Shaun Connolly, formerly an executive with JBoss/Red Hat, offers some interesting counsel to his former employer. In Shaun's view, Red Hat needs to "think big" if it wants to "lead big," and rigorously fight complacency:
...Red Hat needs to realize that past success does not guarantee future dominance. Red Hat needs to improve its ability to grow into new areas. It needs to make its ability to expand its footprint a strategic weapon.
Focusing purely on business as usual may yield some solid results over the coming year, but will ultimately result in decreased momentum...and the crowning of a new open source big dog.
This is what Jason Maynard used to say, and it's what. Red Hat's response to this is often, "We already are." Sort of.
When I last blogged about the importance of Red Hat leadership, I got a mild tongue-lashing by some within Red Hat. "What [open-source ISVs] all seem to want from Red Hat is our distribution to get them more sales." Perhaps.
Or perhaps not. I don't need Red Hat to make sales for me. I've never asked it to do so, either, though I do think that there is room for collaboration between Red Hat and several of the open-source companies. (Why, for example, did Red Hat never do much to encourage cooperation between it and MySQL? That seems like such a natural partnership and yet Red Hat treated MySQL like just another small ISV in its partnership program, at least this is how it appeared to me.)
Anyway, this isn't intended to be a rant against Red Hat. It is and long has been one of the companies I admire most. Perhaps for that very reason, however, I expect a great deal from it. "Big dog" type things, to use Shaun's phrase.