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No innovation in open source? What planet are you from?

Can open source innovate? Of course it can. Just look at the JBoss Innovation Awards.

I just finished scoring the JBoss Innovation Awards. Red Hat asked me to judge and I was glad to participate, having enjoyed judging the Red Hat Innovation Awards earlier this year. While I unfortunately am prohibited from talking about companies or specific applications that are involved in the judging process, I can say that I was absolutely bowled over by the quality and innovation large and small enterprises are delivering through open-source solutions, in this case JBoss-based open-source solutions.

I read several dozen entries and was astounded by just how far open source has come. Some of the applications built on JBoss were very creative but not mission critical. Some weren't very creative (meaning, my kids wouldn't think it was very cool) but were highly mission critical - the kinds of applications that would bring down multi-billion dollar companies if they failed.

Many were from companies who migrated away from BEA's Weblogic or IBM's Websphere, and not just because of cost (though that was often an issue). Some of them huge enterprises that everyone reading this blog would recognize. Why migrate? Because Websphere and Weblogic couldn't handle the loads or were too rigid to allow for the kinds of innovation required. Often both. I'm betting that were IBM or BEA to read through what I just read through, they'd wet their pants. It's convenient to think that open source will take years to mature.

It's also false.

Innovation in open source is alive and well. When Red Hat announces the winners at JBoss World in a few weeks, you'll get a taste. Very cool stuff.