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The Power of Open Source

I’ve been spending some good time with friends here in the Valley getting caught up on things, doing some blog reading, dipping into the Always On conference remotely, looking over the shoulder of the O’Reilly Open Source conference, watching Larry Ellison answer questions at the recent Oracle analysts’ meeting, etc. Good stuff.

The increasing impact of the open source movement is fascinating to me. Next to the movement of jobs offshore through globalization, it seems to me to be the most powerful trend influencing how systems are getting built these days. Microsoft’s CFO listed the potential impact of open source as the number two risk to the company. Fascinating. Apache has won the war on the web server front; Microsoft’s IIS (even with .NET) falls further behind. Oracle’s Ellison pooh-pooh’s the impact of MySQL on the core Oracle database business — in a way that Clayton Christensen could have scripted for him. JBOSS is the talk of the application server space, much to the chagrin of BEA, IBM and Oracle and to the delight of enterprise I/T engineers who just want to get their applications built. Apple’s leveraged the ready availability of open source software solutions to deliver several innovative new solutions (Safari, multi-machine compilation, etc.).

We certainly do live in interesting times.

On another note, I had breakfast this morning with a good friend (IMHO one of the smartest attorneys here in Silicon Valley) it turns out that he’s very positive about business finally being on the rebound. A thin reed of good news!

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