Blog Archive

Blog posts for March 2008

No, you can't get the t-shirt - yet.

In preparation for the CeBIT, we decided to print a slew of XWiki t-shirts for all the people of our awesomly talended cross-platform team on the field (basically, this means Ludovic, Sonny & me - remember I work in Marketing ;-). I used one of them to enhance the look & feel of our dynamic displays -- you know, that thing where you put brochures and hope people will come, pick them up, have a chat about how great your products are, buy a few wikis and invite you to the restaurant. It looks like this :

Our awesome, t-shirt enhanced dynamic display at the CeBIT

At first, I made a crucial mistake. I forgot about the basic law of fairs : people get there to get some stuff. Stuff can be anything: pens, necklaces, bags; other goodies,.. Obviously, a t-shirt IS stuff to most people. The result was to be expected : the first one lasted less than 2 hours.

CSI : Hannover

We had to take action. First, I had the Hall Inspector to come and have a look at the crime scene. I asked for qualified detective dogs and was bluntly answered that 1) those dogs are currently busy tracking drugs on the frontier & 2) the Hall Inspector had most important things to do - like, taking care of the hundreds of stands in our hall maybe ?

Once I was past this initial disappointment, I started exploring our options :

  1. Find a gun and shoot trespassers - too noisy, potential legal issues implied
  2. Establish a physical barrier around the display - hard to implement + might prevent people from accessing our brochures
  3. Have a mechanism to deliver electrical shocks to people trying to take the shirt - no powerful enough plug available + risk of associated hairdresser costs

    Since none of them was quite feasible, I called our R&D team back in Paris to ask for ideas. They did a great job of designing a powerful, feature-rich yet intuitive mechanism under harsh time & materials constraints. Here's the result :

    The t-shirt protection device - back

    The leash creates a physical link between the t-shirt & the display, hereby preventing users from taking innapropriate action - or at least, reducing the effect of those actions.

    The t-shirt protection device - front

    Results were straightfoward :

    The t-shirt is safe now. I'd like to congratulate all the people involved in the operation for this amazing piece of teamwork. Folks, thank you ! A few statistics about the operation :

  1. An amazing 100% success rate in preventing peole from stealing the shirt.
  2. 17 people wanted to buy it
  3. 6 people tried to unplug the protection device to get the shirt anyway - none succeeded
  4. 1 went through the whole unplugging process - I slapped him in the face, he went away crying - don't be shocked, he deserved it

    Now the good news : we're printing a whole new bunch of them for our customers & community to enjoy :-)

    The Community t-shirt

What It's Like Being A Tech Company In Europe

A few days ago, Michael Arrington made his point clear in an article about what he thought of the fines the EU decided to leverage against Microsoft. He did it again when he bashed the EU technological choices. His point is that :

...the EU is not willing to let free markets determine winners and losers. The winners must be home grown, at any cost. And U.S. companies that have too much success in Europe seem to face a bleak choice - massive fines or government-backed competitors. It?s absurd. And it?s no wonder that many of the best European entrepreneurs keep coming to the U.S. to start companies.

Ludovic answered him on his blog, showing how & why Michael's post didn't stand up to scrutiny :

What I want to focus on is the last sentence that he is writing: "And it?s no wonder that many of the best European entrepreneurs keep coming to the U.S. to start companies".

First he didn't say 'Tech' entrepreneurs, but I suppose this is what he meant. Because if he didn't meant 'Tech', I don't think there is any statistics that would corroborate that statement. I still believe the 'luxury' goods companies are doing very well in Paris and Milan, that finance is doing very well in London, I'm sure we can find other examples.

What do you think about it ?

On Design

Laurent, our in-house graphic designer, recently pointed out to me a couple videos that are well worth a shot.

The first one provides a great explanation of why cluttering a scene - or, for that matter, an interface design - will most probably lead users to miss some important pieces of information.

Keep this lesson in mind while watching the second video...

Next time you've got the oppotunity to design a product sheet, package, software interface - basically, anything requiring your user to focus on a given piece of information - which one will you choose ?

Wanna GSoC with us ?


XWiki is taking part to the Google Summer of Code 2008 edition ! Our project has been accepted again this year, for the fourth time in a row. We have a wealth of proposed projects that students can apply to here

We have a range of exciting projects to offer to students willing to spend some of their summer time working on a great Open-Source project. (Google offers up to $4,500 to students who fulfill their project.)

Contact us through the dev mailing list if you wish to become a XWiki Developer, make some side money and, most important of all, earn the right to wear our featured t-shirt ! ;-)

Showcasing The Future Of Our WYSIWYG Editor

We've started working on the next version of our XWiki's WYSIWYG editor. The current implementation of our editor is getting old and we're preparing its future actively. One of its greatest new features wil be the possibility for 2 people to edit the same wiki page in real time. Watch out the demo from Ludovic below :

In the movie, you can see how text entered in one of the browsers is automatically synchronised with content in the other one. In this example, both browsers are on the same computer, but the editor would work the same way with a local browser and a remote browser located in Alaska. Conflict are handled automatically at the level of a letter : if I input "blop" while you're typing "blurp" in the same location, we'll end up with "blopblurp", without conflict.

We're really excited about this incoming product improvement and working very hard to make it real as soon as we can. We hope we'll be able to deliver a working prototype by the end of September : keep your fingers crossed !

Big Big News

Don't worry, this article was our 2008 April Fool's Joke. ;-)

We didn't quite believe it at first when the French Governement approached us, but the news eventually came out :

31/03/2008 - Ongoing rumors say that the French government is soon going to announce the creation of a major actor in the world of software development that will group together the main French Open-Source companies.

Nicolas Sarkozy will personally announce in a few days the creation of a brand new great public entity that will encapsulates the strength of the French Industry in the field of Open-Source software.

The project - named "Opération Lafayette" - is thought to include Marc Fleury (previously CEO of JBoss) as its brand new CEO. People close to the source believe the initial list of companies will include : XWIKI (collaboration solutions), TALEND (Open Data Solutions), NUXEO (ECM), MANDRIVA (Operating System), EXOPLATFORM (portal & WebOS), EBM WEBSOURCING (enterprise service bus), BULL (IT services) & BEARSTECH (Open-Source hosting services).

The French government is increasingly convinced that a public entity can become a dominant player under public tutelage and believes that public found can be soundly used to work towards the development of these dynamic, fast-growing companies.

Even more ambitious, the new entity is rumored to be preparing an IPO on RED HAT with the help of BOUYGUES, BOLLORÉ, LAGARDÈRE and DASSAULT SYSTÈMES in the context of a public-private partnership that will provide financing up to $5 billion. This initiative will at last give a French company the ability to play a leading role on the enterprise software market. The French government is keen to offer other countries and their people free alternatives to the dominant offerings of convicted monopolists MICROSOFT & ORACLE.

Says a Gartner analyst we contacted to get his views on the story : ?This might make sense, Red Hat has 2 great brands, Red Hat Enterprise Linux & JBoss. Unlocking the potential of the RedHat / JBoss combination could probably benefit from the support of resources from the French government and its European allies.?

We'll keep you guys informed as soon as we are allowed to tell you more about it !