Programming Languages

Convincing the Enterprise to Contribute Back to Open Source

14 Jul 2016 11:40am, by

Although open source is increasingly being used by the enterprise, developers still often find themselves having to explain why onboarding open source or contributing to open source projects is beneficial.

In this episode of The New Stack Makers embedded below, we take a look at the ways in which the open source community has evolved across the industry, why today’s enterprises should contribute back to the open source community, and how developers can work with their chief technology officers to ensure the open source projects they have on-boarded are being maintained over the long term. The New Stack founder Alex Williams sat down with Capital One director & platform engineering fellow Tapabrata Pal, Cisco CTO of cloud services Ken Owens, and Cisco solutions architect specializing in cloud technologies Ann Wallace to get their thoughts.

“I think what has happened so far is an enterprise has been using open source, but without knowing they are using open source. Then they say, instead of ignoring and using open source let’s acknowledge (we are using) open source. Which then brings forward the thought that now that we are using open source, let’s also contribute back,” said Pal.

Whether consuming open source software to utilize in projects as a developer, or as a business, maintaining the overall health of the open source community and its projects long-term is crucial. Owens noted that Cisco’s utilization of open source takes a different approach, as the company is not trying to stake a value claim by earning money with open source. Rather, they are focusing on solving industry-wide issues with open source software.

“We look at the success of a project being how much others outside of the organization are contributing to it. We’re trying to solve broader community problems across the industry, and we feel like open source is the way to do that,” Owens explained. Wallace noted that while some organizations may struggle with figuring out how to contribute to open source projects while still retaining their IP, it can be done.

As the discussion continued, Pal offered a sage piece of advice for developers and enterprises alike that are working with open source in their stack: “It’s not about just open sourcing a particular project, but the ongoing support behind that, and building community behind it.”

Capital One and Cisco are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature Image by Joab Jackson.


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