The Open

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2007-08-28 Print this article Print

-Source Community"> Participation in the open-source community has also turned out to be a good recruiting tool. "We have a lot of interaction with the community, and LeapFrog sees it not only as good for overall karma but also as an excellent recruiting tool," Ciurana said. "If I go to a conference and share the kinds of things that were doing, people on the outside can appreciate the kinds of things that were doing and they can see, cool, LeapFrog must be a cool place to work. That creates more synergy, and maybe if when were recruiting someone in particular, or if the friend of a friend is looking for a job and wants to do open-source stuff, they may end up at our doorstep and know theyll be welcome. Several of the consultants that we have working with us right now are people whom I originally met on IRC."
Desktop use and future projects
Open-source software hasnt penetrated the general desktop space at LeapFrog as broadly as it has the server room. "The client space is mostly Windows—its very corporate," Ciurana said. The situation is different, however, on LeapFrogs Web development team. As Ciurana explained, "In terms of development for all the Web properties, I would say that a good 85 or 90 percent of it is happening under Linux. The part thats not happening under Linux is happening under [Macintosh] OS X. Both the contractors and the guys who are working from within my team at LeapFrog, were all Unix-like. We basically only go to Windows when we need to test or develop something that interacts with the front end, which for us is very minimal." However, those using Linux and Unix systems must be issued Windows machines as well. "We need the Windows software basically because of [Microsoft] Exchange [Server] and Outlook," Ciurana said. "As long as those things are there and there is no decent way of connecting them from Linux, its going to be very hard to move people from it." Right now, LeapFrog is running RHEL on its production servers, but the company is investigating Canonicals Ubuntu and Sun Microsystems Solaris as potential alternatives. "Red Hat is kind of brittle, kind of hard to deal with, and were finding a lot of really cool features in Ubuntu that I think would help with overall system administration," Ciurana said. He added, however, that any such change would be subject to a fuller evaluation in cooperation with LeapFrogs IT infrastructure team. Ciuranas interest in Solaris as an alternative to RHEL is rooted in his testing experiences while he was an enterprise architect at "Were hoping to become very, very, very successful," Ciurana explained. "Solaris in general is still more stable, and it has a more predictable curve under heavy load than Linux does." Moving forward, LeapFrog is planning on rolling out rich Web-based applications based on the OpenLaszlo platform. Ciurana and his team are also investigating Googles Web Toolkit for building Web applications. The tool kit, which Google bills as a framework for building AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications in the Java language, appears to be a good fit for LeapFrogs Java-centric development team. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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