The Hewlett-Packard open source strategy is becoming clear.
Fear the source.
I'm certain HP officials will disagree with that. But when your press release is headlined, " HP Promotes Open Source Software Governance with New Initiative," there is no other conclusion to draw.
Your big company can't go into open source alone. It's dangerous out there. Here, hold our hand.
A who's who is backing them, including the Linux Foundation, Google, Novell, Olliance Group, OpenLogic, SourceForge, DLA Piper and Coverity.
But when you call your services for open source a Health Check aren't you really saying you need a doctor?
Enterprises don't need a doctor to adopt open source. They need networks.
- They need an internal network of engineers and programmers who know the tools and the rules.
- They need to network with others in the open source community to stay on top of trends and get things fixed.
- They need to open their use of the Internet.
Being "open" refers to more than the source code, and the rules underlying that code. To have a successful open source strategy you need to be open to all kinds of opportunities, which means having your people open to the world.
For many large enterprises it is this broader concept of "open" that is the most frightening aspect of open source, because it may get to the heart of their operations, and the way their businesses are run.
So it's natural for a vendor to try and take advantage of that fear, in a subliminal way, as HP is doing.
But if you rely on a vendor, any single vendor, in the open source world, you're really only getting halfway there. You're still dependent on the vendor, as they wish you to be dependent upon them.
To be open you must open up, inside and out. That's the real challenge of open source.
Treating any single vendor as your "doctor" in this way is like depending entirely on a personal physician for your own health.
You're the one who has to eat right, exercise, deal with stress and get some sleep. Maybe that sounds like an ad for my other ZDNet blog, but it's just common sense.
The whole idea of open source is that you become independent, that your people become independent, that you open up to the world.
Anyone who tells you different is selling something.