Intuit has been sniffing around open source for at least a year now, but predominately as a platform (Linux) upon which its applications could run. It opened the door a bit more in April when it opened up QuickBase to developers, but now seems to be paving the way for a more complete launch into open source with its Linux Business Resource Center.
Yes, that Intuit. Promoting Linux and open source.
Intuit has had little to fear from open-source solutions creeping into its business and further commodifying its market, which makes its proactive push around Linux all the more laudable. I doubt that many of its customers currently use Linux. Perhaps this is a way to try to encourage its 25 million strong QuickBooks user base to adopt the open-source operating system?
Indeed, Will Bryant from Intuit's PR team noted to me that "the site also acts as a forum for new users interested in Linux to learn about the operating system and answer common questions associated with moving to an open-source system." Intuit the open-source evangelist?
Maybe. Intuit is actively seeking companies that use open-source solutions to power their businesses with a new contest:
We are looking for businesses that are using some form of open-source software. Your entire end-to-end solution doesn't have to be open-source; you can use other proprietary software components to assist you, as long as the bulk of your creativity stems from open-source solutions. So get your creative juices flowing!
Again, Intuit is not yet offering its own products under an open-source license. But this encouragement of the open-source ecosystem around its products is interesting, and smacks of lessons learned from watching IBM. Perhaps it's the start of something much bigger in open source for Intuit. This is, after all, almost exactly how Novell initially got its feet wet in open source eight years ago.
What's next? SAP actively promoting open source? Pigs are starting to sprout wings. :-)