On the first day of the Red Hat Summit, Jim Whitehurst, CEO Red Hat spoke at length about a need for businesses to not just simply adopt open source technology, but to also give back to the community.
The second day took a totally different approach and sought to appeal directly to developers with a much more technical session focused on products with a smaller emphasis on strategy.
Following on from Whitehurst’s enthusiasm for the power of open source, Paul Cormier, President, products and technologies, Red Hat, took to the stage to talk about the pace of change in IT, something that he feels open source is playing an instrumental role in.
"Cloud could never have happened without open source and Linux at the heart, the problem is too big for just one company to solve," said Cormier.
While technologically forced change is happening quickly, Cormier stated that open source and that "the right platform will allow businesses to reach their full potential."
The battle to produce the best platform is something that vendors have been increasingly pushing as they realise that producing dozens, or hundreds of different tools and services with no connection between, is simply not what businesses want.
Businesses want a platform from which they can access all the tools and services from a Salesforce, SAP, Cloudera, Hortonworks, or other, and combine that with the ability to connect to a broad ecosystem of partners.
All of this needs to be done in a seamless, integrated way that gives businesses all the tools they require in one place. This is why you have the likes of SAP saying that they want to put S/4 HANA at the digital core.
Red Hat in that regard is no different, it wants to be the central cog to a broad ecosystem of partners and capabilities.
While finding the right platform can pose a big enough challenge in itself, it is not the only thing being asked of businesses, they also need to go through a cultural change.
Cormier said: "Culture is one of the strongest points of what makes open source work." The message being that customers need to adopt their culture to fit the open source way of work, something which links back to Whitehurst calling on businesses to give more back to open source and not just be a passive user.
While this is all well and good, the question should be asked as to whether this is all just a bit too much. Businesses aren’t signing up to a charity drive, or to become missionaries for open source, businesses have their own problems to deal with, like running an organisation, staying afloat, serving their customers, and making money.
Although developers working for larger businesses may be able to contribute back to the open source community, their first priority will inevitably be the stability of the business that employs them.
Tech vendors need to be careful as to how far they push businesses to change their culture when they are already putting a lot of time and resources into buying products to keep up and changing culture will take time.
Red Hat clearly believes in open source and comments like "open source is the only model for progression to keep up with rapid pace," highlights this. The increased participation in open source from vendors such as Microsoft also provide validation for what is being done, certainly suggesting that open source may well be the way forward.
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