The Gluster Blog

Gluster blog stories provide high-level spotlights on our users all over the world

The Death of Proprietary Software


Whenever I give talks at conferences, there’s always one particular topic I make sure to bring up. I’ll ask the audience, “Quick, name a new proprietary enterprise software product to have gained ubiquity in the data center over the last 12 months.” I’ll wait a few seconds, and then, “Ok, 24 months.” After a brief silence, “36 months?” After another silence, “Ok, then tell me of any proprietary software in the last decade to achieve ubiquity in the data center… not named .” (I’ll leave the unveiling of “X” as an exercise for the reader.) Another silence. And then I make the pronouncement that usually warrants a few quizzical glances from the room: “We have witnessed the last proprietary software product to reach ubiquity in the data center – in our lifetime.” I don’t know why stating the obvious gets so much attention, but I don’t think we’ve taken the time to really think about the ramifications. We have seen the last proprietary software product reach ubiquity in the data center. Period.

Those of us in the open source world often wondered what world domination would look like. I think we know now. I think we expected this to happen with a bang, when in fact the proprietary software world died with a whimper. The existing proprietary software giants are in a holding phase, clinging to their established positions by any means necessary without any innovation around their existing products. And the innovation they are trying to spark comes not in the proprietary enterprise software world, but in the SaaS and cloud services worlds (these services are in themselves proprietary, but that’s a topic for another blog post). They know, as does anyone who looks closely, that the old order is dead, and the dinosaurs have to evolve in order to survive.

Where is software innovation happening now? It’s happening at places like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and anywhere else that demands service delivery on a massive scale. It’s happening at companies like Red Hat that intuitively grok this new world development order. I don’t see this ending or even slowing down any time soon. The center of innovation will continue to be those entities pushing the limits of scalability, as well as those who understand the new distributed, decentralized model of software development.

This is what total victory looks like, and this is the state of open source in 2013.


  • 06 Dec 2020
    Looking back at 2020 – with g...

    2020 has not been a year we would have been able to predict. With a worldwide pandemic and lives thrown out of gear, as we head into 2021, we are thankful that our community and project continued to receive new developers, users and make small gains. For that and a...

    Read more
  • 27 Apr 2020
    Update from the team

    It has been a while since we provided an update to the Gluster community. Across the world various nations, states and localities have put together sets of guidelines around shelter-in-place and quarantine. We request our community members to stay safe, to care for their loved ones, to continue to be...

    Read more
  • 03 Feb 2020
    Building a longer term focus for Gl...

    The initial rounds of conversation around the planning of content for release 8 has helped the project identify one key thing – the need to stagger out features and enhancements over multiple releases. Thus, while release 8 is unlikely to be feature heavy as previous releases, it will be the...

    Read more