Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Apache

Open Source Cloud: Article

Open Source - Community-Inspired Software Development

Culture shift: Silo-based to community-inspired development

The World Is Flat author Thomas Friedman said that "the most disruptive force of all" is that of the increased ability for people anywhere in the world to collaborate. In his book, he re-told the story of how Behlendorf had founded the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), a big self-organizing community of software developers.

Apparently Behlendorf wasn't the only one working on the project he was working with so he started to collaborate with the other programmers to -- simply put it -- get things done faster. This collaboration eventually gave birth to ASF.

ASF's focus is on open source -- a model of development that has gotten a lot of contention in the past years. "Open-source" comes from the notion that companies or ad hoc groups would make available online the source code -- the underlying programming instructions that make a piece of software work -- and then let anyone who has something to contribute improve it and let millions of others just download it for their own use for free. While commercial software is copyrighted and sold, and companies guard the source code as they would their crown jewels so they can charge money to anyone who wants to use it and thereby generate income to develop new versions, open-source software is shared, constantly improved by its users, and made available for free to anyone. In return, every user who comes up with an improvement -- a patch that makes this software sing or dance better -- is encouraged to make that patch available to every other user for free.



Recently, we published a paper that talked about why enterprises should consider Open Source. What I'd like to do today is to give a little more info on the open source development environment. I'd like to outline some "scenarios" which I got from various sources that will explain and illustrate further what it's like to be involved in such a community.

Let's get started:

Operation: Meritocracy. An open source software development structure most often demands that you "show the code" and contribute in order to earn influence and eventually, "have more of an effect on the direction or status of the project". It's like being "judged by what you DO".

CEO of Lucid Imagination applauds this and says: This "meritocratic development ethos of open source promotes only the best and brightest content through the engineering process, creating an environment of "frictionless innovation." It is fundamentally a much better way to collaborate, ensuring that the features users really want end up in the product -- with public peer review filtering out poor code. Compare this to the way most proprietary vendors move the development process forward. With only token input from customers, factions within the company battle it out to prioritize new features, usually optimized for a few of the largest customers or customer deals. If you’re not in that elect group, your needs won’t be met. Fixing feature flaws and an aging code base become cost/benefit decisions where more time is typically spent on the decision than the fix.

Rubbing Elbows with other IT rockstars. The unique, collaborative nature of open source development provides many opportunities to interact with brilliant software engineers anywhere in the world. And LEARN from them, too.

Deng Ching, one of our software engineers, started to get involved with open source in the late 2005. Her involvement in the community started out through Exist, but now she's much more involved outside of just work. It's become her passion. She tells me that it took her some time to get to imbibe the value of sharing and collaborating. "It’s cool that I get to contribute to the community. I also love it that I'm able to learn many things — from other people’s work (best practices for coding and design, cool libraries/ technologies) as well as from the people themselves. I think I really grew a lot not only as a developer but as a person too."

There is this interesting case about converting Plexus to Spring which I'd like to cite and this is an example of a real benefit when you you involve a community of diverse developers in what you’re doing: Brett Porter, software developer at MaestroDev, a company building a development automation toolkit to streamline DevOps, says it's not revolutionary, or surprising – but it is cool – and if you can harness this kind of small innovation on a regular basis it makes a big difference.

Collaboration is the mother of innovation. "Through the contributions of scores of open source developers, hundreds of end-user organizations, and thousands of individuals, LogicBlaze FUSE is moving forward at a far faster pace, both in terms the development of its core technologies as well as being extended to uses like Web 2.0 that we hadn't anticipated a year ago," narrates Winston Damarillo, former CEO at Exist and a very successful technopreneur.

Transparency means more Control. Winston narrates that "open source is not just about saving money, but also about controlling the destiny" of your project.

Transparency may be the most important open source value
. Transparency is inherent in every release of open source code. It works on a programming level, building community around code and a stronger code base.

ASF co-founder Behlendorf notes that: transparency leads to a progressive growth of involvement, from new user to patch submitter, within a project. He also noted that while the right to fork open source code is often seen as something to be feared, it actually forces a change in management style which seeks to find and build consensus rather than forcing the will of a leader on everyone else.

Winston says: "I often say that open source development provides the best 80%-complete software in the world. Because what is available in open source is really better than most of the commercially-licensed alternatives. But the advantage the commercial solutions have is that they deliver the whole package - all the parts, integrated, tested, documented, supported and licensed as a single package." However, as we know, the biggest hurdle with commercial solutions is that customers do not really have control of the features of that software.

Still on the fence about open source? Check out this presentation by Deng on "Open Source Communities" and discover its similarities with a relationship between a guy and a girl.

I'd love to see more software developers getting involved and active in the open source community.

More Stories By Macel Legaspi

Macel Legaspi is a tech enthusiast, writer, and Director for Marketing at Exist -- the Philippines software powerhouse in Java and Ruby on Rails.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...