If there is one aspect in the open source world that can prove detrimental, it is companies that indulge in lock-in to the extent possible, according to Gerald Pfeifer, senior director of product management at SUSE.
Speaking to iTWire on the sidelines of SUSECon 2014, the third annual conference of the Germany-based SUSE Linux, which is being held in Orlando, Florida this week, Pfeifer (lictured above) did not mention any companies by name, though he did make a passing reference to Oracle.
It is no surprise that reducing operational IT expenditures, while simultaneously increasing the level of security and software capabilities, is a top priority for most enterprises.
Open source software, which uses an open development process, is proliferating across the globe given the advantages it offers over traditional forms of software. Open source solutions can be modified and adapted to fit the needs of various companies - something that's often not possible with proprietary software.
One of the strengths of the open source community has been its ability to bring concentrated effort to bear on big problems. When tragedy strikes, or a pressing need arises, there are groups of people who gather together to attempt to solve the problems as a community.
You may not have heard of these five open source projects, but they are attacking some of the world's biggest problems and making a true impact in people's lives.
Indian government software applications are set to make the shift to open source, potentially boosting the pace at which such programmes are developed, and leading to millions of dollars in savings by moving away from proprietary systems.
The government is readying a policy that calls for open source software to be used as part of the Digital India initiative. The government is also planning to create a Github-like repository of software that can be collaboratively developed.
Earlier this week, I saw what the future of building government services may look like when I stumbled upon a simple dashboard of projects-in-progress. The dashboard is hosted by 18F, the new development unit within the US General Services Administration.
18F, which explicitly seeks to tap into the success of the UK's Government Digital Services unit, is pursuing a similar strategy, trying to lure developers from Silicon Valley and the ranks of civic developers all over the country with a daunting mission: change how federal technology gets done, at a time when bad government websites now damage public faith in government. Behind the dashboard is 18F's GitHub account, which exemplifies a quietly revolutionary idea that the UK has been pursuing with great success: build beautiful digital services for the public, in public.
How does this affect Microsoft’s status in the open source community? The OSI Board (of which I am a member) welcomed Microsoft’s news as as “continued progress toward full embrace of open source” and there’s no doubt this, like the news about Linux support in Azure, signals great progress. We welcome each new initiative, but the rehabilitation process is not completed by any individual act or even by a sequence of them.
To move beyond stage five of the journey to open source, Microsoft needs to take a holistic view and ensure every business unit of its famously divided company treats open source with respect. While Microsoft continues to tolerate sociopathy in the business units not yet embracing open source – such as the patent attacks on Linux community members by its patent portfolio group or the covert politics to undermine Open Document Format – it’s hard to treat the company with the full respect it believes it deserves.
As the inevitability of open source gradually pervades Microsoft like Aslan’s breath, hope increases that the company will choose to act as a full member of the Linux community – for example, by joining OIN as a way to forswear patent attacks on open source community members. I sincerely hope Microsoft completes this journey.
Making GlobalSight open source in 2009 was a business decision by Welocalize, as it allowed users and clients the most options to support and create solutions that work best for them. As it turned out, clients liked the decision and Welocalize embraced the open source model as a business strategy. The GlobalSight community has been active since then and is a vibrant, active group of users, developers, and translation professionals. Users like GlobalSight because it is a fully featured TMS system, which is core to supporting localization and translation programs in large enterprises.
Our planet is currently inhabited by 7 billion people. And we believe open source holds a key to building better hardware, methods, and systems to help us grow, harvest, and share food with each other. Right where we live, and on a greater scale, with our global neighbors. Out of the sharing economy and the labors of love of open source communities have come innovative ideas that we need today and will need into the future.