Yes, I hope it’s true that Samsung will be giving back to the open source community. But seeing is believing, and I prefer to wait a while…perhaps a good long while…to see if Samsung’s real-world actions match its rhetoric and public relations efforts.
The following video shows Samsung embarking on a journey. The journey is Open Source which was started 18 months ago with a single member, Linux and FOSS advocate Ibrahim Haddad. Fast forward to today and there are over 40 people at the new Open Source Innovation Group, which includes 20 developers, devoted full-time to working on upstream projects and helping the inroads of Open Source into Samsung.
These include LibreOffice and OpenOffice for front-office productivity tools, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Ingres for databases, Pentaho for decision support, SugarCRM and Hipergate for customer relationship management, Apache Lucene, Opentext, Filenet, and Documentum for content management, and RedHat JBoss as an application server.
While open source applications specifically for the core functions of the insurance industry are still few and far between, there are a few options, such as OpenUnderwriter.
The main issue with open source is that while the software provides all the components needed for IT operations, expertise is needed to pull it all together for the business. But there’s always a good case to be made for open source, and often, this comes right from commercial IT vendors themselves. Prashant Parikh of CA Technologies, for instance, recently posted the reasons why open source makes sense.
Open standards have driven the networking market since the earliest days of the Internet. While the use of open source for networking is a more recent phenomenon, it is no less important. A major industry transition to open source for software-defined networking (SDN) is under way, and users and vendors stand to benefit. Some expectations, however, may need to change.
While the original idea behind SDN — separating the control from the data plane in network switches — has turned out to be just one of many architectural approaches that have emerged, it did catalyze massive interest in software and open source within the networking world. Things like APIs and DevOps tools became relevant to network engineers, and open source movements emerged to fulfill the need for increased automation and flexibility as organizations moved deeper into the cloud.
All of the software Negrut’s team develops will eventually be made publicly available through a website. “We believe making it all open source is the best way to ensure this transfer of technology from us to industry, where people can take advantage of the techniques and the software that we develop as part of this project, so as to foster innovation here or elsewhere in industry,” Negrut says.
As a result, analysts and reporters are constantly asking me what I think regarding their chance of success. Companies are also often asking me my thoughts on whether they should open-source a technology and whether to do it as a separate project or within the sphere of an existing open-source project. Overall, this trend toward open source is very encouraging. Unlike closed-source/proprietary code, open-source licenses allow one to look at the code – to understand the inner workings and spot problems but also to be inspired. The real power of open source is the ability for people to build on top of the original source code.
Last month I wrote about an important development for companies outside the world of computing: collaborating on non-competitive code specific to their sector. That change in business practices is still in the early stages, and will probably take some years to move into the mainstream. Far further along is the transformation of many manufacturing companies into ones where open source plays a central role, not just in their IT infrastructure, but in their product line too. That's simply a consequence of the fact that more and more products are adding digital elements, and that the cheapest and best way to do that is to use open source.
The open-source Docker project is growing today with the announcement of new efforts that expand the deployment and usability options of the popular container application virtualization technology. Docker Inc., the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Docker project, is also announcing a commercial enterprise product and partnerships to help further accelerate adoption.