Stories by Bill Snyder

Despite Apple, cool new iPhone hacks are coming

What exec wouldn't love to have an army of unpaid workers cranking out improvements to their product on the off chance that they may make some money -- or get a little glory? Steve Jobs, of course. But despite Apple's stand, independent developers are poring over the beta of iPhone 3.0, speculating about the new hardware and getting ready to add useful (and sometimes just playful) hacks.

Open source is dying -- or maybe it isn't

Put three geeks in a room and it won't take long to start an argument. Well, analyst Dennis Byron, veteran open source exec Stuart Cohen, and ex-Microsoft developer Keith Curtis weren't exactly in the same room, but all three have provocative opinions about the future of software in general and of open source in particular.

Will the financial meltdown slow IT innovation?

You might hate Wall Street -- and who doesn't this week, but if you work in IT you owe the Street a vote of thanks because the fat cats in financial services have been a major driver of technological innovation.

Analytics vendors show there's still innovation in BI

Managing data isn't as glamorous as many of the glitzy Web 2.0 apps on display at the Demo Fall 2008 conference in San Diego, but it's what keeps businesses running. Enterprise applications to speed databases, manage unstructured data, and handle BI queries on a massive scale made their debut this week, and at first blush they look positive. Of course, all will have to stand the rigor of real-world use and testing.

The best, and worst, of Demo Fall 2008

It isn't something you'll see on a server rack, but a product from a fabless silicon design outfit could help you cut down on air conditioning costs at work or home and help save energy. What's more, Microstaq's Silicon Expansion Valve (SEV) illustrates innovative thinking, and after all, isn't that what the Demo show is all about?

Google plays Big Brother

I'm always happy to see competitive products reach the market, particularly one that might give Microsoft a run for its money.

Really free Linux takes hold

It's hardly news these days when RHEL or Suse Linux boots Windows or Unix off a server. And we know that commercial software vendors are paying plenty of attention to commercial open source.

Apple, Amazon cloud snafus leave Microsoft sitting pretty

Pity the poor road warrior who tried to find his data on The Linkup, only to get this message when he logged in: "Unfortunately The Linkup service is no longer available. Please visit for your storage needs." What's worse, the sales guy was on an extended trip through North and South America. That's a real story, told by one Jacob Sherman, "I just want my data," he said.

Cloud computing goes open source

With more and more companies jumping into the cloud computing fray, this week's joint announcement by Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Yahoo seems like a yawner. But it isn't.

Battle of the Steves

Here's an irony: With XP's expiration date now 10 days past, you'd think Microsoft could take a deep breath, wipe the sweat off its brow, and enjoy some relative peace and quiet. Wrong. The software giant launched its Vista Compatibility Center this week -- and promptly fell on its face when the site was down for a whole day.

Red Hat the latest proof that cloud computing is serious business

You know a technology is getting some traction when imitators jump into the game. That's the case these days with cloud computing. Just this week, Amazon added Red Hat's JBoss to its EC2 cloud computing platform, and an established hosting service -- ServePath -- jumped into the fray with a version of cloud computing called GoGrid.

Why open source needs an attitude adjustment

Recession be damned. The first quarter of the year saw a record $203.7 million of venture capital flow to young open source companies. You'd think that would be a cause for celebration, but for too many members of the open source community money is, well, icky.

The top 10 tech startups for 2008

There are few clearer bellwethers as to the imminent direction of technology than where venture capitalists put their money. They're about making money, so they look for industry patterns they think will lead to sure bets. And that means they invest where the tech industry has begun to coalesce its thinking, not on exotic new science fiction. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, VCs have invested a total of US$57 billion in startups -- mostly tech ones -- in 2005, 2006, and 2007.