In early January I posted a view of why I thought SAP has a good business understanding of open source software despite Shai Agassi's comments in the late Fall, offering that what they really need is a good PR strategy. Now I'm not so sure. Indeed, I begin to suspect that the executive sponsor of the SAPDB work has clearly left the company. That Matt Asay chose to remind us of the Creature of Caerbannog from Monty Python's Holy Grail in his opening remarks on Day 1 is ironically fitting.
Peter Graf, Vice-president product marketing of SAP kicked off Day 2 at OSBC with a keynote on Open Source and Open Models. To summarize:
- SAP loves open source software and participates in many communities. [The MySQL relationship is mentioned amongst all the other dozen or so, but without special significance despite what must have been to their credit a considerable investment of money and resources.]
- Geoff Moore has written a new book, and SAP is interpreting it the following way.
- The technology world goes through waves of consolidation, and is going through one right now. [I think he's bending a number of models to his own discursive needs here.]
- The current wave of application consolidation will be on the SAP platform. [There's a shocker for the audience.]
And here's the kicker ....
- Open source software applications that haven't matured fast enough (subtext: Compiere, SugarCRM, OpenMFG) will not survive the consolidation. [Thank God we'll have SAP.]
- SAP really cares about "open models" and the SAP model of collaboration on their platform will allow people to share their solutions. [Herr Graf needs to go read the previous post on the difference between standards that benefit customers and vendor specifications that benefit the vendor's own ecosystem, and hopefully understand that at this point in history his customers aren't sheep.]
Of course, SAP thinks mature projects like Linux will survive. Very convenient, as SAP gets the complement value of a less expensive Linux/x86 platform to reduce the overall solution cost to customers buying an expensive R3 world. And I'm sure MySQL is sufficiently mature to survive in SAP's opinion, as SAP once again gets the complement value of a less expensive database to reduce the overall solution cost without an Oracle/DB2/SQL Server tax. But certainly not those immature projects with "no customers." Odd really considering the growing number of marque customers those immature projects are claiming.
My frustration with it all is SAP has such an opportunity to wildly and boldly engage to the benefit of customers as IBM and Sun have done. (I've pointed out other examples we all love to talk about that are also missing huge opportunities with customers.)
Attendees didn't pay $1500 to hear an ad for SAP. This SAP rhetoric is positively ancient. Indeed it sounds like Oracle several years ago as they strongly sung the praises of open source software like Linux, while pointing out all the problems with open source software like MySQL, Postgres, and BerkeleyDB .... Oh. Right.
Monty Python's Holy Grail [scene 21]
[text and photo from http://www.intriguing.com/mp/holygrail.asp#scripts]
TIM: Behold the cave of Caerbannog!
ARTHUR: Right! Keep me covered.
GALAHAD: What with?
ARTHUR: W-- just keep me covered.
TIM: Too late!
TIM: There he is!
ARTHUR: What, behind the rabbit?
TIM: It is the rabbit!
ARTHUR: You silly sod!
ARTHUR: You got us all worked up!
TIM: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
TIM: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes
ROBIN: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
TIM: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide; it's a killer!
GALAHAD: Get stuffed!
TIM: He'll do you up a treat mate!