Page Three

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-01-20 Print this article Print

Open source: A "wonderful model," according to Novells Stone. "I can go grab [open-source technology] and use it and put it into my commercial model." In addition, Stone said the open-source development model "is something we believe in and we also believe in the ability to make money at it. … We spent $250 million buying a couple of companies [SuSE Linux and Ximian] and we want to try to recoup that."
Alan MacCormack, professor at Harvard Business School, asked the systems makers on his panel whether they felt their companies were leaving money on the table by not having their own Linux distributions. "You cant do everything," Frye said. "You have to choose where youre going to ally and where youre going to compete." He said IBM has chosen to play in five main areas: hardware, software, services, community and distribution. IBM competes in the areas of hardware, software and distribution, and allies with others in the areas of community and distribution, he said. "I dont think Sun has really ever wanted to have a distribution up to this point," Phipps said. "We flirted with it." Meanwhile, open source ushers in a new world of freedom and a new world of questions surrounding licensing, said Douglas Levin, president and chief executive of Black Duck Software. "A lot of the [open source] licenses are not clear" and that is challenging to potential user organizations, he said. "There are 49 open-source licenses and 25 unauthorized but commonly used licenses." Regarding licensing, "this whole thing has gotten so blown out of proportion its not funny," Stone said. "You need to look out for a viral effect," he added. "I think SCO [The SCO Group Inc.] has done a disservice to the entire [open source] movement by claiming they own the entire Unix that is within Linux, which by Novells perception is a bunch of crap—which is why we indemnify it." Microsofts Matusow said Microsoft stands apart from the open-source proponents on the issue of indemnification. He said rather than indemnifying a certain version or piece of software like many Linux providers offer, "Microsoft has indemnified every product we do."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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