Blog Archive

Blog posts for September 2009

Free software and sustainable TIC are linked

At the begining of August, Frédéric Bordage, from the blog GreenIT.fr, wrote a very interesting article (in French) on the links between Free software and sustainable TIC. In this article, he presents the main values of these two sectors and the assets of Free software:

  • "... they share the same values as the ones of sustainable development : helping, sharing, efficiency."
  • "... most Free software are free and translated in various languages, which makes them more accessible than proprietary paying software. A strong argument to accelerate the installation of good environmental practices."
  • "... open source communities produce effective projects", based "on the creation of a rich ecosystem that facilitates innovation (one talks about open innovation) and creativity."

Since its beginnings , XWiki adheres to these values and applies them to all its actions.

On The Web - 09/09/09

It does no harm just this once, here is a small review of the Web:

Open Source Software: The Customer Perception from SME and SMI?

We wanted to draw your attention on a research work, published in March 2009, on the perception of Open Source Software from SME and SMI. This report was written by Boris Garand, in the framework of an MBA (Group ESC Rouen School of business).

Here is the abstract:

"Many studies, surveys recognizes the overall performance of Open Source Software compare to proprietary products in term of innovation, total cost ownership, stability, community involvement ... many factors that makes Open Source Software a viable project and movement. The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the customer perception of OSS only from SME and SMI in order to understand this low level of market share."

The main conclusions, from the quantitative and qualitative survey, are the following: companies are not reluctant with alternative solutions offered by OSS because there are good solutions in term of reliability, performance, scalability, security and TCO. The communication seams to be insufficient though (in particular for solutions less known than Mozilla, Linux, Open Office...) and not sufficiently clear (for instance, concerning the licences). The other negative reported point is the lack of support. These conclusions seem to be relevant. However, it is necessary to admit that small companies don't always have the ressources of the big ones; thus, to be as visible as Mozilla may be a difficult task. Concerning the support, here is a small reminding, XWiki has a professionnal offer.

To download the report.

Twitter accounts on Linux and social software

The great site Tux-planet listed for us and for you numerous Twitter accounts (organisations, initiatives, people...) about Linux and free software. It also organised them in several categories (impressive!):

  • Groups
  • Desktops
  • Linux distribution 
  • Databases
  • Free Software
  • Free Software in PHP
  • Unix distribution
  • Development
  • People (fr + en)
  • Informations (fr + en)
  • Other

There's nothing left but to leave a comment, if an interesting account is missing. 

*To follow XWiki on Twitter, click here: @xwiki

Reminding : Twitter is a free micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages of 140 characters maximum.

5 years of XWiki SAS

This summer, on July 19th, XWiki SAS turned 5 years old. In a few month in November it will be the 6th anniversary of when I (Ludovic Dubost, President/Founder of XWiki) started the development of XWiki. 

I want today to share with you the great progress that we have made in the last year as well as where XWiki is today, and this despite a tough economic environment.

A light-year of progress of the XWiki Software in just one year

Last year, we have decided to focus on the most important feature of a Wiki, the editing part, by launching the XWiki Rendering project and the new XWiki GWT WYSIWYG Editor. We have also launched the creation of additional modules like the Office Importer and made important improvements to the usability of XWiki. 

We had been convinced after the 4 years of innovation where we had created many features in XWiki, as well as children projects like XWiki Workspaces, XWiki Watch or Chronopolys, that we needed to make a big push to make our core product stronger and easier to use and a tool that everybody loves using every day.

It took us a year to get to the upcoming release of XWiki 2.0 and we see all the signs that we have done it right in XWiki 2.0. The road to XWiki 2.0 has gone through many other XWiki releases in the last year. Since XWiki 1.5 released in the summer of 2008 where we delivered the new XWiki Administration UI, we released:

  • XWiki 1.6 with the first version of the new rendering engine and WYSIWYG editor,
  • XWiki 1.7 with WebDAV suppport,
  • XWiki 1.8 with the new rendering engine and WYSIWYG Editor going mainstream, the release of the Office Importer and the new Dashboard
  • XWiki 1.9 where Syntax 2.0 and the new WYSIWYG Editor became the default and many usability enhancements (so many that we can't list them all here)

And now XWiki 2.0 with default wiki pages in Syntax 2.0, a new WatchList feature based on Activity Streams, and a new Skin with Color Themes.

I believe that XWiki is now the "Best" Open-Source Wiki and is highly competitive with proprietary software built by companies having way more financial funding than XWiki has. We also make the 'X' in XWiki real by making XWiki a great wiki that still is highly extensible ('X' stands for eXtended) with its internal programming API and the Velocity, Groovy, Python and Ruby scripting languages integrated in the XWiki engine. 

Why Open-Source works thanks to our community of users and customers

Now great technology is not enough and would be nothing without a great community of users and customers. In this area a lot of things have also happened in the last year. 

XWiki is now downloaded 20000 times per month. This is a lot of people and companies installing, trying and upgrading XWiki. Our user and developer lists are continuously growing with now 300 members of our dev list and 562 members or our user lists. We have also added major customers in the last year with EMC and Saint-Gobain being the most prominent. The rate of usage of XWiki inside these companies has been growing, especially for the customers running the new WYSIWYG editor which is a major success factor.

Most importantly, we can see from our experience in the last years that Open Source works and really allows to create high quality software adapted to customers needs. I would like to share with you the inside of how Open Source can really work well:

Back in 2006 as XWiki was still very young, we were contacted by a major European aeronautics and defense group, who wanted to build a prototype of a collaborative tool. In this prototype they needed to retrieve RSS feeds from the Internet and display them in the Wiki. They contracted with us a small deal to build what is now called the "FeedPlugin", which is based on the ROME open source project (created among others by our friend Patrick Chanezon while he was working at Sun Microsystems). At the same moment, for Curriki.org, we were building a Google Web Toolkit (GWT) XWiki API for a "Curriculum Builder" feature. 

Later at the beginning of 2007 we were contracted by "Désirs d'avenir", the Segolène Royal Présidential campaign team, to build a "Internet Watch" tool. For this we extended the "FeedPlugin" to allow storing feed information in Wiki pages, and we used the GWT API to build the user interface. This finally became "XWiki Watch", an extension product to XWiki Enterprise.

Finally, the initial customer that financed the first version of the FeedPlugin decided to go forward with the project that was proved useful using the prototype. We then used for them "XWiki Watch" which existed thanks to the contributions of multiple organizations that each financed pieces of it, including themselves.

This is a great lesson of how Open-Source is beneficial to the whole community. By setting the rules (the open source licence) by which code is shared, it makes it possible for each user or customer to finance a piece, usually the one the most important and that has the most value to them, and benefit from the work financed by others. 

This will continue, with customers (Curriki and EMC) that in 2008 and 2009 have financed work on the new WYSIWYG Editor and on the Office Importer (which initially was a Google Summer of Code project). This work will benefit to the customers that have initially financed other pieces as they will be able to integrate brand new powerful features in their solution.

Open Source leads to quality and adaptability

Year after year, the product developed under the Open Source license becomes of higher quality and more powerful. It appeals then more and more to smaller companies or groups which cannot necessarily finance new developments, but who will subscribe to installations services, support contracts or hosted services and through them also provide additional funding for the R&D of the Open Source project. Purchasing support or installation services from us, is not only a very efficient way to help the success of your XWiki installation, but it also helps the funding of the R&D of the product itself

Globally this leads to high quality software, highly extensible and customizable, all this at very affordable prizes. We are already at XWiki able to be competitive and affordable, although we don't have the R&D paid by a huge user and customer base. But this user and customer base is growing every day and at one point we reach a moment where the gap of affordability and customizability versus comparable closed-source software is so big, that it makes the spreading and usage of the software accelerate.

The big news of this last year is that we are seeing this moment coming. Open-Source works.

Help us accelerate XWiki's growth

If you want to help this acceleration, you can do it: download XWiki, use it, purchase XWiki services or develop or finance new features for XWiki. Visit this web site to see our service offerings and contact us

Come to see us at T-DOSE and CITCON Europe

Come to see us in September and October at:

CITCON Europe 2009 (September 17th and 18th 2009)

Vincent Massol will participate to the european edition of the conference CITCON (Continuous Integration and Testing), that will be held in Paris at ISEP on the 18th and 19th September. Nevertheless, I can't mention any subject for his talk. The way the event is run is not usual

T-DOSE (October 3rd 2009)

Ludovic Dubost will be in Netherlands at the beginning of October for T-DOSE. He will make a demo and a presentation of the main characteristics of the next generation of wikis, based on the project open source XWiki.

See you there?

XWiki Enterprise 2.0 is out!

The lastest version of our professionnal Open Source wiki, XWiki Enterprise, has been released! We are very proud of this version. Thanks to all the team for its great work!!!

Improvements in the ergonomics and usability of XWiki Enterprise make its features easier to use than ever. The main new features we introduced during the 2.0 release cycle include:

New Look & Feel

  • Colibri Skin - choose a look for your wiki from a selection of existing themes and create a new theme using the colors of your choice
image1.png

Improvements & New Features

  • Watchlist - follow any page, space or your whole wiki and receive notification emails whenever a page has been modified
  • Clustering - the new clustering feature allows you to run your wiki on multiple server for improved performance
  • WYSIWYG Editor - the rich text editor is now faster to use and it has been internationalized with a new French translation
  • Many technical improvements - activity stream, remote observation manager, smaller XHTML output, scheduler, plain text parser...

Macros

image2.png
  • Create new macros in your wiki - create new macros easily in order to automate common actions in your wiki
  • Macro categories in the rich text editor - use the macros you created right from the rich text editor
  • Formula Macro - write mathematical formulas and display them in your wiki
  • Footnote Macro - create footnotes and display them at the bottom of your wiki pages
  • Python Macro - write a macro using the Python scripting language

    image3.png

Enjoy!

  • To download XWiki Enterprise 2.0, you can go there.

XWiki finalist for the Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad

launchPad.jpg

"The Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad, produced by TechWeb (producers of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, the Web 2.0 Expo, and publisher of Information Week magazine) is a competition that lets companies present their innovative application (either in development and about to launch, or recently launched) to the Enterprise 2.0 community. All entrants will receive visibility here on the E2 Launch Pad site, and finalists will be invited to present their applications live to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference..."

XWiki decided to enter the Launch Pad contest and get a chance to present its application at the Enterprise 2.0 conference audience and raise its profile. The first round consisted in sending a Twitter Pitch:

@ldubost @e2conf 80% of enterprise's information is unshared. #XWiki allows it with a top notch enterprise Wiki with structuration and APIs #e2conflp

XWiki has been selected! Great news But it's not finished yet. We have now the Round 2. What is it about? The objective is to create a 3-minute video showing our tool and to upload it to YouTube. So let's do it! emoticon_wink