Open Source: The Price of Freedom

Open source thrives on technology managers’ penchant for avoidance—that is, their desire to dodge software licensing fees and vendor lock-in. Until recently, only two companies had truly commercialized the software by providing enterprise-class support. But now some of the biggest names in technology are looking for a piece of the action, betting that vendor lock-in isn’t as much of a draw as it might seem. Will Red Hat and Novell continue their dominance in the open-source operating system arena? Or will support providers like Hewlett-Packard and Oracle wrench market share from the longstanding leaders?

Story Guide:

Lead Story: The Price of Freedom
Call it the democratization of software. But in this contest, open-source operating systems come down to two leading candidates with similar platforms.

Vendor Profiles

  • Novell: Sleeping With the Enemy?
  • Red Hat: Staying on Course


    Project Pointers
    Before switching to an open-source platform, take it from the experts: Review your cost of ownership, recruit some talent in-house, and learn to crawl before you can walk.

    Sound Off:
    Are you more likely to consider a vendor like Hewlett-Packard or Oracle for open-source support, or an entrenched provider like Novell or Red Hat? Write to us at

    Next page: The Price of Freedom

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