Frontier Being Open-Sourced

by William Grosso

Related link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/crimson1/2004/05/17#a1651



If you read technical weblogs, by which I mean weblogs aimed at a technical audience, you've surely read Scripting News. Dave Winer's been writing it for about a billion years, and he says at least one interesting thing each and every day.


The interesting thing right now is that Userland, the company he founded to sell web content management systems (makers of Radio Userland, one of the more venerable blogging products out there) is in the process of open-sourcing a lot of their code.


I'm not sure what the announcement means, but I'm looking forward to seeing how Radio works.


Here's some snippets from Winer's discussion



Anyway, these days UserLand is largely a company that markets and develops Manila and Radio. My concern was when will UserLand get around to enhancing and improving the "kernel" -- the large base of C code that runs Manila and Radio -- the scripting language, object database, verb set, server, multi-threaded runtime, content management framework. It's been several years since there was a meaningful update of that code.


Products that Manila and Radio compete with don't have their own kernels, they build off development environments created by others. For example, Movable Type is written in Perl. WordPress is PHP. Blogger is Java. UserLand's products are different because they build on a private platform. For a long time we saw this as an advantage, the UserLand runtime is very rich and powerful, and offered performance benefits. When a new layer came on, for example the CMS, when it got stable and mature, we'd "kernelize" it, so it would be super-fast. But experience in the market said that, to succeed, UserLand didn't need to own its kernel. In fact, that it was the only developer using this kernel may well have been a liability for UserLand.


UserLand's products are different because they build on a private platform. For a long time we saw this as an advantage, the UserLand runtime is very rich and powerful, and offered performance benefits. When a new layer came on, for example the CMS, when it got stable and mature, we'd "kernelize" it, so it would be super-fast. But experience in the market said that, to succeed, UserLand didn't need to own its kernel. In fact, that it was the only developer using this kernel may well have been a liability for UserLand.






What other venerable products have been open-sourced recently?