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ApacheCon: Fueling the Web Revolution - page 2

Apache: The Poster Child for Open Source

  • March 9, 2000
  • By Paul Ferris

At ApacheCon there are exhibitions and classes to attend--lectures and more. I spent my first day bopping in and out of classes ranging all over the spectrum from mod_perl to XML.

My favorite session attendance was at a small talk by Mike Pogue, a consultant for IBM. He spent quite a bit of time talking about how Open Source and proprietary styles are working or not working (but mostly working) at IBM. It was an entertaining lecture, and it answered a few questions for me.

First, I'm one of these people who remembers the "Evil IBM" of the 1980s. It was the clueless enemy once, a long time ago. If you could take the Paul of today back in time to that period and have me tell him what IBM would be up to today, I'd be laughing myself all the way back to the new millennium. It's a "who-da-thunk-it" kind of thing for sure.

It's likely one of the effects of the trials and tribulations that IBM has suffered over the years from the disease proprietary. It was at one time one of the worst carriers. Today, it knows why proprietary noncompeting standards are bad. It likely knows better than most companies, from the signs it shows.

I've wondered for quite a while just what kind of culture clash the Open Source movement is for IBM. Listening to Mike, it's interesting to note that it's simply doing what makes best business sense. But it's obviously still about individuals. Mike appears to be pretty good at getting points across, and I'd bet that a lot of the Open-Source revolution at companies like IBM is due to the diligence of people like him.

Mike has coined a word for the mayhem that results from a proprietary business model of development combined with Open Source operations. He calls it a Baz-edral (not a cathedral or a Bazaar, but somewhere in between). He spent a lot of time talking about the ways that IBM is mixing the best of both worlds and coming up with what he feels is a better way of creating and supporting software.

All in all, the people at the show are fairly technical, but there are marketing and sales people about, spouting disclaimers about what they know or what they do almost immediately. They don't need the disclaimers as far as I'm concerned. I don't see the dichotomy that everyone focuses upon. We need more marketing and sales; software creation alone is not enough.

Next year, when people are talking about ApacheCon, I'd like to see some kind of name recognition in accordance with the market share that Apache has garnered.

There are BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions and geek parties. Again, what's there not to love about this? If you're using Apache, and you're serious about networking, you need to come to this thing. If you're serious about learning and you want to know more about Apache, you need to come here. If you want to meet some of the people who have quietly caused the Internet revolution, this is the place. The Internet is a pervasive and global phenomenon. These people don't need to gather in the flesh for many other reasons.

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