Linux Sales

Linux sales down, but not out, writes News.com:

According to market research firm IDC, Linux sales declined nearly 5 percent in 2001 to $80 million, but are expected to grow to a $280 million market in 2006.

Meanwhile, Windows sales climbed 11 percent to more than $10 billion last year, according to IDC analyst Al Gillen.

“The Linux operating system market, from a revenue perspective, accounts for one half of 1 percent of the total operating system revenue each year, or roughly two days’ worth of Microsoft’s operating system revenue,” Gillen said. “On the second day of January, Microsoft had generated more operating system revenue than the Linux community (will for the entire year).”

The opportunity for Linux lies in the emerging markets, and it is not being tapped. The next 500 million users can pay USD 10 per annum to create a USD 5 billion market for Linux in the next 5-7 years. No on’es yet looking at them seriously enough.

eBay Gains

WSJ’s article provides a different angle to eBay’s success: “For financially strapped Americans, eBay is a new way to raise emergency funds during a downturn that is costing many people their jobs and savaging stock portfolios. In past financial crises, people have sold cars, jewelry and stocks to help make ends meet. But in the age of eBay, household clutter is a liquid asset with its own global exchange.”

Adds WSJ: “The liquidity and global reach of the eBay marketplace has made the site a kind of commodities exchange for everything — including items that would otherwise be destined for the Dumpster…EBay’s ability to efficiently satisfy even the most eccentric desires of shoppers — and match them with sellers — is one reason the company appears recession-proof.”

China’s Internet

Even as China becomes the world’s second largest PC and Internet market, there are some fears that the Chinese government may use a recent tragedy (a fire in a Beijing cybercafe which killed more than 20 people) to curb the Net freedom.

Writes Henry Jenkins in Technology Review: “Urban youths become early adopters of new media, carving out a social space that serves their own subcultural needs, which immediately becomes the subject of adult concern. A single tragedy sparks a full-scale moral panic, which governments then leverage to their own advantage. From a distance, it’s clear that the Chinese government is using the cyber cafe fire to limit Internet access.”

He adds: “the incident reveals points of tension in the way that China is dealing with the combined forces of modernization, westernization, and commercialization. In such a charged context, the Chinese government has become increasingly reactive. Unable to respond to all trouble spots, they shift attention abruptly, literally and metaphorically putting out fires where they must and turning a blind eye when they can. The government was certainly using the fires as a pretext to reign in the emerging cyberculture, but they were also reassuring the public that they were ready to confront and master their own future shock. As in most moral panics, they acted because they were expected to do something, even if it were wrong. And when governments reach that state, they usually choose the wrong actions.”

Dreamcast’s New Uses

I have often wondered if the older generation of game consoles could become Thin Clients. PlayStation1 and Sega’s Dreamcast are two examples of consoles which would probably be available for under USD 50. We need to a few things to make them Thin Clients:
– Port Linux and X (specifically, the X Server)
– Be able to connect to a monitor rather than TV
– Add networking capability (Ethernet)

It is in this context that this item from News.com makes interesting reading:

Two security researchers on Friday showed attendees at the Defcon hacking conference here how to reuse the small [Sega Dreamcast] off-white boxes as stealthy network monitoring devices.

Higbee and his programming partner, consultant Chris Davis of RedSiren Technologies, created the software to turn a Dreamcast into a network bug. Their software, when burned onto a CD-R and placed in a Dreamcast that has a broadband network adapter, allows the game console to give a hacker access to the network to which it is connected.

“We are really attacking the concept of what computers are,” he said, adding that many other devices could be used to monitor networks, including TiVo television recording devices, some new “intelligent” vending machines and even printers.

Zoe: Email gets RSS Feed

Zoe is an open-source email platform. Its vision: “The goal here is to do for email (starting with your personal mailbox) what Google did for the web… The Google principle: It doesn’t matter where information is because I can get to it with a keystroke. So what is Zoe? Think about it as a sort of librarian, tirelessly, continuously, processing, slicing, indexing, organizing, your messages. The end result is this intertwingled web of information. Messages put in context. Your very own knowledge base accessible at your fingertip. No more “attending to” your messages. The messages organization is done automatically for you so as to not have the need to “manage” your email. Because once information is available at a keystroke, it doesn’t matter in which folder you happened to file it two years ago. There is no folder. The information is always there. Accessible when you need it. In context.”

Its new release has an interesting addition: an RSS feed. “You can now see a summary of new messages through a rss feed. Clicking a message summary open the application with the message details.”

Being able to get email as part of the digital dashboard would be useful. Would enable me to post relevant ones to my blog. A first-step in creating a unified reading (and search) environment.

Ozzie and Udell on KM

Ray Ozzie (Groove) wrote an essay entitled “Why“. He writes:

We spent years and years at Lotus trying to convince people of the “higher order” value of collaborative processes, sharing, and KM. And I learned the hard way that fighting what appear to be natural organizational and social dynamics is very tough. Which is why eMail is the most popular collaboration tool on the planet: it works the way that people naturally want to work. And which is why Groove is built upon a client-side, personally empowering “email model” than an “app server” model. Mobile, instant, ad hoc, private. Effective collaboration tools strike a balance between personal need/behavior and collective/organizational need.

And so here I sit, typing into Radio. The personally-empowering client-side online/offline UI of Radio, in my view, like Groove, offers us a glimpse at a new model of interaction that may indeed make it more natural to post into a public space. Or maybe post into “semi-public” spaces, more naturally. Which is why I’ve been fascinated by what lies at the juncture between the eMail model, the Groove model, and the blog model.

Jon Udell (InfoWorld) comments: “Effective communication always has required the ability to compartmentalize, to empathize with and belong to different groups, to manage multiple layers of meaning, to project a range of identities. Now that we have so many modes of communication to choose from, balancing the interplay of public and private modes has gotten trickier. For what it’s worth, my gut tells me that we need to have a set of flexible frameworks in place, to get people using them in a variety of boundary-crossing scenarios, and then to adapt the technology as needs and opportunities arise.”

This is the way we need to think for our Information Refinery and Digital Dashboard.

BlogStreet Initials

Scott Johnson and Dave Winer gave links to BlogStreet. Veer describes how it happened and the result:

Had asked Scott Johnson to give it a mention on his blog. It seems the word caught on from there and within 7-8 hrs we even got a mention by Dave Winer on Scripting.com saying “BlogStreet looks interesting”. And then it spread. Its there in Daypop Top 40 http://www.daypop.com/top/

Top refferers:
Scripting.com: 400+
Scott Johnson: 100+
Daypop.com: 75+

Access stats:
Unique visitors: 800+
Blogs Analysed: 1000+
New Blogs Submitted: 45

A good beginning. Need to build upon it now.

Continue reading

TECH TALK: Tech’s 10X Tsunamis: The East (Part 2)

The Korean Miracle

Wired writes about the bandwidth revolution that has made South Korea a world leader (August 2002):

Something that sets Seoul apart and fosters its passion for broadband: online game rooms, or PC bangs, as they are called here. There are 26,000 of them, tucked into every spare sliver of real estate. Filled with late-model PCs packed tightly into rows, these rabbit warrens of high-bandwidth connectivity are where young adults gather to play games, video-chat, hang out, and hook up.

As elsewhere, technology scratches a cultural itch. It is the social infrastructure, as much as the hardware and software infrastructure, that’s driving the statistics.

And the numbers are impressive South Korea has the highest per capita broadband penetration in the world. Slightly more than half of its households have high-bandwidth connections, compared to less than 10 percent in the US. The growth in broadband has surged in the last three years from a few hundred thousand subscribers to 8.5 million.

South Korea is the perfect example of how a nation used technology to ride its way out of crisis. Writes the Far Eastern Economic Review (July 18, 2002):

Embraced as the saviour of Korea’s crisis-hit economy four years ago, IT has swept through every sector, from industry to education and politics, creating new jobs, shaking up old ways of doing business and prompting social change. How it plays out will provide a road map for other emerging countries on the same journey up the value chain to a level of innovation that China’s low-cost workers can’t match.

“Korea is becoming an Asian leader. We’ve really leapfrogged Japan,” says Michael Kim, the Korea-based president of U.S. private equity firm The Carlyle Group’s Asian operations.

Where is technology taking Korea? Consider the facts. Every day in the month of April a new e-commerce Web site went on-line. The market leader, SamsungMall.com, sells more goods in one day than six real-world department stores. Three out of four teens prefer to play on-line games than watch television. “That’s real usage,” says Ed Graham, head of Sun Microsystems in Korea. It’s also real jobs, which are being created in the tech sector three times faster than anywhere else.

NCSoft’s Lineage video game is the No. 1 seller in Taiwan, and NCsoft is moving into China and Japan. Sony and Microsoft are scrambling to catch up.

In any case Korea’s love affair with technology is about more that just the Internet. Computer chips still dominate tech exports, but more value-added gadgetry is catching up. One in five mobile handsets worldwide and nearly half the flat-screen monitors used in the latest TVs and computers are made in Korea. IT is the fastest growing sector of the economy. Its share of GDP is the highest of any industrialized country at 13%. Exports totalled nearly $40 billion last year, a quarter of total shipments.

Business Week (July 10, 2002) provides the background to the Korean success story:

This country of 48 million has become a model for developing nations everywhere. Nowhere is this more true than in its home region, where Japan is a waning force and much of Southeast Asia continues to struggle with sick banking systems and dwindling foreign investment. The commentators may be right that the future belongs to China–and that Korea itself still needs to keep reforming. But Korea has already made the transition from authoritarianism to democracy and from a low-end, exporting economy sealed off from the world to one that is plugged-in, dynamic, and increasingly high-tech. It will be some time before China gets there.

How did South Korea transform itself? Answers Business Week: “First, President Kim Dae Jung and his advisers managed to cut the connection between Korea’s banks and the chaebol, the conglomerates that once ruled Korea. Second, the Koreans created an economy that did not depend exclusively on exports to survive. They fashioned a full-fledged domestic economy, a rare thing in Asia. Third, the trauma of crisis and change unleashed a wave of innovation in business and culture that is still in effect.”

South Korea combined Vision, Will and Technology. This is the combination that is needed for the Eastern countries to create the 10X force that can transmogrify themselves first, and then the rest of the world.

Tomorrow: The East (continued)