Last year Red Hat’s acquisition of JBoss was one of the most important event in the OS arena.
Today Red Hat is not just a Linux vendor, it’s really becoming an open source powerhouse, as optimisticly predicted a long time ago by Red Hat itself. Now that Red Hat is starting to offer its customers an application software stack, the game is getting harder.
Red Hat’s acquisition of JBoss begins Red Hat’s migration up the infrastructure-software stack and leads it into direct competition with Oracle and IBM, two important partners of Red Hat.
Oracle, in particular, seems likely to align with a competing Linux distribution in an effort to deliver a bundled, integrated, open source infrastructure stack of its own.
One goes up, one goes down the stack, but both somehow play the gorilla game.
Delivering open-source stacks to customers might turn them in permanent ones, offering them technical integration, broad support, legal indemnification, in one one-stop shop solution. Just the opposite of the marketing approach I early commented, though.
But Increasing returns theory, central for non-rivarly goods, is far to be predictable.
What is known from Paul Romer, is that economic growth and the technological innovation it requires are impossible under perfect competition: they require some degree of monopoly power.
If Red Hat will keep acquiring other OS firms (applications), delivering valuable subscription services, offering a full intellectual property coverage, it might take the most.
But in order to get there, do Red Hat need a mechanism to enforce excludability or not?
P.S. Here I’m assuming that support seller with constraints not proven to be effective for enforcing excludability, as shown by the Oracle move