Mark Little leads the technical direction, research, and development for Red Hat JBoss Middleware. Prior to taking over this role in 2008, Mark served as the SOA technical development manager and director of standards. Additionally, Mark was a chief architect, and co-founder at Arjuna Technologies, a spin-off from HP, where he was Distinguished Engineer. He has worked in the area of reliable distributed systems since the mid-80s with a PhD in fault-tolerant distributed systems, replication, and transactions. Mark is also a professor at Newcastle University and Lyon University.
Over the past twenty years open source has become the default software development paradigm for the industry and academia. Whether it’s for Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Cloud Computing or Internet of Things, open source projects and products have come to dominate the developer ecosystem, conferences, workshops and form the basis of many successful companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. However, not every open source project is successful and closed source software and companies continue to thrive. In this presentation Mark gave at the Alan Turing Institute, Mark examines what it takes to make a thriving open source project and community, considering some real world examples. Mark also look at the benefits of open source versus closed source.
Here is the transcript of Mark’s talk:
“I’m going to talk about obstacles challenges in the enterprise. I think you might have had a session here in February about open source. So, hopefully, some of this is just a quick, repeat, but most of it is new stuff.
So, I am going to quickly talk about what is open source. Again, most people will probably know this. And I want to talk a little bit about how it probably impacts your daily life in ways that you might not know. Then the real meat of the presentation is about challenges that open source has faith faced and still faces, especially in the enterprise.
For example around closed source FUD case and if you don’t know that it’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Things like reliability and security, and always been thrown in the face of open source. And finally, just in case anybody is really turned on by all of this, how you can get involved with open source as a user, and as a contributor.
And this does turn on and off more people so I wasn’t Red Hat, full of 12 13,000 people who really love open source, so.
Alright so quickly. What is open-source software? So before I actually, what was your reading. I’ll call it some of the highlights. I just want to mention throughout this talk, I’m probably going to pull out a few definitions for open source.com. That’s it’s an open-source website, it’s sponsored by Red Hat and it is very very vendor-neutral it’s basically meant to be a place where anybody who wants to learn. Pretty much anything you want about open source can go there can also participate and can read, read articles, etc.
So, importantly, I didn’t pull this from Wikipedia, which is another example of open source but for one reason or another, I think getting it from opensource.com is probably better. So, as it says you open-source software that source code is available for anybody to inspect modify and enhance. So, in fact, the modified enhance aspects are really really important because, as we’ll see soon, you know, people have been giving away software for quite a while. We were source code 30-40 years ago it’s the ability to modify that code and often, and importantly in a coherent manner and enhance it, and contribute to it that actually differentiates open source today from what we were doing because the software industry, like three-four decades.
And some of the things that I’ve highlighted in this definition was like so you can read it at your leisure cuz. I’ll be this recording with the slides available.
There is behind open source there’s this notion of open exchange of code and ideas, collaborative participation so everybody should be allowed to get involved in open source, no matter what your background, even if you’re not a, you know, 15-year 20-year software engineer. If you want to get involved in open source you should not be barred from that, simply because you’re quite new to the field, rapid prototyping is also a key area for open source. There is a mantra that is open-source in general but we, we have a lot of it in Red Hat which is release early release often. So, don’t try and make your project. Perfect. And then release it because, by that point, people will probably move on to something else just get something out there that’s usable and then rapidly iterate with benefit the community. Transparency meritocracy so you gain.
You can creep into the community you gain the ability to do commits and things like that, based on your participation. There is with, with a few exceptions but there’s generally no person who is more important than somebody else if they’ve all contributed to the open-source effort. Equally, and community-oriented development.
So, john stand. Open Source, and some of the challenges.
I think we need to have a little bit of context of what predated it so we can have a quick brief history of time. I don’t know how many people in the audience, looking around probably less than 50% recognize any of this but before the 1980s heterogeneous environments, encouraged.
Everybody, particularly in academic institutions in the US was encouraged to, to share the codes to have collaboration.
But this was not open source, as we moved through the 80s, and the 90s code was still shared, but it typically was shared in the likes of PC Magazine so personal computer world and your computer and all those things I remember when I started in computing in the late 70s you run down to the shop you would get your latest version of PC World, you would flip through finding the listings of the games and start typing in it.
Obviously, this is code sharing but doesn’t fit the open-source model because I couldn’t, I could modify the code if I wanted to, but I couldn’t give it back to the wider community I couldn’t. If I found a bug in the code that was written into the magazine and told them and maybe six months later, they would have done an update. But code sharing has been something that we have done as an industry for a long long time, open sources is building on that. It’s not that cold sharing suddenly started in 20 years.
So the 1980s and 90s, a gentleman called, Richard Stallman launched the new project.
This was in 83. Free Software Foundation, which began in 86, and the GPL. That’s the new PUBLIC LICENSE which is a very popular license, was released in 1989, and around about that time, there was a lot of free software, typically been distributed in before the GDPR by universities in the US in the UK and elsewhere.
They tended to have their own license that perhaps the legal team within the university had written up. But, so, you know I’m kind of speaking with some of the people who are here. This week, from experience at that time, for instance, we were involved in a project. And we were making our c++ code available, and we would typically do a release, maybe once every three months, once every six months whatever we thought was the right cadence for changes that it happened, but we would essentially just create a table tolerate Jesus and stick it on an FTP site or a gopher. If you want to go back that far.
And tell people in mailing lists, like using it, that the code was there they could download it and go with it but the license, like I said was not GPM in 1991, though, another gentleman I think it was a student as well at the time, called Linus Torvalds released the first version of Linux.
And that was taken to heart, by academia, by research communities for a number of reasons. One, which is free freely available, and it actually worked on PCs that were coming online at that time like the Pentium three megahertz, Pentium one, Pentium two attempting to load academic researchers to start to run Unix on low-cost hardware rather than having to pay the likes of Sun Microsystems and others. Thousands and thousands of dollars for machines that they could do research into, interestingly, just in case you didn’t know, when Sony released the PlayStation three, it was built on Linux. And when Google brought out Android Dallek, and the Android ecosystem is based on a Linux.
So Linux has really been a core drivers will see of open source over the years, and the term open source was coined in 1998.
There was somebody in the room who reckons, he was involved in that coining of that term.