LinuxTag 2010: Call for Papers Ends Today

LinuxTag is the most important place for Linux and open source software in Europe. Last year, LinuxTag had over ten thousand attendees, and over 300 speakers. This year, the 16th LinuxTag will be June 9-12, 2010 at the Berlin Fairgrounds in Germany.

LinuxTag seeks exciting and suitable proposals for presentations in the conference tracks. The Call for Papers ends today.

I am proud to be a member of the LinuxTag Program Committee. Although a lot of proposals have already been submitted, there are some topics missing that I’d personally like to see covered. So, if you’re up for a last minute submission, get your inspiration from the following list:

  • Is/was the recent economic crisis an opportunity for Open Source?
  • More real-life case studies on how OSS is being used in mission-critical scenarios.
  • A European or global perspective on Open Source in Public Administration.
  • How to make use of Amazon EC2 or Google AppEngine with Open Source apps?
  • Technical tutorials for beginners, especially for building Web apps (e.g. PHP/Ruby/Java/etc. for beginners).
  • High performance Web environments with Open Source tools
  • Security in the Cloud
  • What’s the status of some of the regional Linux distributions?

I can’t promise that your talk will be accepted if it covered one of the above topics. The review process is of course a joint effort of the whole Program Committee. Anyway, it’s definitely worth a try. Of course, any other topic I did not think of is also highly welcome.

Go here to submit your LinuxTag proposal.

Self-hosting Launchpad? Dream on…

Canonical recently announced that it open sourced Launchpad, its web-based project management and collaboration platform. This news came out while we were conducting an evaluation of Open Source collaboration platforms for a client. The client’s intent is to host a collaboration platform for its developer community. The evaluation was done based on feature sets, and was drafted before Launchpad’s source code was released. Launchpad turned out to be the slightly better choice and once it became available, we tried to install it.

Unfortunately, we began to realize that Launchpad isn’t designed or intended to be used as a self-hosting site due to the following reasons:

  • There are no release packages. You checkout the development code via a Bazaar repository and then compile it. Depending on the state of the last checkin, the code might even not compile sometimes. It took us two tries to get the installation done.
  • The working installation is meant for local use only and it’s not trivial to get it running under a normal, fully-qualified domain name.
  • Even if we had figured out how to make Launchpad serve properly via HTTP to the general public, we would have faced a maintenance nightmare by doing QA and release management ourselves.
  • Let’s not forget the fact that Canonical requires you to not use the trademark “Launchpad” and to replace all the graphic icons.

It is not without irony that an Open Source marketing agency was blinded by the fuzzy PR parlance of Canonical. Luckily, the source code always tells the truth.

After we had discussed the issue on the launchpad-dev mailing list, Canonical today added the following line to the Launchpad Development Wiki, which makes it pretty clear:

Note that our focus is on getting Launchpad to build easily so more people can participate in Launchpad development. Running a stable production instance would be ”much” harder than running a single-developer test instance, and we don’t recommend it. Unlike many open source projects, we’re not seeking to maximize the number of installations; our goal is to improve the instance we’re already running at

Obviously, Canonical really doesn’t have to worry that by open sourcing Launchpad, they licensed away their business model.

Our client has opted for FusionForge. It’s a great alternative, works out of the box, is easy to install and includes all the basic features. It runs on top of Ubuntu 9.04, an Open Source operating system backed by Canonical, which, ironically, has some proper release management :)

Get a Dose of Semantics: Open Source Contributors Wanted for EU Project

The EU-funded IKS Project invites FOSS companies and projects to take part in building a software stack for knowledge management that is Open Source.

IKS is funded with 6.5 million Euros by the European Union and 2 million Euros are being invested by the consortium partners which makes up for an overall budget of 8.5 millions. The project will run for 4 years.

Financial support is available for 50 yet to be selected companies/organizations who agree to evaluate the IKS software stack as early adopters as well as 100 individuals who are members of a related FOSS project and who would like to actively engage in IKS project development. The budget for contributors to IKS is meant to alleviate the entry hurdles, e.g. for travel and accommodation for attending the IKS workshop end of May.

The premier focus of IKS is on FOSS content management systems and how they can make use of the to-be-developed IKS technology to let content objects behave the way they are supposed to across varying applications. Additionally, IKS also aims at cooperating with FOSS projects helping to implement semantics-aware software.

Wernher Behrendt, one of the initiators of IKS, exemplifies the project’s vision as follows:

Think of a task that has been defined in a project management software. Ideally, the project management software allows you to edit the task as you would expect it, for example, you can extend the ending date in case the work will take longer. Now, what happens if you want to transfer your work plan to the Web content management system that powers your Web site to display it to the public?

You will most likely create a screenshot of the work plan in the project management software, upload the screenshot in your WCMS and include it on a Web page. In between, you have lost all information about what a task is and how another application should treat it in case you want to edit it within the imported work plan.

This is where IKS comes to the rescue, because its software stack will not only provide a layer that takes care of metadata information (e.g. Ontologies, RDF, …), but will also be able to deal with information on how to process a content object across different applications.

If you’d like to join, IKS provides further information on its Web site and how to get in contact with them. Contribute to IKS as a…

Calendar of Open Source, IT, Industry-specific Events

World-wide Free and Open Source Software EventsInitMarketing has made its calendar of world-wide conferences and trade fairs related to Free and Open Source Software, IT and specific industries available to the public.

It currently includes 122 events in 17 countries taking place in 2009. 43 of them in Germany, 69 in USA. We use this calendar when planing events for our customers, thus we’ll regularly update it. Please let us know of any events which are not on our radar yet by commenting to my blog or commenting at the bottom of the events page.

Video Interview with Andrew Rodaway, Director of Marketing, Canonical

I very much enjoyed the video interview conducted with Andrew Rodaway, Director of Marketing, Canonical at OSiM.

In that interview, Andrew says:

“A lot of money will come into the open-source movement over the next few years and that drives the marketing agenda.”

He is certainly very right, because at InitMarketing, we experience steady and growing demand for our Open Source marketing services. Although the global economy isn’t in good shape, our customers invest in marketing their Open Source products more than ever.

It really seems that Open Source is doing good in a time of recession and every marketing dollar invested by Open Source vendors in a time where proprietary vendors struggle during an economic downturn is wisely spent because it gets them ahead of proprietary competition.

Watch the interview with Andrew Rodaway about marketing Canonical and Ubuntu at

Video Interview with Stormy Peters, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation

I just published a video interview with Stormy which I recorded at OSiM in Berlin.

Stormy is Executive Director, GNOME Foundation, since July 2008. Working with the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and the GNOME Foundation members, she helps strengthening the Foundation by attracting new industry members and community contributors.

In this interview she talks about reaching consensus on marketing-related decisions with a community-driven project such as GNOME, how she plans to position GNOME, how to attract more donators, and more.

Find the interview Stormy Peters about Marketing GNOME at

Corporate Identity in Open Source Markets

The potential for successfully building or extending a corporate identity based on Open Source depends on a company’s relationship towards an Open Source product. The graph below relates the extend of product ownership to the level of awareness potentially available for marketing:
Open Source Corporate Identity
Basically, the more you own the product, i.e. the more it is directly correlated to your company, the more you can make out of it.

If you’re the creator of the product (e.g. MySQL, the company, is the creator of MySQL, the database), you can utilize maximum awareness in your market. Your whole ecosystem will support your marketing efforts. For example, those providing extensions to your product, will automatically market your product while promoting their extension.

If you’re an external contributor to a product (e.g. providing patches with bug fixes), you might only be known amongst the developers community and your company will have a hard time transforming your contributions into business value via marketing. Nevertheless, being a contributor is not worthless. It allows you to build tight relationships within an OSS community, helping you to spot early trends and to mobilize visionaries and early adopters for whatever your offerings are.

System integrators market their specific expertise and experience, their goal is to build up a good reputation amongst customers. Of course, large system integrators (such as IBM) can leverage quite some awareness with all sorts of marketing tools, while small to medium ones typically try to score with their expertise (see for example Optaros White Papers).

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) typically market to a certain industry. For example, they provide extensions or add-ons for an OSS product connecting to proprietary CRM systems (e.g. SAP connectors).

Distributors, such as the major Linux distributors, can utilize a similar level of awareness like large system integrators do – of course, depending on the fact whether their offerings are industry-specific or of general nature. Product ownership of distributors is two-fold: They don’t really own the OSS products they assemble, but they do provide tools which they own (e.g. installers, updaters, etc.) and which are crucial for a distribution’s business relevance.

Find more Open Source marketing articles in my Wiki.