Guide to Open Source - Part 1
This is the first of a series of blog posts about open source. The goal of this blog post is to provide a concise guide based on personal experience and available documentation to learn what open source is all about and why it's good for business.
Open Source Companies
Today all new technologies are being propelled by open source: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Vehicles, Blockchain, APIs, Microservices and Containers. Open source is an excellent vehicle to promote and innovate faster which is always good for business.
Open source has been around for many years, most startups today build their products with open source software (OSS) and as those startups grow they stay with their OSS, and in fact, they promote new initiatives and features on the open. Many older organizations have transitioned successfully to open source models that have resulted in reinvigorating their businesses and perceptions of the company. Here are a few examples of companies that people do not associate with open source.
With more than 270 public repos in GitHub, their Cordova project commercially known as PhoneGap has been a leader in mobile app development SDKs. Millions of mobile apps have been built over the years with Adobe’s OSS. The company has a culture to open projects in GitHub, from scripts to sample apps. At some point when Adobe had declined in their most successful products, Photoshop and Adobe Flash, it was thought that it was going to be the end of a great company. That was an incorrect assumption, Innovation and open source helped Adobe to diversify and continue to grow strong with a very large product line. Here is more about what Adobe is doing in open source http://opensource.adobe.com/
Netflix doesn't need an introduction, a very successful company that evolved from a successful business model renting DVDs via postal service to a software company streaming and creating content in a spectacular global way. Netflix is committed to open source. Netflix leverages and provides open source technology from video streaming advancements to continuous build and deploy services to cloud elasticity. All their runtimes, microservices, container technology, scripts and more are available on the open http://netflix.github.io/
With the purchase of Sun Microsystems they acquired some of the most popular open source technologies: Java, MySQL and OpenOffice. They support the Linux Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation. A great example of an older company with proprietary technology also in the open source movement. You can find everything they are doing because they shared their open source projects in GitHub https://developer.oracle.com/opensource
Among for-profit companies, only Intel and Red Hat have made more open source contributions than Samsung to the Linux kernel. It's also a member and sponsor of The Linux Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation. Samsung uses their Open Source Release center to deliver patches and keep users up to date on software from TVs, digital cameras, mobile phones to even smart refrigerators http://opensource.samsung.com/reception.do
An incredible transformation from a proprietary software company that built a business based on licensed software to the recognition that innovation and collaboration comes from open source. Only about 4 years ago, things began to change, Microsoft decided to make open source pervasive throughout the company and rolled open source into the main engineering groups. Everything is pushed to GitHub with some public and some private repositories. Microsoft also recognized the need to attract engineers via open source, especially new generations of developers that want to work for a modern, innovative and “cool” company. Microsoft has over two thousand public repositories (GitHub repos). According to GitHub in early 2020, Microsoft has over 4K employees actively pushing code to over 3.2K repositories including initiatives driven by competitors like Google and Red Hat, and that's one of the great things about open source, projects like Kubernetes started in Google and now Microsoft and Red Hat are the top contributors, everyone collaborates and benefits from the advancements. https://opensource.microsoft.com/
In the next blog post I’m going to talk about how to launch an open source project.