Red Hat and JBoss

Dana Gardner writes about the impact of Red Hat’s purchase of JBoss for upto $420 million:

The open source code/commercial support business model is no longer just riding a commoditizing wave among certain IT stack runtime and tools components. The model is now carving out a disruptive place on a full, modern IT stack basis that extends down to the multi-core silicon threads and right on up to the vanguard of SOA.

The escalating JBoss-Red Hat stack strikes at the heart of the data center software infrastructure business. This expanded Red Hat stack is both wide and deep. If end users determine that scale, reliability and manageability of this stack meets their needs, this puts significant downward price pressure on the other infrastructure vendors as they sell a solution, or one-throat-to-choke, value.

Indeed, there are two major trends in open source, as evidenced by last week’s LinuxWorld show: open source is moving downstream from Linux into virtualization in a big way, and simultaneously open source is moving up the stack abstraction to SOA. In the meantime, open source is hollowing out the middleware components beyond runtime to groupware, portal, directory, and transactional messaging. Tools is a done deal.

Webaroo

Om Malik writes about Webaroo’s software which will make the Internet available offline.

Webaroo’s software takes advantage of the same technological trend that lets users carry their entire music collection and a season’s worth of television shows on their iPods: Ever-expanding hard drives. Laptops, too, now come with large hard drives, making it possible for Webaroo to download, compress, and store a library of what the company calls the “best subset of Web pages.”

With Webaroo, users can pick favorite Google searches and bookmarked websites to store for later retrieval. When a user’s machine is connected to the Internet, Webaroo downloads the bookmarked websites and links from the first couple of Google search result pages, and compresses the results. Mathur claims that his start-up has been able to shrink the publicly available information on the web by a factor of 25,000 into a 40-gigabyte file.

Spidering

Jim Moore writes:

…what is happening in Web 2.0 is that folks are now learning to communicate with spiders in a more specialized way.

Folks can set up site-specific Google searches that keep track of categories, titles, references, or tags.

This uses Google as a general-purpose query machine and report generator, and uses one or more sites as the repository of data.

Viola! No more centralized, user-administered database. Instead, the user puts data anywhere he or she wants, and the spider does the work. Then the user can go to the spider’s web, Google, and gain access to what the spider has assembled.

The spider does the work.

Viral Adoption

David Beisel writes:

ve been thinking a bit recently about what truly makes an online service/service viral, and Ive come to a (very preliminary) conclusion that it rests on three variables:

1. How inherently sharable it is. If people like what they see or do, theyre going to want to communicate about it to others.

2. How easily sharable it is. Ive written before that friction is multiplicative its important to reduce friction before and after desire actions because conversation rates in a several step process multiply across the entire sequence as a whole. Therefore, the simpler it is to share a content or service (which includes the messaging about the steps, as well as the difficulty of the steps themselves), the better.

3. How integrated the sharing is into the content or the service. The more deeply imbedded the act of referring is into the product the product or service itself, the more natural is becomes to share it, as the user spreads recommendations simply by using the service or content itself.

TECH TALK: City Wi-Fi Networks: Taipei’s Lead

Even as US cities consider and start rolling out Wi-Fi networks, one Asian city that has already started doing it is Taipei. The Wall Street Journal (January 19) wrote: The network, initiated by the Taipei city government and built by a private company, already includes more than 3,300 wireless “access points” that cover half the city’s 106 square miles. The devices use the wireless Internet technology known as Wi-Fi to let Taipei’s 2.6 million residents surf the Internet or send emails from the privacy of their living rooms or the public comfort of their favorite park benches. Although the project has encountered some glitches and delays, city officials say that when it is completed around midyear, it will cover more than 90% of Taipei.

The Taipei network is not cheap. The WSJ article adds: In August 2004, the government approved Q-ware Systems Inc., which beat out another local company in bidding. Construction started the following month. Q-ware, in turn, hired Nortel Networks Corp. of Brampton, Ontario to build, equip, and maintain the system…Q-ware says it is investing about $93 million to build the network.

An article in Forbes in 2005 provided some additional information:

The city of Taipei, Taiwan, is currently deploying a mesh network that will eventually blanket the city, installing wireless mesh antennas on street lamps, in train stations and on the side of buildings. “This is the first time a city of 272 square kilometers could be wholly covered by a wireless LAN,” says Mayor Ying-jeou Ma.

…More than 10,000 wireless access points will be in service, providing coverage to 90% percent of Taipei’s 2.65 million citizens.

The mesh technology provides an easy way to deliver broadband Internet access to every citizen of Taipei. “Wireless LANs solve the problem of the last mile, particularly in a metropolitan area,” says Ma. When completed, the wireless network will be used for everything from public safety applications to providing a pervasive network for Internet telephony and Wi-Fi cell phones. “The business models remain to be invented, but this is a trend that is inevitable,” says Ma.

Additional details of Taipei’s network are available here. The network, dubbed WIFLY, costs NT399 (Rs 550, $12) per month.

In many Asian cities, Wi-Fi co-exists with multiple other solutions. But in countries like India, it can become the primary form of access. With the government in India reluctant to open up the last mile access of the telcos to competition, wireless mesh networks using unlicenced spectrum are what the country needs.

Tomorrow: Mesh Technology