Monday, June 25, 2012

Apa kegunaan GPL dan free software untuk bisnis?

GPL and free software licensing: What's in it for business?

By Richard Hillesley | June 15, 2012, 9:31 AM PDT

Copyleft or free software licensing helps ensure open standards and the continuity of the code. Photo: Shutterstock

For a variety of reasons business is often seen as antipathetic to copyleft licensing. The GPL - the GNU General Public License - the most popular copyleft licence, sometimes gets a hostile press, often for reasons that don't reflect its real and positive effects.

Arguments about the pros and cons of copyleft and permissive licensing go back a long way. A permissive licence is as it says, and allows the user to copy, repackage, sell, or change the code in any way the user likes, as long as some form of attribution is given.

A copyleft licence, such as the GPL, gives similar rights but ensures reciprocity by obliging those who distribute the code to pass on the same rights to others, unimpaired, which by definition includes giving access to the source code and to any changes that have been made to it.

The software can be used for any purpose the user pleases, and can be repackaged and sold, or given away free. Verbatim copies can be made of the program, but must be accompanied by the GPL and any notices referring to the GPL, including the copyright and disclaimers of warranty for the software. All changes to the code must be noted, with notice of the changes and who made them.

A permissive licence puts its faith in the better side of human nature and is often said to be friendlier to business, because users can do as they wish with the code and have no obligation to pass on alterations to the software.

For their part, advocates of the GPL argue that copyleft not only guarantees the freedom of the code but also helps build reciprocity and community. Copyleft helps ensure open standards and the continuity of the code, which are vital if people are going to interoperate in a networked world, and this philosophy has worked to the advantage of users and developers alike.

Free software licences' range of emphasis

There are varying shades of emphasis and no two licences are completely alike, so the Apache License v2, which is classed as permissive, offers some level of patent cover, and weaker copyleft licences such as the LGPL or Mozilla Public Licence are more flexible than the GPL.

Contrary to myth neither the GPL nor the LGPL are viral, in the sense of forcing any software linked to them to adopt the licence. GPL code can be dynamically linked to binary proprietary code, and the LGPL allows static linking to proprietary binaries. Relationships between the GPL licences and other software are carefully explained in the GPL FAQ.

The choice of licence comes down to personal preference, and both approaches can have good or bad effects, depending on the user's perspective. When it comes to business, the choice of licence is pragmatic and should be swayed by the aims of the project.

While, for instance, Google has aimed to remove all GPLed software from Android's userland, and Apple won't allow GPLed software to be sold through its App Store, it is indisputably the case that both personal and business users of projects such as the Linux kernel and GCC have gained from the provisions of a licence that makes it easy to share code for mutual advantage, and hard to fork code for individual or corporate gain.

Beneficial effects of GPL for commerce

GCC, the ultimate portable compiler, is a good example of the beneficial effects of the GPL to commerce and industry. When the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) first came on the scene, compilers were an expensive commodity. GCC made it cheap and affordable for software vendors and OEMs to port software across a wide range of operating systems and computer architectures.

A side effect of this approach was that devices became cheaper, and open-source operating systems such as Linux and BSD could be ported more cheaply to routers, mobile and embedded devices, which spread the usefulness and reduced the cost of these devices.

Because GCC became ubiquitous and used the GPL, it became the path of least resistance for companies to add the code to compile languages and proprietary architectures into GCC, which in turn made the languages and architectures accessible to others.

If chip manufacturers or the designers of proprietary languages kept their changes to themselves, the languages and the architectures would be less useful to software vendors and OEMs and to the manufacturers themselves. The portability of GCC played a big part in making it possible to port Linux to many devices.

A permissive licence would not have prohibited this effect, but would have made it less likely - if only because the GPL enforces reciprocity and in doing so encourages some level of commonality.

Reciprocity's positive impact on software

This effect is even truer of the Linux kernel. Reciprocity has been a positive asset for Linux because copyleft ensures a company that contributes to the Linux kernel has the assurance that it will also benefit from the contribution of others.

In a recent BBC interview, Linus Torvalds commented on this effect: "If you're a person who is interested in operating systems, you don't want to get involved if you feel like your contributions would be somehow taken advantage of, but with the GPLv2, that simply was never an issue."

He said the fundamental property of the GPLv2 is its mutually beneficial nature: "I'll give you my improvements, if you promise to give your improvements back. It isn't just fair on an individual scale, it's fair on a company scale and it's fair on a global scale."

Torvalds said if competitors fail to put in the same effort that you do, they can't reap the rewards you can: "If they don't contribute, they don't get to control the direction of the project, and they won't have the same kind of knowledge and understanding of it that you do. So there really are big advantages to being actively involved - you can't just coast along on somebody else's work."

GPL's assurance of freedom and commonality

A company may fork, strip or enhance the Linux kernel according to the strengths and weaknesses of the company's hardware, but its enhancements must be made available to others. And the GPL, which gives assurance of the continued freedom and commonality of the code, is the driver behind this impulse.

From a business perspective, the primary advantage of a permissive licence over a copyleft licence is that it grants the user the right to fork and reuse the code in a proprietary setting, or to add value with proprietary add-ons. This effect has worked very well for some companies, which have benefited from the ability to reuse the code.

But the ability to fork code in a proprietary setting can also discourage others from contributing to a project, knowing that a competitor can add value to their contribution and profit from a one-sided transaction.

The ability to fork code in a proprietary setting can retract some of the advantages of being open source, yet many companies take the view that the ability to fork is an advantage as long as it is a choice that's open to them. It is a matter of opinion whether this is a beneficial aspect of permissive licensing, or a sub-optimal use of free software.

A permissive licence offers real freedom to end users, who can do as they wish with the software, and works in the interests of companies with a pressing need to share code and guard their intellectual property.

But the GPL has also proved its value as a collaborative tool - because community, commonality, interoperability and continuity of the software are useful side-effects of the licence, and increase the advantages of being open source and free.
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Apakah edukasi mempengaruhi karir menjadi direktur?

How education impacts the journey to CIO

By Scott Lowe | May 29, 2012, 5:58 AM PDT

I'm often asked what classes are important to take in high school and college in order to achieve a reasonable level of success in IT management.  For me, this is an easy answer, but before I unveil it, let me provide some context around my answer.  For me, there is one specific class with a specific teacher that I feel was the most important class I took when I was in school.

Obviously, an IT management career requires a broad education.  CIOs and IT Directors need to understand technology to a point at which they can make good decisions regarding direction or at least understand enough so that they can put into action the plans from their staff members and link these plans to business goals.  In this context, it's important to have a reasonable technical education, although it's possible to pick up what's necessary in on-the-job efforts, too.  Personally, my degree is in Computer Science but I took a broad-based curriculum that included a lot of underlying Comp Sci courses, including COBOL and Pascal, but also courses on data design and workflow logic.  Much to my surprise, shortly after graduating from college, I discovered that, at the time, the most valuable course I took in college was COBOL, at least as it pertained to my first IT job.  It was in my COBOL classes that I learned to read data definitions and data types and I was putting these skills to work immediately upon starting my job.  While I was taking the COBOL courses, which we required, I didn't see the value in the "dead" language-which we know is far from dead-but once I got into the real world, I realized that my college learning was necessarily all about the topic at hand.  Sure, I learned COBOL, but it was the framework around which COBOL operates that was the real benefit.  Of course, I took the required general education courses, which included economics, accounting and physics.  Believe it or not, I came very, very close to changing my major to accounting.

Bear in mind that information above was at the end of just my first two years in college; I did not attend under a traditional timeline.  It was after my first two years that I started my first IT job.

My second two years of college still had some computer science elements, such as Java programming, but this part of my college career was undertaken after spending some time in the field, so I had a better idea as to what I ultimately wanted, which was to move into IT management.  In addition to computer science courses, I took courses on leadership styles, power structures and organizational dynamics.  My focus in my last two years was much more on how organizations operate, but still within the context of Information Technology.  By this point, I had my eyes set on the CIO chair.

From here, the rest is really history.  I continued to move around to different jobs, moving up the organization until I eventually became an IT Director and then CIO, a position I left last November to start my own consultancy.

So, looking back, what class do I feel had the most impact on my career?  This is a question that can only be answered after more than 20 years.  It was my 11th grade high school English class that really shaped my career.  I didn't know it at the time, but it put me on the path to where I am now.  I didn't really care for English or Language Arts up until that point, but I was fortunate enough to have a teacher that completely turned me around to a point where I skipped 12th grade English and took college English in my senior year of high school.  It was in 11th grade English that I learned that I actually enjoyed writing, telling stories and sharing experiences.

Obviously, from a writing perspective, which is an important aspect of my career these days, the skills I learned in that English class are obvious.  However, even as a CIO, I learned that the ability to communicate is, by far, the most important skill that a CIO can have.  In fact, I believe that every IT staff person should be a good communicator.  IT is still a black box to so many people and the cryptic communication that sometimes comes from IT does nothing to help the department's image.

Never forget that the act of sending a communication or giving a speech is not communication in and of itself.  "Communication" implies that there is an understanding of the material at hand.  If the recipient does not understand the message, communication has not taken place.

Don't take this to mean that it was just English that has helped my career; it just had the most impact.  Frankly, even if I didn't realize it at the time, almost all of the courses that I took in my formal education have been important in one sense or another.  Even my economics and accounting courses came to the front and center a couple of years ago when I rebuilt my employer's long range financial forecasting model from scratch.  Educationally, nothing has gone to waste.

Since leaving college… a few years ago… one thing I've never forgotten is that success comes only through lifelong learning.  Sitting still isn't something I'm good at, so I read pretty voraciously and "play" in my home lab when there are new software releases that interest me.  A good education is just one aspect of a good CIO, but it's an important one
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10 Trend Infrastructure menurut Gartner

Gartner: Top 10 Emerging Infrastructure Trends

Added 6th Jun 2012

Ellen Messmer

Gartner kicked off its Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit here today with a "top 10" list of the most significant emerging trends that will impact data centers and information technology used by businesses and government from now into the next four or five years.
The list was presented by Gartner Chief of Research Dave Cappuccio in a keynote address, in which he explained there's often a cascading effect as one trend such as employee mobile devices and cloud use affects others such as helpdesk operations.

MORE: Gartner: 10 key IT trends for 2012 The Top Ten Trends are:

1. Consumerization and the tablet: Widespread use of tablets, such as the iPad, and other mobile devices in business isn't seen as replacing the traditional computer desktop entirely, but the tablets trend will bring about "more specific applications to do specific things," Cappuccio noted, and "the days of monolithic suites" of applications seems to be going away because of it. Companies using them, including for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) use, should recognize there's a lot of unmanaged storage in tablets and smartphones they should be managing.

2. Infinite data center: The movement toward smaller size but greater density in data centers, combined with a trend to analyze performance per kilowatt, is leading to energy management as a newer type of discipline, even for "moderately energy-intensive organizations," by 2017, said Cappuccio, where a focus on energy-management information systems is apparent.

3. Resource management: Virtualization of servers is well along but businesses still haven't gotten the maximum performance benefits they can get in workload management. And water use as a coolant in data centers is another trend to know about. He said data center information management (DCIM) vendors should be evaluated to see if they can bring anything to data center resource management.

4. Mobility and the personal cloud: "The whole concept of PCs is going away," said Cappuccio, noting that employees, who today often carry multiple mobile devices, may want to use some of them under BYOD conditions in the enterprise. Not only should enterprises immediately evaluate BYOD for their own situations, and consider a "self-service culture for users," but acknowledge that mobility is going to have a cascading effect on how internal physical infrastructure is built -- or not built at all -- in the future.

5. Hybrid clouds: Through next year, more than 60% of enterprises will have some form of cloud adoption, and the majority will be exploring private and public cloud techniques, in what's called a hybrid cloud. Into the next three years, private cloud focused on service-centric delivery of IT services to the organization will emerge. Companies should be evaluating what are commodity services and move them to the public cloud, recognizing the decision to virtualize is impacting rack-based bandwidth I/O profoundly, increasing it 25 times over.

6. Fabric data centers: Evolving from "server centrism to fabric infrastructure" for servers, networks and storage will mean more flexibility in workload mobility and placement based on continuously changing factors, such as number of users and time of day, said Cappuccio. Building these kinds of resource pools that can be managed and configured is worthwhile, he added.

7. IT complexity: The complexity of technical changes, combined with trend such as virtualization, mobility and cloud computing, are only increasing the complexity of IT management, he said. In this situation, what's needed is a "generalist at a high level who can figure out what the cascade effects are," and that kind of person in the center of things will play an increasingly important role is helping IT matters run well.

8. Storage and big data: When data storage hits a petabyte and more, suddenly there's a lot of big data and companies would like to be able to analyze it to spot trends that could be useful to their businesses. But most of this data will be unstructured data which hasn't been correlated in novel ways before, and there's the challenge, said Cappuccio. But clearly companies are going to find ways based on "pattern-based strategies" to apply "intelligent analytics to this stuff."

9. End of your service helpdesk: Mobility, consumerization of IT, the cloud -- all of these trends are leading to another trend, the possible end to the traditional helpdesk. "It may be ending, or morphing," said Cappuccio. The emerging trend is more reliance on crowdsourcing, such as the friend who knows the answer, the Web resources of vendors or blogs, and it all may mean a "transition strategy" related to how IT troubles are handled.

10. Software-defined networks virtualizing the data center: Over the next few years, there will be software-defined networks designed that have basically separated hardware from software in a way that will slowly do away with the "box-by-box" approach and "handcrafted configurations" of today, where tomorrow there will be an "automated workflow" for the next-generation data center. "These fabric-based systems are evolving that -- be prepared," said Cappuccio. Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hemat via Internet

Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mengajak bangsa Indonesia berhemat, beberapa hari silam. SBYmemang menekankan soal menghemat anggaran belanja lewat kebijakan terkait BBM dan energi – khususnya bagi para pegawai pemerintah dan BUMN.

Namun, terkait usaha menghemat kocek pemerintah itu, sebenarnya salah satu upaya lain yang penting dan mendesak untuk digalakkan adalah pemanfaatan teknologi Internet secara lebih efektif dan efisien.

Sejauh ini memang sudah ada beberapa kegiatan pemerintah dengan menggunakan teknologi Internet. Selain surat elektronik (surel) alias e-mail dan penayangan 'brochure-ware' melalui berbagai situs kantor pemerintahan dan BUMN, syukurlah sudah ada program e-procurementatau pun e-government.

Tetapi banyak hal masih perlu ditingkatkan penggunaannya. Misalnya, para pengambil keputusan tidak mesti melakukan rapat secara tatap-muka dalam setiap rapat kerja – kecuali ketika masalah yang dihadapi demikian pelik sehingga memerlukan kehadiran semua pihak.

Namun bila rapat hanya membahas beberapa soal rutin, seperti rapat tiap Selasa yang digagas Menteri BUMN Dahlan Iskan, umpamanya, kiranya para pegawai pemerintah bisa memanfaatkan teknologi seperti 'web-cam', kamera yang tersambung dengan Internet. Jangankan pada komputer atau laptop, bahkan sekarang ini web-cam juga sudah menjadi fitur utama berbagai telepon seluler (ponsel).

Lewat 'rapat jarak jauh' begitu, sang peserta rapat tak perlu bepergian ke luar kantor. Mobilnya pun cukup diparkir, dan tak usah membuang-buang waktu di jalan yang macet (di Jakarta) atau pun terbang mendatangi tempat rapat di luar kota.

Demikian pula dengan pelatihan. Banyak pelatihan sebenarnya dapat dilakukan dengan menggunakan fasilitas multimedia di Internet atau video streaming --sehingga tak perlu membayar mahal pelatih untuk berkeliling ke beberapa kantor cabang.

Melalui cara-cara demikian, dengan sekali dayung bukan hanya satu-dua pulau terlampau, melainkan bisa lima-enam sungai pun terseberangi.

Satu hal lain yang bisa memotong banyak ongkos adalah memanfaatkan teknologi Google Earth dan Google Map untuk mempromosikan pariwisata dan semua keperluan 'geospatial' bumi pertiwi – termasuk peta dan foto areal pertambangan, perkebunan dan obyek wisata -- ke konsumen di mana pun di dunia.

Kabarnya, Google telah menunjuk agen pengembangan Google Qualified Developer di Asia Tenggara lewat perusahaan 'Exist.Inc Indonesia,' yang berkantor di Jakarta.

Itu di satu sisi. Di sisi lain, sesungguhnya pemerintah selayaknya makin gencar mendulang dan mendukung pemasukan dana lewat pasar online dan media sosial yang kian hari kian marak.

Pemerintah pusat dan daerah serta semua BUMN sejatinya dapat menginfiltrasi 'pasar tanpa sekat' di dunia, melalui jejaring online yang makin cepat, makin murah dan makin luas penggunaannya.

Sebagai gambaran luasnya penggunaan Internet, mari kita tengok transaksi jual-beli produk konsumen secara online.

Pada tahun ini saja, nilai transaksi online produk Indonesia diperkirakan mencapai lebih US$4 miliar -- meningkat dari US$3,4 miliar pada 2010. Di antara situs belanja yang paling populer di Indonesia saat ini adalah pakaian dan aksesori (sekitar 36%), disusul kupon (voucher dan sebagainya) sebesar 33%, serta buku dan DVD (33%).

Potensi perkembangan itu bakalan melejit luar biasa, mengingat kontribusi Internet terhadap produk domestik bruto sesungguhnya baru mencapai 1,6%. Lebih lagi, karena Indonesia kini menempati urutan kelima negara pengakses Internet terbesar dunia.

Diperkirakan rasio jumlah konsumen online terhadap prosentase penduduk kita saat ini telah mencapai 57%. Memang itu masih di bawah Malaysia (67%) dan Vietnam (61%), tetapi prosentase itu sama dengan Singapura, dan di atas India (54%).

Menurut data yang ada, memang penjualan online di dunia terus meningkat. Sehingga tak heran bila firma pembayaran online 'PayPal' meramalkan, pada 2016 uang fisik akan ditinggalkan orang, digantikan uang digital.

Menurut Presiden Direktur Finnet Indonesia Waldan R. Bakara, Indonesia juga segera menyusul menggunakan uang digital itu. "Pada 2020, sekitar 50% warga Indonesia akan menggunakan uang digital ini," kata Waldan kepada INILAH.COM.

PayPal belum lama ini meluncurkan aplikasi InStore. Melalui aplikasi ini, konsumen tak perlu lagi mengantre di toko, karena penjual cukup menggunakan pemindai portabel yang ada di ponsel untuk membaca barcode pembeli. Sesudah itu pembeli cukup memasukkan PIN miliknya, dan selesailah 'ijab-kabul' jual beli, hanya dalam hitungan 30 detik.

Walhasil, bicara mengenai Internet dan penggunaannya bisa membuat orang berdecak heran. Dalam sejarah manusia di bumi ini, belum ada media komunikasi yang berkembang secepat Internet.

Coba saja bandingkan: jika radio dulu memerlukan waktu 30-an tahun untuk mencapai 50 juta pendengar, dan TV membutuhkan 10 tahun untuk meraih 50 juta pemirsa di dunia, maka Internet atau 'world wide web' (www) hanya perlu sekitar empat tahun guna meraih 50 juta pengguna.

Tetapi para ahli mengingatkan bahwa teknik memasarkan jasa dan produk pada zaman Internet tidak sama dengan marketing konvensional.

Di antara yang berubah pada pemasaran via Internet, pertama, adalah bahwa kini harapan atau tuntutan konsumen terhadap kenyamanan makin besar. Kini konsumen tak mau menunggu lama, dan ingin memilih sendiri waktu dan tempat mereka berbelanja, misalnya pada tengah malam dan dilakukan di kamar tidur.

Artinya, bila Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif (Kemenparekraf) hendak mengkampanyekan sebuah program 'wisata baru' di pasar Jerman, misalnya, maka penjaga situs kampanye wisata Kemenparekraf itu mesti siap menjawab pertanyaan calon wisatawan itu, meski pun itu dilakukan pada jam 9 malam waktu Jerman, alias sekitar pukul empat pagi WIB.

Sejumlah respon kompetitif berlangsung pada waktu berjalan, in real time. Berbeda dengan pemasaran konvensional, saat ini konsumen dapat dengan mudah membandingkan harga jasa dengan jasa pesaingnya pada saat yang sama. Saat seorang konsumen membeli tiket pesawat misalnya, ia bisa secara mudah membandingkan beberapa harga tiket berbagai maskapai penerbangan sekaligus.

Para ahli yang lain menyarankan bahwa saat ini, perusahaan atau penjual tak cukup hanya mendengar atau mempelajari apa yang diinginkan konsumen melalui kegiatan 'partisipasi'.

Konsumen, bahkan yang menjadi 'fans' bagi sebuah brand di Facebook, umpamanya, menuntut perusahaan memberi respon secara lebih bermakna.

Artinya, secara orang per orang, setiap individu ingin mendapatkan input mengenai brandyang mereka beli, dan cara-cara apa saja yang bisa mereka lakukan untuk membeli produk atau jasa itu.

Metode yang disebut enlightened engagement itu, kini menjadi fase awal evolusi di dunia komersial lewat keterlibatan sosial di Internet.

Dalam era Internet Marketing ini, kita memerlukan 'P' yang kelima –menyempurnakan 4-P yang lazim dikenal dalam dunia pemasaran. Dan 'P' kelima itu adalah 'people', orang-orang yang mewakili marketing, jasa dan bauran komersial.

Penjaga situs Kemenparekraf tadi, misalnya, mesti bisa berinteraksi, secara sosial, menawarkan paket yang dipersonalisasikan kepada calon wisatawan secara penuh empati.

Bila tidak, maka kita bukan hanya menghalangi aktifnya dampak sosial dalam urusan komersial yang berlangsung, melainkan, yang lebih parah, boleh jadi calon wisatawan Jerman tadi akan direbut negara tetangga lebih dulu.

*) Konsultan komunikasi, dan dosen komunikasi di Universitas Paramadina, Jakarta. [mor]