With Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Vista launch, the world of operating systems is looking very different. A big problem: there is competition from open source approaches, especially Linux.
Basically, open source is a way to develop software that allows a global community of programmers to contribute to the code base. In fact, it often means inexpensive or even free software. Obviously, this is not acceptable to Microsoft.
However, one problem with open source has been fragmentation. But, it looks like there might be some progress. That is, two key groups -- Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group -- have agreed to merge. Actually, the Open Source Development Lab has as one of its employees, Linus Torvalds, who is the mastermind of Linux.
For the most part, the combined entity will find ways to make life more difficult for Microsoft's operating systems.
I had a chance to interview Ilan Sehayek, who is the VP of Engineering at Jitterbit (which develops an open source application for data integration). According to him: "We welcome the combination of these two Linux consortiums as it will allow developers to easily support any Linux distribution. Jitterbit currently runs on all versions of Windows and the most popular Linux distributions. Unfortunately, because of the differences in standards, we have had to spend development effort to tweak our software so that it can run on a number of different Linux distributions. Going forward, I look for this merger to create a single standard for Linux and allow us to use the time we would have used to support different distributions on improvements of our core integration product."
Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including the Complete M&A Handbook and the EDGAR-Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements.