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Friday, December 19, 2003

Open Source is Open for Business
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As a candidate for the most unimpressive lingering effect of the tech bubble, I nominate: Software Pseudo Words. For years, we rode the tech bubble on the evanescent language of...of who knows what. Telecom acronyms are a tough nut but at least they can be spelled out into some sort of meaning. Software Pseudo Words are like the clown who sits down the hall from you and invariably wears a pointy hat to every office party. With calm amusement and a touch of pity, you simply must ask, "Huh?"

Drawn to a story on the growth of Red Hat - the rare profitable open source firm - I eventually linked up with a corporate press release. It seems that Red Hat sales and earnings are up and they have just inked a deal to buy Sistina Software, a Minneapolis-based storage infrastructure firm.

And what, dear gentle blog reader, was the offending language? According to Red Hat, the $31 million stock deal will provide its customers with a "path to virtualization and vendor-independent storage solutions." Wonderful. Well even though I don't get it, yesterday's numbers demonstrate that Red Hat is making its way as a service company. They may service managers of software systems...but they are a service company nonetheless. Translated to the policy world...all of those would-be public IT managers who would like "free" operating systems should keep in mind the price tag on the service package. Jim Delong is completing a study on this subject next month. No doubt, he'll help me realize a path to virtualization of all the policy issues surrounding open source. Until then, break out the pointy hats and bubbly.

posted by @ 5:19 PM | General

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