The free beer movement

Is open source software appealing just because it’s free? In my experience, the typical developer rarely delves into the source code of the infrastructure they use. Rather, they use open source software because they can download it and start legally using it immediately in a production environment, and because it’s often better than other alternatives.
Recent events point to a new trend among proprietary software vendors offering free software in an effort to better compete with open source alternatives.

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eBay and Skype: two great tastes that taste great together

As everyone knows by now, eBay has agreed to acquire Skype. A lot of smart people are saying this is a dumb move, while others think it was brilliant. I’m happy to see skepticism (it’s a good antidote to the naive internet cheerleading that caused the original boom). But as a heavy Skype user, and as someone who has done a lot of consulting work for eBay, I think this deal is a master-stroke for eBay. Here are my reasons:

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Data Center Meltdown

Last week, the host that I’ve been using for our production server (ServerBeach) had a catastrophic failure that brought down their entire data center. Apparently, a power failure in Virginia caused the host to switch to battery backup. Battery backup powers the servers and networking equipment, but NOT the air conditioners. Then the switch to connect the data center to the backup generators failed to function. As the system ran without air conditioning, temperatures in the data center soared, quickly reaching the point where there was a danger of hardware failure.

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