10 minute read

Scott McNealy from Sun was hosted by the Center for Global Development to talk about how ideas of openness and sharing work in business and how they can help improve public policy and international development; with a panel discussion.

Apologies for typos; I was taking notes on my OLPC.

Introductions: Lawrence McDonald Director of Communications and Policy; CGD

  • key cgd ideas; rich world influence dev world beyond foreign assistance; investment, trade and technology (private sector interactions in dev world)
  • cgd as pro-innovation thinktank ; tech but not bleeding edge
  • firms come to cgd for beyond CSR; Corp engagement whitepaper

Ed Scott; CGD co-founder and board chair

carter admin and BEA founder

  • sun based on open (BSD, open firmware board, "birth")
  • move to competitive mkt against closed-software cos

Sun / Scott McNealy

  • Open Drives Progress: ("sun is about open")
  • internet is growing; chinaMobile went from 300M to 450M subscribers; more subs than US citizens; all using internet, mobile as internet access key
    • => critical improtancec of standards; common way; same side of the road
      • not helpful that there's competition on which side of street to drive on; role for govt for standards
    • IP matters "true believer" in patents and copyright done properly to get return on R&D, Sun is 43 worldwide in R&D spending cross-sector
  • No one owns language: common language of the internet should be free ("I'd love to own english; I'd even take French") imagine if anyone owned "y" and charged a nickle?
    • not the way the computer industry had been or should go
  • Sun cause at start (kept low profile)
    • Eliminate the digital divide w/o harming the planet
      • 70% of globe without connection/google/etc ("sounds good for about 20 minutes but then oyustart to shake')
      • people in the us don't understand poverty; sun not ging to solve maslow / water level needs, but ready tohelp once they're at the it level
      • Sun hs a cause and mission beyond standard capitalistic reqs. --- mission is to outfit the data centers/NOCs
      • strategy - sharing "we invented open source" ; bill joy BSD; NFS, tcp/ip opened from sun and it won; opened tech platform today; ultrasparc now curriculum ref implementation in China
      • 19years cashflow positive with openness
      • sharing will never "win" but will succeed
      • mySQL gets downloads 70k/day (gives a hunting license to upsell); openoffice/stardownload 1M/week (?)
  • 5 reasons to be open
    • lower barrier to entry (free less oppcost)
    • increase interop (biggest platform for sun solarisis HP)
    • lower R&D (community help for javaphone roi when I is zero; competiting)
    • more secure (no more secrets; many eyes)
    • Lower exit barriers (zero; how hard to shift from ford to chevy vs english to mandarin, easier to switch)
  • Proposal: OpenGov platform for an open source govt tech platform from census/mapping/email/polling/etc.; 26B r&d non-xclusive contribution
    • China adopting; germany interested
    • increase access for citizens, safety/security, cut costs, drive efficiencies
  • Open Source Education -- text, online curricula, community developed, 37k mmbers, (curriki) 11k assets already, FREE, social networking; statistical evidence for testing improvements
  • $4.3B/yr spent in US on textbooks - why constnt revisions yearly expenditures
  • h1b visa cap -- let\s not let the smart people in; sun and java very immigrant focused

</li><li>standardize on open standards for policy; procurement needs to find an osistandard; refernce implementation; community etc. </li><li>economics of eco-reponsibility; 40% of data center cost is power, power per transactionthread (sun very low) </li><li>thin clients + virtualization

  • Eco: innovate; act; share -- CEO (Eco) Douglas; apply transparency and open source to enviro challenges
    • openeco.org - tracking tools to compare your org to others; community learnig and sharing; all orgs welcome
  • "I am a stunning raging capitalist" proprietary code || central planning; open source is about competition of ideas and democracy


Panel Discussion

  • ellen miller sunlight foundation crp
    • open govt data; importance of open data? is there a connection?
      • philospohically inconsiderate and counterintuitive
      • bring philosophy of oss to opengov advocates
  • dave witzel forumOne cofounder; ex-Banker on sabbatical at CGD
    • policycommons - moving valuesof oss to education; green; also apply to governance

Lawrence McDonald connection of sun mission and dev goals for 2B under $1/day/ Scott McN: importance of competition on pricing model (MC of software is zero, monopoly rent of ms?) bulk of new net users are getting online using java phones, on 2B phones

LMcD policy research - tech policy unexplored field; only some from IP on dec index; what would a pro-dev US tech policy look like?

  • Scott; pro-IP; returns to ragig capitalist Ip matters to get R&D investment; but sharing can expode opportunities with right licensing models; ip and open source not mutually excusive
    • phizer; contribute drug dev as open source (ran away)
      • ...you can make a profit off of open source licensing

Audience Questions

  • bill sabidoff econ consultant at cgd
    • collective decisions on standards; how collectively decide what's open and what\s proprietary?
      • focus on CostC barrier to exit costs to drive decisions on what's proprietary
  • goerge ingrham AED
    • practical lvl of first 3 stepsforgovt openness/
      • attitude adjustment (govt data belongs to people); FOIA is backwards; burden of providing info should be on govt
      • rest by executive order to go open
      • Scott: mandate a balanced budget to motivate openness; need bully pulpit to focus on openness; procurement; restrictions of govt investment
  • John richards center for stud... resopnsible...
    • headlinenumber for savings to go open; ~25% on it budget; prob is barrier to exit from proprietary systems => stuck
    • "gazillions"
  • why hasn't the market gone already? b/c tipping point/network system/cost of switching + monopoly power; govt has buying and regulatory power
  • claudia - policy health markle foundtion; health info sharing
    • if goal is privacy; need tranparent tech choices
    • can't separate tech choice from policy choice
    • Scott: security: who's who + what's what + access
  • wiztel: philosphoical agree on openess; how to you get there?
    • Ellen: newer institutions more open to open; struggle for older ngos and extrapolating harder for govt; non-profit will force govt to meet public expectation of online openness
    • sometimes you're the windshield. sometimes the bug -- world book; card catelog. classified ads -- or wikipedia;oogle. ebaycraigslist -- if you want to compete; ,go clear + transparntand fast

cost trends towards marginal costs of zero; free is the new number

govt and ngos should ride the free wave instead of not curriki in india; s.af.; focus on innovation to avoid high costs

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