Proprietary and Open source DO mix

Purists would have you believe that open/free software and proprietary software should never mix, but pragmatists like Tom Fedro at FarStone know different. Other companies and organizations from Oracle to Eclipse agree.

If you've been following the recent brouhaha about proprietary device drivers running on Linux you might think that proprietary code and open source are like oil and water. But they're not, it's more like... oil and vinegar; sometimes you need to use both, and they compliment each other.

Case in point: FarStone's recent announcement that they are reselling their RestoreIT disaster recovery package through Linspire. Tom Fedro, vice president-sales and marketing operations for FarStone, explains:

"We’re not open source. We are bundling our application with the operating system of these Linux providers. This is a value add to their offering."

So here we have proprietary software being bundled with Linux to add value to it, and yet the world didn't end. Other companies and organizations, from Oracle to Eclipse, have realized that open and proprietary software can peacefully coexist for a long time. So why are some die-hards holding out for "pure" open source? Some won't even use the term "open source", preferring "free software", and throw up artificial licensing barriers to prevent mixing open and proprietary code. Maybe that was needed in the past, but not anymore.