As part of MindTouch’s 2009 open source best practices research,  we asked C and VP level Open Source Executives who they thought are the most influential people in the industry today.  Over 50 votes from Executives in Europe and North America were cast to determine the 2009 edition (note: they could not vote for anyone in their own company).  What makes this list remarkable is that industry insiders were the judges.

There were a few surprises from outside of the open source industry.  For instance, Steve Ballmer was voted in because of his negative remarks on the open source industry and its subsequent positive impact.  Vivek Kundra was voted in because of his contributions to the industry inside the US Federal Government (in fact the site was revamped with open source software).  Notably absent however are any influential women.

This list of the top influential Executives of the 2009 is ranked by the effect these individuals have had on the open source industry.  Not all are recognizable, but these leaders are the movers, shakers and thought leaders of the open source industry.   Want to know the future direction of open source?  Just ask a few of the people on this list.

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CodePlex Foundation logoLast week I joined the advisory board of the newly created CodePlex Foundation, which was forged in the bowels of Microsoft. Sounds scary doesn’t it?

The foundation, a 501.c6 non-profit, endeavors to increase participation in open source community projects. The intent is to provide a framework for commercial (proprietary) software companies to more easily contribute to open source projects. Specifically, the CodePlex Foundation wishes to help resolve concerns commonly shared among commercial software companies about contributions downstream; such as implied patents, copyright, licensing, etc.

How will the CodePlex Foundation compare to other open source foundations?

Excerpted from the CodePlex Foundation:

Other foundations are targeted at particular projects, platforms, or applications, such as Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation, or Gnome and the Gnome Foundation. We wanted a foundation that addresses a full spectrum of software projects, and does so with the licensing and intellectual property needs of commercial software companies in mind. Having said that, we expect the Codeplex Foundation to be complimentary to, and not competitive with, other open source foundations. One measure of our success will be if other foundations experience an increase in participation from commercial software developers because of us.

[Emphasis added]

Put away your tin foil hat. In my opinion, The motivation is simple.

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Microsoft Port25Earlier this week I wrote a guest post at the Microsoft Open Source Community blog Port25. Peter, Duff, Chris and the rest of the team at Port25 and the open source lab are doing incredible work. They also are fanatical MindTouch customers. Thanks for your support and cheer leading guys. :-)

While the vast majority of MindTouch users and customers are deploying MindTouch on Linux/Apache/Mono I am keen to make Windows/IIS/.NET users aware of the availability of MindTouch on this platform as well. In fact, MindTouch 2009 has a very elegant Microsoft Installer (MSI).  If you are a Windows Server 2003/2008 user I encourage you to download the MSI and give it a whirl. The installation is immediate and painless.

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We have received a number of requests recently from companies looking for hard ROI data on our Intranet Collaborative Network so that they can sell our solution internally.  The issue that immediately comes to mind is that each company uses their intranet differently so that quantifying ROI is a subjective exercise.  In other words, every company will realize benefits and ROI differently depending on how they use their Intranet.  I am confident however that a large number of positive benefits can be realized and measured by focusing on specific business needs that address cost savings, revenue gains, or cost avoidance.

Implementation Timeline

Implementation Timeline

A few areas that have proven to yield hard ROI benefits using MindTouch:

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Open Source Business Conference

Aaron Fulkerson, MindTouch CEO and Founder will be speaking this week in San Francisco at the most respected conference covering the convergence of open source and business, the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC). The 6th Year of the Open Source Business Conference will bring together senior business leaders, C-level technical strategists, lawyers and venture capitalists to collaborate on emerging business models, strategies and profitability for open source software use.

Topics Aaron Fulkerson will be discussing with industry leaders include:

Moving Open Source Up the Stack

Open Source Solutions for IT infrastructure have shown great success in organizations of all types and sizes. OSS for business applications have seen greater difficulties in penetrating the glass ceiling of the enterprise stack. We have put together a panel representing the EU and the US, system integrators, vendors and buyers, and corporate focus vs. education focus. We”ll explore how the OSS application strategy has changed over the past four years. We will also look at success and failures, the trade-offs and the opportunities in solving business/end-user needs with OSS enterprise applications.

Open-Core Licensing:  The New Business Model Standard for Commercial Software

High prices and lack of transparency have prompted introduction of the
fundamental benefits of open source to a new generation of software
developers. Initially the open source torch was brought back by grass
roots projects such as Linux, Apache, and MySQL. Now a whole
generation of open source software tools, components, and applications
has emerged. As those open source project communities have grown,
commercial open source companies have been attracted to offer
sponsorship and support of those projects.


This session will compare and contrast business models of traditional,
proprietary vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM (all making
forays into open source) with those of the new generation of open-core
licensing vendors. Contrary to some beliefs, open source particularly
with an open-core licensing business model is also a great way to
drive adoption of innovative technology. All of these factors will
have major vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP faltering unless
they can react quickly enough to adjust their models accordingly.

In addition to these topics at OSBC Fulkerson will be speaking at the Third Annual Microsoft Open Source ISV Forum on Monday, March 23.

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