.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Srinu's Notes

My Photo
Name: psrinivas.com
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Open source entrepreneur turns his hobby into an Inc. 500 enterprise

iFAX, a commercial company that is built on open source fax server software HylaFAX, was recently included in Inc. Magazine's 2007 list of the top 500 fastest growing companies in the United States. iFAX founder Darren Nickerson says one of the keys to iFAX's success has been its commitment to the open source community behind HylaFAX. "Our success is tied to the openness of the software."

iFAX provides value-added services, support, and hardware to the HylaFAX open source facsimile server software. HylaFAX uses a client-server architecture that allows users to send documents through fax modems from any computer on the network. Nickerson says the company was "founded from the ashes" of a dotcom bust. "In 2000 I relocated from England to start this [other] company with a friend. He had something probably nobody really wanted, like many of the companies of that era. It never took off." The company failed, but in his newly unemployed state Nickerson found much more time to work on his true passion: the HylaFAX open source project. Nickerson had been involved with the project since 1991, when it was known as FlexFax. It was his first exposure to the concept of open source software development, and he "became very enamored with the idea." After several years of development that some said was too slow, in 1998 Nickerson was one of the community members responsible for revitalizing the HylaFAX project, when he and fellow developer Robert Colquhoun created community repository hylafax.org. After the dotcom startup died, Nickerson says he was left with a choice. "I could go back to England, or I could continue following the roots I had planted here." He decided to make his passion into his career, launching iFAX in 2002. "That was my dream," he says. "My goal was to build a company around this software that would allow me to pay myself and other people who had been involved: to monetize it."

Nickerson says HylaFAX lends itself very well to a commercial business model. "We were particularly able to monetize it because HylaFAX has very clear business uses. [In the community], we were being solicited by companies all the time: 'We'd like some support.' But we'd never gotten organized enough. As soon as we launched iFAX, people started knocking on our door. One of our early customers was AT&T. When one of your first customers is the phone company, you know you're doing something right."

iFAX had such a good start that Nickerson never felt the need to solicit venture capital. "We're completely organically self-funded," he says. "It is our plan to remain so. Sure, it may have been a good idea to have made a bigger splash; to have come out with a larger plan earlier, but I've seen the dark side of VC in the dotcom era, and if that can be avoided, it should be. We already have two masters: the business itself, and the open source community. We can't have a third."

Nickerson considers that second master, the community, to be an indispensable part of the success of the company. Other entrepreneurs building a company on top of open source software should do the same, he recommends. "Be true to the community. Be transparent in what you do -- 100%. Make it very clear to people that you won't do anything anti-community. It's in your best interests to make sure that the software improves and is very healthy, so don't do anything to jeopardize that. It's very easy to fall into the trap: let's build some special sauce and sell that. That's the way the proprietary software industry works, but it doesn't map well onto an open source community. It generates hostility and they will leave you." Instead of creating proprietary add-ons, create superior service, he says. "In our situation, we're lucky enough to have a large line of hardware along with the software."

The biggest challenge Nickerson faces with iFAX is one that many entrepreneurs experience: a lack of balance between work and the rest of life. "It's especially difficult when you're doing it in the open source software industry because there are no business hours in open source development," Nickerson says. "They're global. People do it whenever. It's usual to see people all over the mailing lists on the weekends. I do it. Several of the employees do it. Nobody asks them to, but it is what we believe in -- it is our passion. So it's very difficult to maintain balance. If you talk to my girlfriend, you'll know. The needs of the business come first, and on the evenings and weekends, the needs of the open source stuff."

One of the principles that has guided iFAX's rapid growth is Nickerson's belief in "win-win" scenarios. "Open source just allows us to come in at a good price point. The fact that we can get the software exposed to businesses [in the community] and learn from them, and then contribute the improvements back to HylaFAX, is a win-win. We're able to come in and pitch a lower cost, high performance solution, and we can do that because the software is free; there's no line item on the quotation for software. And we come in with so many other advantages. It is open, you can modify the source, they can do it themselves. They're not locked in. It removes a lot of barriers. It's a great way to do business."

Another key to success with open source is "looking to the future," Nickerson says. "Open source project can become irrelevant very quickly, so we have diversified and taken our knowledge and built a second line of business around Asterisk, which is very similar to HylaFAX in some ways. We don't stand still -- we hit the ground running and then keep running."

Nickerson's number one piece of advice to entrepreneurs thinking of launching a new business based on open source software is "just do it. Try it. You just don't know until you do, whether it's going to take off or not."


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Indan Rupee has arrived at last

The rupee has arrived. Long before the domestic currency gets the `convertible’ tag, it’s being freely accepted and exchanged in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and other countries. Till now, such transactions were confined to select departmental stores which are favourite of Indian tourists; now more and more shops, hotels and even money changers are willing to accept the local legal tender.

This means no double conversions, and therefore, extra cost while exchanging Indian rupees. This may not be quite legal since in the international money market, the rupee is still not a deliverable currency. Nonetheless, its acceptance is on the rise, thanks to growing trade with India and a surge in tourist inflows.

It has certainly made things easier for the Indian tourists who can simply carry rupees, and do away with travellers cheques. In most Asian countries, the nearest `money exchange’ shop will give them the local currency against rupees. Many feel the trend has picked with hints that convertibility may be matter of time.

For those depending on the US dollar this appreciation of the rupee is pinching hard especially the software companies.

Time to think whether we need to have a strong rupee or a weak rupee


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Flexible Shaft Ratcheting Screwdriver

Behold! A 23-in-1 super screwdriver!

Even those of us who are not mechanically inclined still have a need to turn the occasional screw or nut. And for the DIY crowd a good screwdriver is like a trusty companion, always ready to help you get things done. Whether you fall into one of these two groups, or somewhere in the middle, you can easily see that this tool is quite handy.

The Flexible Shaft Ratcheting Screwdriver is an extremely versatile 23-in-1 flexible driver tool. It has a 6" (152mm) extendible flexible shaft that allows you to drive screws, nuts and bolts at almost any angle. The shaft locking feature allows you to lock the shaft in either the extended and flexible position or in the closed position.

This screwdriver has a ratchet mechanism with three working positions; forward, reverse and locked. It also comes complete with 15 bits, including a socket adaptor and five 1/4" driver sockets. The handle provides storage for 6 bits and 5 sockets and the bit holder on the shaft allows for the storage of another 8 bits. The Flexible Shaft Ratcheting Screwdriver has a standard 1/4" (6.35mm) magnetized hex opening to hold all standard driver bits and also has a retractable magnet built in to allow it to act as a magnetic pick-up tool.

This is the only screwdriver your toolbox needs. Now you can reach virtually any screw or bolt and complete the job quickly and efficiently.

  • Has a standard 1/4" (6.35mm) magnetized hex opening to hold all standard driver bits
  • Comes with 15 bits (5 Phillips, 3 slotted, 3 Torx, 3 Hex)
  • Comes with 5 driver sockets (5/32", 3/16", 1/4", 9/32", 5/16")
  • Dimensions: 12.75" length (32.4 cm)
  • One year manufacturer warranty
Buy IT AT ::: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/8518/?cpg=12996

Srinivas P.
visit : www.webkuteer.com
my site : www.psrinivas.com

Monday, July 24, 2006

The basics of OSS

What is open source software (OSS)?
Open source software is software that is developed collaboratively by developers across the globe. The software itself is available at little or no cost. The source code (the human-readable version of the software) is distributed with the executable form, giving users of the software the freedom to modify, adapt and improve the software to meet their needs.

What makes open source software special?
The basic idea behind open source is very simple: when programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing. At first sight, one might think that this seemingly uncoordinated method of software development would result in chaos, but on the contrary, open source software is well-known for its quality, reliability and security compared with proprietary software.

(If open source software is so great,) why haven't we heard of this before?
Until recently, OSS was mostly developed by programmers in their spare time. They were doing what they loved � writing software for themselves and sharing it with their fellow programmers. Consequently, the software was never marketed, but remained a "best kept secret" in the academic and technical communities. (In fact, the majority of the Internet is built on open source technologies, as the Internet initially grew out of academic institutions.) Contrast this with proprietary software companies who spend a large portion of their budgets on advertising and marketing.

Is open source software free?
Yes and no. In the monetary sense, open source software is free in that users may freely copy and distribute the software (see the open source definition for more detail). However, a total IT solution consists of hardware, software and services such as support and training. It is important to take all of these into account when discussing the cost of software. The free concept in open source software refers more specifically to freedom: free as in "free speech" or "free market", rather than "free beer". OSS gives users the freedom to use and modify the software to suit their own needs. For non-technical users, this means the freedom from being locked into a single provider for software fixes, upgrades, support and other services.

What can open source software do for the home user?
There are open source software equivalents for most (if not all) home users' IT requirements, from document processing (office productivity suites) to dialup, email and Web browsing functionality, to games, multimedia and graphics applications. Since open source software may be freely used, copied and redistributed, it offers a very affordable IT solution to home users. Add to that the fact that open source software is often more stable and less buggy than many of its proprietary counterparts... What are you waiting for?

source ::: http://www.go-opensource.org/software_basics/

Srinivas P.
visit       : www.webkuteer.com
my site  : www.psrinivas.com

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Fedora Core 3 Experiences - part1

Installed Fedora Core 3
(Aim was to Learn to internal Mail Server, Install and run a WebServer and do network monitoring)
Activated Network cards
I have two Ethernet Cards
eth0 (on board)
eth1 (one more card)
Activated eth1
I have a DSL Connection for my internet
Connected the LAN wire to eth1 and the other end to the switch
Internet is up and running (though with some hiccups, LAN wire was not working)
Started Firefox and started google to see weather net was on.
FC3 (fedora Core 3) CDs that i had, had Firefox 1.0 installed
sa wanted to upgarde to the latest version

preferred the easy way the YUM installer
opened the terminal window and ran the command "YUM install firefox"
first got a message
""" "You need to to download
the keys for...packages...and install them. You can do this with rpm
--import public.gpg.key" """

could not understand what all that is and typed
"yum asks import public.gpg.key" in google (easy way to find answer)
and as usual got the solution for my problem

at http://linux.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/Fedora/2005-07/2676.html
"Use the following...

rpm --import /usr/share/rhn/RPM-GPG-KEY-fedora


rpm --import /usr/share/rhn/RPM-GPG-KEY

That should fix your problem. "

now back with the YUM install firefox command and it started working.

Srinivas P.
my site : www.psrinivas.com

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Technorati: Popular Blogs

Technorati: Popular Blogs

Here is the list of Top 100 blogs

I will update more on how this list is arrived at.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google will kill you after telling their secret

Google opens up the secrets of search - Industry sectors - Times Online

Google is pledging to demystify the hidden workings of its search engine as it returns to its founding business plan – to make all the world’s information searchable online.

Some of the points in this article which I found Interesting :
a) Search and the User :
"Search is hard,"Mr Merrill said. (Douglas C Merrill, a Google vice-president who works on search) "It's not enough to have an answer, it has to be the right one. You have to respond to what the user meant – not what he said.

b) Google PageRank Basics :
Google orders its content using PageRank system (named after its inventor and Google co-founder, Larry Page). It looks to see how many people have linked to a page from their own sites, to determine its popularity and usefulness.

c) Worlds Online Information - Status :
Google estimates that around 10 per cent of the world’s information is currently online, and is exploring ways to make the remainder available through the web. The project could take as long as 300 years, according to a recent estimate given by Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. (Srinus Note : So, Google wants to be a leader for another 300 yesrs haha)

d) Future Search :
"Imagine a world where you could speak your search query - that would be pretty neat, wouldn’t it?"
Automatic translation tools that would render information in any language intelligible in any other.

e) Coolest of all - G's Music Search
Asked about the search company’s designs on the music market, for instance, one Google executive told Times Online: "We could tell you. But then we’d have to kill you."

----- You want to get killed or just google - choice is yours :-)