Open Source v

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-06-28 Print this article Print

. Open Standards"> That is actually an incremental market opportunity of a much broader magnitude. If you look back on the past few years, weve really been beaten with this brush that says were proprietary, while Red Hat has ridden under the banner of purity because they have been open source. As we watch the open-source community mature, a lot of us have realized that open source doesnt equal open standards.
And that provides opportunities for companies that can not only now play in the open-source community—given that theyve got the intellectual property rights to do so—but also engage a community in the evolution of products in ways that we historically havent done.
Is there any impact in the open-source community of developers coming to the Solaris space? Totally. Developers should realize that if Red Hat is going to exclusively monetize all of the code base, thats not necessarily a worthwhile pursuit, whereas Solaris presents them with a different set of alternatives or capabilities. Sun insists that Red Hat Linux is proprietary. Click here to read more. For example, a lot of folks are working on managing load on the Red Hat kernel—our scalability is fabulous, 99 percent up into the 100-way systems—and if they can just skip that generation of evolution and go focus on quality of service or service-level policy management. Theres a whole bunch of other things that can be done, that for some portion of the Solaris community was going to be off-limits because they couldnt get access to the code. This will resolve that. Moving back to Java, you say theres really no reason to open-source Java, even though you do want to establish a dialogue … It wasnt to say that theres no reason to go do it, its more to question what about the current model isnt in fact already accomplishing it. It was to agree with your point, and also Marc Fleurys point, that if aint broke, dont fix it. Whats not broke right now is that the Java community is one of the broadest and most inclusive communities out there. If you compare for a moment the evolution of Java with the evolution of Linux, its kind of interesting to see that there are literally thousands of companies that are now making their livelihood off of Java. Go to and youll see a massive array of everybody from the NASCAR Speedway to weather and traffic to oximetry monitoring on human beings—theres a huge array of developers who can rely on both innovation and compatibility to run their business. Whereas in the Linux world, its really up to Linus [Torvalds] to make the call on what fundamentally happens. And its not to say that thats a good or bad thing, its just a fundamentally different model. Next page: "Quite the antithesis" of proprietary.

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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