SaaS and Open Source?
In a recent Forbes interview Treb Ryan, CEO of OpSource, somewhat bashes open source: http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/14/google-yahoo-software-technology-cio-network-open-source.html
Ryan makes some good points about the benefits of a multi-tenent architecture, but I feel he’s leaving out some important details.
Did OpSource write their own operating system, servers, middleware, and databases? They would be foolish to.
Did OpSource go with expensive proprietary software for thoses pieces? Probably not, with their business model they’d want to stay away from those license fees – and the OpSource website is RedHat Linux and Apache HTTP.
If they are smart, OpSource will, like all the other SaaS companies, use open source at every opportunity they can. And somehow this is a fatal flaw for open source?
Ryan is just doing a little open source bashing because it’s the thing that scares him the most. If SaaS companies can built multi-tenent apps on an open source base, then so can open source developers. He knows this. He’s just enjoying OpSource’s window of opportunity. But he joins a list of chief executives that have banded together over the years to tell a most amusing story. Bill Gates kicks it off in 2001:
“We think of Linux as a competitor in the student and hobbyist market, but I really don’t think in the commercial market we’ll see it in any significant way.”
2001: He was saying that open source is ok for a hobby, just not for your operating system.
2003: A few years after that, as open source databases started to appear, we heard the CEOs of database companies telling us that open source is ok for your operating system, but not for your database.
2005: Then the executives of middleware companies told us that open source was fine for your operating system and databases, but not for your middleware.
2008: After that we heard application companies telling us that open source is great for your operating system, databases, and middleware, but you don’t to use an open source application.
2010: Now Ryan is telling us that open source is fine for everything including applications, just not multi-tenent applications.
These CEO’s have painted themselves into a very small corner over the years. Looks to me like Ryan is the lastest one holding the brush. The question is who, if anyone, can he pass the brush to when multi-tenent open source applications appear?