Succeeding with an Open Source License

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FACTS: Matt adopted B2 and forked WordPress, Mark adopted Linux and forked Ubuntu.

EPIPHANY: The mainstream success of any open source software is directly proportionate to the passion of the people who adopt it.

MORE THOUGHTS: Building a decent product on GPL and distinguishing it from the competition is not enough. You still need people with heart to endorse it; people who are passionate and believe in its utility. Corporate backing, funding, partnerships and marketing definitely aid spreading a platform far and wide but a face that stands for everything in the product is priceless, a face that wouldn’t fail the community for minting money. WordPress and Ubuntu are my favorite examples.

Open source is not just a fad anymore and it’s more than just a cost benefit. In fact, we are embracing open source software more and more based on the merits of the software than its cost benefits. So when I see an open source project fail I wonder if people working on them had enough conviction.

I wish Microsoft could innovate more!

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Wow, this new text-editor (Q10) seems nifty and I am thrilled to have found it. Finally, I found something to write on without getting distracted. I just wish this kind of a functionality could be built in MS-Word. This is so handy. I wish people at Microsoft could be more involved with the environment. Microsoft is trying hard to listen to the users but that is the problem, when you are the biggest of all, you often prefer everything organized including customer feedback. However feedback from users is not the only thing they should care about. They should also care about what else their customers are using. Here is a piece of software (Q10) that people are downloading everyday, when they already have its big brother, MS-Word. Doesn’t Microsoft ever bother to find out what other similar softwares people are looking for when they are the leading provider in that software niche. Clearly, people are not looking for a new software as much as they are looking for a feature. When they don’t find that feature, they go on to try new softwares and then they realize that they don’t use that expensive software from Microsoft so much and it’s an ol’ piece of junk lying about in the garage. Frankly, people would be happy to live in the Stone Age if they would only be able to focus on what they wanted to do.

Now, how many times does a writer bother editing font, colour or using the extra formatting features bundled with a word editor? I recall reading on some MVP’s blog that Microsoft spent a lot of dollars in figuring out the needs of law firms and then built the ‘Styles’ feature in Word. This feature is so useful, that I can’t even think of using any other Word editor provided I am an organization in need of standardizing documents. Now, the Ribbon interface is cool, very intuitive but this piece of innovation does not make as great an impact as the ‘Styles’. How many times have you wanted to just throw open the editor and compose a blog post or an essay without thinking about its appearance (formatting). I know there is ‘Live Writer’ but think about it – when you paid for the most powerful Word editor in the whole world, would you really want to download and use a scaled down clone. Why can’t Microsoft just build the functionality of Live Writer in MS-Word and offer it as a free plug-in. This might even help Microsoft marginally increase the sales of MS-Word.

From the unprecedented success of App store, I have learned and now come to believe that people who use technology are not looking for a standalone, do-it-all, multi-functional software but something very objective, you know, something that just works and get things done. They might be kicked into excitement with all the cool features Microsoft built into Word 2010 but when they find out that they can barely use all of its features they won’t be so pleased.

I strongly feel that as users of technology our primary focus is always on getting things done (GTD) rather than being stoked over all the cool features of an application. Can’t Microsoft sense this? The dynamics of this industry have changed. I mean it’s everywhere – take twitter. There could not be a simpler communication tool. And the reason it became so big – it just works. If I have something to say (tweet) to anyone who cares to listen (followers), I have got to use twitter. And now there is probably a hundred companies built around twitter. When did Microsoft last make such a radical product? I have a lot of respect for the company that Mr. Gates has built over last two decades, but as the giant grew, it separated itself from the common masses. And the only approach that I think, can make Microsoft a favorite among us again is listening to what people WANT to use and then building it the way they CAN use it.

That’s all I got to say. What do you think?

P.S – this post was composed in Q10, a text-editor for writers. I did not run spell-checks and use other features to format this post to just see how productive I am when I am focused on writing rather than formatting.

Should Gay Marriages be Legalized

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A male and a female holding hands.
Image via Wikipedia

‘Gay marriages’ have long been a subject of political, social and religious debate. The proposition to legalize gay marriage has many proponents as well as opponents. Many social scientists have tried to support their views with empirical research and statistical analysis. However, the results and findings obtained from these social experiments are criticized for not being free from prejudice as different social scientists have published widely diverse results. In this short article I do not refer to any collected data, results of community-based experiments or even the opinion of different cultures to present my thoughts. I am only trying to look at this concept of a legitimate gay society and evaluate it from the viewpoint of a common man.

I believe in science as much as I trust in God, hence I strongly agree with Einstein’s famous quote “God does not play dice”. From all that I have read in different scientific journals and learned from TV shows about a person’s sexual orientation I have never been able to identify the exact reason why a guy would be sexually attracted to a guy or a girl to a girl. Somehow I am not convinced of the reasons given, like the sexual orientation is coded in the genes or that it is a mental disorder. Despite the elusiveness of the code that determines the homosexual nature in humans, I have long pondered over the after-effects of its social acceptance.

The effects of legalizing gay marriages, that I can think of are:
1. Reduced Reproduction
2. Raising up adopted children or children from previous straight relationships
3. Building a society free of sexual discrimination
4. Strenuous relationships
5. Nature’s take on this transition

Healthy reproduction is the most basic need for survival of any race and legalized gay marriage is not helping it. Nature has a definite order to maintain a balance and I cannot imagine what could be further away from the order of nature than to enter into sexual relationships that are futile at helping the species evolve and grow. The concept of single parent is very prevalent in the Western countries and many have been able to provide a normal upbringing to their children. However, the presence of another parent is almost always missed by such a child. If the care of one parent can provide a normal childhood then the love and care from the parent of an opposite sex should only benefit the individual more. Furthermore, different sexes have their own way with children; while a father is more apt at disciplining the child, the mother’s love helps the child grow emotionally. Despite the odds, I am not convinced of letting the couples of the same sex to raise children.

Legalizing marriages for homosexuals will definitely start a new era in recognizing the fundamental rights of choice and action. People will be greatly satisfied and would freely choose their partners and this would lead to a healthier society as well as economy due to equal benefits given to straight and gay couples alike. However, in hindsight this seems too idealistic as it has been found with evidence that many gays turned straight again (ex-gay clubs of California) and straight people turned gay. Is it because people get bored of their sexual orientation too? We have heard of people ending relationships (marriages) due to irreconcilable differences but a change in sexual orientation points to a serious flaw in our understanding of the sexual nature of humans. Legalizing gay marriages thus can lead to strenuous relationships which in turn can lead to increased number of psychological patients. Many homosexuals have also been identified to exhibit traits of bisexuals, which strikes out the idea of they being more faithful to their partners than straight couples.

I am not against homosexuals’ right to choose their way of life but I am not up for the damages to the society posed by legalizing homosexual marriages. I feel that our government should recognize that a person’s right to freedom should not infringe upon a nation’s right to a healthy society. The government should allocate more resources into researching the psyche of humans and finding out the cause for this divergence of sexual orientation.

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So… what’s your objective?

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There is no objective to this blog. If there could be it would only be to give words to my thoughts. Consequently there are no categories for this blog. I realize the whole point of me taken to blogging is to collect public opinion on my otherwise solitary thoughts. It is like a mind map, so if something stirs my mind and I’d like to scribble, then it’s worth a post. So you see the grand plan of my blog? There is no plan… just think, write and stay mused.

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