Red Hat CEO: Keep cloud open or go back to 80s-style computing

Keep the cloud open -- or kill it, Red Hat's chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company's annual summit Tuesday."Without open source, clouds wouldn't exist.

Keep the cloud open -- or kill it, Red Hat's chief exec advised during his opening keynote at the company's annual summit Tuesday.

"Without open source, clouds wouldn't exist. Full stop," said Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat President and CEO, noting that three core principles -- collaboration, openness and choice -- enabled users such as Google and Amazon to build the first cloud infrastructure, and adherence to those principles will determine the cloud's fate.

Red Hat CEO Whitehurst

Red Hat CEO Whitehurst

"The protests in the Middle East succeeded because they did everything out in the open ... those same principles will be key success factors in the next generation IT architecture," Whitehurst added.

The cloud is the first user-driven innovation of its kind, and was enabled by open source software, he said. Most technology innovations are vendor or consortium-driven. said.

"End users came up with it .... and now every vendor is trying to say this is my vision around the cloud," he noted. "That's the antithesis of what the cloud is and what it should be. It's not about one stack but a set of principles that allowed this collective innovation to happen.

He took a swipe at Amazon for developing its own set of hooks.  "Clouds have started to develop their own set of APIs. If you're developing an application on Amazon API, you can't move that application ... you're stuck there. If clouds are developed that way, it's kind of like going back to the 80s."

"Cloud apps need to be written so they can go across multiple clouds," he said. "As CIOs develop the next generation IT technology architecture, should they demand anything less than that? Collaboration, not coercison. Transparency, not hype. Choice, not lock-in."

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