the elusive open source business model

In some cases, dominant technology companies have used open-source projects as pawns. Google, for example, has needled Microsoft by providing financial support to the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which oversees of the development of Firefox. I.B.M. has been a major backer of Linux, helping to raise it as a competitor to Microsoft’s Windows and other proprietary operating systems.

Many of the top open-source developers are anything but volunteers tinkering in their spare time. Companies like I.B.M., Google, Oracle and Intel pay these developers top salaries to work on open-source projects and further the companies’ strategic objectives. – New York Times.

There are four important views of open source:

  1. stallmanThe views of big companies like IBM and Oracle that make money from open source – as a tool for diverting money from competitors and evading anti-trust rules
  2. The views of companies like Sun that lose money from open source -  as a key part of the underwear gnome business model.
  3. The views of programmers who embrace open source as a substitute for a coherent political point of view or a union or something.
  4. The views of some engineers who see it as a way of getting low cost marketing of their work.

multicore and multiprocessor performance

Here’s two  interesting tables

Percentage of lock acquisitions for global TCP/IP locks that do not succeed

OS Type 6 conns 192 conns 16384 conns

89 100 100

60 56 52

51 30 26

49 18 14

41 10 7

37 6 4

33 5 2

L2 Data cache misses per KB of transmitted data.

OS Type 6 conns 192 conns 16384 conns

1.83 4.08 18.49

37.29 28.39 40.45

52.25 50.38 51.39

28.91 26.18 40.36

The ridiculous GPL-only tagging of Linux

Imagine that you release software under a license that is primarily concerned with making sure that modifiable source code is available to all and that no restrictions should ever be placed on derived works. Now imagine that someone takes a huge body of code like this and starts marking interfaces as limited to specific uses and claims that removing those markings is not permitted. How can the code be free for modification and not free for modification at the same time? It’s clear that some of the developers of GPL Linux kernel code discovered that it was difficult doing business under the GPL, but rather than finding a different license more to their liking, they have attempted to add additional conditions to the GPL  – something that the GPL specifically prohibits.

10th anniversary of the RTLinux Manifesto paper

The RTLinux* Manifesto was published a little over 10 years ago at the 5th Linux Expo in Raleigh North Carolina which was really the first one with a bunch of suits wandering around.  As a kind of celebration/experiment , I’m publishing an annotated version.

Here is a related discussion


* RTLnux is a  trademark now belonging to WindRiver/Intel.

Software Design and time synchronization

I have a blog post up at about our TimeKeeper software for time synchronization. TimeKeeper is currently aimed at financial trading markets, but we also hope to market it to electric power  distribution and transmission engineers who have a similar need for precise time synchronization within substations and for instrumentation. There are also applications in data bases for someone with a little interest in innovation.

TimeKeeper really builds on what our experience with RTLinux taught us about barriers to use. TimeKeeper installs simply – no developer needed, it’s just an app; it requires nearly no configuration; and it is invisible to application code except that it makes sure they get accurate time when they ask for the time.

More petty

The ALMA team has released ACS 8.0 on Red Hat 4.4, downgrading the Linux version from the foreseen 5.2 version. This choice, with the consequent back-porting of the code to the older OS version, had to be taken because of major problems encountered by the Control and Correlator teams in porting RTAI real time code to Red Hat 5.2. As soon as these problems will be solved, ACS 8.0 will be released also for Red Hat 5.2. Report

These folks deliberately chose to base their work on a  version of  software we developed that had somehow been transformed to have none of our copyright notices, ignored our complaints about their lack of interest in scientific integrity, and refused to even discuss a commercial solution with the inventors, and have by now invested untold amounts of public money trying to keep the mess working.