Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz on What’s Next for Open Source

Photograph of Jonathan Schwartz speaking at th...
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Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz on What’s Next for Open Source.

There’s a misconception from outside the technology industry that open source is the crutch you turn to when times are tough. It’s a cost-cutting measure. There’s certainly no need for making the point to this audience, or to those attending the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) this week in San Francisco. It’s a business model many of you know well — some of the world’s biggest businesses are built with communities at their heart.

In fact, the Internet’s most valuable brands are all free – Amazon, Google, EBay, Skype, Yahoo!, Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Baidu, etc. Those brands reach more people and have greater affinity than just about any other consumer brands. And in the technology marketplace, Linux, Java, MySQL, Firefox, Apache, Eclipse, NetBeans, OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris, the same applies – free is a universal price, requires no currency translation, and reaches the longest tail of the market.

That is why we, at Sun, have invested so aggressively in open. Free distribution and access to source code is our investment in the global developer community. We invest with our code, our ideas and time, and we promote and encourage derivatives. We’re reaching people we’d otherwise never reach – by earning their attention and engagement. Together, the community of developers builds on our ideas, improves and expands their potential and grows the ecosystem. Open drives innovation, innovation drives preference, preference drives adoption. The largest companies in the world are now seeing the appeal and benefit of living outside closed, proprietary systems.

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