I apologize for this blog being devoid of any technical information but, I felt that this was important enough to talk about it here.
Many of us have been hoping that SDN could be the place where we has SAP developers could come together and start to create useful Open Source solutions our “own” Craig Cmehil has begun an SDN and Open Source However, it seems that SAP as a whole or at least Shai Agassi, doesn’t think Open Source can produce anything enterprise grade.
In a talk given November 9th for the Churchill Club in Sunnyvale Calf, Mr. Agassi said, “We all talk about how great Linux is, but if you look at the most innovative desktop today, Microsoft’s Vista is not copying Linux, it is copying Apple.” He also went to say that. “Open source is great for debugging, but it’s crucial not to touch [the code].” I have written on SDN previously about how SAP could be poised to take their entire application suite and make it more open source. It would appear from Mr. Agassi’s remarks that not only will this never happen but, it would be “the worst that can happen to any IP-based society.” I was very surprised and saddened at this obvious rebuke of the usefulness of Open Source solutions epically considering how much SAP as a company uses them. Just as an example, Eclipse is the foundation for the NWDS, which is a totally open source project.
I could not disagree with Mr. Agassi anymore about open source not being innovative. Linux might not have the lead in “beautiful” desktop software, but peel back the pretty covering from Apple’s OSX and you’ll find a Free BSD system propping the whole thing up. Free BSD might not be as sexy as Aqua but without its innovative use of the Mach kernel (developed by folks at Carnegie Mellon University) and SMP Aqua wouldn’t work. If anyone should understand that innovative doesn’t mean sexy it should be SAP. For years they banked on their stable unbreakable ABAP stack, which is decidedly not sexy.
Disclaimer: I was not actually at the talk all quotes come from an article posted here.