Open source software is driving the Internet today - it's driving devices as well as consumer
and business experiences. People are using open source for mission-critical tasks,
employing staff to work on it, and collaborating with the community to keep the software
Phipps notes that the simple reason is because
open source software has an inherent business
value. This value arises from a set of 4 principles,
or 4 'freedoms'; the freedom to use it, study it,
improve it, and share it. As the code evolves
continuously and constantly, so does the
software has an inherent
By making open source the foundation of a business, an enterprise can remove barriers
that encourage innovation and entrepreneurialism. All permissions required to deploy, run,
migrate, collaborate, and mostly innovate, have been provided in advance.
New technologies thrive in the highly scalable and flexible environment nurtured by open source.
Cloud computing lends itself naturally to open source, where scaling, spinning up new
instances, and running in a vast array of environments are inhibited by license management
and fee structures out of sync with this new reality. Phipps notes that the Internet of Things
(IoT) is a similar environment where the qualities of open source will be essential. He
adds that neither of these technologies will be able to survive on multiple vendor-driven
proprietary software, while growing at the rate they have to date.
The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a global nonprofit focused on promoting and protecting
open source software, development, and communities. OSI has evaluated and approved
a variety of open source licenses (including copyleft ones. Every OSI Approved License
guarantees you the freedom to use the software for any purpose).
The OSI has listed down the following set of definitions to identify open source software:
By using software that adheres to this definition, your organization can be prototypeled
instead of specification-led in deployment. Being prototype-led allows you to have
solutions that are a much better fit for your business problems because your prototype will
show you the places where your thinking is wrong. Of course your production version will
also show you the places where your thinking is wrong, but by then it's too expensive to fix
and so you have to pretend that you meant it to be that way.
With open source software, however, you can afford
to do a prototype-led solution and fail early.
The secret of success in ICT is failing as early as
possible preferably before anyone notices, and
open source software lets you be prototype-led
and fail early and change readily.
software lets you be
prototype-led and fail
early and change
There's a rich marketplace for open source software out there, there are no barriers to
innovation, and most importantly there is a built-in escrow. If your vendor chooses to
change direction you can simply find a different supplier to keep the same software
running. If it's important enough to you to continue to pay a premium for service support
and development, somebody will step up to the mark and carry on doing it, and while that
is challenging for the vendors who follow an open source path it is a significant benefit for
Open source software also arises from a community enabling ethic, and that is one
that allows new people with new ideas to come in and contribute to the software. This
environment where permission is granted in advance is key. If we didn't know better, we
would pay extra for open source software. It gives you control over your budget, and it
delivers you an energizing flexibility and liberty for implementers and architects.
Community is a very important concept behind open
source. Open source software originally was simply an
alternative approach for a community of people to
come together and be able to collaborate around the
core of software. Community is probably the most
important part of your cost-saving strategy for your
ICT infrastructure, and if you contribute then you will
remain flexible. If you fail to contribute, then you’re
going to have to always be beholden to some extent
to those who do.
gives you control over
your budget, and offer
flexibility and liberty
for implementers and
In the broader scope of things, Phipps says the hype around open source boils down to one
thing – empowerment. It's not just about long-term financial savings for your organization.
Open Source empowers the CxO in giving back control over budgets and of the overall
architecture, he notes. It empowers and enables the developer with freedom of choice and
empowers the business with limitless possibility to expand. He adds that everything that
gives your business control of its own infrastructure is a result of software freedom.
All WSO2 products are licensed under the OSI approved Apache Software License. This
means you already have permission to deploy this software and innovate with it. In other
words, it lets you run the show.
For more details view recording of Simon Phipps’ WSO2Con EU 2016 keynote talk.
You might also be interested in our white paper - Connect the World - that provides a
definitive guide for your enterprise architecture needs with actual customer use cases.