Don’t call it a comeback

Vic Gundotra's post would make anyone's mouth water!

Don't call it a comeback!
I been here for years

-LL Cool J

Within a few weeks, beginning with the announcement scheduled for Monday, I suspect people will be talking about the amazing "Microsoft comeback".

Have you personally seen Xbox 360? I'm running Vista and Office 12. I own an HTC and a Wizard and can't figure out which one I love more. And I can't even talk about the most exciting stuff on the plate.

The world at large hasn't seen any of this.

I couldn't help get LL Cool J's song out of my mind all weekend. Please, don't call it a comeback. We've been here for years.

And people haven't seen the best of us yet.

-vicg

Free Opera!

IE and Firefox get a new 'free' competitor.

Described as the fastest Web browser available on any platform, Opera pioneered several features that we now take for granted, including tabbed browsing. The latest version--code-named Merlin--is full-featured with an inline search box, a password manager, integrated security features, an integrated email and newsgroup client, and facilities for navigating its entire interface via voice or keyboard. 

Opera freed its browser to better compete with Mozilla Firefox, a free browser alternative that has managed to secure more than 8 percent of the market over the past year. By comparison, Opera, which has been around for 10 years, has garnered only 1 percent to 2 percent of the overall browser market. Web browser experts have often hailed Opera's superiority to Firefox and market-leader Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), but the earlier policy of charging for the privilege of using the product turned away many users. Now Opera hopes to make up the lost income from paid users via a link to Google in the search box.

My guess is that this would dampen Firefox's momentum since switchers from IE now have an option of either Opera or Firefox.

Go download Opera from Opera.com, it's just 3.6MB. I'll let you know soon if Opera entices me to drop Maxthon.

Can open source companies innovate?

Ever since I attended the FOSS conference a couple of weeks ago, I've been trying to figure out how viable an option Open Source is for the software industry as well as developing countries like ours.

Every trail of thought that I could think of led to the same place and today's Open Enterprise column on InfoWorld nails it. The answer is: "Without licensing fees to fall back on, pure open source companies may be limited to imitating proprietary vendors' successes".

Now that everyone has seen how Microsoft is innovating in the next versions of Vista, Office, .NET (Linq) it definitely proves Neil's theory:

Let's say this is the shape of the software industry for the next 10 years. A proprietary company comes up with an innovative idea and it's successful. The open source community scrambles to duplicate this idea. Eventually the open source version matures, it catches on, the product category becomes commoditized, and customers gravitate toward the lowest-cost option. Meanwhile, a new innovative idea has come along. Rinse, repeat.

Bill Gates told CNet, "The industry will always be a mix of free and commercial software." If he's finally fine with that, is it good enough for us, too?

[Read full article]

Back Online

Ahh.. Feels so sweet to be back online. My hosting server got screwed up and I had to wait till Madura got back to work to fix it up. Wierdly, all that was needed was to just start up the IIS service. Grr... why didn't I look into that.

Lot's of stuff has been happening since I was offline. The Tech.Ed site (www.teched.lk) went live, registrations have now opened for Tech.Ed. Loads of very, very cool stuff planned. Even more loads of giveaways. Boy, this is going to be a whole lot of geek goodness.

I just found out from Madura that Kavinda left for Boston in the morning today and I was thinking that he was leaving tonight. Hope he finds time to blog from there.

My cousin brother Tarin got married week before last (my brother and I were the 'best-men'), the count-down to my wedding has started (that's right folks Jan 28th '06 is my D-Day).

Ed was down here last week for a couple of days and spent a whole day with me taking me through all the stuff that I should know about as a Developer Evangelist. I keep pinching myself that I am now a Microsoftee and a Developer Evangelist at that too. What can I say, I'm super excited!

Lunch with Jim and Rasmus

During lunch today I was joined at my table by Rasmus Lerdof (the creator of PHP) and Jim Zemlin the executive director of FSG (Free Standards Group). Jim is the guy who pushes the Linux Standards Base and tries to ensure that Linux doesn't fragment the way that Unix did.

Both Rasmus and Jim were enjoying their stay in Colombo and Jim was really into the Sri Lankan culinary, he was going for seconds as well which is quite rare given how spicy Sri Lankan food generally is.

The session following lunch was taken by the lively Danese Cooper from Intel. Danese has a funky unofficial title as the Open Source Diva and one of her key achievements was to lobby Sun into open sourcing Open Office during the time she was employed there.

The session that is currently in progress is by Hugo Wisidagama, the director of MNet. MNet is a local software service company that is focused on providing services based on open source service. Their unique business model is built on selling their expertise on various open source software stacks to companies.

FOSS: Keynote

I was able find a power socket at the end of the room where I was able to get my notebook charged again and guess what Dr. Ruwan from the Colombo University too was running around trying to get his notebook charged too.

The Prime Minister who was supposed to be the Chief Guest was a no show due to his presidential campaign (and don't let me get started on yesterdays fiasco where all the roads were blocked, it took me fours hours to get home!) instead Prof. Tissa Witharana the Minister of Science and Technology turned up and read out from a scripted note. The other speakers included Prof. Samaranayake and Manju Hathotuwa of the ICT Agency who spoke about what ICTA is doing to take ICT to the masses. I must say that I'm pretty impressed with how far reaching these were.

After a tea break the CXO conference kicked off with Dr. Sanjiva's Welcome Note where he gave an introduction to FOSS and what it was all about. Dr. Sanjiva though iterated the fact that Free software does not mean free as in 'Free of Cost'.

I'm right now listening to the Manager of the Open Source Lab from IBM, India who's going into detail on all the open source projects that IBM has been contributing to.