For those in the IT world, whether they’re greenhorns like myself or veterans with decades of experience, there’s a few names that stand out as pioneers in the industry. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Apple are known for being titans of the closed source world, and for many years they asserted their dominance in work place adaptation of their products. But in recent times, we’re seeing some of these titans adopting more open source values and products into their own organizations. Some are now going so far as to extending their support offerings on open source products they hadn’t supported before.
Microsoft embracing open source
Microsoft’s current CEO has embraced open source multiple times since taking the position. The .NET framework was made open source, the Azure platform allows for both Linux and Windows to be run, free copies of Windows 10 were offered to users running older versions (or pirated versions of Windows), and Microsoft even joined the Linux Foundation in November this year. All of this reflects Satya Nadella’s goal of generating revenue by embracing new ideas not previously used at Microsoft.
IBM shifting to a more open furture
If you haven’t heard the news, IBM and Rogue Wave Software are now working together so that we can provide open source software support to IBM customers. IBM is arguably the biggest logo in the tech world and to see them also on board with open source software adaptation is a metaphorical shifting of the ages into a brighter, more open future. Many organizations use IBM Analytics which happens to be open source, developerWorks Open, Va11ys, Blockchain, OpenWhisk, and many others are just some of the IBM open source offerings. But it’s not just a one-way street, organizations like Atlassian, Eclipse Foundation, Jenkins Project, SonarSource, and Splunk have shown their own support for the IBM zOS in recent years.
What caused this industry shift?
It’s estimated that around 90 percent of enterprises use some form of open source software. Since there’s a community and not just a small development team working on the package, you have more resources and talent being devoted to it than any one organization could hope to hire. And as we all know, dollars talk and the competitive edge an organization gains from not having to pay expensive licensing fees to multiple vendors allows for said dollars to be invested elsewhere in your organization.
Money alone wasn’t the catalyst to all of this. Many technologies in the open source community have helped push innovation. Android started out as a derivative of Linux, and while it has evolved over the years into its own code base, it wouldn’t have been possible without Linux to begin with. Docker is a name you hear frequently and for good reason as they are arguably the defacto standard for application containers. Everyone’s favorite streaming platform Netflix along with Google’s other projects have been major factors in driving these technologies and the open source community into the future.
The biggest takeaway
The biggest takeaway from all of this should be that with ever changing technologies comes a change in attitude and a change in thinking. Business is always evolving and so too must organizations in order to stay profitable and competitive. Should this trend continue, and it’s highly likely to, it’s easy to foresee a future in which the collective community of the world is driving all economies forward with ideas and products that found their roots in the open source initiative.
The recently published 2017 Open Source Support Report, takes a look at the statistics and realities of open source use using real support data of the top OSS packages.