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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Chapter 9. Open Source Under Attack

One of the clearest indications that open source is gaining traction and gathering allies in the IT marketplace is the steadily rising resistance being mounted by some commercial software vendors, and the vicious attacks being mounted by others. To offset the attraction of the open source model, its growing number of enemies is seeking to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt (a.k.a. FUD) among its potential customers, a classic Silicon Valley strategy deployed whenever a company’s market share begins to look shaky.

The question IT departments must ask themselves is whether they should believe any of this FUD. In this chapter, we will discuss the current wave of FUD against open source, created by the SCO Group’s 2003 lawsuit against IBM and its aftermath, and we will try to anticipate what future attacks might look like. It appears that the current FUD has, by and large, failed to bully companies into avoiding open source—SCO’s case isn’t considered a particularly sound one, and it likely is not a threat to open source users or allies such as IBM. However, there is no doubt that since open source software can create billions of dollars in value and can change the competitive landscape of Silicon Valley FUD is here to stay.

SCO Versus IBM and the Legal Quandary of Open Source

We will start with the big picture of the SCO dispute, and in later sections, we will explore the details and implications. Until two years ago, CIOs and CTOs could be forgiven for ...

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