OSCON 2010, O’Reilly annual Open Source conference, starts tomorrow at Portland, OR. This is the first time I am attending the conference and thought I will dedicate this week’s posts (well, most of them) to topics related to Open Source and Cloud Computing. Since this is such a hot topic, I thought it will be fun to discuss this topic and companies in this space over the next 4-5 days. Hence, this OSCON Week Series.
The Clouderati and tech blogosphere has been focussing on this topic for sometime now. From the debate on whether open source will be still relevant in a cloud based world to today’s exciting news about Rackspace and NASA coming together with many other companies to announce Openstack.org to the Cloud Summit at OSCON on tuesday, the excitement is in air.
Whenever a discussion about Open Source comes up, there will always be critics with affiliation to proprietary vendors and analysts who were used to thinking like a proprietary vendor. When you talk about open source, you cannot compare its *success* with vendors who post huge profits because they are play by the rules of a scarcity based marketplace. The exclusivity offered by the proprietary nature of their offerings can allow them to rake up huge profits. Open Source plays by a completely different set of rules, a system based on abundance. Open Source companies just cannot become your next billion dollar company. Not only they compete with the well established proprietary monopoly like players, they have to compete with the forks and clones of their own products. This changes the dynamics completely and any evaluation of the performance of an open source product in the marketplace cannot be done in comparison to its well established proprietary counterparts. This distinction becomes all the more important in cloud computing space.
Many pundits are quick to dismiss the very relevance of open source in a cloud based world. However, as I have advocated in this space and elsewhere, open source not only played a major role in the very success of the cloud, it also has a very important role in the future of the cloud ecosystem. Yes, as Tim O’ Reilly says architecture is very important but licensing is not irrelevant. We need both to keep the world open. In fact, I would even argue that Open Source is a requirement to ensure an open federated cloud ecosystem. Discussions like these are what makes this year’s OSCON and the Cloud Summit at OSCON very exciting. Simon Wardley has put together a great group of panelists to discuss the relevance of open source in the cloud based world. If you are at OSCON, make sure you don’t miss Cloud Summit on tuesday.
In this series, I will try my best to write about topics discussed during OSCON. Even though blogosphere is already buzzing with the news about Openstack.org, I am waiting to hear more from the folks at Rackspace before I do my analysis. So, expect to see my post by monday evening on this topic. If you are at OSCON, feel free to stop me and offer your thoughts on this topic.