In this interview with vnunet.com during his first BrainShare Dr Jaffe outlines how the research community must embrace the values and working styles of the open source movement to increase the rate of innovation.
To listen to an audio podcast of this interview (3.23MB) please click here.
What was it that attracted you to Novell in the first place?
At Bell/Lucent I gave regular presentations on disruptive technologies, the new innovations that will change the face of technology. Over time I found myself speaking more and more about open source as a driver for change.
What appeals to me about this job is twofold. Firstly Novell's commitment to open source is key, it's totally committed to this road.
Secondly Novell has 20 years' experience in providing the kind of software enterprises want. Innovation is excellent, but it has to be applied to enterprises in a way they find useful.
In your keynote address you said that the open source community is a model for future research. How does that work in practice?
Open source is more innovative. The sharing of information within the community is important and it breeds a virtuous circle. People update others on their progress and this means many wheels are not being reinvented; you can see what's coming next and concentrate on that, not on what's already been done.
Research laboratories have traditionally been rather closed places. Teams work on innovations closed off not only from the outside world but from other divisions within the same company. They then hand these innovations to a team of developers who try to take it to market.
The open source model changes all that and will bring great benefits in seeking out the next innovations.
At a press conference last week Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison said that the open source community depended on big companies like Oracle to survive and innovate. Do you think that's correct?
Innovation sprouts everywhere. But one of the most innovative groups in the open source movement has nothing to do with corporations; it's the university research sector which is increasingly innovating in open source.
Large companies have an important role to play, however. They are taking open source to their enterprise customers and encouraging them to use it.
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