The Village View

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ismael on Open Source NetWeaver

A couple of folks from that deal with open source issues at SAP came by and talked to the Bloggers' Corner yesterday. They talked about how SAP customers can use a mix of development models/environments and talked a bit about what SAP is doing with scripting languages (and how this was in response to community demand).

Ismael Ghalimi raised a question in this session that is close to his heart: Why not make parts of NetWeaver open source? He likened it to what Sun did with with J2EE and opined that doing so would extend the base of ISV partners. He thinks that the roadblocks are solvable.

Response from SAP open source contigent:
IBM has done some great stuff with Eclispe. IBM primarily benefits because they have a services business. Open sourcing allows them to come into services model(To which Ismael stated that Websphere license sales is a $5B business).
SAP cold theoretically do it, but there are differences from a pure infrastructure provider. SAP infrastructure is linked very tightly to the applications. There are however, potentially, parts that could be open sourced. SAP is watching those spaces closely to see how they develop. SAP has historically been a very honest company and only delivered software that customers really want and that doesn't damage the customers environment. The feeling is that parts of the open source market are still maturing and that SAP is gaining experience and evaluating the situation. (Mark's note: SAP is doing a lot in the open source area: investor in MySQL & Zend, one of first ERP systems to run on Linux, contributions to various open source communities/projects).
Ismael asked with which community SAP has the closet relationship: Eclispe. SAP contributes and is on the board.
What is SAP's vision or wish for open source in 5-10 years?
Answer: In the end, it shouldn't matter. SAP customers want three things: stability, flexibility and cost. SAP's goal is to provide software that provides all 3; if SAP does it with open source or proprietary software, it shouldn't matter.


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