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OSBC Report: HP's Karl Paetzel on the tools of open-source proliferation

Open source will do just fine on its own, but giving enterprises a little comfort never hurt, either....

Matt Asay

Karl Paetzel, part of HP's Enterprise Storage and Server Division and part of HP's growing open-source business. As he noted in his opening remarks, HP has realized more than $10 billion in open source-related revenue in the past few years.

  1. Customers have far more FOSS than they realize.
  2. Customers have far more FOSS license obligations than they realize.

On Point #2, Karl noted that a big issue derives from embedded licenses. OpenOffice, for example, may be licensed under the GPL, but there are hundreds (thousands?) of packages within that program that carry other open-source licenses. HP has therefore developed its FOSSology tool to help it manage internally used open-source code, but more recently to help its customers (and the broader community).

I was fortunate to work with HP back in my Novell days on open-source issues. Novell used HP as its model for an open source review board. I particularly like how HP doesn't crimp open-source adoption by shutting down downloads. Rather, it evaluates open-source usage at the point of distribution/release. It therefore gives its employees room to experiment.

Tools like this, marketed correctly, help to broaden open-source adoption. Marketed incorrectly (as "safe ways to use risky software"), they're unproductive. I think HP is going about it in the right way.