If you fancy Windows 8.1 and have a deep-seated longing to develop apps for the colorful operating system, you might very well be interested in "Project Siena," a Windows 8.1 app that allows you to create your own apps for the OS. Right now users are relegated to beta status, but it looks to offer an abundance of tools for the creative Windows user.
After Microsoft's unveiling of Windows 8 at the D9 conference yesterday, we were a little perplexed. One OS for both PCs and mobile devices? Don't manufacturers make hundreds of different variations with gajillions of different configurations for tablets and PCs? How's it going to work? Microsoft's answer: we'll rule the hardware manufacturers with an iron fist. Okay, that was a bit of a paraphrase, but not much of one if industry reports are any indication.
A recent survey hit my radar this weekend and, I must say, I’m not that surprised by the results. Contrary to my usual columns, I won’t bury the lede: Accenture polled 300 large organizations in both the public and private sectors and—surprise!—found that half of them are “fully committed” to using open-source software in their businesses.
To be honest, I expected results more in line from the Zenoss survey I ran across this weekend, which notes that 98 percent of all enterprise companies use open-source software in some capacity. But I’ll leave that difference up to nomenclature / polling differences. The real juice of Accenture’s story is buried in a single, meager sentence somewhere toward the bottom of the press release: less that 29 percent of surveyed companies intend to shovel their open-source contributions/modifications/development back into the community.
Google unveiled Google Wave, a real time collaboration tool, at Google I/O 2009. There was huge interest at first; many people scrambled to get invites to the service. After all that early attention, Wave has largely been forgotten by the public. Today Google has made the announcement that Wave development will stop at the Googleplex.
It's not going offline right this moment. Google has said they intend to keep the servers operational for now, but the service might be completely shut down eventually. Frankly, Wave really never shook the "beta" feel for us, so stopping development is as good as a death sentence. Much of what was new in Wave, like live typing with remote collaborators, is open sourced and could show up elsewhere.
Google's official line on the rationale for ending the project is pretty matter of fact. "Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked," Google said in the blog post. The Big G also claimed in their post that they are working on tools to help users export their Wave data. Have you been using Wave for anything important, or did it just fade into the background for you? Feel free to express your feelings in the comments.
Mozilla is working on an uncharacteristically big feature addition for the upcoming release of Firefox 3.6.4. The Firefox team has been hard at work to develop a component segmented system similar to the one that makes Chrome so crash resistant. Now the so called "out-of-process" plug-in feature is expected to roll out in the next release.
An out-of-process plug-in would run as its own process separate from Firefox itself. For example, in the Windows task manager you would see Firefox.exe as well as a process for each plug-in . In this way, a crashing component would not have to bring the browser to its knees. Firefox could endure crashes of Flash content or Java much as Chrome does.
The 3.6.4 release is planned for a May 4th rollout. Frankly, the sooner we see this the better. With the rapid pace of Chrome development and adoption, the folks as Mozilla can't afford to wait. If you just can't wait, the most recent nightly build has the feature enabled. So, any Chrome users planning to give Firefox another go with this feature?
Despite a lingering recession, Microsoft isn't holding back when it comes to spending. According to Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, the Redmond giant will spend around $9.5 billion on research and development this year, which is about $3 billion more than the next closest tech company.
"Especially in light of the tough difficult macroeconomic times that we're coming out of, we chose to really lean in and double down on our innovation," Turner said.
Much of that investment will go towards the cloud, an area Turner sees his company becoming a leader in as it tries to "change and reinvent" itself. Turner also added that Microsoft will still maintain a significant on-premise software business, even as companies such as Google look to cloud-only software solutions.
What a year for Google! Though I suppose one could really say that almost any year. Not to sound like a wide-eyed admirer or uninformed fanboy, but it seems as if Google always has something grand up its sleeve. But instead of waxing nostalgic about all of "The Goog's" fancy Web-based services or search refinements or what-have-you, I think it's important to note just how dramatically Google has made its mark on the open-source world in 2009.
Yes, I'm talking about Chrome. Or Android. Or Chrome-Android. You know, those two independent-but-not-really operating systems that are different yet similar enough to warrant Google splitting them with a wink-and-a-nod that they'll likely be combined at some grand point in the future.
I'll simplify. Android is the mobile version of Google's open-source OS. Chrome is the desktop/laptop/netbook/who-knows version. Sort-of. Android is in the process of spilling over to tablets and has already made the jump to netbooks. Chrome is currently under-wraps at Google, save for the open-source variant Chromium OS which is free for the taking, building, and installing.
Confused? I wouldn't be surprised. For all the intelligence packed into the dark recesses of Google's worldwide campuses, the company doesn't have a walk-in-the-park path to victory in the mobile, desktop, or laptop markets with its bevy of open-source operating systems. I've identified five points that could turn Google's fortune--and you'll find these after the jump!
In an official blog entry posted earlier this week, Google announced that Google Fusion Tables is releasing its very own API. Fusion Tables, in case you've never heard of it, is a recently launched free cloud-like service that allows users to upload data, share and mark up the data with other collaborators, merge data from multiple tables, and create charts, maps, and other visuals.
"Is your dataset active? Is it being collected right now on cell phones or websites? With the new Fusion Tables API, you can update and query your dataset in Fusion Tables programmatically, without ever logging in to the Fusion Tables website," Google explains. "The API means you can import data from whatever data source you may have, whether a text file or a full-powered database."
In a nutshell, the newly released API allows users to upload and populate a table with data from spreadsheets or .CSV files, query and download, and sync data tables between your offline repository and Google's Fusion Tables.
Enterprise business applications still outnumber all other open-source projects, according to a survey of 380 Linux developers by market research firm Evans Data Corporation. But open-source is on the move away from traditional enterprise infrastructures and into the Cloud--the concept of data being stored "on the Internet" without a single entity or specific server to call home. Google's App Engine takes top billing as a Cloud provider, with 28 percent of Cloud-ready developers opting to use this service versus 15 percent for Amazon's Elastic Compute.
That's great and all, but where are open-source developers making their money? We've got the answer after the jump, but here's a quick hint: It's the exact same way that no-name application and game developers are cashing in on a critical consumer platform.
Respected Open Source advocate, and CEO of Collaborative Software Stuart Cohen warns that the business model behind open source software companies is broken. And that the nature of these businesses will need to evolve in order to survive. In his article he explains how the traditional model in which companies would freely offer software, and make a living off the support is coming to an end. An end which is likely to be accelerated by the economic slowdown. He cautions open source designers to view the software as more of a means to an end.
As part of his argument, he claims the real value of open source software companies will come from those who can find ways to add value with supporting add-ons and applications. He uses Red Hat as an example of a company that adds significant value to the Linux kernel, and couldn’t survive on support alone. “Open-Soure code is generally great code, not requiring much support”. According to Cohen the true power of the open source community will be realized through the spirit of collaboration. “While the open-source business model may be broken, the concepts behind open source will continue to bring new value to customers and strong returns to software company stakeholders”.
So do you think the harsh economic climate will hurt or inspire the open source community? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.