Welcome!

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Apache

Open Source Cloud: Article

The Commercial Case for Open Source Software

What can a full-blown open source project with sound commercial routes ultimately achieve?

This post is written in association with Pentaho, a commercial open-source (COSS) provider of reporting, analysis, dashboard, data mining and data integration software.

The history of open source has already been written and rewritten a couple of times, so there's no need to go back to Genesis chapter one and revisit Linus Torvalds' "just a hobby, won't be big" comments too often.

But open source became more than the sum of its parts and the hobbyists grew successful in domains that traditionally belonged to their proprietary relatives.

Historical Note: If you do still want the history of open source, then the YouTube hosted Revolution OS is about 100 minutes of the best open development commentary you will find.

Open source grew up, we know that part. With a rich pedigree of success in the server room, open platforms eventually moved upwards through the commercial sector and across to government in many developed nations.

What open source in these (and other mission-critical implementations) demands is not only the strong active developer community that typifies any open code base - it also very often needs a level of expert support and maintenance that works at a more formalized level than that which is available for free through the community. This especially applies to teams that are trying to solve ‘hairy' problems for which skills are in short supply, like blending and analyzing diverse, ‘big' data sets.

Support and maintenance are important, but there's another factor here.

Locked Down, Demarcated Openness
More specifically (and more technically), open code is built with inherently dynamic libraries that are subject to change and community contribution at any time. However, commercial versions of open source software are always locked down and demarcated at the point of sale and therefore not subject to these dynamic changes.

This means that when organizations like NASA and the Met Office (arguably ‘mission critical') use commercial open source software, they are able to define the exact static form and function of applications at the point of installation.

This effectively eliminates the risk factors inherent with open code dynamism.

Other ‘COSS Benefits'
A good commercial open source software (COSS) project works with lead developers that are professional and paid competitive salaries.

A good COSS model works with a high quality assurance (QA) cycle for the open source project and a full set of services.

A good COSS model works with professional support offerings that must be available so clients can depend on timely and accurate assistance.

COSS is has proven in many situations to be more secure than proprietary because of its larger development base. This is why the US Department of Homeland Security, which has incredibly high standards, promotes its use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeland_Open_Security_Technology].

Commercial Drivers
According to Pentaho, we will see that, ultimately, commercial open source helps drive open source adoption.

The theory is that many more organizations will use open source software if they have access to support and services. Beyond that, a company behind an open source project helps assure potential users that the project has consistent vision, discipline, and longevity.

What can a full-blown open source project with sound commercial routes ultimately achieve?

Sun Microsystems famously took the Java platform forward to be one of the most high-profile open (with commercial options) projects. Fast forward to today and the equally open Pentaho BI Project has worked to develop a comprehensive analytics platform that includes reporting, analysis, dashboards, data mining and ETL for true production deployment.

According to the company, "Many other projects that exist address a specific function like reporting, but not the entire BI spectrum. Most also lack the necessary infrastructure like security, administration, auditing, fail-over, scalability features, portal, and other key framework functionality. Beyond that, some projects offer open source reporting, but require an upgrade to an expensive, closed-source offering for web-based deployment or other BI platform functionality."

Looking Forward to (Commercial) Open Source Futures
If Torvalds' view of open source was 1.0 and the commercially supported iteration of open source was 2.0, then might we naturally expect version 3.0 to come forward at some point now?

This post is written in association with Pentaho. The firm has exerted zero editorial influence over the content presented here and simply seeks to fuel dialogue and discussion based around its mission to provide a cost-effective business analytics platform that fuels growth and innovation.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

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.


Latest Stories
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
As the rapid adoption of containers continues, companies are finding that they lack the operational tools to understand the behavior of applications deployed in these containers, and how to identify issues in their application infrastructure. For example, how are multiple containers within an application impacting each other’s performance? If an application’s service is degraded, which container is to blame? In the case of an application outage, what was the root cause of the outage?
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Peak 10, Inc., has announced the implementation of IT service management, a business process alignment initiative based on the widely adopted Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. The implementation of IT service management enhances Peak 10’s current service-minded approach to IT delivery by propelling the company to deliver higher levels of personalized and prompt service. The majority of Peak 10’s operations employees have been trained and certified in the ITIL frame...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...