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HolidayBuyer's Guide

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?