Si Chen

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When we started opentaps nine years ago, our goal was to create great business software from open source.  And have we ever!  Most people wouldn’t have believed that enterprise-class open source ERP and CRM was possible, but we did it — thanks to Linux, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, OFBiz, JasperReports, and many others open source projects. The world, meanwhile, has moved forward too.  It’s no secret that the future of software is mobile, social, and big data, and open source software is moving in those directions as well. What does this mean for real businesses? Imagine being able to capture all your interactions with customers as they happen: by email, on twitter/Facebook/pinterest, via text messages, or by phone.  Anywhere.  Any time.  Any how. Then imagine being able to use that information to make your customers happier — and sell more. That’s what we think a wh... (more)

Is Blockchain the Ultimate Open Source Disruptive Technology? | @CloudExpo #Cloud #FinTech #Blockchain

Is Blockchain the Ultimate Open Source Disruptive Technology? Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures has been talking a lot about the blockchain recently, so I decided to learn more about it.  I read the Marketing the Blockchain e-book, watched The Grand Vision of a Crypto-Tech Economy video and the video keynote of Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne at the Bitcoin 2014 conference, and did some more research on my own.  While far from an expert, I do see some interesting similarities to the adoption of open source software. Here’s what I’ve learned — please comment and tell me if I’m wro... (more)

Social Media, Networking, and Networks

Eric Qualman’s talk in Atlanta earlier this month got me thinking some more.  I started to play with words: “social media,” “social network,” “networking”…what did it all mean?  Interestingly enough, after a while the words themselves revealed a pattern.  Here are my notes on hotel stationery which I’d like to share with you. Let me show you with an all-too-LA example: In the age of television, media was how content was transmitted: cable, satellite content was the shows networks like ABC, NBC, HBO, and ESPN bundled the content and broadcast them over media to viewers, who used... (more)

Online Music and Open Source Business Models

In this part of our series on An Open Source Business, let’s take a look at our friends in the online music space and see what we can learn from them. The Deal recently had an article about online music startups which should strike a chord with anybody who’s thinking about or trying to make a business out of open source.  Look at what they had to say: “huge numbers, lots of hype, a surfeit of hope and a major chance of failure… some of the business models are inherently economically unfeasible… It’s completely unsettled and more and more fragmented…The rules of the industry and t... (more)

Can NoSQL Databases Cure Us of Software Complexity?

If you’ve worked with Apache OFBiz or opentaps 1.x, you’ve probably had moments like this: Q: What’s the difference between internal name and product name? A: If your company wants to maintain an internal name for products that’s different than the standard product name, then you can put it in internalName. Otherwise you should keep them the same. Welcome to software complexity. When we design software, we’re making choices.  Do we add features for people who need them?  Or keep them out to make things simpler for people who don’t?  As much as we’d like to keep things simple, we ... (more)