Open Source: What is it? Practices, Processes, Advantages, and RisksJonathan Markow DuraSpace Webinar SeriesChief Strategy Officer June 2, 2011
The Rise of Open SourceGartner Survey Reveals More thanHalf of Respondents Have AdoptedOpen-Source Software Solutions asPart of IT Strategy - February 8, 2011 • http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1541414
The Rise of Open Source“Worldwide more than 350 million consumers use open source software products and thousands of enterprises use open source code.” http://www.ifosslr.org/ifosslr/article/view/11/37
The Rise of Open Source“Open Source Software Hits a Strategic Tipping Point”-Harvard Business Review Blog March 9, 2011 http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/03/ open_source_software_hits_a_st.html
The Open Source Definition The Open Source Initiative (opensource.org)“Open source is a development method for softwarethat harnesses the power of distributed peer reviewand transparency of process.”“The promise of open source is better quality, higherreliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end topredatory vendor lock-in.”
Vendors are our Friends! (…but lock-in is bad!)More on this later…
Myth #1“If we adopt open source software,we’ll be at the mercy of crazedhackers!”
• Contributors earn trust and build reputation• Developers usually have the support of their employers• Communities are self-policing
Myth #2“If we go with open source, I won’thave a throat to choke!”
• Options for throat-chokers• Commercial service providers
Myth #3“Open source is more risky because the project/software/community could just disappear!”
• Not likely, but loss of momentum is a risk• Consider the mitigating factors…• And don’t forget the track record of proprietary systems!
Myth #4• “Open source must be less secure. Anyone could just add malicious code!”
• That’s not the way it works! • Protected repository • Trusted committers • Many eyes on the code• Malicious code is hard to inject. (Unintentional vulnerabilities are easier.)
Myth #5“We can’t implement open source software because we don’t have the resources to contribute back to the project!”
• Consumer vs. Creator• Many options for helpful participation
Myth #6• “If it’s open source, I won’t be able to get support!”
• Plenty of companies earn a living providing service for open source products• Service level agreements
Open Source Models1. Traditional Community-Driven • Meritocracy • Transparency • Open to all • Volunteer • User/corporate sponsorships • Key risk: Deliverables not iron-clad
Open Source Models2. Traditional Community-Driven with Commercial Partners • Vendors are part of the community • Contribute to projects • Provide service • May license proprietary plugins
Open Source Models3. “Community Source” • e.g., Kuali Model • Decision makers invest in a seat at the table • Managed resources • Hierarchical, directed development structure with more predictable outcomes. • Vendor partners contribute • Key Risk: Diversity might be limited
Open Source Models4. “Open Core” • For-profit vendor owns the intellectual property • Core open source application is accompanied by proprietary version, which comes with licensing or support fee • e.g., “Community” vs. “Enterprise” versions • Requires dual licensing • Key risk: Could be insular, self-interest outweighs community
The DuraSpace Model• Traditional open source• Community driven; non-profit• Diverse committers, users; international participation• Registered service providers• Community sponsorship (Soon: Corporate sponsorship)• Service revenue (DuraCloud)
Pathways to Success with Open Source• …For the Project• …For the Institution
Project Success• Be welcoming; be generous • Attract and mentor new talent • Create an easy entry to the project (e.g., list of potential patches) • Attract diversity of committers • Maintain a responsive mailing list
Project Success• Be transparent • (Almost) all discussions are open • Everything goes on the mailing list • Code exposed to all • Publicize project roadmap
Project Success• Adopt well-understood processes • How is code contributed? • How are decisions made?
Project Success• Committers decide • But everyone is invited to the conversation • New committers selected by current group • Consensus decision-making
Project Success• Include techies, users, administrators, writers, managers into project • There are many useful roles for people who want to contribute
Project Success• Get the word out! • Communication is key • Web site • Wiki • Blogs • Social media • Visibility • Present at conferences, other • Marketing
Project SuccessProducing Open Source Software-Karl Fogelhttp://producingoss.com/html-chunk/index.html
Institutional Success• Do your due diligence • Product Comparisons • Assess costs • Insist that your purchasing department gives Open Source a fair hearing during an RFP process • Focus on pilot functionality more than RFP check lists
Institutional Success• Evaluate the Open Source project • What is the sustainability model? • Subscribe to the mailing lists • Look at the web sites, wiki • Is there documentation? • Are there options for third-party support?
Institutional Success• Evaluate the project (cont.) • What is the governance model? • How many users? • Does the project have momentum? • Regular releases? • Are there options for third-party support?
Institutional Success• Evaluate the project (cont.) • Consult with peer institutions • Attend conferences • Attend webinars • Any recognition in trade press, online?
Institutional Success• Evaluate the project community • Diverse set of committers? • Open, transparent, respectful of newcomers? • Subscribe to the mailing lists • How active are the developers?
Institutional Success• Internal project management is critical • Treat the implementation as you would any other product • What role will your technical staff play? • Active development? • Implementation partners? • Manager of third-party services?
Protect Your Investment• Do you use the product?• Does it meet your needs?• If so, support the community!
Support the Community• Commit developer resources• Commit code• Contribute patches
Support the Community• Be active on the mailing lists (offer help where you can)• Contribute documentation• Contribute training material• Host a developer meeting, a user meeting, a regional meetup
Support the Community• Attend conferences• Present at conferences• Be a product reference• Join user groups• Volunteer for a case study