Seventhman Blog

  1. Which Open Source Software License is Best for You?

    "open source license"Software development is a mystery for many.  You don’t simply need coding skills to build a working application, but you also need to choose the best license for your code.  If you’re doing an open source software project, the more mind-boggling the task can be.  Depending on your needs, the best option is for you to find legal counsel.  I’m not a lawyer; maybe you’re not too.. and this post is not a legal advice either.  While compliance with these licenses look easy, the toughest challenge is choosing which OSS (Open Source Software) license fits your software project – especially when you want to invite collaboration or public involvement.

    Open Source Software in a Nutshell

    The Open Source Initiative is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 who are actively involved in promoting community, education and awareness of the importance of non-proprietary software.  They have defined the way open-source software is distributed in accordance with a set of criteria. In simple words, an OSS license allows the original author of the work to grant collaborators the right to copy, modify and redistribute the source code of the software project.  The original author retains the ownership of copyrights while allowing others to use those rights, so long as it’s within the conditions of the license.  The software IP law is constantly evolving as people and for-profit organizations become involved.

    Open Source Licensing: Knowing the Facts

    If there’s one thing you need to know about Open source, licensing is a key part and there are many types of licenses available as you can see on this list. If people are calling this as ‘free software‘ – know that it means the same thing, as in software released under a specific set of freedoms.  The term is older though, coined by the Free Software Foundation or FSF.  They may have different set of guidelines where the difference is only a matter of context and target audience.  For this reason, you may hear some people use both terms: ‘free and open source software’.  Since the list is long, I will introduce these licenses to you in two types:

    Copyleft – by the word itself, this is the opposite of copyright.  This type of license allows the source code to be shared, used, modified, copied or redistributed so long as you use the same license as the original work.  For example, if you write the software and release it under GNU General Public License – and someone modifies and distributes it, the modified version must be under the same license.

    Permissive – as the name implies, this type allows users to do more with the code.  You are giving people the freedom to use, modify and redistribute but this time, you allow them to add their own proprietary features to the code. A good example of this is the MIT License with applications like jQuery and Rails.  The drawback?  Some people may not want to contribute to help without compensation.

    I barely scratched the surface here but no matter, please don’t call your program open source if you don’t have an approved license to go with it.  You will only confuse people.  You may get in touch with these licensing organizations to get more tips on how to get started.

    Open source is great for those who want to take advantage of talents locally and globally to contribute value to the table.. and learn from them as well.  If done right, this can be a transparent and cost-effective way for you to make money.

  2. 5 Questions to Ask Before Adopting Open Source Software for Your Project

    "open source"Businesses have been adopting open source software solutions rapidly and you start to wonder if you should do the same.  Is it really a safer, better option for your organization?  If you’re working with designing and developing websites, and web-based applications, you may have at one point  consider going open source for your project.  Though many may have thought that open means free – it is not entirely so, but it costs lesser than commercially-licensed solutions out there.  Surely, there are benefits to be had if you clearly understand just how ‘open’ these technologies are and if you ask these vendors the right questions.  The last thing you want is getting pitched for something disappointing.  More likely, it’s what people call as open washing.  Think of it this way: just because you bought your favorite snack with “natural” claims doesn’t really mean it’s healthy for you.  So, how do you sort out the confusion when it comes to dealing with your vendor?

    Questions You Should Be Asking Before Adopting Open Source Technologies

    1. Who are Using It Right Now?

    The easiest way for you to know if the product is of top-notch quality is to evaluate testimonials and reviews of people or businesses who are using it right now.  Are they raving about it? No one may want to be the first to try out something new, so if many are committed to working with this open source software, it’s a surefire sign that it’s out to stay for the long haul.

    2.  Will the Software Meet My Needs?

    You need to assess the compatibility of this open source software with your current OS.  Do you need to install applications to make it all work?  Does the solution meet your pressing needs?  Have you tried testing the application first before you go on a full scale roll out?  Can your hardware meet the specifications of these new technologies?

    3.  Are People Talking About This Software?

    It’s easy to check the Web when it comes to searching for online conversations about a certain open source software.  You can even type in the name on Google Search box and click on discussions to see what people have been talking about.  Normally, creators of these open-source software run their own forums and having lots of active users is a good sign that these developers are committed to helping their community of users.

    4.  Who is Funding the Project?

    A lot of open source technologies are on beta mode and it gives you some peace of mind knowing that the developers have financial resources to ensure that they won’t run out of business anytime soon.  There are open source applications that are backed and used by big companies, and this means that they are committed in the success of this project.

    5.  How Involved are Users with Developing the Process?

    When people want to contribute to make a positive code change to the project, or when they are promoting by word-of-mouth – it’s something worth watching.  We know that passion is the key ingredient to success and the same thing applies with the creation and maintenance of open source software.  It’s a work of love and people share this love.

    Because you buy only what you need, you’re not held hostage by complex software bundles that can run your business dry.  And when you do choose running this option for your project, make sure that you can try before you buy, that you can look into the code and that you can apply changes on the code.

    In short, make sure that you get what you paid for.

    *** Here’s more on the topic:  Debunking the Open-Source Myth

  3. NoSQL: A New Breed of Database Explored

    "nosql"There’s a lot of talk about big data these days that a novice can easily get lost amidst all that tech talk.  Are we really ready for this?  The subject is becoming a hype lately, but that doesn’t mean another fad coming our way.  The big data movement is here to stay and data scientists are finding new playgrounds to thrive in, where intelligence is gathered from all that volume, speed and variety of data traveling on the fifth plane.  With Red Hat joining the emergence of NoSQL lately, we will just see how companies will maximize their applications and lessen the need for added relational databases.  The only question we need to ask concerns standards of how this new solution can sustain the need for cheap storage that is bundled with high performance.  Gone will be the days of slow hard drives and RDBMS.. because NoSQL is the crown of the internet superhighway.

    NoSQL Seen Through the Lenses of a Business POV

    To say that relational databases like MySQL, Oracle and MS SQL Server are dead is way too early.  In time, these may fade into a memento of the past.  Countless businesses are using these right now and it has proven to be effective in storing information.  But of course, these are not perfect.  Dealing with huge amount of information presents new challenges and the bottom line is, when an unprecedented amount of data is created, what good is it if you can’t utilize these data for your business?  In an ideal world, database technology should scale horizontally – something that is fast, agile and simple no matter how large the volume of data is.  With a good data model, like an open source, that can be run anywhere (virtually) on the cloud, this can mean easy access, easy deployment and high availability in an era where people are searching by the trillions.  If you’re a business dealing with massive amount of customer data, like an ecommerce site, that would mean faster results, less downtime, less IT costs and simply, less work.  The ‘pay as you go’ model that NoSQL users get means big savings over time.  Take for example those that provide cloud service with NoSQL offerings, it takes only seconds to use without having to worry about data configuration, nodes, clusters, scaling or data recovery.  Now, this is getting too technical.  Let’s say you have a site that gets millions like that of Digg’s.  I know it’s not normal, but having noSQL means having a peace of mind, whether you’re scaling from megabyte, gigabyte, petabyte or any  size of data that you may have.  The last thing you want is for your system to crash and for you to  lose important data in the process, that is, if you’re still doing it the traditional way.

    A New Era of Transformation is Here

    The only thing relevant to these changes is your perception of big data.  NoSQL brings us a new kind of freedom from the pains of relational databases.  While some are just a few key-value data stores, others are built on XML, The truth is far more simple:  NoSQL is NOT a buzzword; it exists and it will continue to thrive because there’s a demand for it.  The size of this market may not be known right now, but as soon as companies see the light of how beneficial it will be to their business, we will see a growing acceptance for these NoSQL databases.  Because the truth is, as your data starts to grow, you will need more space to store it and a faster way of updating and accessing it, which may not be delivered by the old way of managing data systems.  The real challenge is to see brick-and-mortar companies adapt to this change and finding top caliber data scientists to play with these new tools.

    Is NoSQL the Ultimate Answer to the Big Data Problem?

    Because every day.. data grows. There are so many manuals to learn and yet, so little time.  What good is data if you will not manage and analyze it?  The real problem may lie with choosing the right database solution for your business.  While there are those who love the idea of a non-relational, non-structured SQL, there are those who are saying that the level of risks are high.  There are errors to correct and upgrades to do just to sustain a project.  Just because talks of NoSQL is hot these days doesn’t mean you have to choose this technology.  Yes, data is increasing, from structured to unstructured, and you may need a new way of managing it.  You need to evaluate thoroughly the pros and cons of running something that’s relatively new.  For all its flexibility and scalability, I’d say it’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution for all.

    In the end, it’s all about the idea of delay… which you can’t simply have when you’re running a business 24×7.

  4. Debunking the Open-Source Myth

    "open_source_myth"Plenty of myths have been born when it comes to the topic of open source software and applications, and one of the most common is that it’s Free.  There are believers and there are skeptics.  For those who believe in free licensing, it’s more than just a move for making things better.  And the other side of the story is, open source and enterprise aren’t really synonyms.  Perhaps, the word ‘free’ itself has been an over-hyped marketing term used to win customer loyalty, nothing more.

    An Open Invitation to Brand Recognition

    On the contrary, quality and support levels for open source applications are not really substandard, as many might have believed.  There are open source projects fueled by community discussions for further improvement and as such, the level of quality given can mean on-the-spot customer satisfaction for brand recognition.  To make it simpler, the more bugs you fix quickly, the more likely your customers will stick to the super glue of your brand.

    Open Source: The Amateur’s Cove?

    Just because programmers are collaborating to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week from scratch to build an open source app doesn’t mean it’s a hobbyist thing.  Did you know that a Gartner study has predicted that 99% of Global 2000 enterprises will include open source software in their portfolios by 2016?  That’s up by 75% in 2010.  Before you even think that big companies are not into the open source thing, just take a stab at big names like Google, Facebook or Amazon who are taking advantage of this platform for their IT needs.  Definitely, it’s not a noob’s thing!

    Expanding Your Market More than the Freebie Concept

    There are many reasons why open source software projects are booming and these can be free licenses, freedom to own and change the code, continuous improvement, code stability, and the ability to ask your community for help.  There are downsides as well and just because something is free doesn’t mean it has zero cost.  Also, maintaining the quality of your code is a top priority.. but that doesn’t have to stunt your project.  Keep in mind that at the end of the day, there’s always a huge difference between good and great, so you need to have experts on your side – no exceptions.  Size doesn’t matter these days; speed does.  When your community takes time to answer queries you’ve got for your open source project, a team of in-house or 3rd party experts who are ready to handle that issue won’t threaten the success rate of your work.

    That’s when you get the chance to shine above the rest.  So, if you think that there’s no money to be made in open source software, think of IBM who have grown their open source products.  They’re not in a danger of going out of business anytime soon.   Quite the opposite though, as Fortune 500 companies are embracing their Linux technology for mission-critical applications.. because it’s more stable.

    The only question left now is: How open are you to change?