Were early in 2007 and already major deals have been struck that further validate Linux and open source for the enterprise. This follows on the heels of an active 2006. In January, Wal-Mart threw its weight behind the Microsoft-Novell partnership. Microsoft will deliver SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription certificates to Wal-Mart for use in Wal-Marts IT infrastructure, while assuring the integration with other Windows products.
Whether you love or hate the Microsoft-Novell alliance, one side benefit is some actual momentum towards interoperability. The Interop Vendor Alliance was launched in November. It includes Microsoft, Novell, Sun, Red Hat, EMC, Citrix, and many others.
Other incumbents making open source news include IBM, Sun, and Oracle. IBM introduced its open-source desktop this month. The desktop will run Lotus applications on top of a Red Hat or SUSE Linux OS. Sun has committed itself to creating an open-source version of Java. The company says that it will deliver a version of Java based almost completely on open-sourced code during the first half of this year, and it released the first components in November.
Late last year, Oracle validated the Red Hat model and quickly tried to steal its market share by offering Oracle the same class of support for Red Hat Linux that it provides for its database, middleware and applications products. Oracle previously partnered directly with Red Hat for this.
Despite the threat from Oracle, Red Hat remains the most active and innovative major Linux player. Its acquisition of middleware provider JBoss accelerates Red Hats ability to deliver SOA-based offerings.
According to Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat, future innovations being developed include application-to-application messaging, better real-time predictability to guarantee transaction times, additional security features, and additional virtualization efforts.