At Gioorgi.com, after working with a lot with software for over twenty years, we have envisioned a clear idea about open source. This is the first article of a series tagged “opensource”: let’s start!
Richard Stallman Vision, based on GNU open source idea, is too radical from our point of view.
Stallman GNU License is based on a “copyleft” idea, which gives everyone the freedom to look at others’work, without taking credits for it. The license vision is very strict, so consulting is the natural option for an IT business based on GNU software, which is drived by Univestities, because of its basic freedom statement.
Closed and paid software is still widely used, but open source is the key for the next revolution; let’see why.
In the 1980, the software house must provide data, relations and code. The effort was so huge, the results where tiny compared to our times. We remember the need to push 20 lines of code to show a small graphic on a slow B/N printer.
Our mothers could think we was a bit dumb doing all that effortless work.
I remember computer network and peer2peer was very limited in the 1993: to search stuff, you must MANUALLY scan ftp archives and so on. Small search engine exists, but friend-to-friend communication was the fastest way to explore new things. Usenet and emails were userful, but also specialized magazines was a piece of this puzzle!
Why open source is better for infrastructure.
Suppose we develop a fantastic tool (like an Object-Oriented relational mapping tool, called MyTopLink). Suppose we are a commercial company. We have limited resources for definition, and because our code is closed source, only a very limited set of people access to them.
For instance, we will have less then one thousand people accessing this code.
And the vast majority of them will be paying customer, with no interest in improving something they had just paid for. A tiny group will be bad pirates trying to find vulnerabilities, cracking it, with no interest of sending you patch or security alerts…
So a closed source infrastructure will not grow easily.
Counter Example: Eclipse
IBM has open sourced eclipse code building a foundation.
But IBM is also one of the biggest IT company (ok, not correct: it is the biggest!).
So it is better to use open source for the infrastructure, and it is also better to open source your own infrastructural code. Your company size is important, but you need to be not tiny (over 1000 employers for instance) only if you plan to have a big control over your open source stuff.
Closed source infrastructure is a very high technology risk.
Think it twice before deciding to embrace it.
Think twice before starting reinventing the wheel, even if it is the best option you can think of. The “not-invented-here” syndrom can be lethal to your business