Costs of no or poor open source governance

When talking with companies about the use of open source, sooner or later we end up discussing the problem of license compliance. This is perhaps the most prominent aspect of open source governance for companies getting started with using open source. It can be surprisingly difficult to coherently explain the cause and effect chains that create the potentially high costs of not properly governing your open source engagement!

So here then is my take at teasing it apart.

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Register now for Forum Open Source 2017

On June 20th, the the 2017 Bitkom Open Source Forum will take place in Berlin. In my opinion, this is the best vendor-neutral opportunity in Germany to meet and listen to open source experts and how open source is shaping the German and international software industry. I will present my main blockbuster talk on

why software vendors, large and small, “give away their intellectual property” by contributing to an open source project.

Essentially, I will be talking about the business models and industry strategies underlying contribution to and leadership of open source projects, platforms, and foundations. Participation is free, even for non-members, and I recommend you register early (by email) to make sure you get a seat at the table.

Open data is moving, slowly but surely

I’ve been participating in various workshops and working groups on open data now. It is hard scrabble, but things are moving. Today I participated in a workshop of the open data task force of Bitkom which I am a member of. The highlight of the day was the participation of Saskia Esken who explained some and handled questions and answers on the new open data for government law that is coming up in Germany.

In related news, the task force finished its open data manifest, a collection of quality attributes of what good open data are and what to ask of providers and the government. A small handbook is in work as well.

From a Student Business Plan

In PROD, my course on software product management, students can choose to develop a business plan for a software product. Not all of my students seem to take this as serious as I wished. Here is the opening sentence of the exec summary from one of the teams:

With a total loss of 388,987.50 Euros in the period of 2017 to 2019, we will increase profit by 2,123,121 Euros and the customer base by 1392% […] Break even will be reached by mid 2018.

Reminds me off the bubble days: “We will make 80 cents for one dollar spent and will be profitable in no time!”

Entrepreneurship Panel at IT-Gipfel Göttingen #itgipfelgoe

A few days ago, I participated in a panel on entrepreneurship in the beautiful but small city of Göttingen, Germany. While a university town, it isn’t exactly the Silicon Valley either, much like my current home town of Erlangen.

Thus, on the panel, I ran into the usual German morals on what makes a good entrepreneur, respectively, how to treat one:

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Startupinformatik at IT-Gipfel Göttingen #itgipfelgoe

I just returned from a presentation (and panel discussion) about entrepreneurship and Startupinformatik, my structured approach to creating student startups from a computer science Master’s program. Below, please find the slides of my presentation.

From Chat Bot to AI (Student Project, TU Berlin, Winter 2016/17)

Project name From Chat Bot to AI
Project logo  
Project vision The project management tool “RPLAN” makes it possible to plan projects efficiently and transparently. The user’s planning effort should be as small as possible. This will be achieved through a smart product which proposes further steps independently to the customer. For this purpose, RPLAN is connected to the web interface “Slack”, automating the planning process using natural language.
Industry partner Actano GmbH
Student team
Project summary Arrow.js supports the user to identify the correlation between multiple contexts and a single file. We score the relation between different resources. As the result the user gets a score, which describes the probability of a connection between these data sets. This service is accessible through a REST call.
Illustration N/A
Source code https://github.com/amos-ws16/amos-ws16-arrowjs
Materials N/A

Why on Earth?! Why Product Vendors Invest in Open Source Software (Upcoming Talk, in German)

I give industry talks about every other week and stopped advertising them long ago. This one, however, may be of broad interest. I will talk about the economics of strategically creating and leading open source projects at the June 20th, 2017, Open Source Forum of Bitkom in Berlin. Title and abstract below, event details to follow. Subscribe to this blog to stay on top of things!

Title: Was soll das eigentlich? Warum Produkthersteller in Open-Source-Software investieren

Abstract: Intel, Oracle, Fujitsu und andere nehmen Millionen US-Dollar in die Hand, um Linux und verwandte Software zu finanzieren und wir alle nutzen die Software kostenlos. IBM nahm Millionen US-Dollar in die Hand, um die Eclipse Foundation zu starten, nur um ihre späteren Produkte auf eine andere technische Basis zu stelllen. Weitere Unternehmen würden gern signifikant Geld ausgeben, von dem wir alle profitieren, man lässt sie nur nicht, weil sie zu spät an den Tisch kamen. Warum nur? Dieser Vortrag schildert die ökonomischen Grundlagen und strategischen Ziele, welche Unternehmen haben, wenn sie Open-Source-Software nicht nur nutzen, sondern strategisch etablieren und führen wollen. Continue reading “Why on Earth?! Why Product Vendors Invest in Open Source Software (Upcoming Talk, in German)”

Impressions from Installing and Configuring Devolo Home Automation Control Center

As a first step, I had installed remote controlled (Z-Wave) thermostats for my radiators. In addition, I installed Devolo’s Control Center and registered on its website for access to the control center. I had thought, from a prior email exchange with Devolo’s support, that it would not be necessary to use their web service. However, I was not able to identify (or find documentation) about a web server or some other management UI on the control center, so I decided to go through their website. I resent this, as I didn’t necessarily want them to have data on my home configuration, but it was the fastest way to a working set-up.

The first step was still a hardware installation step. I needed to plug-in the control center box and connect it to the Internet. My current solution below utilizes a Fritz! product, Ethernet over power-line. The Devolo Control Center comes with its own built-in Ethernet over power-line support and is supposed to be plug compatible with the Fritz solution, alas, this did not work out of the box. It is the one remaining problem to solve for me, later.

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