Manufacturing Independence in the Age of the Cloud

Intel just announced a US$ 33B investment in creating chip manufacturing plants in Europe, about half of which will go to the (otherwise rather quaint) town of Magdeburg in Germany. In almost any respect this is good news. It creates jobs in Europe and Germany. It will instigate a local ecosystem of suppliers and entrepreneurs. Knowledge will diffuse and spread, creating more innovation, companies, and jobs.

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A Brief History of Free, Open Source Software and Its Communities (Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 13th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleA Brief History of Free, Open Source Software and Its Communities
KeywordsOpen Source Software, Licenses, Internet
AuthorsJesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
PublicationComputer vol. 54, no. 2 (February 2021), pp. 75-79

Abstract: Free, open source software (FOSS) has a long history, beginning with the origins of software itself, when the terms free software and open source software were not yet defined. Learning about the milestones of this history may help to understand FOSS today.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Keeping Silicon Valley at Bay Using Open Source (Talk at Automotive Software Strategies 2021)

On May 4th, 2021, I will give a talk about user-led open source consortia and the associated business strategies of non-software vendors at the 2nd International Automotive Software Strategies conference (online or in Munich). Take a look at the conference flyer and / or register using the SV Veranstaltungen website. You can get 20% off using the promotion code REF20-82110112. User-led open source consortia are an important topic and arguably the next trillion dollar opportunity in the software industry.

The First Derivative of Software is Eating the World

Marc Andreesen, venture capitalist at a16z, famously stated in 2011:

Software is eating the world

Wall Street Journal, 2011-08-11

Andreesen’s article describes the immediate impact of software, both as its own product category and as a component of increasing importance in existing (non-software) products.

I want to discuss what I consider the first derivative of Andreesen’s insight, the increase in innovation speed provided by software, and its impact on existing products.

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Too Many Points of Failure (at Theranos)

I just finished reading John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood, which presents the story of the rise and fall of one-time Silicon Valley unicorn Theranos through his eyes as the journalist who broke the story. In case you missed it: Theranos was a healthcare company promising to sell a machine that could perform quickly and reliably a large number of blood tests needed by medical doctors to aid their patient care. The hitch: The technology never worked and Theranos managed to hide this from investors and the public for a long time.

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Cargo Cult Startup Incubators

The continued creation of me-too startup incubators reminds me of the (South Seas’) cargo cult. Richard Feynman tells the story this way: The cargo cult people were natives of the South Seas who, during the world war, benefited from Western civilizations bringing cargo to their land. After the war ended, and the cargo stopped coming, the natives built wooden artifacts that looked like planes in an attempt to bring back the good old days of free supplies. Obviously, it didn’t work.

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