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Open Source Software - An Enterprise Perspective

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Open Source Software - An Enterprise Perspective

The history of OSS goes back to the '90s. Check out the enterprise perspective of open source software, whether it is publicly available or privately hosted.

· Open Source Zone ·
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Open-source software (OSS) or FOSS (with prefix Free) is one term that is getting a lot of traction in recent years. However, the history of OSS goes back in the late '90s and its evolution since then is quite a journey to watch that how perspective around open source software and communities made a lean shift and a big leap around various technology-driven organizations.

Open source communities have a very broad spectrum. From individuals with various backgrounds to big organizations, all of them are somehow connected and collaborating with such communities. The universe of open source projects is even beyond that image and it is expanding at a very good pace. If we see data from open source communities then there are approximately 200K open source projects living out there.

 Whenever there is an involvement of OSS it comes with a hefty list of Legal & Licensing aspects associated with it. The focal point of this article is moving around enterprises and how organizations should see or understand various facets of the open-source culture.

For the sake of simplicity and avoid complex nature, we will not dig much detail on legal aspects around OSS, and those should not be inferred from this article, as there are established communities, groups, organizations, etc. to address such topics.

 We can split this topic into the following two parts:

  • Open Source Software Usage/Consumption Within Enterprises - Publicly available OSS
  • Open Source Software Practices - Within Organization - Privately hosted or available software

Open Source Software Usage/Consumption Within Enterprises - Publicly Available OSS

Licenses & Standards

Looking at the above title it is clear that we are referring to the general definition of publicly available OSS which organizations can utilize for their in-house development. 

To do so enterprise should understand and evaluate various Open Source Licenses & Standards provided by the opensource community.

There is a list of 100+ such as licenses and standards, and it is critical/important to understand the dynamics around such licenses.

Not All Public Projects Are OSS

We can probably find lots of public repository out there, which may seem tempting about the kind of features or functionalities that provides. It is important to understand for organizations that properly governed OSS at the least includes a certain category of open source license. Repositories with proper license definitions are a good place to start to find or choose a particular software for enterprise use.

Open Source Software Practices - Within Organization - Privately Hosted or Available Software

Every organization operates differently and so does internal communities within an organization.

When we are talking about the usage of publicly available OSS usage then at the same it is thought that how our internal communities and team collaboration should mimic the way OSS culture and practices are fostering across the external world. The following are a few of the OSS practices, which can make a huge impact and can move the organization's internal stakeholders towards a software-driven culture. 

Let’s call that "Closed Community - Enterprise OSS".

Building Internal Legal Committees

These internal entities will be responsible groups to lay down and define legal boundaries on sharing and collaborating source code within multiple internal project teams. Defining the internal licensing model on what teams or groups can share across organizations without restriction or limited restriction or no restriction. A few of the major responsibility for these committees will also include reviewing external OSS licensing models & standards.

Welcoming Developers Communities

Bringing all the developers under one roof space from collaborations and sharing perspective. Fostering a culture where multiple developers from different groups/project areas can contribute to cross-domain projects. Responsiveness between internal development communities, open culture towards contribution.

Least Internal Proprietary Practices

Having internal proprietary practices between project teams can lead to a low amount of development efficiencies. It also reduces agility towards SDLC processes.

Bringing OSS practices within organizations can create a motivating environment where cross-functional teams will get an opportunity to work towards a highly agile and productive environment.

Innovative & Product Driven Development Spirit

Multiple cross-functional teams can contribute towards strategic initiatives in such environments where OSS practices will be followed. As it will create great synergies from a diverse set of experiences and knowledge from groups working across different business practices.

There is a lot to talk about and share about how the internals of an organization can move towards a direction that has the potential to change overall direction and inclination of self-centered teams and business units.

Central idea around is to give an understanding or thought on how the OSS principles and practices can even apply to the internal organization for greater benefit and betterment, and how we can move towards a truly collaborative environment to produce technology-driven organizations. 

Topics:
open source, open source adoption, open source application development, open source benefits, open source culture

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