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Users Shaping Events

Users Shaping Events

Hello and welcome to another edition of LinuxWorld Magazine! As usual, we're excited about the great material we've been able to put together for you.

Looking back over the last month, I was really struck by how the visibility and adoption of Linux and Open Source software have been accelerating. There were some pretty big announcements this month.

One of the biggest was that HP has entered into an agreement with JBoss and MySQL AB to sell and support systems that run these two Open Source applications. Known as HP's Linux Reference Architecture, these systems will be based on Open Source software from MySQL, JBoss, Apache, and OpenLDAP.

While I'm not trying to turn this into a commercial for HP, I think this announcement is great. It shows in a number of ways how Linux and Open Source are maturing in the marketplace. It shows how Linux is changing business in general.

To begin with, having a company with the size and market clout of HP certify and support Linux, JBoss, and MySQL on their hardware brings a certain level of respectability to these applications. While a lot of us have been using them for years, many companies are still apprehensive about doing so. This announcement should send a message to these companies that it's "safe" to deploy production applications based on Open Source software.

It also shows that HP sees Open Source as a great way to provide better value to customers. I happened to see Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, at a conference in Boston a few days after the announcement, and he spent some time talking about it. He said he felt that HP simply saw this as a way to sell a lot more servers. By providing an Open Source application stack on top of their hardware, they could provide powerful, production-ready servers at a great price.

This reminded me of an interview I once did with an IBM executive. I asked him why IBM was making such huge investments in Linux - after all, it's not even one of their products. His answer was essentially that Linux and Open Source may not generate license revenue for them on their own, but that they helped to sell a lot of servers and applications. He said IBM made money by selling the applications that ran on top of Linux and by selling the hardware and services needed to make them run.

One other thing he said also stuck with me. He said that IBM hadn't initially hatched a grand plan to jump on the Linux bandwagon on its own. He said they adopted Linux because their customers wanted them to. It was their customers who were searching for better value by deploying applications on Linux and Open Source software. IBM just listened to their customers and responded.

And while HP's announcement this month didn't specifically state that it was customer de-mand that led them to certify and support JBoss and MySQL, I'm certain that it must have played a part. Because in the end it's not these big companies that are shaping events, it's the users. As most of our readers have known for a long time, Linux and Open Source software just provide better value for many applications.

Have a good month and, once again, thanks for reading!

More Stories By Kevin Bedell

Kevin Bedell, one of the founding editors of, writes and speaks frequently on Linux and open source. He is the director of consulting and training for Black Duck Software.

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