Thursday, April 19, 2007

first That Red Guy, then The Open Source Guy

Meet the Bloggers » SourceLabs’ Bruce Perens VP and author of “The Open Source Definition” -- Gloria and I were extremely fortunate last week: We got to have dinner Thursday with open-source evangelist Bruce Perens and his local Sourcelabs business affiliate, Athena Diamantis; the dinner was a five-course Greek-wine-tasting at M Bistro in Westlake, where she and her husband have ownership, and where he is the chef; we got to hear Bruce again in a panel discussion at I-Open's second Defrag event at Lorain Community College; and we got to talk in an MTB around-the-table discussion to him yet again right after the panel presentation and before his next plane out.

This is an amazing guy; I now have a grasp of what "open source" means and why it is so important, and why Merrill Lynch and TIAA-CREF already have embraced the concept. I know that only 30% of companies' software is "paid software," and the other 70% is custom, that there is a critical distinction each business must make between its differentiating and its nondifferentiating software, that the Bayh-Dole Act needs to be reexamined to make sure all businesses' best interests can be held foremost. I picked up pearls like "a massively parallel drunkard's walk filtered by a Darwinian process," and I learned the perils of the theories of "revenue bypass" and "revenue capture." I heard a multi-leveled metaphor involving Smoky Bear and taking a match to the forest.

Bruce brings us all a most critical community dialogue, and you owe it to yourself and to all of us to listen now and often.

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