Whitehurst Makes Pitch For Open Source Solutions

Jim Whitehurst, chief executive of the leading open source vendor Red Hat, argues at the Open Source Business Conference that innovation thrives on community participation.

The economy may still be in the doldrums, but Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said pitching the cost savings of open source software doesn't necessarily seal the deal with enterprise customers as it once may have.

"Last year I was here talking about the advantages of open source in a down economy," he recalled during his keynote here at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC). "Open source is driving a lot of innovation in IT, and I would argue that innovation will slow significantly if we don't see further adoption of open source."

Whitehurst said being able to offer lower prices is always a good thing when selling to enterprise CIOs, but with budgets largely fixed he said companies like his can offer more. "What's sold to customers better than saying 'We can save you money' is to show them how we can give you more functionality within your budget. That's a challenge CIOs get," he said.

Speaking more broadly, Whitehurst made a pitch for open source solutions throughout the supply chain, manufacturing and industry and society as a whole. Touching on a topical news story - Toyota's recall woes - he said he believes the company's initial evaluation that its problems are not related to electronic parts failure. Rather, he implied it could be a software problem hidden away behind closed code.

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