Welcome to CommunityOne 2007

For several years now, Sun has put on a NetBeans Day one day prior the start of JavaOne. This year, they rebranded NetBeans Day and it’s spin off GlassFish Day into CommunityOne. CommunityOne is a open and free event, a mini-JavaOne if you will. This year, the featured speaker for the General Session was Tim O’Reilly. Rich Green, Vice President of the Software division at Sun, welcomed the attentive audience by talking about the new open source culture at Sun. Rich said, “Simplicity and access is far more important than technological perfection.” After a brief introduction Rich welcomed Tim O’Reilly to the stage.

Tim started by asking the crowd, “How many of you use Linux? How many of you use Google?” Tim feels that Google, Craigslist, Yahoo, Ebay, Amazon, and all those web applications share a common thread. He feels that they are “data aggregators, not packaged software.” They are not so much important as applications but more so as services. Just having the source code to Google’s Page Rank algorithm does not mean you will replicate the success of Google. These services use the network effects of User Generated Content to gain market share. Tim reminded the audience that value has moved from hardware to software, and how it is now moving from software to services. But with these services end users aren’t just entities that mindlessly contribute content, they become co-contributers and this has been made self evident by the recent Digg Revolt. Digg users went up in arms regarding the censorship of stories listing a HD DVD key.

Tim O’Reilly said that Web 2.0 is about bionic software powered by people. Digg, Flickr, Delicious, and these other Web 2.0 sites are powered by people and leverage an architecture of participation as described in The Cornucopia of the Commons.

In describing the architecture of participation, Tim noted the tendency of web services to be stuck in perpetual beta. Microsoft might have a better idea of perpetual beta when they think of it as live software. Online web applications grow and evolve organically. Small and agile teams are more able to evolve software organically. Tim said that Amazon has a rule of thumb for limiting the size of a team to the number of techies that can be feed by two pizzas. Although not described as such, Google uses two pizza teams on their products such as Google Calendar.

There are two other comments made by Tim that I though interesting. The first comment I wanted to capture was that “we are coming to the end of cheap outpouring.” Then he quoted a colleague that you can make money on the long tail, but no t in the long tail.

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