14:50 PM

It's Linux week in San Francisco...

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Open_Source.jpgLinuxWorld is in town and I haven't seen this much activity around a trade show in years. Actually, if you think about it, this is not surprising because it is becoming such a bedrock foundation of today's enterprise software world.

Linux, as the spearhead for the open source movement, has also become the metaphor for how to succeed in today's IT world. The metaphor is: take advantage of community property and layer your secret/proprietary sauce on top.

The interesting thing about LinuxWorld, and Linux in general, is the enormous amount of open source applications and technologies that are available. It's not just Linux, it's a ton of apps and technologies. Which means business opportunities in making all of this stuff work together.

The business opportunities are in the integration of stack/apps layers; offering complete ready-out-of-the-box-stacks; and, v. important, a one-stop one-page license (IP management tools.) Plus mixed-systems admin tools etc...

In terms of developing succesful business models based on open source technologies, the questions are: how far can you go in layering proprietary technologies on top of a "commons" infrastructure before you halt the community development process?

Will open source become contained within a proprietary shell?

Will we see the "fencing" of the commons as in pre-industrial England?

Or will the open-source steamroller eventually flatten those that can't scramble up the stack (or over to the next fence) fast enough?

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BTW, kudos to Novell and the Horn Group for putting together an interesting industry/media round table at the Town Hall restaurant Monday evening. Novell invited some its top customers and top media to mix and mingle, and that takes guts, because you don't know what customers will say during the course of the evening. But hey, if you can walk the walk, why not?

It was a compelling mix of people and I walked away with pocketfuls of interesting stories, and it sparked new ideas to explore. More later this week. . .

PS: I think that the open source movement will one day be recognised as one of the most important contributions by a group of people, for a common good. (So don't choke it with proprietary layers. . . pretty please :-)

LinuxWorld Details.

Also, read SVW on Wind River Systems "How I learned to love Linux and profit from it--Wind River turns from Linux basher to religious zealot."

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