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Hybrids: How free+fee OSS models put vendor support on solid ground

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Some IT organizations' doubts about the strength of some vendors' support for commercial open source products is legitimate, but don't paint all vendors with the same brush, says resident expert Julie Hanna Farris. They may be young, but some commercial open source vendors have come up with hybrid models that include both free software and black ink.

In this interview, Farris offers tips on how to assess commercial open source vendors' technologies and stability. She also describes the emergence of a new hybrid product model -- some parts being free and open, some not -- and how to make the most of it. Farris is founder of Scalix Corp., a Linux messaging systems vendor, and several other IT companies, including and Portola Systems (now part of Sun ONE).

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