Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
8/5/2009
11:48 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Canonical's Closed Landscape

Something interesting is happening with Canonical's software portfolio. They're offering a new system-management server, but it's not an open source offering. If memory serves, it'll be Canonical's first venture into offering a closed-source product with open-source connectivity. Aberration or evolution?

Something interesting is happening with Canonical's software portfolio. They're offering a new system-management server, but it's not an open source offering. If memory serves, it'll be Canonical's first venture into offering a closed-source product with open-source connectivity. Aberration or evolution?

Background first. The product's full name is Canonical Landscape Dedicated Server, and it's a reworking of an Ubuntu system management service they've previously made available only as a SaaS run-in-the-cloud app. Dedicated Server runs on local hardware, and requires that you buy the service - $8K for the server, one-time, with a subscription cost of $150 for each node. (Guided install courtesy of Canonical is $2K.) Support's extra in top of that, at $2,750 for 24×7 coverage for each system running Landscape. Functionally, it's the same as the cloud-hosted service, but a local implementation may be more appealing to people who are touchy about depending on the cloud. You can also manage both physical and cloud-hosted instances of Ubuntu with it.

What's making people sit up and pay attention is the fact that the server component is not open source. It's a proprietary product. Granted, there are open source implementations of the same idea out there from other Linux vendors -- consider Red Hat's Spacewalk, but it's totally unsupported by the company. And while Canonical is debating the idea of opening up some of Landscape, I wouldn't bet anything more than your last freeway toll on it.

What this means to me is that the idea of the "pure" open source player a la Ingres -- someone who provides all the bits for free and only charges for support and consulting -- is never going to constitute more than a small slice of the open source landscape in the future. Most of it is going to be one variant or another of the open core concept -- a basic platform that's free, with cost-plus pro-level add-ons, maintenance, hosting, support and consulting as the cost generators.

There's no formula for deciding who chooses to be wholly open and who doesn't -- it'll depend on the scope of the project, how radical a departure it is from existing open source, and whether or not it's supported by a company that already has sound footing in selling this stuff. And, ultimately, it's their choice. If they see a future for themselves by providing strategically-sold closed bits to people willing to pay for such functionality, that's a future which means they can guarantee that much more development of the open stuff, too.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the next-generation Web applications. Download the report here (registration required).

Follow me and the rest of InformationWeek on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.