At today's first working meeting of the Open Solutions Alliance, which hopes to standardize Linux-based business solutions, Unisys will stand alone.
That's because, as Anthony Gold (left), its vice president and general manager for open source business told me, Unisys is, so far, the only system integrator in the membership.
"You need a system integrator, bringing the real requirements of enterprises to the table," he said. "We want to define the interoperability standards."
That work can't really start until Unisys has someone to interoperate with. So the initial set-up of the OSA is proceeding slowly, with the selection of an interim board today, followed by elections in two months. Meanwhile all the members, including Unisys, will be encouraging companies to join them. Gold sees Apache as the model, if that will help convince you.
Ironically it may be the lack of transparency which is moving some integrators to move toward open source. If the client can just see a black box, if they're unaware of options that could replace what you've installed, you have enormous customer control.
That's not the way Gold sees it. "We need to keep the big picture in mind. It's to advance the agenda of open solutions," he said. "What we want is much faster development of open solution applications, with much greater consumption of those applications."
Unisys' competitors need to decide whether they're more interested in growing the market through the Open Solutions Alliance or just their businesses' unique selling proposition. Personally I'm hoping they choose the Gold standard.