Still care what constitutes an 'open-source vendor'?

We used to care about carving out a definition of an open-source company. No one used more digital ink on the topic than I did. But the distinction makes less and less sense.

I opened my RSS reader today and was swept back to 2007, when I and others fussed about what constitutes an open-source vendor.

Matt Aslett of The 451 Group and Savio Rodrigues of IBM have thoughts of their own, which mostly make sense. I'd go so far as to say they're right.

But do we care anymore?

No one wasted more digital ink on the topic than I did, but even I don't care anymore. Open source is bleeding into the way everyone does software, including Microsoft. It remains critically important, but I suspect that it won't even be able to support a marketing campaign in the near future.

Today we talk about Pentaho and Jaspersoft as "open-source business intelligence vendors," for example, but three years from now, I doubt that we'll call out the open-source aspect. It won't matter--or, at least, it won't matter nearly as much. Their competitors, from IBM's Cognos to SAP's Business Objects, will also incorporate aspects of open source into their businesses. They'll have to.

The open-source debate is over. We won. Now it's just a question of building (or continuing to build) superior products and ensuring that we get paid for doing so.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.

Tech Culture
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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