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Tag Archives: Twitter

Writing press releases for your projects

If you follow us on Twitter, you will have noticed an uptick in our activity there. (If you don’t follow us on Twitter, you should. @sourceforge)

Most of this activity comes directly from the projects that are hosted here.

So, this article is for two things. First, I want to tell you how to post a news item on your project. Then I want to give you a few pointers in writing a press release in this age of Twitter.

If your project is running on SourceForge Classic, items posted to the News page (Select News in the Develop menu, then click Submit) are aggregated in a place that I can get to them, and I then post as many of those to Twitter as seem to be release announcements, and that I have time for in a given day.

News

If your project is running the latest version of SourceForge (code-named Allura), anything you post in the project blog is also aggregated for me. The blog tool isn’t enabled by default on Allura projects. However, even if you already have a blog somewhere else, what I recommend is that you enable the blog tool (Click Admin, then Tools) and create a blog called “Release Notes”, or something similar, where you can post release announcements.

Allura

Which brings me to part two – what should you write?

The most important thing to keep in mind when you write release notes, or any kind of press release, is that it will be seen out of context. That is, your announcement is going to be taken and published elsewhere, and the person reading it may not be familiar with your project. Because of this, you should tell them everything they need to know, in every release note.

This may seem overkill when looking at a list of news items all of which describe your project. But when someone sees the message on Twitter, or on Facebook, or in a tech magazine, they don’t have your website in front of them, and you need to tell them everything.

Bad press release:

v1.34 released! Shiny stuff. Fixed bug #844.

Good press release:

Click Track version 1.3.0 released. Click Track is a Metronome and click track generator for Android. http://bit.ly/wxtBa7

* Change position of click track marker.
* Delete click track marker.
* Add click track marker.
* Added help.
* Added XML editor tool.
* Added WAV to MP3 tool.

As an added bonus, you’ll notice that the first paragraph is less than 140 characters, so I can immediately copy and paste it into Twitter. This has the benefit that it’s more likely to get picked up and retweeted by other people, and possibly eventually make it into some tech news aggregator or newsletter. The extra few minutes it takes to condense your good news into 140 characters can really pay off in getting new eyes on your project, and new participants in your community.

Of course, it also saves me a little time, which increases the chance that you’ll end up in the @sourceforge Twitter stream.

So, to summarize:

* Write good press releases
* Follow @sourceforge on Twitter
* Keep releasing awesome software

Open Source is Ready for Prime Time

Welcome to another edition of Take Five. In today’s edition I talk open source software development in today’s enterprise world with Clay Loveless, currently founder at Jexy and formerly of Mashery (where he was a co-founder).

Stephen Wellman (SW): Hello, Clay, welcome to Take Five, a new feature on the SourceForge blog where we discuss the pressing issues facing today’s IT professionals. It’s a pleasure to have with us. As someone who works with developers, how has the role of open source software development changed in today’s business world? Are larger businesses more amendable to open source now than they were a few years ago?

Clay Loveless (CL): Hi Stephen, thanks for having me on your blog!

It’s rare that I encounter customers at large or small companies who aren’t leveraging open source software in some significant way. Gone are the old days of programming languages driven by big companies, commercially licensed web servers, and in light of the NoSQL movement, there’s even less going on with commercially licensed databases than there used to be.

There’s still a desire among many to have a support contract with someone associated with an open source product. No one likes to find that their company is dependent upon an open source tool that no one understands but the guy who left the company last month… and typically the company will often discover that when that one piece breaks.

There’s hardly any reason for a new company to build on anything *but* open source, which is a big part of what’s driving this “lower barrier to entry than ever” theme that’s been floating around the startup entrepreneur and investment community for a couple years.

More established companies, however, will still gravitate toward the support contract and/or the commercial solution, simply to get an SLA that they can back their OWN SLA with. I don’t think that trend will continue, but the decline of that practice will be slow.

SW: What in your personal opinion, Clay, are the top three technology rends shaping today’s IT market?

CL: Mobile, commodity computing, and social media/customer support.

Mobile: I can hardly believe that just four years ago I was toting a Treo 650 and thinking it kicked serious a**. The rapid advancement of mobile technology is obviously something unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and we’ve barely begun seeing and understanding the ramifications of that growth. When entire regions leapfrog over technology evolution milestones we experienced in the US, there’s something that can’t be ignored going on. The real shaping of the IT market there lies with who’s paying attention to this trend, and who’s not. Those to don’t devote resources to mobile are those who aren’t going to be around too long.

Commodity computing: The REAL “cloud computing,” before marketing departments and windbags hijacked the term, was commodity computing. Infrastructure as a Service. It legitimized the whole burgeoning field of DevOps, where clever coders with sysadmin skills can conduct orchestras of computing resources all over the world from any Starbucks. When you step back from all the hype and look at what’s possible today with API-enabled computing resources, and it’s truly staggering. When I decided to build Mashery’s entire architecture around Amazon EC2 in 2006, people thought I was crazy. Now look at what’s possible. You’re crazy these days if you DON’T use commodity API-controlled infrastructure.

Social media/customer support: The increasing interconnectedness of geeks around the world is having a serious impact on the IT market. I wish I could see a show of hands of who’s still looking to InformationWeek (or similar print publications) for their IT news (A *weekly*? Seriously? And on paper?). Influencers have direct connection to the masses, as do the companies that want to reach those same folks. It’s possible now to see who *really* cares about their customers, and who’s just milking them. Just as with mobile, the tech companies who don’t realize that customer service is critically important in these transparent times aren’t long for this world.

SW: Is open source now more of a go-to for businesses looking to run commercially viable Web services and applications? Why do you think this is?

CL: Absolutely. After Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter have demonstrated that you can certainly build a top 10 internet property on the back of open source — AND contribute *back* to open source, as they all have — it’s hard to argue that you really need commercial tools to make it big. The proof is right there, and now that it’s been proven day in and day out for so many years, it’s finally sinking in for people and becoming much more of a go-to option for businesses of any size.

Take Five: Virtualization & Open Source

This post is the first in a new regular series for the SourceForge blog called Take Five. In each installment of Take Five, I will set down with IT insiders and discuss the leading trends in today’s enterprise technology marketplace. In today’s inaugural post I talk about virtualization with Lee Burnette, Dell’s Social Media & Community Technologist at DellTechCenter.com.

Stephen Wellman (SW): Hello, Lee, welcome to Take Five. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Dell officials, in particular, Michael Dell, have been talking a lot about the ‘business of productivity.” What does that mean for today’s IT workforce?

Lee Burnette (LB): Right at three years ago when Dell began a transformation of how we do business, we set out on a new course to address our business customers needs in a way that solved the challenges they were encountering. This involved acquiring a number of companies including EqualLogic, Compellent, KACE, Scalent and a number of others. Business productivity was at the forefront of this transformation. We went from being hardware focused to solutions focused, and while this sounds cliché, it is very real.

For the two years prior to my current role as a Social Media & Community Technologist for DellTechCenter.com, I was a Technical Sales Representative selling technical solutions in our Global Sales organization. I saw firsthand how this transformation was affecting how we helped our customers. For example, I had a large Fortune 100 customer in the northeast. They were trying to accomplish some specific business tasks and they were requesting a large number of servers. Instead of just taking the order and driving on, we asked them a number of questions about their business, what they were trying to accomplish and how this would affect their business. By taking this approach, we realized early on that selling them a bunch of servers wasn’t the best solution. We ended up selling them fewer servers by integrating virtualization into their environment and adding a number of EqualLogic storage arrays. This approach not only saved the customer money, but it exceeded their expectations in how much it improved the productivity of their business.

SW: What in your personal opinion are the top three technology trends shaping today’s enterprise IT workplace?

LB: I think the single biggest technology trend in the IT workplace revolves around virtualization, specifically server virtualization, virtualization around remote workforce enablement and client virtualization. The first area Dell has helped thousands of customers with is server virtualization. The ability to run many virtual servers on a single physical server has changed how IT administrators look at their environment. With server sprawl affecting most organizations, virtualization reduces the number of physical machines you have while at the same time making your IT infrastructure easier to manage.

Virtualization extends to the remote workforce as well. At Dell, we have transitioned over the past three years to a significant number of our employees working remote. There are many components involved that we have addressed including migrating to soft phones, secure access to the corporate network from remote locations, Client Virtualization including the use of Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and VMware View to name a few. Dell has invested heavily in a strategy that gives workers the ability to connect anywhere and anytime, with any device. This includes smart phones, tablets as well as PC’s. Having successfully done this as a company ourselves it allows us to help our customers accomplish the same success regardless of the size of their organization.

SW: What is the Dell Tech Center?

LB: DellTechCenter.com is a technical resource for IT professionals, specifically IT admins. We have content on our site that can’t be found anywhere else showing the tech community how to get the most out of the solutions that Dell offers. Our site includes demos, blogs, wikis, videos, forums and chats all of which are geared to show you everything from how to configure a switch with an EqualLogic array to how to install a Citrix Receiver on a Dell Streak 5 running Android to access your corporate apps. We have a team of 8 community technologists here in the U.S. as well as team members in China, Japan & Germany. Each one of us is tasked with developing content for our site specific to our specialty including virtualization, enterprise client, networking, storage, systems management and more. By consistently adding content to our site, we attract over 150,000 page views per month and have 8,000 registered users without even requiring registration to use our site.

SW. How can SourceForge users interact with the Dell Tech Center?

LB: To become a part of our technical community it’s pretty simple. Just go to www.DellTechCenter.com and register to become a user. While this not required it puts you on our email list and lets you know of upcoming events and chats. We have our Tech Tuesday chat every Tuesday at 3pm Central where we host specialists from the technical community both inside and outside of Dell. You can also just go to our website and check out the forum discussions, wiki pages videos and more. At the bottom of most pages you can add your comments about that page, ask a question or just start a discussion.

SW: What is the role open source technology plays in Dell’s solutions? Does Dell have an outreach to the broader open source community? If so, how can SourceForge readers work with Dell on open source projects?

LB: At Dell one philosophy that captures the essence of what we do is being open, affordable and capable. The “open” part of this means that we strive to make our solutions industry standard, not proprietary. We are all about fitting Dell into your environment even if you have multiple vendors represented already. By adopting open standards, we believe that is the best way for organizations to grow and thrive. DellTechCenter.com is a great way for the open source community to engage with Dell as well as the thousands of it professionals we engage with. If you have a script that you think is valuable to the community, we’d love to see it added to our site. We actively encourage our community to “give back” by adding their own code, commentary and expertise and look forward to seeing more of you from the open source community to join with us!

Take Five is a regular feature on the SourceForge blog. If you would like to be featured as a guest on Take Five you can reach Stephen Wellman by email at swellman at geek dot net or on Twitter @srwellman.