21 Jun 2008 Zaitcev   » (Master)

Jim's strategy

Jeremy posted a shorthand of a meeting with Jim, our CEO. I think it's pretty interesting, although it's not very new for me, because it's consistent with his internal message and I've met with him before.

Jim talks about the need to involve companies (and their member individuals) into the Open Source in general. I quite agree, although in my like of work I see it in a very narrow way. I interact with all kinds of customers. Some are used to the old, "black box" way. If a test round is needed, I send them a kernel, they run it, collect the results, I think about it, change something, send it again... etcetera. Other (for example, Stratus, Fujitsu) chose "open box" approach: they look at my patches and produce feedback on patches.

Even though I never play favourites with customer problems, "open box" people tend to come to solutions much quicker.

I used to think that there must be some downside to "open box", because they have to have some expertise in-house to deal with source, and expertise costs money. But it is more and more apparent that basic reading of the source is not black magic. Customers always have engineers who can read it. Sure, they may not have intimate understanding of it, but that's what they pay Red Hat for. The basic advantage is essentially free for them.

Another thing Jim talks about is taking a high road relatively Ubuntu. From ethical standpoint, he is right, of course. But I keep thinking... Ubuntu is popular. Not as popular as Windows, I guess, but it is a success, and you never argue with success. Fat lot of good will it do to Free Software if everyone moves to Ubuntu. Fortunately, Fedora is a success too, for now at least. But it looks like Jim just believes that truth will always prevail... I am not so sure. It is not how the world works.

Syndicated 2008-06-21 02:03:35 (Updated 2008-06-21 02:23:48) from Pete Zaitcev

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