Red Hat CEO and President Jim Whitehurst began his opening keynote of Red Hat’s fourth annual Summit today by crediting event organizers for coordinating the Summit event with last night’s Celtics victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We got everyone tickets for Game 7,” Whitehurst joked. “I wish we could get the Celtics red hats to wear in the parade.”
Whitehurst said that open source really is a business model where everyone wins by sharing innovation, which spreads the benefits of innovation and spares originators the cost of maintaining proprietary technology. He cited several examples where companies contributed innovations to the open source community that have led to major improvements. For example, a Canadian insurance company contributed what became JBoss’ Enterprise Service Bus and the U.S. government shared the development of what is now known as SELinux, he said. In addition, an innovative messaging protocol developed by JPMorgan is being tested now as part of Red Hat’s MRG [Messaging Real-time Grid] product, he said.
Contributions of innovations is a win-win proposition; the whole open source community benefits by incorporating and building on the improvements. But the contributors benefit too from lower support costs, he said.
The problem is that these are only a few examples; the vast majority of private development enterprise software is wasted, Whitehurst said, in urging attendees to promote open source and participating in community development.
Red Hat will launch more new products than ever this year, ensuring that its software and support will be better than ever, Whitehurst added.
“We are the leader in open source,” he said. “It’s who we are and what we do.”
However, leadership involves not just good software but also behind-the-scenes work to improve open source interoperability, like a recent lawsuit settlement that Red Hat negotiated to protect not only Red Hat but past and future users from litigation.
In his travels around the globe, Whitehurst said the most frequent customer complaint is that Red Hat isn’t always easy to work with when it comes to communications and recordkeeping. And Red Hat will be addressing that issue in the weeks and months ahead, he said.
So after a perfect Boston day of sunny skies and refreshingly cool temperatures, Red Hat attendees will be celebrating their adoption of open source software at a party in Fenway Park. Go Sox!