Open source vs. commercial software
Open source software initially was a head-scratcher: “How can you make money selling something for free?” But once open source advocates clarified the meaning of free – “Free as in speech, not as in beer” – the open source economy took off.
Commercial software vendors have tried to defend their walled cities with both marketing pitches and legal threats while simultaneously lowering their drawbridges with an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” strategy.
Even Microsoft, which has made billions selling software, won the approval Oct. 12 of the Open Source Initiative, which said the terms of the Microsoft Public License and Microsoft Reciprocal License meet the OSI’s definition of open source.
Still, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer continues his sabre rattling, warning that users of Red Hat Linux software have an “obligation” to pay Microsoft because there’s some Microsoft-owned code in there.
Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s CTO, called open source a failed business model on the order of the dot-com boom that went bust.
VMware owns the lion’s share of the virtualization market in terms of both revenue (the company’s revenue doubled in 2006 to $709 million from the year before) and mindshare (the company’s annual user show in San Francisco this year recently drew 10,000 supporters) . To ice it off, the company also had a huge IPO this summer.
If it weren’t for Novell’s Ray Noorda taking his eye off the networking ball in favor of chasing the corporate desktop, Novell’s NetWare might still be a powerhouse network operating system.