Open Business Conference Keynote: 'Open Or Die'

Matt Asay | | April 29, 2013

Taking the stage at the Open Business Conference, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst opened the event with a provocative question: is the industry's choice to go open... or die? Whitehurst clearly has a dog in this fight, given that his company is the first open source vendor to reach $1 billion in annual revenue. But he laid out a compelling argument that enterprises no longer choose between competing technology products, but instead must decide between competing innovation models.

And in Whitehurst's mind, there's only one real choice to make: for open data, open source, open APIs.

By choosing an open model, enterprises necessarily make the choice to participate in the future, rather than simply accepting the technologies their preferred vendors hand them. In such a model, even vendors must collaborate with communities, rather than dictate to them. For example, Red Hat can't provide a long-term roadmap because it works collaboratively with the wider community of open source technology users, and can't impose its will on that group.

Is the future as cut and dried as Whitehurst hypothesized?