Given the jaw-dropping occurrences in the open source world last year (Red Hat's acquisition of JBoss, Oracle's announcement of "Unbreakable Linux," and Novell's patent pact with Microsoft, to name a few), InfoWorld's Neil McAllister says balancing open and proprietary, commercial and free, will be the critical task for enterprise IT managers this year and for a time to follow.
It's a given that open and proprietary will coexist, says ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan, in part because no one will upend his or her entire IT infrastructure in the name of "open source religion." Navica CEO Bernard Golden expressed similar sentiments in a blog post near the end of 2006. What's more, Dignan points out, customers want the assurance that open source and proprietary software will work together, and the Novell/Microsoft deal meets that need.
So maybe Novell's efforts to recharacterize itself (or perhaps "clarify its position" is more accurate) as a mixed source company are better placed than one might think.
We realize we're painting with an extremely broad brush here, but isn't a company's primary obligation to its shareholders? And doesn't a company better serve its shareholders by delivering what its customers want?
If it works, we could see the day when Red Hat or other open source vendors strike similar agreements with their proprietary counterparts.