Reasons why open-source needs to be a part of growth strategy of companies

Reasons why open-source needs to be a part of growth strategy of companies

‘Opportunities come and go and hardly last. The year ahead of us is an opportunity for us to bring about impactful solutions in our enterprise architecture’.

Through the experience of Google Cloud’s Debanjan Saha, GM of Data Analytics and Amar Awadallah, VP Developer ;

For several months, almost every customer meeting we’ve had has included the same pair of pressing issues. The first concerns speed and agility: How can we move faster, executives say, to release software that improves our product offerings, builds customer satisfaction, and helps us work more efficiently? The second, related, issue is about strategic survival: How can we derive better insights from our burgeoning loads of data, then act on that analytics treasure?

When we are facing such technology & business pertaining questions, we are lucky to know that we have the right answers. Open-source has come with a revolution for the software development industry. Some of the most popular software that we use in our everyday lives is open -source. For instance, the Firefox web browser is open source. It is one of the most broadly used open-source software in the world.

Internet is open-source

The basics upon which the internet is built is an open-source technology. Linux operating system is behind the regulation of the web servers. The Apache web server negotiates the transfer of data amongst the personal devices through the worldwide server infrastructure. A number of Internet applications are also open-source. Internet giants like Google & Facebook have also opened up their proprietary innovations for the open-source community. Technology dissemination is able to enhance the experience for one and all users by bringing in, efficient experiences and streamlining the operations.

For all of us who must be wondering what’s open-source?

In simple terms, open-source is software under a license that is available for one and all to use, modify etc. The code along with the software is distributed. We’d be able to freely edit an existent project, apply the current projects in newer ways, integrate it with some other projects or come up with something more innovative based on the current project. Open-source can successfully remove barriers between the innovators and can promote the exchange of ideas freely within an open-source community. This is healthy for expanding perspectives and for creative & scientific technology enhancement.

Open-source is being used in the software industry however, the open-source license can be applied in multiple industries like electronics, fashion, biotechnology, education, robotics and the like. By placing an open-source license on a project or work an individual or an organization agrees to the following:

· Letting anyone access the whole of the project /work code
· Allowing everyone to edit, enhance or re-model the project/work code
· Allowing the development of derivative work
· Letting the user decide the purpose of their uses!

Open-source vs Proprietary license

An open-source license is in contrast to a proprietary license. When a user begins using any of the proprietary software like Adobe Photoshop, iTunes, Microsoft Office, they are not permitted to alter the source code and can use the software in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer. The back-end code applied in proprietary software is not visible to the public. Anyone who tries to re-engineer or edit the code may be subjected to legal tender by the manufacturer. While open-source is open for all as the name suggests.

An opportunity to open the window of transformation ..and that too in a big way

Opportunities may be here today and gone tomorrow. Hence at the right time, they are to be taken up to move in the progressive direction. Many organizations are moving away from on-premise infrastructure to cloud-supported architecture. This is a positive step. This transformation is augmented by using open-source technological solutions. However, how you manage the shift is reliant on the industry, domain that you belong to but the necessary step for you is to be able to think through and plan meticulously.

Using open-source software and following open-source practices can be a great idea. You’d be able to share the information and make contributions towards resolving big issues. This may bring improvements for the industry overall.

There are many reasons for us to utilize the many advantages that open-source software development comes with. Some of them may be somewhat familiar, others may have recently found prominence and are quite likely to become even more significant in the years to come. Let us have a look at the merits of open-source.

1. Ability to drive innovation

What distinguishes us from others is the edge that innovation can give us and open-source is able to provide that is plentiful! The more and more contributors a project can have, with more brainstorming, ideas come to the surface. The open-source group mind can be a movement in itself.

For example, before the advent of bigger names in container orchestration systems, Google took the decision to develop its own in-house system called Kubernetes. Spotify did the same with Helios.

Both of these organizations open-sourced their project. While Kubernetes made a ravishing name for itself in the cloud-managed project infrastructure, Helios didn’t find a lot of recognition outside of Spotify. In 2018, Spotify ultimately switched to Kubernetes.

The whole idea is to expand our vision and explore what the collective mindset comes up with. With the ability and flexibility to innovate, open source provides us with the right platform to come out with winning software and solutions.

2. Developers can focus more on high-value work

With open-source technological solutions, we can imply that all the mundane and regular problems have been solved. Content Management, Blogging, Operating Systems etc are all the issues that have already been addressed. The developers can in the meantime reinvent the wheels that the open-source community members have already perfected. They can spend their time being creative and innovative. Developers can have a lot of time to themselves to ponder over the yet unsolved technological problems. The kinds that add more value to your organization’s vision.

3. Better quality of software guaranteed

If we look at open-source closely we’ll be bewildered to know that it actually builds better software! Open source can be far more productive than proprietary or other alternative counterparts. When the software is developed in a closed environment the only developers who’d be able to identify, diagnose, resolve the bugs related to the software are the ones probably employed by the organization or maybe the arm-length contractors who are paid to build this software. With open source you can count on three benefits: Firstly, be ready to tap the potential of the world’s finest developers who could be contributors to your software. Secondly, The potential of the knowledge pool will be diverse bringing in diverse perspectives. Thirdly, the open-source software can be adapted to a number of use cases and not only the ones the publisher had intended to. This can enhance the QA process.

4. Reduced cost of ownership

Open-source software can reduce the cost of ownership to a great degree. It yields a lower overall cost of ownership when you compare it with other proprietary or closed source solutions. Shifting to open source technology majorly comes with lower up-front costs and moves the overall budget from licensing to customization & implementation. The additional costs of maintenance, training etc could be the sunk costs. With open-source, one is not paying for the right to use intellectual property.

5. Ability to attract talented minds

Developers seek to work upon unresolved problems and get their creativity up and running. With open-source software, you’d be able to show the world the number of interesting challenges that you face and how innovatively you sought to resolve them. Open-source developers can contribute to your project and learn how you work. If they enjoy what they see they are more likely to apply for employment with the organization. Smart developers enjoy hanging out with smart code.

6. Branding yourself

Maintainers of open-source projects earn the reputation of being the industry leaders. They have the ability to shape the conversation in the software world! They can associate their brand with the preferred solutions. GitHub is well known for creating Hubot.

7. Security & transparency is guaranteed

Open-source software is open to the global community. Anyone is able to access the code underlying the source code. This also implies that you’d not need to worry about the security features of the software because many developers are already looking at it. Security concerns get resolved quickly because the thriving community of users are already working towards it.

You’d also be able to identify the source code & decide upon the quality parameters of the software. You’d be able to look at every single line of the source code to draw your own conclusions. Open source is transparent.

8. Simple at integration

Open-source comes with easy access to the source code. Hence, they are quite readily available to be integrated than the commercial software solutions. While in a commercial software solution one may need to approach a developer and this may take weeks to happen. With open-source it's easy. You’d be able to offload your integration aspect to an experienced development company and have full control over the resultant software. In future, you’d be able to offer development opportunities to other interested contributors. Either way, you’d be able to move quickly and with lesser investment.

9. Last but not least; it's fun!

As per Wikipedia open source can be a hobby! Traditionally open source was referred to as the product of the hobbyist. However, more than anything else it is fun. And you’d agree too. Especially for hackers, it provides a number of interesting challenges to resolve every other day. The order and symmetry of the open-source community can be a fascinating puzzle to decipher for coders.

We @ Tooljet, endeavour to steward the conversation about open source ahead and develop sustainable open-source infrastructure. We are also actively engaging ourselves with open-source community building, along with offering an open-source low code platform to software and application development. We believe that open source technologies have the power to drive the nation, economies and the global community ahead in a progressive direction.

Ending Note: We can end by saying that the above-listed benefits would be enough to drive a transformational impact in your organization in the year 2022 if you opt for open-source. It is a boom for the developer community as well. As we contemplate, in a world that’s fast-moving and changing we’d need technologies and tools that help us enhance our products, teams, processes and results. That’s where open-source, hybrid, cloud-based systems can bring in a major difference. No matter what the future holds, the ability to build your software on your terms is invaluable. It is not true that open-source is the next big thing, it has already arrived!