This is a fairly jaundiced take on the upcoming O'Reilly Open
Source Convention, beginning tomorrow. The article focuses on VA
Linux's recent troubles, the exclusion of the Free Software
Foundation from the headlining debate with Craig Mundie, and the
MySQL AB/NuSphere conflict, which a Gartner analyst is on hand to
characterize as part of a broader cultural clash in the open source
"Despite an effort to focus on the progress of open
source, it will be hard this week to ignore its weaknesses, which
have wounded -- even toppled -- open source companies in the face
of shrinking IT budgets and a sour economy.
VA Linux Systems Inc., for example, recently ditched its
hardware business selling Linux servers and workstations in the
face of a dwindling dot-com customer base and new competition from
major vendors such as IBM Corp. and Dell Computer Corp., which have
embraced Linux. Open source desktop software developer Eazel Inc.
also failed with the model, shutting down in May after failing to
secure funding. And open source software and services firm
CollabNet Inc. faced setbacks which resulted last month in its
decision to close SourceXchange, a marketplace for open source
These missteps have raised concerns over open source penetrating
the enterprise. "It's almost a contradiction in terms to speak of
commercial distribution of open source software," said Jon Rubin,
an analyst with Gartner Inc.
"How do you add value to a product if it's the same as all the
others?" he asked. "It shows the inherent problem that any open
source segment has to overcome in order to achieve commercial
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