“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”: so wrote the Greek poet Archilochus. The idea was used by Isaiah Berlin in his eponymous essay, and further borrowed by Jim Collins in his own book “Good to Great”, where it becomes the “hedgehog concept”. The latter now crops up in two posts by Jeff Jaffe, Novell's CTO, including this one:
What will our strategy be in 2009? We have found our hedgehog concept. It is enterprise Linux and enterprise management as the two key areas required to bring together the open source world and the world of proprietary software. It is not changing. Expect it in 2009 as well.
Whether you think Novell is a pioneer or a pariah for signing an agreement with Microsoft in November 2006, it is inarguably an important player in the open source world, employing many key hackers like Miguel de Icaza. That alone makes its moves worth watching, and these blog posts worth reading.