A blog for the enterprise open source community
The Open Source Leader?Raven Zachary, April 11, 2006 @ 11:15 pm ET
If you take a look at the About page on the Red Hat web site, the company claims to be “The Open Source Leader.” In its press releases, Red Hat describes itself as ” the world’s leading open source and Linux provider.” Up until yesterday’s JBoss acquisition announcement, I was somewhat dismissive of Red Hat’s use of this language. Not because of its leadership claim (Red Hat is an enterprise Linux leader), but because of its use of ‘open source’ instead of ‘Linux’.
Yes, Linux is open source, but open source is about much more than just Linux. While this statement may be obvious to you, it’s not universally understood, even within the IT industry. It’s a point of clarification that I make when speaking to groups of IT end users on the benefits of open source. I like to point out that plenty of Windows users are running open source software.
Why is Red Hat not instead claiming to be “The Linux Leader?” Isn’t this more descriptive? It does a better job at communicating its value to the customer, in my opinion. To me, an open source leader would need a much broader product and services offering than Red Hat has provided historically. If you sell fruit, and sell fruit well, why call yourself the food leader? With Red Hat’s acquisition of JBoss, the use of ‘open source’, instead of ‘Linux’, makes sense. Above, I argued that it didn’t – that was in its pre-JBoss incarnation. I guess Red Hat is an open source company, after all.
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