening. By tracking micro-variations in computer clock speed it's possible to uniquely identify a PC connected to the net, regardless of firewalls, anonymizers, etc. So far, a Ph.D. thesis, but practical implementation can't be far off. Has the NSA had this for a long time? Will someone develop a way to insert random low-level jitter to defeat this?

]]> 872@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-04T13:01:26-08:00 Ted Leung: Chandler Sprint and BOF at PyCon http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000871.html Ted Leung has posted an announcement about OSAF's upcoming activities at PyCon. OSAF will be running a Chandler sprint at PyCon in about three weeks. The focus of the sprint is going to be writing parcels for Chandler. Chandler's end user functionality is built using parcels, so the parcels... Ted Leung has posted an announcement about OSAF's upcoming activities at PyCon.

OSAF will be running a Chandler sprint at PyCon in about three weeks. The focus of the sprint is going to be writing parcels for Chandler. Chandler's end user functionality is built using parcels, so the parcels we do at the sprint (and any parcel, for that matter) will be using the same facilities that the "built-in" functionality uses....
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871@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-03-03T16:27:47-08:00
OASIS Patent Policy Threatens Open Source http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000869.html Quite a few folks, myself included, have signed a letter opposing a patent policy being adopted by OASIS, a major industry consortium that produces e-business and Web services standards, that threatens to undermine the development and licensing model for open source software. Discussions are ensuing with the hope of... Quite a few folks, myself included, have signed a letter opposing a patent policy being adopted by OASIS, a major industry consortium that produces e-business and Web services standards, that threatens to undermine the development and licensing model for open source software. Discussions are ensuing with the hope of an outcome more acceptable to all parties. Details of the letter at Groklaw.
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869@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-02-28T00:00:10-08:00
Jef Raskin, R.I.P. http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/000868.html Jef Raskin, who named and created Apple's Macintosh project, passed away yesterday. He was an original thinker whose designs were never completely realized and an ardent, original, often contrarian advocate for radically re-thinking and improving information appliances for regular folks. I met Jef in 1980 while I was working at... Jef Raskin, who named and created Apple's Macintosh project, passed away yesterday. He was an original thinker whose designs were never completely realized and an ardent, original, often contrarian advocate for radically re-thinking and improving information appliances for regular folks. I met Jef in 1980 while I was working at Personal Software. His girlfriend at the time was a coworker of mine. I used to go with them to a big open field in Silicon Valley, long since developed, to watch him fly radio-controlled model airplanes. I often tried to get him to tell me, but he never would say what he was working on, other than the fact it was going to change the world. Via Dave Winer. Other links: official Jef Raskin site, DigiBarn memorial, ZDNET, AP obituary, Andy Hertzfeld's Macintosh history site.

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868@http://blogs.osafoundation.org/mitch/ 2005-02-27T17:55:44-08:00