Welcome!

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

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Linux Containers

Open Source Cloud: Article

Editorial — Welcome to Opensville

EOS Editorial — Welcome to Opensville

I had originally written an editorial for this month's issue titled, "Is Commercialization Killing Open Source?" Then I read William Hurley's blog (http://talk.bmc.com/blogs/blog-whurley/whurley/opensville). William or as his friends call him, "whurley," is the chief architect of open source strategy at BMC. He gets to the heart of an issue that is being brought to light as a greater number of businesses adopt open source business models: "As a greater commercial influence exerts itself in the open source community, will these companies run roughshod on those early pioneers who have demonstrated the effectiveness of the open source model?"

Presently there are four multi-billion dollar companies that have a very significant open source element to their businesses: IBM, Sun, Novell, and Red Hat (you could make an argument for HP and Dell too if you like). In addition to these juggernauts, there is growing investment in open source models. In the first quarter of 2007 the following companies raised approximately $100 million to fund businesses that directly rely on open source software or services.

As money flows into an industry that was once largely dismissed as subversive by proprietary software vendors, new entrants are claiming their "open source" status as an advantage over proprietary vendors.

Rather than my usual rant, I thought I would let someone who ironically works for a company that has a proprietary software heritage make a plea for better citizenship in the open source community:

Nestled between Proprietary and Freedomberg, Opensville is a utopia. Everyone who lives in the adjacent cities spends their free time in Opensville. The parks are beautiful, the shopping is amazing, and the nights are pure Vegas. Sounds like a great place, huh? One problem: no one actually wants to live there. No one wants to pay the taxes or put in the effort it takes to keep the city running. Welcome to Opensville, population zero.

Wit or truth? Why, a bit of both, of course. There are too many entities taking advantage of open source technology without giving back. Some are literally pillaging the community that butters their bread. How long before we all suffer the effects? If major project contributors were to stop work, how would that affect the industry as a whole? Let's use the monitoring segment of systems management as an example. Several "open source contributors" simply download code from popular projects and then "build" their software, service, or company on top of it. These contributors often refer to "improvements" they've made. Where are these improvements? Why weren't they contributed to the community from which they took the code? Open source should be about working together for common benefit.

Nagios is one of the most popular monitoring projects in open source, and one of the most abused. There are countless projects, products, and services predicated on the Nagios code base - some symbiotic, others non-contributing parasites. What separates legitimate use from outright exploitation? Where would you draw the line? Should violators be black-listed by the community?

To me, open means that everyone can participate on a level playing field. As a community we have to take the good with the bad, but I cringe when I see a project taking more than its fair share of punishment. How will the community address this problem? Should there be a ratings system? A sort of mooch-o-meter to rank companies and projects that use open source? Would that subjective hierarchy help or hurt the community? How would it be regulated?

The community has to answer some of these questions if open source is to continue to flourish. Everyone who leads, participates in, or utilizes an open source project should realize they have a personal interest in protecting it from abuse. Keeping the pirates honest will take effort, but the repercussions of apathy will affect us all in the future. Besides, tales of the pirate hunters are often more exciting than the tales of the pirates themselves.

You can read this and other open source musings by whurley at http://talk.bmc.com/blogs/blog-whurley/whurley/.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
AAM 04/30/07 06:25:03 PM EDT

It's true, and its bleedingly obvious! The end result of exploitation is that the used will make the only choice they have available - stop making themselves available for exploitation.

Code will get 'buggy' and insecure (gasp, horror, no! this wouldn't be done deliberately would it? watch!) and the right stuff reappear in a commercial offering to return the favour.

I wonder whether the time has come to look at a Creative Commons-type hierarchy to the GPL - something like free unless commercial use. That would leave the problem of fund splitting between coders but that's at least a different kind of exploitation which I suspect will be of a lesser scale though no less prolific (we are dealing with human nature here!).

roderickm 04/28/07 11:01:33 PM EDT

The CEO at Fonality (one of the companies listed) wrote, "Fonality is *not* an Open Source vendor. Rather, we utilize Open Source technology inside of our company." Reference: http://technology.rustybrick.com/blog/archives/003109.html

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
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 ...
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.
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...
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 ...
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...