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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The curse of 'Proprietary'

"From frustration inspiration flows..."

Having worked with a number of different IT systems and architectures in my time I have never 'fully' understood the accepted rhetoric around 'open' and 'proprietary' systems.

So thought I would take a look at the dictionary websites

The wisdom is that the origin of the phrase comes from ownership of title in property terms.

Working as I do in the mainframe space, the term proprietary is a word often associated with the platform.  Of late this association has become a source of frustration for me... Let me explain...

As the IT industry consolidates and the appliance and vertically integrated stacks once more become the vogue, the concept of Open and Proprietary systems again becomes the centre of the debate.  Lets look at Oracle as a case in point, once a Database company that partnered with most every IT hardware vendor they were the very definition of the Open software company.  How times have changed...

If you look at Oracle's strategy now, and I can claim only a passing knowledge, it appears to be to build integrated systems, tuned and optimised to run Oracle software in as performant a way as possible.  This compounded with the very public spat with HP and that they don't support VM Ware as a hypervisor must surely put them firmly in the closed camp???

So to the mainframe... whilst I fully acknowledge that no other IT hardware runs z/OS, to call the box 'proprietary' is surely a historical view at best.  If you look at the modern mainframe then it is a server that runs 4 o/s one of which is Open source.  Surely given this the mainframe should be claiming to be the most 'Open' server on the market...

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