Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

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)

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.


Microservices Articles
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee A...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...