Proprietary software and open-source companies understand the importance of both approaches to their customers and to their businesses:
• Oracle offers both proprietary and open-source products, promoting open source to help sell hardware and complement their proprietary offerings.
• IBM supports open-source projects that enhance their consulting and services business and complements their proprietary offerings.
• Microsoft works with open-source companies, particularly on interoperability, to assure their customers can build the heterogeneous IT environment they desire.
• Novell and Red Hat have applied proprietary development techniques and entered agreements with proprietary developers to assure stable and interoperable enterprise architecture. With virtualisation now mainstream and software developers meeting the interoperability demands of cloud computing, there is ample evidence of a continuing growth in heterogeneity of IT architecture.
No single approach is the right approach, and rightly, CIOs are now drawing from both worlds, proprietary and open source, to meet their needs.
Stacy Baird is a former advisor to members of the US Senate on Technology and Intellectual Property issues and believes that, with the coexistence of commercial and open source software, the global IT industry has continued to improve life for people around the world. This is the second of a four-part series and opinions expressed are his own.
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