Is the end near for independent open source?

If Red Hat were sold to Oracle, that could effectively put an end to open source as a standalone software strategy.

For the first time I'm scared for open source. Not open source as a global movement and way of doing business and software development - that's safe. Even Microsoft believes in it .

No, I worry for Red Hat. As I wrote the other day , if Red Hat's stock continues to tumble it becomes ripe for an Oracle acquisition. Red Hat has been doing exceptionally well selling into a down market , growing quarter after quarter.

But Wall Street doesn't seem to care. To help telegraph its own confidence in its future, Red Hat has now initiated a $125 million share buyback to hold up its share price.

Let's hope it works. Losing Red Hat as an independent open-source vendor would effectively call an end to open source as a standalone software strategy. Some may cheer at this prospect, but I think the software world would be poorer for having open source serve as a minor component in everyone's arsenal, rather than having Red Hat showcase that it's a viable business strategy on its own.

Customers would also be poorer, as The VAR Guy notes. We need an independent Red Hat. We need the market to recognize that open-source Red Hat promises to deliver more value for lower cost in a recessionary market. Customers appreciate that fact and will buy into it. When will Wall Street recognize what customers already know?

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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