IT developer an untapped open source resource: HP

The in-house IT developer is a massive, untapped resource in enterprise adoption of open source, claims HP's vice president of Linux, Martin Fink.

"The part that we are not making the most of with open source and Linux is the IT developer. There is a huge amount of software in our industry that does not come from ISVs, and is not packaged. It doesn't come from the open source community either," he said.

"It is home-grown, IT-developed software. I don't have any stats on this, but I imagine that most of the software used in IT shops across the world, is in fact home-grown."

Now imagine what could happen to the core structure of IT if multiple companies got together and started sharing that source code in an open source fashion, Fink said.

"It would be a pretty complex project, but I think there is huge untapped potential there. We've made tremendous advances in open source over the past few years, but it completely pales in comparison to what would happen if all IT throughout all industry got together and developed open source software to run IT," he said.

Fink believes IT is in a unique position to do this in terms of licensing.

"Most open source software is licensed under a GPL which means you have to give back whatever code you develop, but only if you plan to redistribute the code. If you are just using it internally, those obligations don't apply," he said.

He went on though to encourage people to contribute back to the community regardless of whether they are obligated to do so.

"In general you will get much more back than what you actually deliver when you contribute source code back."

Linux and open source is peppered throughout HP's entire product range from desktops and notebooks to printers and projectors to enterprise storage and servers.

The vendor also runs Linux in all its labs and its IT department deploys Linux to the various workstations.

"If you are an HP employee, it is impossible to do a day's work without interacting with Linux somewhere," he said.

"We don't just use Linux internally and sell Linux products, we also feel we have a responsibility to work with and give back to the Linux community."

HP has a kernel team in Colorado, provides a substantial amount of source code to the community, and has initiated more than 60 open source projects, according to Fink.

Looking forward, Fink said HP plans to focus increasingly on integration and ultimately end-to-end, lifecycle management in the open source space.

"HP brings all the pieces together. We can design specific components that suit our customer and then work with them on how to manage it over time," he said.

"We have more than 7000 support professionals throughout the world that are trained on open source to provide support services - whether it is in planning, installation, integration, post sales support, lifecycle management - we can take all those pieces and make them work."

HP has this week introduced what it claims to be "industry first" offerings of hardware, software, and services to simplify the integration of open source and commercial software. (See story:;652795525;fp;16;fpid;0)

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