During Red Hat Summit in Chicago, CEO Jim Whitehurst and Executive VP Paul Cormier warned attendees not to get locked into virtualization and cloud initiatives involving Microsoft Windows Azure and VMware. Here's a recap of the morning keynotes.

Whitehurst opened up the morning by warning attendees about antiquated software modes of the 20th century that can't keep pace with today's fast-moving development and user needs. While Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and others are pitching visions, said Whitehurst, Red Hat will continue to listen to customers and deliver new value back to them. Instead of forcing a complete architecture on customers, Red Hat will continue to promote an "architecture of participation," said Whitehurst.

Next up, Executive VP Paul Cormier gave attendees a quick IT history lesson. He asserted that customers have gotten locked in -- over and over again -- at the hardware, operating system, middleware and application levels. Cormier was quick to insist that Red Hat freed customers at the operating system level in 2002 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, at the middleware level with JBoss in 2006 and now at the SOA level with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform.

Trouble Ahead?

Still, Cormier expressed concerns that customers could get locked in once again as they evaluate cloud strategies from VMware and Microsoft's emerging Windows Azure cloud service.

But in Microsoft's defense, the software giant has publicly stated that the Windows Azure cloud will support open source offerings like MySQL. And SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin recently said the open source CRM provider also is willing to give Windows Azure a look.

Nevertheless, Whitehurst and Cormier insisted market trends favor Red Hat's subscription model approach. Cormier noted that roughly 80 percent of all commercial software solutions will be based on open source by 2010, according to a Gartner estimate.

Back with more thoughts from Red Hat Summit later today.

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