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Grab Bag – Twitter, Reading PDFs, OSS C.R.E.A.M.

  • It’d be nice if Twitter displayed time zones in people’s tweats. Maybe next to their name in parentheses: cote (CST): up a little earlier than usual. User Twitter is a shade of Easter Standard Tribe and it attracts a whole new set of people that I wish were in IRC, but aren’t. Besides, IRC has the whole “rooms” nothing which means you’re interested in and sort by topic, where as Twitter is about people and thus you sort people by who you want to pay attention to.
  • Reading this nice paper on making money on open source (via Matt Asay), I was reminded how annoying it is to read PDFs formatted for print on the screen. The margins that look nice on pages are just a scrolling annoyance on the screen. While Udell figured out a nifty trick with his 12″ to read such documents, I’d prefer a little program that flattened all the for-print pages in a PDF to a screen friendly version: no top and bottom margins or (horrors!) foot-notes at the end of each page. Is this even possible? Better: does something like it already exist?
  • Speaking of that paper:

    Conversely, in the FOSS model, the vendor sells the customer an open system that must
    include unique value added for the vendor to successfully charge for it. Because the product’s
    underlying code is freely accessible, without that value no rational person would pay for it. The
    FOSS model thus forces a vendor to find new ways to add value to the end-user’s experience.


    But even if the FOSS model is theoretically better, it may not actually be viable without a
    consistent way to make a profit. Indeed, though FOSS projects may theoretically encourage
    greater innovation because of their open nature, without a way to monetize them, arguably
    greater innovation occurs when a consistent way to reap a return exists for market players, i.e., in
    the closed, proprietary model. Hence, all theoretical musings aside, if the profit motive is not
    viable with FOSS, then proprietary software may be the best model for certain types of software
    development, while the FOSS model of development may be better for others


    As alluded to above, one of the main strengths of Red Hat’s model is that most end users
    cannot easily replicate what the company gives the user.

    and this nice part on brand in open source:

    Another somewhat counterintuitive lesson from Red Hat’s story is the importance of a
    robust community version of its product. If done right, it will rarely take away paying customers,
    but instead will encourage important contributions from developer enthusiasts. It also instills
    brand loyalty in customers, which ultimately should help the FOSS company stem attacks from
    competitors such as Oracle or clones. As in any other industry, brand loyalty and familiarity is
    crucial, and in the FOSS context giving away a free, yet complementary product helps ensure
    both free labor as well as loyalty.

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Categories: Community, Ideas, Marketing, Open Source, Social Software.

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2 Responses

  1. Cote, for PDFs that fit your screen, check out The Escapist (link to their current issue):

    Download the PDF and enjoy.

    I’d read them more often if they weren’t so hoighty toighty about video games.

  2. OSS ain’t nothing to f*** with.