On Monday, Livedoor Co., Ltd.[J] launched “EDGE src [J]“, a new website which showcases Livedoor’s software and source code which is being distributed to developers under its open-source policy.
The company set up an internal team and a project called “EDGE [J]” to develop software and services on an experimental basis. Since its inception last October, the team has released a number of free software projects including a recommendation engine, a web application framework, an RSS reader and an Apache web server module (similar to mod_auth_cookie) to manage the length of time a server remembers a user’s credentials.
The company encourages developers to use these resources and to develop their own applications. The code has also been adopted in some of its portal sites.
The company is killing two birds with one stone. Results coming in from the experimental project contribute to both promoting the company’s name and fostering developer communities.
Livedoor is well known for having attempted to take over the giant Tokyo broadcaster Fuji-TV, and also for a 2006 incident in which the company’s founder and former CEO was arrested on accusations of securities fraud.
The new names “EDGE” and “EDGE src” come from the company’s original name “Livin’ on the edge”. These choices reflect Livedoor’s employees’ determination to remember their beginnings and to do business honestly in an effort to recover their users’ trust and to effect a turnaround in the company’s business.
From my point of view, Japanese tech ventures such as Livedoor’s EDGE project, seem to set up systems allowing employees to spend a part of their time working on projects that aren’t necessarily in their job descriptions, copying Google’s 20-percent rule which continues to breed innovative products and services.
(Proofread by: Sean O’Hagan)
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