Now that OSI has given Microsoft the thumbs up for two of its licenses, I've got to wonder at what point should Entiva start tracking them as a player in the open source arena. Although with the lines blurring between proprietary and open source such that the standing definition of 'hybrid' isn't as relevant as it used to be, it's more important to determine how a sharp separation between open source and non-open source will exist. Now that Microsoft has made the plunge, there is sufficient motivation to assert that open source is evolving into a competitive feature as well as a differentiator. At some point in the near future perhaps open source will be on the boards agenda out of necessity not merely as a result of suggestion from the forward-thinking crowd.
Does SAP give a closer peek at their open source strategy after fellow giants Sun, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft have tipped their cards in this area? Or does it have too much (see: billions) invested in marriage to proprietary platforms? Microsoft certainly hasn't jumped into the open source innovator crowd just yet, but I've got to think that the company has a definite plan for putting the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) to work. From a strategic perspective it's definitely going to be business as usual for Microsoft. Therefore, the magnitude of this move can't be measured in terms of changes to product lines, sales channels, positioning on the Microsoft side etc. Rather it should be evaluated within the context of industry-wide absorption of the open source model.
It's a very real possibility that an inflection point has been reached where software vendors actively leverage open source as a business accelerator in parallel to selling proprietary software. A thought that might drive certain free/open source software purists batty, but is more about evolution than it is ideological stances. Either way, this coalescence will take time (see: years) and will inevitably prove fraught with contradictory stances where entrenched policy and strategy will result in oppositional stances to some of the fundamental principles of openness. For some this might invalidate the trend or even point to a form of cognitive dissonance, but in my perspective it is but a single state in a long-term process whose end state has yet to become entirely clear.
One thing is clear, the paradigm shift that until recently has been more told to than witnessed by the mainstream is beginning to demonstrate some very visible signs of existence. So it shouldn't be much surprise that most questions about substantial open source disruption have to do with how instead of if. Where only the additional passing of time will illustrate both the answers as well as the next set of questions.