SAP has responded to a report on vnunet.com that attributed some controversial statements about open source to one of the comapny's executives during a speaking engagement at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley.
"As I look at the posts and blogs out there that have come since my statements at the Churchill Club on [Wednesday], I get the impression that there are zealots so committed to the open source movement that they will pick a fight with software companies just for the sake of the fight," Agassi wrote.
In direct communications with vnunet.com, SAP claimed that the coverage offered an unfair representation of Agassi's viewpoints.
Agassi said at the speaking engagement that the ability for users to see the source code was good for debugging purposes, but that the company had learnt in the past 30 years that adapting the code did not provide users with any benefits.
Managing and maintaining custom code is generally considered to be more expensive than so-called shrink-wrapped software.
"I think Shai got a good point there," said Josh Greenbaum, a systems analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. "We do not generally download open source software to be on the bleeding edge of new technology innovation."
It is unlikely that open source applications will become a large competitor for SAP's high end applications any time soon, Greenbaum argued. There are not enough developers to give such a movement the same kind of momentum that Linux enjoys.
By far the most controversial of Agassi's statements made at the Churchill Club event was about the need for intellectual property (IP) protection.
Referring to the open source movement, he said: "IP socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society. And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP."
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