Open Source and Freedom: Why Open Standards Are Crucial to Protecting Your Linux Investment
Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, Linux Foundation

Track: Open Business
Date: Wednesday, 20 September 2006
Time: 16:15 - 16:55
Location: Upper Foyer

Most corporate IT departments believe that by deploying Linux or other open source technology, they are protected from the vendor lock-in that characterized the proprietary past. For instance, the MIT Business Review recently said: “[Open Source] severely limits the possibility of proprietary “lock-in”–where users become hostage to the software vendors whose products they buy.” The promise of Linux is freedom of choice, right?

Not exactly. Unfortunately, most people mistakenly equate the open source development process and its open code format with a customer’s ability to freely choose a technology solution. If the cost of moving from one open source solution to another is prohibitive, you are just as locked in to open source as you’d be to a closed source solution. This is, unfortunately, one of the biggest misunderstandings of open source, and one with costly consequences.

There is a solution: open standards are vitally important to ensure interoperability both now and in the future and reduce your risk as a technology user. The Linux Standard Base offers corporate IT a no-cost solution that delivers freedom of choice. In this session, executive director Jim Zemlin of the Free Standards Group will detail why corporate IT should care about open standards and how they can take advantage of this simple and effective risk management strategy.