When Forrester released its 2016 report “Open Source Powers Enterprise Digital Transformation,” some people in the open source community were surprised by the results. They weren’t surprised that 41 percent of enterprise decision makers called open source a high priority and planned to increase use of open source in their organizations. They were concerned that the other 59 percent didn’t seem to understand the role open source would play in the future of the enterprise.
Paul Miller, one of the analysts behind the report, wrote, “The myth that open source software is exclusively written by and for lonely – rather odd – individual geeks remains remarkably prevalent. And yet it’s a myth that is almost entirely wrong. Again and again, we encounter executives who do not grasp how much their organization already depends on open source. More importantly, they do not see the key role that open source technologies and thinking will play in enabling their efforts to transform into a customer-obsessed business that really can win, serve, and retain customers.”
Fast-forward to today, and open source skills are among the most in-demand: 83 percent of hiring managers surveyed for the 2018 Open Source Jobs report said hiring open source talent was a priority this year, up from 76 percent last year. (More on that report in a minute.) Hiring managers are touting their organization’s contribution to open source projects as a recruiting strategy for nabbing top talent. Some of the biggest trends in enterprise IT, such as containers and hybrid cloud, rely on open source technologies including Linux and Kubernetes.
The mindset and narrative around open source have changed. Enterprise IT and business leaders should be able to keep up with IT organizations doing innovative work with open source technologies. We’ve rounded up some resources to help you get up to speed – and stay there.
[ How is open source fueling breakthroughs in fields ranging from medicine to art? Watch talks and films in Red Hat's Open Source Stories. ]
What Every CIO Must Know About Open-Source Software – If you are starting off with limited knowledge, this might be a good jumping off point for your open source education. This 2017 report from Gartner answers the basic questions around open source technology before diving into more complex CIO questions, like what are the risks, and how to tap into open source's benefits.
The BOSS Index: Tracking the Explosive Growth of Open-Source Software – The landscape of open source technologies is vast – and made up of some strange-sounding names. That’s why Battery Ventures created this detailed index to categorize and track some of the most popular open source software projects. Review this list to be versed in the top players and names to know in the world of open source.
Open Source Jobs Report - This 2018 report, conducted by The Linux Foundation and careers site Dice, gives you a clear idea of how enterprise IT is using open source talent, as well as which skills are in highest demand. (Hint: Think containers and cloud.) The report offers valuable background for both hiring managers and job seekers.
Open Source Leadership Summit – This annual Linux Foundation event is geared toward leaders responsible for driving open source strategies and implementation within their organizations. Although the 2018 event already has taken place, you can browse the keynotes for sessions on Kubernetes, blockchain, security, AI, and more, to get a good idea of how other leaders are thinking about open source.
All Things Open – Taking place October 21-23 in Raleigh, NC, All Things Open features 200 sessions, 14 workshops, and conference tracks for on topics including cloud, blockchain, big data, and more. With a mission to help attendees become better at what they do, this conference prides itself on the educational and ROI value of its open source content.
The Architect's Newsletter – Newsletters are a great way to get a steady stream of timely insights and industry news. The InfoQ Architects' Newsletter, a monthly guide for software architects and IT leaders, features a curated collection of links, commentary, news, and case studies. Recent issues have explored chaos engineering and building resilient distributed systems.
Opensource.com – Our companion site, Opensource.com, sends a weekly newsletter highlighting stories from practitioners, experts, and enthusiasts that can help you get a pulse on interesting projects and trends in the world of open source. The site also features an extensive resource library, including cheat sheets on open source technologies and guides on open source alternatives to popular proprietary solutions.
Other ways to learn:
The Changelog – Changelog, another newsletter option for developers, also offers a few podcasts for people who prefer to learn on their morning commute. The Changelog podcast features conversations with leaders, engineers, and innovators in software development. The latest episode highlights the Ballerina programming language for microservices.
How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination – If you are looking for a little inspiration, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino, has a great TED Talk on the “maker’s movement.” His point of view: Open source technology is enabling anyone, anywhere to make anything they can imagine. This talk might spark a few ideas for your next hackathon.
Fundamentals of Professional Open Source Management – Finally, if you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get started, The Linux Foundation offers a course overviewing the key phases of developing on open source management program. The course tackles one of the biggest challenges – getting business executives, legal, development and other key stakeholders on the same page.
[ Want to learn more about the past, present, and future of open source? Check out Red Hat's podcast, Command Line Heroes: Catch Season 1 and get a sneak peek at Season 2. ]
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Thank you for the article. Finding reputable resources can be difficult, and this collection is a great starting point for IT leaders seeking more information about open source software, development and communities, as well as development/technical staff who may need references to advocate for adoption back in the office to leadership.
To round out your references, I'd also recommend IT leaders and advocates familiarize themselves--and partner with--organizations working to promote open source awareness, adoption and development. Joining and supporting free and open source software organizations lifts all boats:
- Engaged businesses gain insights on development and technologies in the works (they can even help to influence such development), they learn best practices, for creating code and community, they may find consultants (even employees) among the dedicated contributors, etc.
- Open source software projects gain industry insights, development and financial support, and most importantly industry acceptance/credibility as more companies, government agencies, technical associations come on board to collaborate and co-create.
- The open source communities of practice gain leadership experience and input from IT leaders working directly with--and relying on-- open source software to deliver value. The organizations gain increased recognition and authority as valued resources through active partnerships with businesses (and other organizations, e.g. government agencies, technical standards bodies, non-profit foundations, etc.).
A few organizations that support free and open source software generally, that IT leaders may want to consider supporting include:
Apache Foundation (apache.org)
FreeBSD Foundation (freebsdfoundation.org)
Free Software Foundation (fsf.org)
Linux Foundation (linuxfoundation.org)
Mozilla Foundation (mozilla.org)
Open Source Initiative (opensource.org)
Software Freedom Conservancy (sfconservancy.org)
Also, the Open Source Initiative provides a list of organizations (many software specific) at https://opensource.org/affiliates/list Depending on the business, many of these organizations may be providing open source software and resources that directly benefit the company, for example, The Python Software Foundation (python.org).
I would also highly recommend engaging with software communities that develop/support any open source software the business may actually be using/depending on. As business benefits from the use of open source software, I would hope that they choose to re-invest back in the communities that enabled their success.
Thank you again for your good work here,
Open Source Initiative