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Aug 12

InfoWorld’s Matt Asay argues we’re in (or near) “the golden age of open source.”

Here and there an open source company might struggle to make a buck, but as a community of communities, open source has never been healthier. There are a few good indicators for this.

The first is that the clouds — yes, all of them — are open sourcing essential building blocks that expose their operations. Google rightly gets credit for moving first on this with projects like Kubernetes and TensorFlow, but the others have followed suit. For example, Microsoft Azure released Azure Functions, which “extends the existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in virtually any Azure or third-party service as well as on-premises systems….” More recently, AWS released Firecracker, a lightweight, open source virtualization technology for running multi-tenant container workloads that emerged from AWS’ serverless products (Lambda and Fargate). In a textbook example of how open source is supposed to work, Firecracker was derived from the Google-spawned crosvm but then spawned its own upgrade in the form of Weave Ignite, which made Firecracker much easier to manage.

These are just a few examples of the interesting open source projects emerging from the public clouds. (Across the ocean, Alibaba has been open sourcing its chip architecture, among other things.) More remains to be done, but these offer hope that the public clouds come not to bury open source, but rather to raise it…

it’s not hard to believe that the more companies get serious about becoming software companies, the more they’re going to encourage their developers to get involved in the open source communities upon which they depend… [I]t’s not just the upstarts. Old-school enterprises like Home Depot host code on GitHub, while financial services companies like Capital One go even further, sponsoring open source events to help foster community around their proliferating projects…. So, again, not everybody is doing it. Not yet. But far more organizations are involved in open source today than were back in 2008… Such involvement is happening both at the elite level (public clouds) and in more mainstream ways, ushering in a golden era of open source.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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