As our readers know, InfoWorld has long been an advocate for open source software -- both in its editorial coverage and in the tools chosen to operate InfoWorld's business.
Yet for all its virtues, open source presents a dilemma: If important building blocks such as Linux and Apache are free, then how can commercial software vendors stay in business?
The contradiction is not as bad as it seems. Sure, basic Linux is free, but for enterprise IT, you're more likely to choose a commercial version from Red Hat, SuSE, or another vendor that comes with a development environment, tools, and support.
Yet open source has surely rocked the software industry -- and that's why this week's cover story, "Inside the new Novell," is so fascinating.
Once the premier vendor of networking software, Novell saw its empire slip as Microsoft conquered LANs and as the Internet became the dominant network paradigm. More recently, Novell has reinvented itself as an open source-friendly vendor, acquiring desktop software maker Ximian last August and then SuSE early this year.
Associate Editor Neil McAllister maintains a prudent caution about the company's chances of success. He also notes the potential threat to its core NetWare products (see "The End of the Line for NetWare?"). But the more vendors that build a solid business on open source, the faster it will grow. So I, for one, wish Novell success.
Speaking of building businesses, many readers will receive this week's InfoWorld wrapped in a subscription reminder.
Under rules set by the company that audits our circulation, InfoWorld has an "audit year" of June 1 through May 31 during which we must obtain new renewal information from every reader. That's why we have to ask for your new or updated information now, even if -- in the worst case -- you subscribed as late as May 31, barely a month ago!
The only sure way to escape such reminders is to renew each June. I don't pretend that's especially convenient -- in a better world, InfoWorld would adapt to your schedule, not the other way around. However, it's a fact of this industry, and so I apologize in advance for the intrusion and hope you'll admit it's a small price to pay for receiving InfoWorld each week.