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Ellison Donates $100 million

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Larry Ellison, billionaire CEO of Oracle Corporation, has recently agreed to donate $100 million to charities.  The donation is part of a settlement recently approved by a California judge.  Ellison will have up to 90 days to identify the recipient of the donation and will have up to 5 years to make the donation.  Sounds like a win-win situation for Larry and the charities.


MySQL 5.0 cover story

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We were quite chuffed to see the latest issue of Linux Magazine featuring MySQL 5.0 on the cover.  There's an interview with Marten Mickos, an article on MySQL 5.0 as well as a bonus online interview with Monty.  The links below also lead to several good online articles on MySQL Cluster, understanding the query cache, replication tips and tricks and more.  Check it out! 


Redmonk Gets It

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Stephen O'Grady, analyst and co-founder of RedMonk, is a guy who clearly understands both the existing IT industry and the impact of open source.  I've had the pleasure of getting to know Stephen over a few years and while I have not always agreed with all of his analysis, I always respect that he has done his homework to understand the real issues.  While many of the larger analyst firms in the industry have a reputation for staying at the 50,000 foot level, RedMonk dives down to a much deeper level. 

Stephen's blog, tecosystems, is a good place to get familiar with Stephen's thinking.  He's recently written about the changing landscape in the database industry as a result of open source technology.  His analysis is smart and to the point.  Here's a few recent postings that are thought provoking.


Powering the $100 Laptop

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I'm typing this story from a latop that costs somewhere north of $1500.  And that's just for the hardware.  By the time you pay the Windows and Office tax, it's probably closer to $2,000.  (Ok, I know David Axmark is on me to use OpenOffice more and I probably should do that.)  To me, it's a minor inconvenience to have to pay for Microsoft Office just because everyone else uses it and it's one less hassle in terms of converting documents.  But it's not life or death for me.  But for millions of kids in Cambodia and other third world countries, you could well make the argument.

Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of MIT's prestigious Media Lab, has spearheaded an effort to deliver a $100 laptop computer that could help drive education and economic development in third world countries.  Not surprisingly, the laptop foregoes expensive hardware and software in favor of more basic functionality based on open source software. Negroponte's not-for-profit group, One Laptop Per Child, is in discussions with governments from Brazil, China, Thailand, Egypt and South Africa to distribute up to 15 million test systems. 

There are still a few issues to work out on the hardware side, but the plan is rapidly building steam. Kudos to AMD for helping design this laptop and also to Google and Red Hat for stepping up to the plate. 


Marten Mickos on Innovation

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There are two essays by MySQL CEO Marten Mickos this week, both in the form of a question.  Marten has a curious way of provoking people which is to ask the hard questions and let people draw their own conclusions.  You may agree or disagree, but you'll end up thinking about the issues.  Anyways, not to sound like I'm sucking up, but I thought these were both interesting. 


Last chance to Vote Against Software Patents

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We're coming into the home stretch in Florian Mueller's long standing campaign against software patents.  Florian, who has been a tireless campaigner with the www.nosoftwarepatents.com web site, helped ensure a defensive victory against software patents in Europe earlier this year.  Although there were a couple of times when even Florian was pessimistic, there is no doubt that his insight, efforts and perseverance helped bring things to a success.  Recently, Florian (and the nosoftwarepatents.com campaign) were recognized as one of the most influential individuals in the EV50 from European Voice magazine.  The polls are open until November 11th and they're open to all worldwide.  However, you must vote in all ten categories and respond to a verification email.  There's a handy guide that Florian has prepared to help familiarize people with others on the ballot who were against software patents.

Voting for Florian and nosoftwarepatents.com doesn't mean you're putting software patents as more important than other causes, but it is a message to European lawmakers that this is an important topic.  For those who aren't sick to death of software patents (or perhaps for those who are) you can also buy a commemorative t-shirt at Cafe Press.  Unfortunately, the "Florian fanboy" shirts appear to be sold out at this point.


Alfresco Launches ECM

Alfresco

Alfresco, one of the most impressive open source software companies to emerge this year, has now released their open source content management system. This is no simple web management system, but a full blown enterprise content management (ECM) system built on top of a very scalable open source stack that uses the Java Tomcat or JBoss server and MySQL. 

John Newton, the visionary behind Alfresco, was a co-founder of Documentum and he's assembled a team of content management gurus who have built an exceedingly easy-to-use and extensible system.  Having used a few proprietary content management systems in the past, I was blown away with how elegant Alfresco is. 

It will be interesting to see how Alfresco evolves. So far they appear to be doing everything right.  Already they are getting a tremendous number of downloads from corporate customers and integrators who need to build custom ECM solutions. Customers looking for an open alternative to Microsoft SharePoint and other proprietary solutions should download Alfresco now.


Marten Mickos at NYC MySQL Meetup tonight

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Although it's short notice, folks in the New York metro area may be interested in attending the MySQL Meetup in New York tonight Monday November 7th 6:00 pm at:

A&M Roadhouse
57 Murray Street (Between Church St and West Broadway)
New York, NY 10007

CEO Marten Mickos will be there as well as other MySQLers to celebrate the arrival of MySQL 5.0.

There are also other meetups happening routinely in Boston, Seattle, London, Brisbane, Stuttgart, Chicago, San Francisco and other major cities around the world.  The events are usually pretty informal with lots of good MySQL technical discussions, beer or coffee, etc.  It's a great opportunity to meet with other MySQL users and occasionally some of the developers of MySQL.  And did you know that Meetup us powered by MySQL?


OSBC Report from Boston

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Matt Asay and the OSBC team put on a great conference in Boston the last two days.  I was skeptical that there would be enough people to warrant an east coast venue, but there were more than 400 people including a range of new emerging technology companies, investors, CIOs and IP lawyers.  (Unabashed lawyer joke: Remember, every healthy ecosystem has parasites!) 

There were three parallel tracks during most of the time (Emerging Trends, IT Executive, Intellectual Property) so it was sometimes tough chosing which sessions to attend.  There were also lots of impromptu meetings with various MySQL partners like Alfresco, SugarCRM, JasperSoft, Pentaho, Intel, JBoss, Zimbra, Zend and others and sometimes that got in the way of a session I really wanted to attend.  And it probably would have been rude to leave the panel I was moderating in order to check out the email session on the CIO track. 

Thanks to all those panelists and audience members who helped tackle the issues around "Building a strong open source software company."  The panel included Stephen Walli (Optaros), Kim Polese (Spike Source), Doug Levin (Black Duck), Larry Rosen (Rosenlaw), John Powell (Alfresco).   While this topic was on the emerging trends track, we managed to have a full house and some good questions from the audience. 

Overall, a great conference that only continues to get better every time.  Make your plans for OSBC West in San Francisco February 14-15.  And bring a date.