This Week in Open Source News Mar 13 – Mar 19

Red Hat’s Virtualization Plans

Red Hat announced plans this week to include virtualization capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 5, set to be released later this year. The virtualization capabilities will be based on the open source Xen virtualization engine with a goal of helping enterprise customers get better performance from their servers. Virtualization will provide better workload management, increased server CPU utilization, better server availability, and the ability to run multiple operating systems on the same server simultaneously.

Red Hat has admitted to difficulty in getting the virtualization capabilities added to the main Linux kernel. This means that Red Hat will have to sustain their new virtualization features separately, which will increase the amount of work required to maintain and support this effort. When they are finally incorporated into the main Linux kernel, Red Hat will be able to use the virtualization capabilities within the kernel, rather than having to reincorporate these capabilities for each new Red Hat release.

Red Hat has been increasingly focused on serving enterprise customers, and these improved virtualization capabilities help to support this strategy by providing more features required by enterprise IT.

IBM Becomes an Authorized Supplier of Open Source Solutions to the New South Wales Government

Last week, Novell became an authorized open source supplier to the New South Wales (NSW) government in Australia, and this week a spokesperson for the NSW government confirmed IBM’s participation in this effort. They are also believed to be negotiating with Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems. IBM has been embracing open source software for quite a few years, so it is not surprising to see them continue to be involved in open source government efforts.

The Economist Special Report on Open Source Business

The Economist had a great article this week on Open Source; however, the tagline was a bit misleading, “As ‘open-source’ models move beyond software into other businesses, their limitations are becoming apparent.” This refers to the ability of anyone to contribute to open source software, which can cause disruption to projects that are not effectively self-policed. The reality is that the well-run projects have management structures and close-knit development communities that regulate contributions based on meritocracy. This was described in the article, and the article is well balanced despite the misleading tagline.

This is a great overview article of open source software that does a great job of explaining how open source communities differ along with the strengths and challenges associated with open source. I encourage everyone to read it.