Red Hat exec: Open Source is mature, disruptive and innovative

Craig Nielsen was one of eight speakers at the WA open source symposium earlier this month. He talks about where the industry stands and where it is rapidly heading.

Briefly, what are some ways you suggest that emerging ICT companies can best utilise open source technologies?

Either introduce open source incrementally or leverage it heavily at start-up.

Red Hat platforms are generally attractive to emerging ICT companies as they are cost sensitive. Also the partnering environment with large proprietary vendors has large costs of entry and is often very crowded.

Red Hat has targeted programs for service partners and local software developers to enable them to be successful in selling and deploying Red Hat based solutions. We would encourage emerging ICT companies to contact us and explore these programs further. Given that a significant proportion of the largest 200 organisations in Australia are Red Hat customers, we believe leveraging the momentum Red Hat has created in the market is valuable for emerging ICT companies.

What in your opinion are some of the more successful open source business models?

We have been successful with our subscription-based model and sign-up, with approximately 10,000 new customers each quarter. We support business models that allow open source companies to build strong balance sheets whilst making strong contributions to open source projects and initiatives. Basing a business on the quality of its support is a bold model in the software world and demonstrates our commitment to making sure we offer our customers the best value for their dollar.

In light of the current lawsuit with Technology Licensing Corporation and IP Innovation and Ballmer saying that Red Hat uses IP owned by Microsoft, how can Red Hat ensure corporate customers that patent issues will not affect their business?

Red Hat's strategy remains firm in driving open source innovation and fully supporting our clients' businesses by giving them the choice and freedom on how their open source architecture is built. We remain completely confident in our technology and in our protection for clients. The protection of our clients is a top priority, and Red Hat provides the most comprehensive intellectual property coverage for open source software that is available. The Red Hat Open Source Assurance program protects our clients in two ways. One is in business continuity - Red Hat offers assurances of uninterrupted use of its technology solutions. We also offer indemnification against claims by ANY holder of software patents.

(More information about the Open Source Assurance program can be found here) .

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