A new push for OpenStack public clouds?

Monty “mordred” Taylor just announced that he’s leaving HP and going to work at IBM. Usually something like this wouldn’t deserve more fanfare than the twittersphere explosion already in act. In this case, I think the announcement is more important than just an OpenStack board member and technical leader changing employer.

Monty says on his blog that he is leaving HP because he wants to build public clouds, implying that he can’t do that at HP. At IBM instead he’ll be focusing on a strong OpenStack-based public cloud, to compete head-to-head with Amazon (and surpass it).

His words confirm the impression I had when analyzing the competitive landscape of public clouds for DreamHost. HP clearly is targeting the enterprise market, with their public cloud used mainly as a supporting mechanism for the private clouds.

I think OpenStack will benefit from more focus on public clouds: I have the feeling those are taken for granted, since there are working groups for pretty much anything but for public clouds. And all operators running large clusters have nightmare stories instead. Hopefully lots of positive changes aimed at public cloud users will keep going upstream (and we can avoid creating yet another working group in openstack-land).

IBM and its success across a century

I spent many months together with IBM Italy during the first years of their ‘Linux initiative’ and learned to appreciate this huge corporation. I worked with their engineers certifying the now-defunct Linux distribution MadeInLinux for IBM x86 servers and later in a big marketing nation-wide tour to demonstrate the power of Linux to their massive VAR channel that had never heard anything good about Linux and Open Source before.

I was lucky enough to meet Irving Vladawsky-Berger, the brilliant strategist that helped shape the present of IBM, leading the Linux initiative. I consider myself lucky to have met one of the leaders that turned a huge ship around and brought it to modern times.

Nancy Koehn on HBR blog summarises the lessons worth sharing about IBM’s capability to Outlast Depression, War, and Competition

Another brick falls on the US patent system

It looks like the US patent system, that the free software movement has been fighting for the past 25 years, is dying.

First academia started questioning its usefulness (back in 1958), then the conservative cultural circles at WSJ.’  In the recent Blisky case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit put the software patents on shaky ground.

IBM threw the last, heaviest brick on the patent system announcing that it will increase by 50% the number of inventions that it releases in the public domain, instead of patenting them. The press release estimates a total of about 3,000 inventions by IBM during 2009. Even more interesting:

its planned increase in publishing inventions will focus on those technology areas that will increase the build out of a new, smarter infrastructure.

which sounds like that to enable innovation you need to get rid of patents. Another interesting piece of IBM’s press release:

Publication of technological information is one means to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” the phrase in the U.S. Constitution giving the Congress the power to enact patent laws. Publication protects inventors from allegations of infringement by placing the intellectual property into the body of prior art. Publications also improve patent quality, since they can be cited by patent offices in limiting the scope of patent applications. Publication also helps spur follow-on innovation that ensures dynamic business growth.

Isn’t this what have we’ve been saying for the past 20 years?

IBM full press release