Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst says tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Facebook have changed their outlook on open source because it’s now "where user-driven innovation happens in software," according to an interview published by Fortune.
Microsoft felt compelled to open source .NET because developers now are using open-source tools and technology so heavily, Whitehurst said. "Because open source is where innovation is coming from and is what developers are consuming, it forces vendors to participate," he said.
It really comes down to what businesses can add that makes open source valuable, Whitehurst said. "What I tell open source companies over and over and over again: it’s not the value your open source project brings, because it’s open source and it’s free. It is what unique value are you bringing when it comes to that functionality that you can ultimately extract for your owners.”
Enterprises are turning to open source and third party software components to decrease the amount of code they have to write, which helps accelerate deployment cycles. This means, to keep up, service providers almost have to turn to open source as well.
Whitehurst pointed to recent examples in which Google, Microsoft and Facebook all made major moves around open source.
It is a big shift for many service providers away from solely proprietary models. In particular, Microsoft has made the biggest splash over its adoption and acceptance of open source models. Not only is it the leading open source contributor on GitHub, it has also recently joined The Linux Foundation with the highest level of membership.