The Keys to Open-Source Success

The greatest prospect for success with open-source software involves a strategy of mixing open-source with commercial software, according to a panel of experts on the subject.

The greatest prospect for success with open-source software involves a strategy of mixing open-source with commercial software, according to a panel of experts on the subject.

Adam Fitzgerald, director for developer solutions at BEA Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., said: "You need to start thinking about what an open-source solution can do for you and identify best practices and best-of-breed open-source technology. This notion of blending open-source solutions is what we see customers already using."

Fitzgerald spoke at the panel at the BEAWorld conference here earlier this month.

"Combining the best open-source software and the best commercial software will give you the best solution," said Zhongyuan Zheng, vice president for R&D at Beijing-based Red Flag Software Co. Ltd., Chinas premier Linux vendor and maker of Red Flag Linux.

Patrick Linskey, a new BEA technical strategist who came onboard with the companys acquisition of SolarMetric Inc.—where he was chief technology officer—spoke about the impact of open-source technology on small independent companies.

"The big question to a small company going out and competing is, How do you want to deliver value to your customers?" Linskey said. "We got burned by proprietary products—both open-source proprietary products and commercial proprietary products."

Panelists also stressed that open standards are key to the success of open-source software.