Increasingly, Open Source Coexists With Proprietary Software
In the ongoing debate between open source purists and people who appreciate and defend proprietary software, extremists will always have their voices, but many people in the open source community are waking up to the fact that proprietary platforms and applications can co-exist peacefully with open source ones. There are several trends boosting this fair dinkum version of the software landscape, including the growing ease with which open source and proprietary titles can work together in heterogenous network environments, and platforms aimed at consumers that embrace the sharing of proprietary and open source applications.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has an excellent piece posted on how to get Windows and Linux to cooperate on a network. For example, he discusses how Samba can help make Linux servers behave just like Windows file and print servers on a network. There are many advantages to running Linux and Windows in tandem, ranging from broader application availability to better security profiles with Linux than Windows can possibly offer.
There are even new operating system offerings that are built around the idea that open source platforms and applications can coexist with proprietary ones. Just this week, the Jolicloud OS arrived. It's a client OS that caters especially to web services and categorizes applications according to how they are used, whether they are open source or proprietary.
Jolicloud has a heavy-hitting management team behind it, including Tariq Krim, founder of Netvibes. One of the big bets that it makes is that people will use it alongside other operating systems, as a way to aggregate everything from open source applets to cloud-based services in one easy interface. It may very well ship alongside other operating systems. You can get a sense of how it organizes disparate types of applications in the screenshot below.
The concept of open source software coexisting with proprietary software isn't new. After all, Wine is just one of many bridges that have long existed between open source and proprietary platforms. But the general trend toward the two types of software being used together is growing, and, of course, gaining more influence.