Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Kevin Jackson, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: Open Wounds – How Free May End Up Being Costly

"I make my living designing software, and I personally don't want to do it for free"

Like many people in the industry, I'm torn over open source software. I'm not opposed to developers creating software and deciding they do it for the love of programming, and have no need for payment - if they want to give their work away, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to do so, although I think the people who want all software to be free should first get uniform agreement from everyone in the industry to work for nothing before they get on that soapbox. Even though I run a magazine in my spare time, I make my living designing software, and I personally don't want to do it for free.

I'm not opposed to people who want to develop for fun, or for the pure joy of programming. Lots of students in college do this, and many hardcore programmers who don't get enough code during the day seem to grind it out after hours as well.

Eventually though, the economics catch up. Businesses will use whatever they can legally obtain in order to create a competitive advantage, or maintain parity. Even though an application server provides capabilities that would cost millions to develop internally, corporations balk at buying one for tens of thousands of dollars - which is where the open source people come in.

Consortiums such as Apache make it easier for developers who are interested in building a free version of some tool to come together, manage a project, and produce software that is free and useful to the community at large. Linux and Apache Tomcat are probably two of the most useful and successful results of this type of endeavor.

Of course, when you get something for free, it seldom comes with a warranty. This is one of the biggest challenges for open source - the fact that no apparent support structure exists. Corporations that are buying software often look not just at the technical features of a product, but also at the organization's support team and financial outlook. A troubled software company with a good product can often spiral down because of its financial position, even when they have a superior product. Support is crucial to acceptance of software.

Enter the companies that provide support for open source. Some are new, such as Redhat, and some are existing companies like IBM and Novell, all of whom reap the benefit of the adoption of open source by providing a security blanket for when things go wrong. In one of the oddities of open source, the developers who contribute their brilliance get nothing, while companies who package free software up and offer support services make tons of money.

However the biggest challenge to open source remains legal. Intellectual property is a funny thing, and it's hard to separate the TCP/IP stack you wrote at work from the TCP/IP stack you wrote for fun at home. Concepts and ideas comingle and the legal ownership of things can be contested furiously. Also, the risk of being held liable for not purchasing a software license once someone wins a court victory is still a factor that prevents the adoption of Linux and other software in corporations today. It's not a simple world we live in, and free may end up being costly.

Nevertheless, open source software is clearly in use, and it's useful in the corporate world. Many companies have adopted Linux, Apache, MySQL, and other tools that help them reduce their cost of ownership. Things are no different in the world of Web services. Freeware tools abound that make it possible to run a Web services stack without paying any licensing costs. Our focus this issue is on just some of those tools and products that can help you deliver Web services without costing you a fortune - at least until the next lawsuit.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Luke 10/12/05 09:38:43 AM EDT

Joe doesn't sound bitter or anything, does he?

But I don't work in commercial software, I work as a software developer for a commercial oil industry supplier. We love open-source! With the money we can save moving our Windows servers to Linux, and moving our database from Informix to MySQL, we can pay the equivalent of many developers' salaries. And we get excellent support on both products from Red Hat and from MySQL AB.

We very carefully thought about embracing open-source, and it has been great for our business. Our IT costs are continually falling as we move more and more onto OS technologies, leaving more money available for developers' salaries.

Open source is generating lots of these kinds of jobs - developers using open-source inside non-software businesses. The smart and productive programmers change gears and will be in work for a long time to come.

Joe Meree 10/04/05 04:21:37 PM EDT

It's a little late for regrets. I was in commercial software for 20 years and have seen this coming for years. Once companies zero out their budget for software, they won't easily restore it. Those of you who went off without thinking about the consequences of your actions and created good software for free (on your own time) have done a great job and you will put a lot of programmers out of work. The jobs that remain are moving to India.

Jerry Lowe 10/04/05 09:53:26 AM EDT

You make an incomplete argument. Many of today's technologies / products / works of art were done because people loved what they were doing. It created a usable product, and the market came afterwords. I hate to think what would have been had Steve Jobs and Woz taken your attitude towards creating something that had no initial guarantee of success. People who write literature (as a magazine type, you should know this) do it because they have to, they can't stop themselves. They don't do it because there is a pre-existing market for what they're doing. Innovation doesn't require a safe area to be born into.

Kalevi Nyman 10/03/05 10:14:25 PM EDT

People who like programming computers are often students, technicians or even medical doctors for that matter. What do you think is the easiest way to get started, to learn something?

As long as all programming tools are freely available for Open Source Software, who has the money to pay for Windows and associated high end tools?

Microsoft is digging it's own grave with present policy, despite all freelance whiners. There is no stopping for OSS. If you don't want to do it for free, change trade or keep charging what ever you want! This is a free world, isn't it?

@ThingsExpo Stories
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...