Open source at its core is a reaction to the drawbacks of closed source, according to Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google. Hightower shared his take on the open source culture during a fireside chat with D2iQ Founder and CPO Ben Hindman as part of the “Cloud Native Virtual Summit featuring Kubernetes” last week.
It is safe to say that behind any successful open source project or product there is a passionate and tight-knit community collaborating under the virtue of transparency to develop services that break from tradition. Culture is one of the bedrock components driving the industry to evolve and transition in terms of getting organizations to adopt open source. Even as the massive ecosystem of vendors, partners, and providers grows around Kubernetes and open source projects, Hightower said the key to new technologies and methodologies is a broad group of people collaborating and communicating; fundamentally making openness a pretty good tool when used to build software.
“There’s no way for you to estimate all the talent that’s available globally,” Hightower said. “So the only way to participate or get that done is to be as open and transparent as possible, and encourage people to contribute. So I think when we say open source we’re really referring to the drawbacks of closed source.”
Given today’s modern society and its growing desire for more transparency – perhaps largely in response to the big data ecosystem – coupled with the hypercompetitive business landscape and its demand for innovation, it’s no surprise that open source technology is not only booming but drawing the attention of consumers, corporations, and governments.
According to Hightower, we’re seeing the benefits of open source right now in proving the point that it is simply not possible for proprietary vendors with “closed limited resources and ideas can never compete with something that is open to the world – and the world contributing.”
Free-flowing, collaborative, and creative environments, such as that of the open source community, embolden businesses to push beyond perceived limitations to get ahead of the competition.
“Some of these ideas we have are at a global scale,” he said. The idea that there’s only a small set of people who understand and improve the codebase, “even outside of the philosophy about your software being open or free, having it closed just limits how fast you can improve. It’s just that straightforward.”