Here are some other thougts about it:
|OPEN source software is seen by some as akin to religion. However, Ingres chief executive Roger Burkhardt insists he is not on a crusade to convert the Microsoft and Oracle faithful.|
Committed to freely providing software code back to developers and customers, open source followers often passionately evangelise its benefits over the licensed software model.
However, Mr Burkhardt -- previously chief technology officer at the New York Stock Exchange, where he established an open-source IT shop -- rejects the fervent approach, saying open source is a "pragmatic decision".
He says proprietary software innovation is driven by commercial return and legal protection, which is supported by costly, ongoing licensing fees.
Open source allows customers to control innovation without licensing fees. It will one day rule the world, Burkhardt says.
Open source software sometimes requires a mindset shift. Do you need to "find god" before you can switch from the licensed model?
To me it's a very pragmatic decision to use open source -- I can innovate more quickly and lower my costs.
One of the issues about proprietary software is that you are locked in, you might spend $3 million upfront that you didn't need to spend, but the bigger issue is that you don't have the rights to that software forever and you'll constantly have to re-buy it over time. I do not believe people should buy open source as a matter of religion.
|How can the relatively small open source companies innovate better than the large software vendors that pour billions into top research and development?|
The open source model allows us to bring together the best minds in the world to work on a problem. They work on a problem that's being driven by the real customers' needs and not the needs of a product planner who three years ago estimated he could raise the price of the next version stuffed with hundreds of features.
The proprietary companies control technology to monetise it. In this model, engineers can't collaborate without months of legal work. It's not just a malevolent force, but if you don't have the open source licensing model, you can't get your engineers to collaborate freely.
Can you give some examples of this?
We have announced what has been widely hailed as a breakthrough in database technology, Ingres Vector Wise, which is more than 10 times faster than any other database technology we've seen, as validated by Intel. We also collaborated with Red Hat to build a high-availability database configuration on Linux.
Our engineers collaborated to create a new product and very quickly were able to produce something.
And working with Novell, we created software for trading houses that had to trade very rapidly at very low latency. This is an example of two technology companies collaborating to rapidly respond to customers' needs. The reason it's rapid is because the lawyers are kept out of the process.
Some people have pointed to Oracle's $US7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which includes the MySQL open source database technology, as an attempt to control the evolution of open source. Has this set back the open source movement?
It's very difficult for a proprietary company to stifle innovation because once the knowledge has been allowed to run free it's like a genie out of the bottle.
You may be able to confuse the marketplace, there are some negative impacts, but the notion you can kill it is, I think, a misunderstanding of how open source works. The code called MySQL has spawned in different directions, you can't kill it.
The directions are driven by the interests and the sweat equity of the community.
Will new trends such as cloud computing affect the take-up of open source?
The open source model will over time evolve to become the dominant model in the software industry, both directly as people increasingly adopt it because of the superior economics and innovation, but also indirectly as other trends play out in the marketplace.
All major cloud computing players, software-as-a-service players, are built to a very large extent on open source components.
They offer customers the variable costs of a subscription model, they take away a lot of the complexity and delays in building your own software stack and the cost of maintaining it. They choose open source because of economics and more rapid customer-driven innovation.