Everything that can be a commodity, will be a commodity

Greg Stein, chairman of the Apache Foundation, says the era of packaged commercial software is coming to an end, because open-source alternatives are wiping out the market: "All of your software will be free. It means that, over time, you aren't going to be paying for software anymore but will instead pay for assistance with it."

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Guardian website posts a profit

It's great to hear that the Guardian Unlimited is now officially turning a profit. Many people assume it's easier to make a profit when you're big, but on the Internet things just don't work that way. From where I sit, it seems much easier to build a profitable online news operation on a local/regional scale.

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In the works

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been busy on a project. I can't disclose the details yet, but here are some of the issues:

Participation. It's been clear all along that the Internet is a network, not a broadcast channel or a hierarchy, that everyone can participate, and that eventually everyone will participate. Some things that didn't work 10 years ago are now possible because we have the critical mass online to make them work. Hyperlocal community networking would be just one of those things.

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Yahoo's new local news pages

Yahoo News has launched local pages for metropolitan areas across the United States, aggregating local news from RSS feeds and via screen-scraping. Users of Yahoo's personalization tools will get a link that aggregates their hometown news by default, and a cluster of local headlines on the news.yahoo.com page.

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Those youngsters and their Internet

If your head is stuck on the notion that the Internet is for young people, take a look at these stats from the Pew Internet and American Life project.

Percentage online by age group
18-29 84%
30-49 83%
50-64 71%
65+ 30%

Notice that 30-49 group is only one point behind 18-29.

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Is print dying? Now that we have your attention ....

It's a provocative introduction to the "State of the Media 2006" report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism: "Will we recall this as the year when journalism in print began to die?"

It's not that bad, the report says: "We believe some fears are overheated. For now, the evidence does not support the notion that newspapers have begun a sudden death spiral. The circulation declines and job cuts will probably tally at only about 3% for the year. The industry still posted profit margins of 20%."

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McClatchy reels in a big fish

About eight years ago, the McClatchy Co. surprised just about everybody by making the top bid for Cowles Media, owner of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where I worked. The reaction in the newsroom at the time was: "Who?"

The bidding had been secret. Everybody figured one of the biggies -- the Tribune Company of Chicago, or the Washington Post (which already owned a share of the Star Tribune) would be the victor. But who was this McClatchy outfit?

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