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Some open source fanatics believe that all software, regardless of whether it's good, should be open source. But while there are many benefits to the open source development model, software is still software, and an open source solution may not necessarily be better than proprietary software simply because it's open source.

One common thread I've gathered while talking to some of these leaders in technology is that both open source and virtualization technologies offer new benefits to large enterprises and their customers—benefits that always have been available, but not always considered for utilization.

  • Sun Microsystems uses open source and virtualization technologies to improve its operating system, offer cloud computing services to its customers, and foster better software development. Sun has also become the greatest contributor to open source software, according to a 2006 study, and as a result has contributed to its own ability to innovate as a company.
  • Oracle offers a Linux operating system and a server virtualization solution to support its bread-and-butter database software, and provides a cost-efficient platform for customers running Oracle software in the enterprise. Oracle has a large portfolio of proprietary software, yet is blending in open source technologies to provide better operation of its proprietary software stacks.
  • Opengear makes use of open source technology in order to capture a market where open source is typically not being utilized, and offers better standardization for the largely proprietary data center management sector.

As demonstrated throughout this article, there are many reasons for these companies to utilize open source and virtualization technologies; the clear message is that open source technology is becoming a big factor in the way technology companies do business and produce software and services. In order to remain competitive, these companies are leveraging the power of the open community to provide better-quality software and rapid development. Where this school of thought was once optional, apparently it's now necessary for first-class software and services.

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