Tuesday, February 28, 2006

VMware Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge

VMware invites you to put your skills to the test, go head-to-head with your peers, and develop the best virtual appliance the industry has ever seen. Using open source or freely distributable components and/or your own code, create the most inventive and useful virtual appliance.

There are some interesting appliance examples on the web site, check out - Browser appliance, Security Appliances, Voice over IP Appliances, FreeNAS (free Network-Attached Storage server), Squid (full-featured Web proxy cache).

Opportunities For Indian Entrepreneurs

Sadagopan's weblog covers TiE Bangalore event:
John Doerr, Ray Lane Ram Shriram were in India last month and addressed a few meets. The well publicized TiE Bangalore event titled- “"Entrepreneurship – yesterday, today and tomorrow" had KPCB’s John Doerr Ray Lane presenting along with angel investor Ram Shriram of Sherpalo presenting to budding Indian entrepreneurs. The Presentations - the trio made therein have been made available online now.

US Robotics WiFi router fits Linux in 2MB flash

LinuxDevices.com reports:
US Robotics WiFi router fits Linux in 2MB flash — US Robotics (USR) publishes source code for a variety of network devices based on Linux, including wireless access points, combo router/NAS servers, and DSL broadband routers. Downloads for its USR5461 wireless access point suggest the device runs Linux 2.4.20, and fits a uClibc-based filesystem within 2MB. ...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Open Source Companies ...

Jim Rapoza writes at eweek "Open Source Ripe for the Taking"

There has been plenty of discussion about the effects of Oracle's Sleepycat acquisition on the database market and on MySQL specifically. But I wonder about the impact these acquisitions will have on open-source software and open-source licensing as a whole.

However, Oracle has a well-earned reputation as a company that acquires to remove competition. Many people have speculated that one goal of the Sleepycat acquisition is to damage the increasingly popular MySQL open-source database, as MySQL relies on Berkeley DB and InnoBase (acquired by Oracle in October) for its transaction engine.

While some in the open-source community see these acquisitions as validation of open-source software, there are many who fear what will happen in the future. These fears may well be valid, as the notion of "open source" isn't as cut and dried as it once was.

When you say "open source," many people tend to think of applications running free through the proverbial plains, with no way to control them. However, companies such as Sleepycat, MySQL and JBoss have figured out how to make money from open source, mainly by employing most of the top developers of an application and by providing high-level support options that big enterprise customers expect.

But the situation brings up the bigger question of whether a company can really be open source. From a business perspective, these open-source companies make a lot of sense, as they allow enterprises to use open-source products without having to sacrifice solid support options.

But, from the perspective of those who use open-source software because it is free from constraints, these company-based open-source products could start to become a lot less attractive.

Why you need a Web Office

Richard MacManus has a nice posting on zdnet. He mentiones Collaboration, Reduced Costs, Productivity as the reasons for adopting Web Office. I can't agree more.

One of the big thinkers on the Web Office currently is Rod Boothby, who is a Manager with Ernst & Young's Financial Services Advisory practice. Rod wrote a thought-provoking white paper about Web Office, which he's also converted into HTML form.

Read more here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Open source router

Om Malik reports on Money.CNN:
At the San Francisco offices of Panorama Capital, two dozen engineers, venture capitalists, and academics gathered around a nondescript piece of hardware they all helped build. Then Allan Leinwand, CEO of a stealthy Panorama-funded startup called Vyatta, powered up the device, the world's first open-source router. As one of the programmers downloaded Red Hat Linux to his laptop by way of the black box, the room erupted in handshakes and high fives.

A few months after the unveiling on that October day, Vyatta's router is about to go into beta release, and it will likely hit the market this summer. The machine runs on two Intel chips, but far more noteworthy is its software, known as XORP, or extensible open router platform. The versatile open-source application can direct data traffic for a giant corporation as easily as it can manage a home Wi-Fi network.

And that's what makes it as disruptive as a leaf blower in a feather factory: Vyatta's router will cost about a fifth the price of comparable models from big networking equipment makers such as Cisco Systems. "Open-source is providing real competition to the commercial telecom companies," says John Todd, an open-source telephony expert. "It will force them to improve."

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Web based Office products ...

A new review is posted by Richard MacManus on Zdnet. I covered this earlier at 'AJAX Office Review ...' .
Let's take a step back and consider what will be the primary elements of an Office Suite for the Web — and who among the big or small companies is currently providing the best examples. Here I review some of the contenders for collaborative Office tools.

Web Email, Best of breed: Gmail
Word Processing, Best of breed: Writely
Spreadsheet, Best of breed: NumSum, iRows
Calendar, Best of breed: 30 Boxes, CalendarHub
Project Management, Best of breed: Basecamp
Mini-Suites, Best of breed: Zimbra

Read more here.

Firefox Goes VoIP, With Extensions

Om Malik reports:
Today, France-based OpenWengo released a Firefox extension that allows users to make free phone calls to each other. Open Wengo’s parent company, Neuf Telecom offers the optional Wengo call-out service so that you can dial out to PSTN/Mobile numbers.
Read more here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Housing Interest Rates in India

I have been doing some research on this subject. I am publishing my research results at in the following paragraphs:

Recent Housing Rate Interest Hike News

Jan 29th 2006

HDFC hikes housing loan rates – while the fixed rate has been changed from 8.75 per cent to 9.25 per cent, the floating rate has been changed from 7.50 per cent to 8 per cent.

Feb 1st 2006

IDBI raised its retail lending rates by 25 basis points with effect from today, from 7.25 to 7.5%

Feb 2nd 2006

LIC Housing hikes lending rates

Mumbai, Feb 2: LIC Housing Finance Limited today increased its lending rates on housing loans by 50 basis points with immediate effect. With this hike, the minimum lending rate at the LIC Housing Finance would be 8.25 per cent.

Feb 11th 2006

ICICI Bank raises home-loan rates

India's largest private sector lender, ICICI Bank, will increase lending rates on home loans by 50 basis points across the board beginning on Monday, a spokesman said on Saturday. The new band for floating rate loans will be 7.75 per cent to 8.5 per cent on various tenors, depending on the credit-worthiness of the borrower, he said.

Feb 21st 2006

State Bank of India raises home loan rates 25-75 bps
MUMBAI (Reuters) - State Bank of India said on Tuesday it would raise interest rates by 25-75 basis points from March 1 on home loans, joining other financiers as cost of funds rise in the fast growing economy. State Bank said floating rate home loans for up to five years would rise by 50 basis points to 8.5 percent from March, and to 9.25 percent for 15 to 20 years. The floating rate for loans between five and 15 years will be 8.75 percent against 8.50 percent. Fixed-rate loans for up to five years will go up to 9.25 percent from 8.5 percent, and for five to 10 years to 9.5 percent from 9 percent.

Related News

Bankers foresee tight liquidity in coming months — Seek measures in budget to tide over situation

"We need more liquidity to meet the increasing credit demand. Liquidity is not tight. But in the months of February and March we foresee that there would be further increase in credit demand. To meet this expanded credit demand, we need more resources," the CMD of Punjab National Bank, Mr S.C. Gupta, said.

Third Quarter Review of Annual Monetary Policy for the Year 2005-06

  • While the yield curve steepened during 2004-05, the interest rate movement was orderly notwithstanding the sharp upward movement noticed during the third quarter of the financial year.
  • Overall, despite large excess liquidity in the system, interest rates moved upwards reflecting uncertainties in oil prices, upward trend in global interest rates and increasing domestic demand for credit.
  • Against the background of developments during 2004-05, the stance of monetary policy will depend on several factors, including macroeconomic prospects, global developments and the balance of risks. First, the outlook for growth in 2005-06, which should be noticeably, better than the previous year, may get moderated by the conditions in oil markets which remain tight. Second, if the impact of mineral oil prices on WPI is isolated, the underlying inflationary pressures appear moderate. The supply factors will continue to dominate the price situation, while demand management seems to invite close attention.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its forecast of South-West monsoon for the current year has placed the expected rainfall at 98 per cent of its long period average. With a normal monsoon, the growth in agriculture can be assumed to be around 3 per cent. Further, it is expected that industry and services sectors would maintain their current growth momentum while absorbing the impact of oil prices. The real GDP growth during 2005-06, on the basis of above assumptions, could be placed around 7.0 per cent for the purpose of monetary policy formulation.

RBI Credit policy Review by Mr. Mahendra Jajoo

  • Global consensus tends to be of the view that US Fed will take the rates to 4.75% by March'06 and that could be the end of the Fed rate hike cycle in US. So for the RBI in India, waiting for the next policy to raise rates would result into doing so at the time when globally interest rate hike cycle comes to an end. Hence, raising rates in April would be much more difficult task. Being prudent enough in its policy making decisions, it has proactively hiked the rates before the global rate hike cycle comes to an end.
  • In view of prevailing tight liquidity conditions in the economy, post IMD redemptions in Dec'05, market was largely expecting a CRR cut which was not given by RBI, though it continues to pursue its medium term objective of reducing the CRR to the statutory minimum level of 3%.
  • The chances of a further rate hike in the annual policy statement for 2006 – 2007 due on April 18, 2006 would seem remote.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Intel looks to SIM cards for universal wireless access

News about Intel:

Intel has backed an initiative to equip future notebooks with a SIM card slot, the better to integrate support for 3G mobile phone network connectivity into the machines. The scheme, launched this week by the GSM Association (GSMA), has the goal of making GSM, GPRS and 3G connectivity as ubiquitous in tomorrow's laptops as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are today.

The chip giant will work with the GSMA to develop guidelines for manufacturers keen to incorporate 3G support and, crucially, the next-generation High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology, which accelerates 3G-hosted downloads to true broadband speeds. The advice will also show how best to add SIM slots and allow machines to connect automatically to WLANs and 3G WANs, and to roam seamlessly between them.

GSM subscriptions in India

I collected some new data from COAI about GSM subscriptions in India, I am presenting it below. You may find this interesting:

Data courtesy Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) http://coai.in/cellularstatistics.htm

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Opera on Mobile ...

Interview with Opera Software CEO and co-founder Jon S. von Tetzchner:

Q14. What about Opera Mini. Is that product available for Linux devices?

A14. Any device, basically. With Opera Mini, we run the browser on a server. We use a small screen rendering technology that we download onto mobile phones. We have two versions, one for powerful phones, and one for very low-powered phones. We spent a lot of time to make the Opera browser run lightly, so we can handle quite a few users with a small number of servers. It's still the biggest server park we ever made, but we are able to handle a lot of users. There's 700 million mobiles out there with Java capabilities that can download the small Java applet, and get the Internet.

Q2. How many of the embedded projects you're seeing are based on Linux?

A2. Considering both mobile and embedded devices, it's between 50 and 100. We're up to almost 50 mobile phones, for example. More and more of those are based on Linux. We've made deliveries to Motorola and ZTe for their mobile phones. We've done the Nokia 770. We do the Sharp Zaurus PDAs. We're doing IP television, bar-code readers, airplane entertainment systems, shopping carts -- all these are Linux based, by the way.

We're definitely seeing a trend toward Linux. More and more of the questions we're getting are Linux-related. We have two SDKs, and both are Linux-based. And, if you look at the number of Opera developers working on Linux, they're probably our biggest group.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Online file storage and sharing

Informative comparision of online disk storage providers done by Techcrunch:
Over the last year a slew of new services have launched (some are launching in February) with serious web 2.0 features, reasonable pricing (including free unlimited storage) and, in at least one case (OmniDrive), the ability to read/write directly to the file with local applications like Office, on the remote server. This last feature speeds the process of writing to files significantly by skipping the requirement to download the file to the hard drive first.

We looked at a total of thirteen companies. They are: AllMyData, Box.net, eSnips, Freepository, (the unfortunately named) GoDaddy, iStorage, Mofile, Mozy, Omnidrive, Openomy, Streamload, Strongspace and Xdrive.

Streamload is the most aggresive on pricing - offering a full 25 GB free to every user.