The Future of Open Source

December 15, 2006

– First, a big event in 2006 was Oracle’s announcement of direct support for Linux, the same level of support it provides for its database, middleware and applications. By charging substantially less for Linux support than it’s partner, Red Hat, Oracle made a dramatic move that will affect how organizations purchase Linux.
– 2007 will be a big year for Open Source and Linux, with new Linux releases expected from Red Hat, Novell and other important Linux players.
– Linux will make greater penetration into the appliance market.
– Oracle will become an even more important Linux player. With Red Hat, Oracle pulled a Microsoft “we’ll love you to death??? approach, where it’s cozied up to them, obtained a strong relationship and build customer demand and then taken over and undercut its partner in delivering Linux support.
– However, a key remaining question is how little (or much) the Linux market may fragment as a result of this type of move by Oracle—as happened with Unix a decade ago, the pull exerted by individual vendors to serve their own interests, rather than the community’s interests, may eventually cause incompatibilities among different Linux varients.
– Linux on the desktop, as a replacement for Windows or Windows-applications, will continue to be a non-starter-even with (or perhaps, in spite) the roll out of Microsoft’s Vista Operating system and the next generation of applications.
– Open Source vs. Microsoft. Microsoft release of their new operating system will suck a lot of oxygen out of the room for the first half of the year. Most organizations will be too wound up in analyzing their opportunities or costs of upgrading to make Linux decisions. I do expect some companies to migrate to Linux after the evaluate the new Microsoft OS, but I believe that Microsoft will be offering a compelling combination of functionality and pricing that will not make the “move to Linux??? decision any easier.

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