Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

The October 2018 acquisition of Red Hat by IBM gives me hope.  Both IBM and Red Hat have been champions in promoting open sourcing behaviours.

Open sourcing is an open innovation behaviour related to, but distinct from, open source as licensing.  [Ing (2017) chap. 1, p. 1].

The label of open sourcing frames ongoing ways that organizations and individuals conduct themselves with others through continually sharing artifacts and practices of mutual benefit. The label of private sourcing frames the contrasting and more traditional ways that business organizations and allied partners develop and keep artifacts and practices to themselves.  [Ing (2017) sec. 1.2, p. 5].

The label of open source is most readily recognized from software development. An open source license allows free use, modification and sharing.  Open sourcing is a norm where the resources of system internals, e.g. artifacts and practices, are shared in a community beyond the originators.  Private sourcing is coined as a norm where the resources of system internals are reserved within a privileged group.  [Ing (2017) sec. 1.3, p.6]

This deal continues a socio-economic trajectory by IBM …

  • starting in 1993 with the Lou Gerstner expectation of “open, distributed user-based solutions” after the Chantilly meeting [Ing (2017) sec. 2.3.1, pp. 55-56];

November 2nd, 2018

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I’m migrating over to a Thinkpad T61, having last moved to a T41 in March 2005. Since research is core to my personal development, I’ve been diligent about preserving my digital files. My laptop stores documents created on a personal computer as early as 1994, with an archive of documents converted from mainframe files back to 1991. Thus, to move over to a new computer, it’s taken three days (and nights) to transfer:

  • 12.5 GB of work-related e-mail and databases (i.e. Lotus Notes e-mail plus local document-sharing replicas);
  • 8.6 GB as 19,000 work-related flat files (i.e. documents and presentations, mostly created in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Adobe Acrobat);
  • 346 MB as 4900 work-related modeling files (i.e. created in Rational Software Modeler or Websphere Business Modeler, with a lot of XML);
  • 1.2 GB of personal productivity files (i.e. browser profiles and plugins for Firefox and Flock, personal e-mail in Thunderbird, personal diary in Sunbird, and blog feeds in FeedDemon);
  • 9.6 GB of streaming media (i.e. temporary storage for MP3 audio that I’ve recorded and haven’t published to a web site yet, and lectures/interviews to be downloaded for listening to my MP3 player);
  • 756 MB of digital photographs archived on other servers, but yet to be blogged (or not); and
  • 2.4 GB of working files to maintain my multiple web sites (to speed up recovery if an irreversible crash ever happens).

There must be thousands of IBM employees annually who upgrade from one computer to a replacement. The company provides excellent utilities for migration that undoubtedly take less than three days. Most people would probably follow the path of least resistance: to move from an existing Windows XP platform to a new hardware with the same XP operating system.

I have a concern on the longer term, though: Microsoft stopped selling XP in June 2008, and support for XP Service Pack 3 ends in April 2010. Microsoft’s flagship product is clearly Vista. I expect to be on this laptop for another three years before becoming entitled to a replacement.

IBM as a company has been running a beta on the Technology Adoption Program for a new “IBM Standard Desktop – Vista” since April 2007. In parallel, however, there’s also been a beta on Open Client for Linux with version 1.0 released in November 2005 and version 2.0 released in June 2006. We’re now at version 2.2. This is an complete software package configured and tested on the standard models of laptops that IBM issues employees. Internal technical support specialists do the work of keeping up with newest software releases (e.g. Lotus Notes 8 and Lotus Symphony 1.1 ). Their work reduces my effort to maintain my PC, after I’ve moved my content over. In the case of a complete breakdown of my computer, I should be able to get an emergency replacement and be back up and running in less than 24 hours.

Around the office, people have been each choosing one of three paths.

September 27th, 2008

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