Presenting Nokia’s open source involvement and much more
Friday June 25th 2010, 12:08h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Linux, Research

Today I gave a talk at TransferSummit 2010 in Oxford on the Nokia Internet Tablet development (breaking news: “Nokia N-series devices to drop Symbian in favour of MeeGo”), Private-Collective Model of Innovation, benefits and cost of open source community building, the open source adoption matrix and ‘open-washing’ questions to firms.

The audience liked my speech but especially loved the Prezi-way of presenting it. That’s the backdraw with such innovative presentation technologies: The form becomes more important than the content ;)



Digitale Nachhaltigkeit is finally in Wikipedia DE!
Sunday December 06th 2009, 22:57h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Politics, Research

Wikipedia DEFinally the Wikipedia DE community accepted the entry for “Digitale Nachhaltigkeit”. Just hours after my initial publication of the short article a request for deletion was posted by Wikipedia watchers. This was followed by a long discussion between the editors, Thorsten Busch, and myself. In the end, one of the Wikipedia admins reasoned that our parliamentarian group, the Open Source Jahrbuch, and the ETH Zürich together are able to establish a new terminology - how powerful we are ;)

Nevertheless this incident proved for me personally that Wikipedia and open content systems are able to function on a sustainable basis - exactly the idea behind our definition of digital sustainability. The immediate reaction that the term is not yet established was justified and forced me to improve and enhance the article with other sources I found.

BTW, the two other Wikipedia articles I’ve created in the English chapter didn’t stimulate any discussion: the private-collective model of innovation and Prof. Georg von Krogh. Either they are much more established than the term “Digitale Nachhaltigkeit” (which they are of course ;) or the German Wikipedia community is really as rigorous as recently discovered.



How to Use the Open Source Community Principle in E-Government
Wednesday November 18th 2009, 8:33h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Politics

Yesterday I had a talk at the 3rd E-Government Symposium in Bern about how to use the open source community principle in e-government projects. Interest in the topic was huge compared to my speech two years ago. This time the room was full of people. Many came to me after the presentation to talk about the ideas and possible future applications in federal and cantonal e-government projects. It seems open source is finally becoming a more mainstream topic - even in public administration!

Nachhaltige, innovative eGovernment-Lösungen basierend auf dem Open Source Community-Prinzip

“Einsparungen durch Mehrfachnutzung und offene Standards: Dank dem Prinzip Einmal entwickeln - mehrfach anwenden, offenen Standards und gegenseitigem Austausch werden die Investitionen optimal genutzt.” Dieser Grundsatz, zitiert aus der E-Government-Strategie Schweiz, illustriert prägnant die Vorteile von Open Source Software und Open Standards für E-Government Vorhaben.

Aber nicht nur die freie Wiederverwendung der Technologien selbst, sondern auch deren Herstellungsprozesse bieten öffentlichen Institutionen Potential für Kostenersparnisse und Innovationen um eine nachhaltige Digitalisierung sicherzustellen. Neue, kollaborative Ansätze der Software-Entwicklung in öffentlichen Verwaltungen sind erfolgreich wie das von mehreren Kantonen gemeinschaftlich entwickelte Gemeinderegistersystem GERES für die Volkszählung 2010 oder Beschaffungspraktiken des Vereins Schweizerische Städte- und Gemeinde-Informatik SSGI zeigen. Wie diese Beispiele demonstrieren, erlauben innovative Organisationsstrukturen, anlehnend an das Community-Prinzip von Open Source Projekten, die hemmenden Seiten des Föderalismus zu überwinden und gewährleisten gleichzeitig die Handlungsfreiheit und Abdeckung der individuellen Bedürfnissen der einzelnen Verwaltungsstellen.

Das Referat erläutert Grundlagen des Open Source Entwicklungsmodells, portraitiert aktuelle E-Government Projekte basierend auf Open Source Software und Open Standards und zeigt auf, wie Behörden künftig noch besser die Vorteile des Community-Prinzips nutzen können. Insbesondere werden der Begriff der “Digitalen Nachhaltigkeit” eingeführt und aktuelle Tätigkeiten aus der gleichnamigen Parlamentarischen Gruppe zusammengefasst.

Kurz-Biographie

Matthias Stürmer, Dr. sc. ETH Zürich, lic.rer.pol., hat im Sommer 2009 an der ETH Zürich seine Dissertation über den Einfluss von Firmen auf Open Source Communities abgeschlossen und arbeitet heute als Projektleiter und Berater bei der Web-Entwicklungsfirma Liip. Daneben ist er Vorstandsmitglied der Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open und Sekretär der Parlamentarischen Gruppe Digitale Nachhaltigkeit.

Portrait Parlamentarische Gruppe Digitale Nachhaltigkeit

Wissen ist für die Schweiz von grosser volkswirtschaftlicher Bedeutung: Bildung der Bevölkerung, Innovationskraft der Unternehmen, Effizienz in der öffentlichen Verwaltung, Exzellenz in der Wissenschaft – fast alle Gesellschaftsbereiche setzen die langfristige und offene Verfügbarkeit von Wissensgütern voraus. Im heutigen Informationszeitalter sind somit ein nachhaltiger Umgang mit digitalen Technologien gefragt um in der Schweiz das Potential der fortschreitende Digitalisierung auch in Zukunft nutzen zu können.

Zur Thematisierung und Förderung dieses Anliegens auf politischer Ebene ist im Mai 2009 die parlamentarische Gruppe Digitale Nachhaltigkeit gegründet worden. Präsidiert von Nationalrätin Edith Graf-Litscher (SP, Kt. Thurgau) und Nationalrat Christian Wasserfallen (FDP.Die Liberalen, Kt. Bern) und besetzt mit 23 weiteren Mitgliedern aus dem National- und Ständerat unterstützt die Gruppe den nachhaltigen und innovativen Umgang mit Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien. Die vier konkreten Handlungsgebiete umfassen die Förderung von Open Source Software, offenen Standards sowie freiem Zugriff auf Forschungsresultate (Open Access) und andere Inhalte (Open Content).



Doctoral thesis published - “How Firms Make Friends: Communities in Private-Collective Innovation”
Tuesday November 03rd 2009, 7:46h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Research

Now it’s final final: The 40 printed copies of my doctoral dissertation have arrived (everything written and layoutet with OpenOffice.org). Here on this blog I publish the abstract of the thesis and the PDF download of the introduction chapter (under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Switzerland license) without the appendix (because these are published research papers in scientific journals - so much about open access…). This introduction chapter can also be bought on Amazon for USD 79 ;)

Update 2011-04-26: I’m now publishing here the full PhD thesis including the three scientific papers in the appendix (PDF, 1.7MB).

How Firms Make Friends: Communities in Private-Collective Innovation

Abstract: When firms contribute to open source projects, they in fact invest into public goods which may be used by everyone, even by their competitors. This seemingly paradoxical behavior can be explained by the model of private-collective innovation where private investors participate in collective action. Previous literature has shown that companies benefit through the production process providing them with unique incentives such as learning and reputation effects. By contributing to open source projects firms are able to build a network of external individuals and organizations participating in the creation and development of the software. As will be shown in this doctoral dissertation firm-sponsored communities involve the formation of interorganizational relationships which eventually may lead to a source of sustained competitive advantage. However, managing a largely independent open source community is a challenging balancing act between exertion of control to appropriate value creation, and openness in order to gain and preserve credibility and motivate external contributions. Therefore, this dissertation consisting of an introductory chapter and three separate research papers analyzes characteristics of firm-driven open source communities, finds reasons why and mechanisms by which companies facilitate the creation of such networks, and shows how firms can benefit most from their communities.

How Firms Make Friends: Communities in Private-Collective Innovation



Talking about Digitale Nachhaltigkeit
Monday October 12th 2009, 19:34h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Politics

Since spring, when we founded the Parlamentarische Gruppe Digitale Nachhaltigkeit (group of parliamentarians on digital sustainability), interest in this topic is rising. This and next month only I’m doing four speeches on these issues starting tomorrow in Vienna:

“Digitale Nachhaltigkeit: Zusammenhang zwischen Open Source Software, Offenen Standards und freiem Wissen” October 13th, 2009 at Fachtagung „InterOperabilität - vom Stand der Technik zu Zukunftsstrategien auf europäischer Ebene“ in Vienna, Austria

“Open Source 2010: Vision eines Lobbyisten” October 28th, 2009 at Puzzle Tech Talk, Bern, Switzerland

“Digitale Nachhaltigkeit: Auswirkungen für Business und Gesellschaft” November 12th, 2009 at World Usability Day, Technopark, Zürich, Switzerland

“Nachhaltige, innovative eGovernment-Lösungen basierend auf dem Open Source Community-Prinzip” November 17th, 2009 in Fachsession of eGovernment-Symposium 2009, Bern, Switzerland

Although I’ll focus a little bit for each presentation and adapt the slides, the key message stays the same as is has done in my previous speeches on this topic:

OpenExpo 2009 Winterthur

“Digitale Nachhaltigkeit in der Schweiz – ein Bericht zur Lage der Nation” September 23th, 2009 at OpenExpo, Switzerland (YouTube and PDF slides)

Participant of panel discussion “Proprietäre Software versus Opensource – Erfahrungen im Dokumenten Management” September 18th, 2009 at eGov Fokus “Dokumenten-Management und Langzeitarchivierung”, Kompetenzzentrum Public Management und E-Government, Berner Fachhochschule Wirtschaft und Verwaltung, Switzerland

“Netzzunft-Treffen: Politik 2.0 Teil 1 – Digitale Nachhaltigkeit” July 29th, 2009 at ETH Zürich, Switzerland (PDF slides)

Thinking about the passed and the planned presentations I realize that we’re indeed in the middle of the process of defining the term “Digitale Nachhaltigkeit” or digital sustainability. Just tonight I spoke with my ETH-PhD colleague Marcus Dapp (his blog) about his definition of “Digitale Nachhaltigkeit” - he doesn’t have one either despite teaching his lecture “Digitale Nachhaltigkeit in der Wissensgesellschaft” (lecture slides) for the fourth time - he promised me to change this soon ;)



Almost at the end of my educational career
Wednesday October 07th 2009, 22:58h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Research

A week ago I finished my doctoral dissertation project by successfully defending my thesis against tricky questions by my supervisor Prof. Georg von Krogh and co-referee Prof. Sonali Shah - who came directly from Seattle just for this examination! So thanks to everyone who shared the thrill with me - especially Martin Krafft who asked a nasty question on methodology in the end! Well, I forgive you knowing that your defense is still coming up ;) - Here’re BTW the defense slides:

Thus my long educational career is almost at its end. I just need to clean up the thesis now, print it and hand it in, then I may finally be called doctor ;) However, it’s not yet the end of academia. At the moment I’m teaching Strategic Management with Georg and also write a revision of our lightweight reuse paper. And if things turn out well I might even start a new research project on open source communities - let’s see what the future brings!



Helping Richard Stallman Cooking Noodles
Saturday September 05th 2009, 0:22h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS

Tonight I had the honor to help Free Software movement founder Richard Stallman to cook noodles at Théo’s place nicely located up in the Lausanne vineyards:

It's time for libre OpenExpo ;)

Before Richard and I had a hot dispute about Free Software vs. Open Source. As Norbert correctly said: It’s like convincing the pope that women should become bishops… The issue was that RMS doesn’t want to speak at an event which uses the terminology of open source software. Therefore we found the compromise that I’ll rename OpenExpo to “libre OpenExpo” and then RMS will come again to Switzerland 2010 and speak at our open source - uhm - Free Software event, great!!

Richard’s talk about copyleft in the afternoon at 8ème Forum eCulture in Lausanne was fascinating. I was really impressed of his French speaking skills talking 2h in an almost accent-free French!

In the end he auctioned his book “Free Software, Free Society” for 300 Swiss francs!



How to title your thesis really academically
Thursday September 03rd 2009, 8:43h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Research

Following a lot of advices from PhD Comics I finally found the right title for my thesis: “How Firms Make Friends: Communities in Private-Collective Innovation”

How to title your thesis

And here my favorite comic on how (not) to talk to PhD students:

What you shouldn't ask a PhD student

Want more? Here are the 200 most popular strips.



First PhD thesis presentation at LIIP
Thursday July 16th 2009, 15:21h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Research

nice office at LIIP

Today I had the opportunity to present my PhD thesis for the first time. LIIP office in Zürich was the victim - I hope the practicioners were not too much bored by my academic work…



Fantastically lightweight backup: Dropbox saves my PhD thesis
Friday June 05th 2009, 21:51h
Filed under: ETH Zürich

Sorry my Wuala colleagues, I suddenly fell in love with Dropbox (despite it’s not open source ;). The concept is similar to the Swiss online storage (although only Wuala does secure file sharing, I know Dominik), but in my view Dropbox is much better integrated into the desktop which is what I missed in Wuala (I use the Linux version, but it’s also available for Mac and Windows).

The one thing I particularly like is Dropbox’ ability to save certain files and directories somewhere in my document hierarchy. I just create a link of the local file or folder and then move it into my Dropbox folder. Therefore, whenever I locally save my PhD thesis, a second later it gets automatically uploaded and versioned - really the most lightweight backup I’ve ever experienced!

Download Dropbox