I must confess that I am an optimist. Although, recently I think we all have been tempted to take trip over to the dark side even if only for a moment. Two recent blog posts have pulled me back to the proper side and to see the Glass Half-Full again. One, by Jonathon Schwartz who in his extremely eloquent and illustrative style reminded everyone why Sun is more relevant than ever. Two, Daniel Raskin, who posted an interesting blog on Oracle’s fortunes during the downturn. I encourage you to read both.
Each explains why Open Source software like OpenDS, OpenSSO, Glassfish and ZFS (btw…great podcast on ZFS with FLOSS Weekly here) are more relevant in this market than ever before. As developers around the globe search for a platform of innovation they choose based on capability and price of acquisition. They have more time than money. In the economic downturn that we are all suffering through globally may have impacted trade balances, balance sheets and salaries but it has not impacted people’s inclination to innovate. This is why Sun and Open Source are more relevant than ever. As Jonathon points out in his overview of Finance 101:
Not to dip into finance 101, when the net present value
of a lifetime revenue cycle exceeds the value of a one time purchase, a
product or service that initiates the payment stream is either freely
distributed (if it has no marginal cost, like software), or subsidized
(if it has a hard cost). That’s why you see so many free credit cards,
free checking account, free mobile phones, free month’s rent, free
social networking, etc. In the technology world, free is the new black.
Juxtapose this with the news from Daniel Raskin’s blog about the current fortunes of Oracle and you wonder who has the right competitive advantage for this current economic environment.
As I travel and talk to customers about Identity, I have heard similar stories from customers. One comes to mind where a customer shared that he had an intern that he asked to investigate OpenDS. Instead of coming back with a slide deck containing a cost benefit analysis and a feature comparison he came back at the end of the week with a working prototype. After showing it to key stakeholders, the decision was not about whether it was the right technical choice, rather it was about when to put it in production and how could they get budget to pay for support. The value of open source is breaking down barriers to innovation.
This is why I see the Glass Half Full. People in tough times don’t stop innovating. They just choose different problems and different platforms to innovate upon.