What this means is that, although large software vendors such as CA, IBM, Microsoft, and Novell aren’t likely to disappear in the near future, the days when they can afford to be complacent are certainly over. In Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, the companion to glasnost was “perestroika” -- economic restructuring. Similarly, for the software industry, achieving openness is only half the equation. The other half lies in finding new ways to profit and grow in a software market radically transformed by the ascendancy of open source and open standards.
“It’s up to us to adjust our business models to incorporate the reality [of open source projects] to celebrate their success, and to leverage them, and to continue to innovate at levels of the stack that our customers deem as being valuable,” IBM’s Heintzman says.
That process of adjustment is still ongoing, and not all the players agree on which direction to take. But that’s not a bad thing. The result is an ever-increasing number of options, as software vendors continue to experiment with new ways to develop, distribute, support, and increase community around their products. The movement toward openness isn’t a race, and it’s unlikely any clear winners will emerge. In a market this rich with alternatives, however, the customer certainly can’t lose.