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There is one global market in an open source world

Be a leader, not a follower. Treat the world as one market, not as 100. That's the way to success in an open source world.

Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol
The world of open source really is flat, and this needs to be reflected in your business planning.

Funambol gets it. Maybe because it's an Italian-run outfit based in Silicon Valley. Maybe because it's working in a mobile market where the U.S. is a sideshow.

This is not an enormous company, but it is already building a global presence, with offices in Dubai and Beijing for its mobile e-mail and sync services, which CEO Fabrizio Capobianco (right) calls MobileWe.

Contrast this with the launch of the new "open source" AOL. Instead of being a portal for news, it's a portal for social networks. And so far the new design is not the default outside the U.S.

AOL claims it is already getting traction with the redesign, but how much is real and how much curiosity is not yet known. Many people slow down near traffic accidents.

Part of the problem lies in the name. America Online is as tired now as it was wired in 1995. Another problem is the concept behind the company, that AOL will direct you first to the offerings of its "partners." I don't need a backseat driver.

But the bigger problem lies in a U.S.-centric attitude, not just U.S. centric in language and services, but in assumptions about how we go online and what we do there. It's like a musician that's always an eighth-note off the beat. You notice.

I think the rules here are clear. Be a leader, not a follower. Treat the world as one market, not as 100. That's the way to success in an open source world.