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Open Source Red Hat Software Linux

Red Hat CEO Talks About State Of Open Source (techcrunch.com) 64

To mark Red Hat's 25th anniversary, TechCrunch spoke with the company's CEO Jim Whitehurst to talk about the past, present and future of the company, and open-source software in general. An excerpt: "Ten years ago, open source at the time was really focused on offering viable alternatives to traditional software," he told me. "We were selling layers of technology to replace existing technology. [...] At the time, it was open source showing that we can build open-source tech at lower cost. The value proposition was that it was cheaper." At the time, he argues, the market was about replacing Windows with Linux or IBM's WebSphere with JBoss. And that defined Red Hat's role in the ecosystem, too, which was less about technological information than about packaging. "For Red Hat, we started off taking these open-source projects and making them usable for traditional enterprises," said Whitehurst.

About five or six ago, something changed, though. Large corporations, including Google and Facebook, started open sourcing their own projects because they didn't look at some of the infrastructure technologies they opened up as competitive advantages. Instead, having them out in the open allowed them to profit from the ecosystems that formed around that. "The biggest part is it's not just Google and Facebook finding religion," said Whitehurst. "The social tech around open source made it easy to make projects happen. Companies got credit for that." He also noted that developers now look at their open-source contributions as part of their resume. With an increasingly mobile workforce that regularly moves between jobs, companies that want to compete for talent are almost forced to open source at least some of the technologies that don't give them a competitive advantage.

In October, Whitehurst also answered questions from Slashdot readers.
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Red Hat CEO Talks About State Of Open Source

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  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:03AM (#56366665) Homepage

    Large corporations, including Google and Facebook, started open sourcing their own projects because...having them out in the open allowed them to profit from the ecosystems that formed around that.

    I'm happy that this has happened, but I'm unclear why. I read the article, and it didn't explain. How did Google profit from open sourcing Angular? How did Twitter profit from Bootstrap?

    • by pr0fessor ( 1940368 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:33AM (#56366835)

      My best guess is that having and using these as a standard allows more applications to easily connect to their services. Microsoft's open source projects and other non-commercial products tend to be targeted at bringing in more developers for the windows family products or management tools that make adopting microsoft easier.

      • For APIs, the idea of opening up leads to wider adoption.

        In general though, (explaining things that aren't APIs) the benefit to corporations is less about the initial project launch, and more about testing (particularly edge cases) and extensions. If you check the commits for these projects, you'll still typically find the originating company in the majority.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A company that must build infrastructure can release it as open source with the idea that a healthy open source ecosystem can reduce its development costs. Reduced costs means more profit, simple as that.

    • by slack_justyb ( 862874 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @12:12PM (#56367111)

      When you create an in-house library, you have to have your folks do documentation, train new employees to the library, have your people not only develop off that library but patch it as well. Now that's not everything there but those are some major tick marks in the world. Open Sourcing reduces those to different degrees. However, it's not a panacea. It's important to have a business model based on a service and then open source the tools you use to have new hires already up to speed on what you all do before they get in the door.

      That doesn't make you money, but it saves you money. However, it all means nothing if you don't have a service to sell first.

  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:05AM (#56366677)

    The company that built the product is going to automatically hold a strong majority of the mindshare around it unless they really behave like assholes. Case in point: don't be like Joyent viz a viz Node.JS (savagely attack core contributors on your corporate blog over pronoun politics). Be like Facebook with React (actually show you care about the community's concerns for the most part).

  • The cloud changed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:18AM (#56366761)

    Open Source Software especially the GNU variety, tends to limit on ways people can profit off of GNU Software (Where selling the actual software is near impossible when people can get it legally for free).

    Now what the cloud did was having this software for free, but who really cares, because you can put it in a server farm data center mega infrastructure, and you just pay for the computing that you use. Sure you can have the software and its source, because chances are you will not have the millions of dollars to implement the massive data center to fully utilize it.

    Where a decade back. We were operating with small server farms (normally for a fair size organization) having a couple of racks of servers where each one was doing one or two jobs. Meaning the software sales were important, because people are not going to pay a monthly fee to run it on their servers, when they can buy the software and the servers themselves and run it over a long period of time.

    So Open Source is more palatable because it doesn't conflict with their business model.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @01:42PM (#56367645) Homepage

    About five or six ago, something changed

    Five or six what ago? Releases? CEOs? Doctor Whos?

    • You do realize you're intended to read the entire thing and not just start at a random sentence, right? 'Cause there's context in the first paragraph that tells you what they're referring to.

  • Really no difference between the two partner companies any more.

User hostile.

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