James Governor's Monkchips

Elsevier Uses Open Source Methods: Makes XQuery contribution

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So an architect asked recently how come analysts aren’t helping enterprises to understand the value of making open source contributions, rather than just using the technology. Well one way to help is to amplify the messages of people doing just that. One such is Elsevier, the scientific publisher. The company has just announced the xqdoc.org project, under an Apache license, which is designed to standardize and automate XQuery documentation.

You want vendor-neutral? Why not build the necessary and then establish a community to support it? Props to Elsevier for the approach. How many times as a reporter or analyst have i heard the bullshit answer that a company won’t talk about its technology programs because of “competitive advantage”. As if such an advantage were easy to replicate. But software alone doesn’t make for competive advantage–people, process, culture, and customization do. Its how you use it… now what you buy. It is excellent to see “end-user” organizations “getting it”. Or perhaps Elsevier is just a new kind of information vendor, one that understands how communities work, one that will move to service oriented economics.

The folks at xqdoc seem to be doing everything right; working with one commercial vendor and one open source XML store project initially. Mark Logic worked with Elsevier on its information integration project – register for a webinar here. Mark Logic is already a buzz company (check out the link for a democast), and now it seems it is establishing a community of interest.

Props then to both Elsevier and Jason Hunter.

Now its up to folks like IBM, Oracle and Actuate to respond. That’s conversational marketing.

i really like the Elsevier approach. It compares favorably with another frustration; when a major end user says it doesnt want to contribute to a standards-body, but will wait until the vendors work it out. That is crazy; you want to hand over control of an innovation area through patents, copyrights and other controls? In order to win more influence users should make more contributions, in order to drive down costs. Of course not every organization has the resources to make large scale contributions, but often one developer does better work than ten… Why hand over control of standards to a vendor? An example of a powerful standard driven by customers is the Liberty Project

Open Source and Open Standards – you get out what you put in.

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