I’m Eddie Pickle, CEO of the geospatial software firm, OpenGeo.
I want to start with a thought from noted epistemologist Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of Defense, from the Pentagon press briefing room, in February of 2002.
Hart Seeley later formed the Secretary's words into a poem, published by Harper's Magazine in June 2003 as "The Unknown"
... read ... I've also found the same sentiments expressed less elegantly, but more forcefully in diagram form, showing
The stuff we know we know; <X> The stuff we know we don't know; <X> And the vast expanse of things we don't know we don't know.It is scary that the largest category by far is one we definitionally cannot comprehend, the stuff we don't know we don't know.
Of course, this is an epistemological diagram of *all* knowledge, so we can constrain it, a bit, by noting that, for practical purposes, we are really only concerned with the <X> stuff we *should* know . Unfortunately the stuff we *should* know still falls in all three categories .And as technology managers, there is, amongst the stuff we should know,
the stuff we should know about open source software And I hope at this point we can all agree that open source is worth knowing about.
The largest, most heavily trafficked, companies on the internet have built their infrastructure on open source, for practical, hard-headed business reasons. And open source is no longer a technology fast follower,
innovative work in fields like software development tools, document search, big data analysis and no-sql storage is being spearheaded by open source projects. And that ’ s not because open source…
… is just some kind of fad, or something the cool kids currently consider trendy
its because open source is a bona fide TREND, a trend that has been building for over 30 years, changing not only how we build software, but also how we collaborate in building knowledge in general.
Today… <X> The NSA employs Linux programmers to make their systems secure. <X> NASA employs Linux programmers to run it on their space mission hardware. <X> Google employs Linux programmers to optimize their massive compute clusters. <X> Oracle employs Linux programmers to support their Oracle-optimized Linux. <X> IBM employs Linux programmers to ensure it runs on their SystemZ mainframes. <X> Microsoft employs Linux programmers to add kernel support for Windows virtualization. <X> And so on, and so on, and so on, So, here's a question I get asked a lot:
um, how do you make a living selling free software? Referring back to the previous slide...
Hopefully it would be obvious. I make my living the same way
my dentist, my barber and my plumber make their livings. I sell my very specialized expert services in open source spatial database programming to people who need those services. And in a globalized, internet connected world, there are plenty of people who use my software, and want my services. But enough about me. What about you?
Yes you. Should you use open source?
Here are five good managerial reasons to consider open source in your enterprise<X> Cloud Readiness also known as Scaling also known as Rapid Deployment<X> License Liability or actually the Lack Of same<X> Flexibility and its kissing-cousin Heterogeneity<X> Staff Development and Recruitment and most importantly <X> Market Power. So, first of all
<<Technical Superiority>>Did I forget to mention this one? There are open source advocates who will claim, straight up, no hedging, that open source software is just technically superior to proprietary software. They will say that the open development model results in code with
fewer bugs per 1000 lines, <X> higher levels of modularity, <X> better security due to wider peer review <X> faster release cycles, and<X> better performance. I think this is often true, but it ’ s unfair to present this list without also adding
that in general open source projects have a narrower base of features, though larger projects like Linux, or PostgreSQL, or Hadoop, or Eclipse, are often fully competitive on features too.
Linux, for example, has concentrated an incredibly large number of very high quality technical contributors into one code base, more people than any one company could ever employ. But many open source projects, and certainly those in the geospatial realm, operate with at most a few dozen contributors, they aren't out of the league of corporate development teams.
Reason #1, cloud readiness, <X> also known as scaling, <X> also known as rapid deployment. It looks like I'm squeezing three topics into one, but I'm not. These three benefits are all aspects of the same open source attribute:
the zero-dollar capital cost of deployment. Always on the trailing edge of the leading edge, Microsoft has recently been advertising "to the cloud!"
More and more computing tasks will be delegated to "clouds" of computers hosted in huge data centers "somewhere" on the internet. More users will expect direct access to data through web services.
More mobile devices will consume those services with every passing year. All that new user demand adds up to potentially unconstrained load on services, and growth curves that transition very quickly from horizontal to vertical, as services move into the mainstream. Scaling services is important . It ’ s getting even more important.
But with software licensed per CPU or core, that means that the primary driver of scaling cost is software cost . The math can be brutal even before you start scaling horizontally.
Per-instance proprietary software licensing dwarfs the per-instance hardware cost. The only difference is that the hardware costs are spread out more evenly over time instead of being concentrated in big capital-intensive bursts.
Let’s look at the second reason to value open source software: #2. License Liability
Consider a small shop with 30 workstations under 30 desks, running 30 licensed copies of Windows and 30 licensed copies of Microsoft Office. What happens when they get around to counting up the difference between what they are using and what they own. It can be a bit shocking.
Say they had 10 licenses for Windows and 5 for Office. Coming into compliance would cost almost $20,000. Not coming into compliance would risk hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Proprietary software adds a layer of legal liability that needs to be managed. And that takes time and effort. Because software gets copied. A lot. Why wouldn't it, you can make a perfect copy with two keystrokes
Ctrl-C. Ctrl-V. And if that software is proprietary, each of those keystrokes digs a compliance hole for the organization. Click, click, click, deeper and deeper and deeper. And you don't realize how deep that compliance hole is, until you fall into it.
Another key reason to value open source software is: #3, flexibility and heterogeneity. This is a bit of a geeky argument, but bear with me…
First, flexible components are easy to connect to each other and to adapt. You can use flexible components from multiple vendors to build a heterogeneous system.
A heterogeneous system incorporates components from multiple sources. Now, Flexibility is great, but usually you have to trade some ease-of-use to get get it. Which toolbox would you rather work with?
The hex-tool: convenient, easy, fits in the palm of your hand, three sizes. Or<X> The socket set: modular, extendable, 64 sizes, metric and imperial. One's easy, one's flexible. Here is a practical example of the value of flexibility and heterogeneity.
The British Columbia government built their web mapping infrastructure using Esri’s proprietary ArcIMS for their internal web servers and web applications, and using open source MapServer for their external WMS services. Both web mapping servers pull their data from a central ArcSDE instance. So they have a flexible tool (in MapServer) and a heterogeneous infrastructure (using both ArcIMS and MapServer).
A few years ago, the infrastructure team applied a minor, minor, teeny weeeny, sliver of a service patch to the Oracle database that hosted ArcSDE. To their surprise, <X> the minor patch locked up SDE and they couldn ’ t restart. Which meant their web services <X> (that depended on SDE) were also down. The WMS services were brought back up in three days, after a long process of loading the raw data into a temporary open source, PostGIS database.
Because MapServer could read from PostGIS just as easily as ArcSDE, this was no problem. The ArcIMS services remained offline for the duration of the outage,
which was 28 long days until a patch to ArcSDE was made available. As a general proposition,
proprietary product lines talk well to other systems from the same vendor, and less well to systems from other vendors. Competitive advantage dictates this arrangement, but, it puts the interests of the customer in interoperability below the interests of the vendor in promoting lock-in.
As a general proposition, open source products talk well to all other systems. The reason why is less obvious, but it has to do with the practical motivations of the developers.
Once a project moves past the "for fun" stage, the developers are working on it because it is a workplace tool, they need it to "do something". And the "something" they need it to do, is usually in the context of other software.
Homogenous systems, and single-vendor strategies, are usually convenient. But there is a trade-off.
They lack flexibility, which can make it hard to adapt them to unexpected purposes.
And, they present reliability risk, an increased vulnerability to population catastrophes, issues that are capable of shutting down your whole infrastructure in one go.
The #4 reason to value open source is: Staff Development and Recruitment
The city of Northglenn, Colorado wrote a report about their experience with open source; in the section on " Unobvious Motivations for Adoption " there is this quote:
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The final, and main reason to value open source is the Market Power it gives you, the user.
Today, many organizations find themselves in a hole, where [read]. And, they have little power because their software vendor, which controls the IP of the software they’re using, has all the power.
In summary there are five good managerial reasons to consider open source in your enterprise<X> Cloud Readiness also known as Scaling also known as Rapid Deployment<X> License Liability or actually the Lack Of same<X> Flexibility and its kissing-cousin Heterogeneity<X> Staff Development and Recruitment and most importantly <X> Market Power. I hope you have a better appreciation of them.
Transcript of "The value of open source software open analytics summit - open geo - eddie pickle march 26 2013"
The Value ofOpen Source Software Open Analytics Summit Eddie Pickle March 25, 2013
who is this guy?I’m a geo guy working for a geo software company
As we know,There are known knowns.There are things we know we know.We also knowThere are known unknowns.That is to sayWe know there are some thingsWe do not know.But there are also unknown unknowns,The ones we don’t knowWe don’t know.
S#!* I know S#!* I don’t know S#!* I don’t know I don’t know!
S#!* I know S#!* I don’t know S#!* I don’t know S# ! I don’t know! *I sh ou d l kn ow
S#!* I know S#!* I don’t know S#!* I don’t know I don’t know S# ou ab !* t o I s pe ho n ul sou d k n rc e ow
proprietary software licensesare a legal liabilitythat must be managed
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Many organizations are in a hole• More and better web services are required• Need to serve more users• Need to store and process more data• Have shrinking budgets 55
The first law of holesWhen you find yourself in one…Stop digging! 56
Relative Value in Software Systems Functionality and power Costs Control 57
Relative Value in Software SystemsThe value of software can be expressed with asimple equation, where V = Value F = Functionality and Power O = Operational Costs C = Control 58
Relative Value in Software Systems V = (F/O) * C 59
ValueHow much a desired object or condition is worthrelative to other objects or conditionsValue increases… As software functionality increases relative to costs As enterprises achieve more control (market power!) 60
Functionality and PowerOverall software utilityIncludes… – Reliability (system up-time and “buggy-ness”) – Scale (numbers of users or amounts of data) – Power (operations enabled, data or collaborators incorporated into applications – Etc. 61
Organizational CostsSoftware costs include… – License – Maintenance – Hardware and infrastructure – Personnel costs to evaluate, test, deploy, operate and maintain systems – Etc. 62
ControlThe control an enterprise has in its options toaccess, use and maintain a given softwaresystem. – Legal rights of access to the source code – Number of available suppliers and ability to influence – Access to the software over the desired length of use • And the probability that access might be limited or revoked 63
Relation of C (Control) to V (Value)* Binary log function is postulated as model*No Control = ? Value 64
Elements of Control• Ability to choose – Alternative suppliers – Bring in-house• IP rights – Right to modify – Right to determine end of life• Right to work on your schedule• If you don’t have these, you have no Control – And that will cost you 70
How does changing Control affect Value? It’s just math… 71
Control can affect Functional PowerV = (F * C) * 1/OV = (F * 1) *1/OAssume C = 1 for two alternatives 72
Control can affect Functional Power V = (F * C) * 1/O V = (F * 1/2) * 1/O C = 1/2 for one alternativeAssume 73
Control can affect Costs V = (1/O * C) * FV = (1/O * 1) * Ffor two alternativesAssume C = 1 74
Control can affect Costs V = ((1/O)*C) * FV = ((1/O)*(1/2)) * FAssume C = 1/2 for one alternative 75
Value Comparisons Commercial Open Unsupported Open Closed Source Source (OpenGeo Source Suite, etc.)Functional Medium high Medium Medium high Power, F Strong Functionality offset Reliable and scalable. High reliability and by lower reliability and scalability. Expanding scalability functionalityOperational High Medium Low Costs, O Software license costs + No software license No software license costs. Maintenance costs + high costs, but all Expert support lowers Infrastructure costs due to maintenance costs are Maintenance costs, and poor scalability. left to users. Good strong scalability lowers Scalability resulting in infrastructure costs. lower scalability costs.Control, C Low Medium High Closed source leads to Offers a solid Adds to control and choice asymmetrical relations with alternative to closed by creating an excellent customers and lowers source. Do it yourself, third option for enterprises, customer control and choice or hire as needed. the ability to modify on your own and/or have access to OpenGeo resources. 76
Comparing Value for Software Alternatives Commercial Open Closed Unsupported Source (OpenGeo Source Open Source Suite)Functional Power, Medium high Medium Medium highFOperational High Medium LowCosts, OControl, C Low Medium HighRelative Position Medium Low Medium Highon V = F/O * C 77
Questions and Observations• Over time measures of relative value will shift• The primary fields of contention would seem to be Functional Power and Organizational Costs• The role of Control is central 78
Questions and Observations• Both open and closed source software may continue to increase in Functional Power, but the lead held by closed source is likely to shrink• It is likely that closed source providers will simply lower price – They will be “borrowing” against future functionality (i.e. today’s discount = tomorrow’s reduced capability) – They will look to maintain Control as that is the long term lever towards shifting Value their way 79
ma rke tp ow er sta dev ff lop e me nt flexibility licens e liabi lities clo ud rea di n es s
Keep In Touch Check out our blog at: http://opengeo.org Email me at: Eddie Pickle firstname.lastname@example.org 81
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