Until recently, the idea of a World Wide Web in which information and services are defined - the Semantic Web - has remained something developers aspire to rather than a reality. That is starting to change. Earlier this year, the ABC launched three new socially networked digital radio websites which aggregate content from several different sources, including MusicBrainz, YouTube, Last.fm and Wikipedia. It is not only a new approach for a content-rich organisation such as the ABC, it is a working example of the possibilities of Semantic Web technology.
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When Scott Thompson left Visa to take the CTO role at PayPal in 2005, the Web company's data centre surprised him. "Wait a minute," he recalls saying, "they run a payment system on Linux?"
Repeated efforts at Nationwide Mutual Insurance to try Linux on the mainframe faced opposition, some of it from IT employees worried that a mainframe-server consolidation would be a threat to their jobs. But their resistance offered James Vincent, a mainframe systems engineering consultant at Nationwide, a lesson that he put into use after the project was approved.
The city of Munich got more media attention than respect after it decided on a migration to Linux and open source software on the desktop. After a careful and deliberately open movement towards deciding its IT future, Munich was slammed in the media, then became a target for Microsoft negotiators and a project at risk from a proposed European move to U.S.-style software patents.
As chief technology officer at Visa US, which handles 35 billion online transactions annually, Scott Thompson is pummeled with pitches about new networked storage technology that promises to reduce workload and bring a higher return on investment.
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