Red Hat’s Proprietary Full Disclosure

I have been unabashed (and bashed because of that unabashedness) in stating that open source and open standards are entirely different things. Open is all about substitution, not source access. I know I’m not exactly Mr. Popular in some circles for that stance, but I’m at least consistent in the belief.

Proving my point, I was heartened to hear a Red Hat executive at a recent Wachovia Securities conference agree with my comments on consolidation in linux – by providing a real life example of how Red Hat’s managed to dupe the linux community with their proprietary distro, and erect barriers to switching (according to Red Hat’s calculation, the cost of switching is $4M per distro for an ISV – and the guy is bragging about it). Not exactly a pro-open stance to take.

It’s in the following video transcript – which requires registration, and Windows Media Player.

UPDATE The question which prompts the response starts at 16:58 into the breakout (not the main) session.

And before you ask, I tried to post the mp3 version, but somehow our blog infrastructure blocks mp3 files (something tells me we need to fix that).

Folks in the IT community need to be more aware, in my view, of the lock-in to which they’re exposing themselves if they don’t take a more active role in understanding the difference between and open source and open standards. All the more reason more and more are seeing Solaris as a migration platform as they move off Fedora.

On another note, one reason we could watch Red Hat’s proprietary confession is Regulation Full Disclosure (known fondly as Reg FD) – the singular piece of legislation, in my mind, most related to blogging. And speaking of Reg FD, RedMonk has written an interesting piece about the evolution of what they’re calling “compliance oriented architectures.” A concept to which I totally subscribe – as legislative priorities continue to emerge around privacy, disclosure, accountability and security (SarBox, RegFD, SEC 17a, HIPAA, etc.), the IT industry should rest comfortably knowing their role is secure in the world: going forward, legislative compliance will be impossible without IT. RedMonk focuses mostly on identity – but to me, it’s far, far broader. Someone should write a thank you note to Congress. Minimally, those of us in the storage business. And maybe even the blogosphere…

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