This week, we announced a partnership with eXo – creator of the Open Source eXo platform. This strategic agreement allows us to integrate and distribute each others’ technology thus providing a mutual competitive advantage. This is no doubt good for both company’s products but I think the important point is that JBoss is 1. willing to do this and; 2. able to do this.
Taking the first point – “we’re willing to do this”. I think it shows a level of maturity in our organization that stands us apart from some of our Open Source competitors. The realization that not everything needs to be invented here; that there are smart people outside JBoss as well. There’s a tendency – call it NIH Syndrome, Professional Pride – to want to own and control everything; that’s true for every engineering and product company I’ve ever worked for. When taken too far – that can be at add odds with Open Source and diminishes some of its advantage.
Taking the second point further - “we’re able to do this”. Our business model is still pretty unique – we put less value on the bits and more on the whole experience. Control of the technology is less of a competitive advantage than some of our competitors because we have more to offer than the bits.
While proprietary software has some advantages – they’re all based on the premise that your technology is better than your competitors and keeping it hidden maintains some kind of advantage. This can only really be true half the time.
Red Hat has the knowledge and experience that allows us to collaborate, allows us to integrate and support technology that we don’t outright control. We’re also confident in ourselves, our brand and our business strategy – and that allows us to see the act of ‘enriching’ other technology (like Apache, OpenJDK, GWT, eXo, etc.) as a way to grow our footprint, capabilities and potential rather than as a competitive faux-pas.
Some more info on the agreement from eXo : About The eXo Partnership