Thursday, March 22, 2007

Open Source Strategy: Freeing Great Technology

At Red Hat, we are 100% focused on an open source business model and what we call the democratization of technology. Let me elaborate on what this means and how it fuels our strategy.

Having been with JBoss since 2004, our approach to expanding our base of open source technologies and accelerating innovation has been accomplished using one of the following approaches:
  1. Work within existing open source communities. Our work on a wide variety of Apache projects and Eclipse projects are examples here.
  2. Create and staff new JBoss projects. JBoss Seam, JBoss Portal, JBoss Messaging, JBoss Web Services, and JBoss ESB are examples of projects that fit this category.
  3. Identify complementary open source projects and recruit them to join our community. Hibernate, JBoss jBPM, and JBoss Rules are examples here.
  4. Free great proprietary/closed source technology. Let me use three examples to illustrate this further.

JBoss Transactions is an example of great technology that was previously proprietary. We worked with HP and Arjuna on freeing that technology so we could enhance our middleware technologies and open up technology to the benefit of the larger community.

Our partnership with Exadel is actually a blend of two approaches. We've added their open source technologies to our community as JBoss Ajax4jsf and JBoss RichFaces. And we are working with them on freeing their great Exadel Studio Pro technology at Those who want to consume the individual Eclipse plug-ins will have that ability. Those interested in getting all of the Exadel, JBoss, and Red Hat Eclipse tools in an integrated and tested offering will be interested in the Red Hat Developer Studio.

Finally, our new Hibernate Shards project was developed by Software Engineers at Google who created some really cool technology built on Hibernate and then decided to free that great technology for the benefit of the broader community. Max Ross at Google describes the process in his Ode to Hibernate blog. Thanks Max, Tomislav, and Maulik and welcome to the community!

As I mentioned in my blog on Open Source Community, while I consider the open source projects and people who work directly on those projects as the core neighborhood within the "community", I do think the definition of community is broader and includes neighborhoods that extend beyond the core neighborhood.

I love working at a company whose core strategy is focused on constantly extending our community so we can free more and more great technology. It is much more difficult for proprietary closed-source sofware companies to follow suit since they are continually lured by the siren’s song of license sales and using “open source” as a marketing tick rather than as their raison d'etre.


Anonymous said...

What's up with the open sourcing of the Red Hat Satellite Server? There were a couple of news articles about it and only silence after that. Is there a site somewhere dedicated to that project?

Shaun Connolly said...

Good question. You're likely referring to the Matt asay blog: Red Hat to open source its Network product.

I've asked Rich Friedman to chime in with the latest on this since I know he is in the thick of the roadmap plans for Red Hat Network Satellite and JBoss ON.