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Working with Open Source Software at Schuberg Philis

by Ben Linders on May 13, 2014 |

At the DevOps Summit in Amsterdam Harm Boertien presented how OSS can help to embed a DevOps culture. He explained how Schuberg Philis shares software/cookbooks inside and outside of the company and showed how this is beneficial for them and brings benefits to the industry as a whole.

Schuberg Philis uses CloudStack open source software and also contributes code that has been developed back to CloudStack. Harm quoted Mark Hinkle on the why of open source software:

Open source developers are setting the standard for the way technology will be developed in the 21th century.

Harm explained why they have chosen to use CloudStack:

  • Best bang for the buck
  • It works (scales, keeps running)
  • Great community
  • All the things that open source could wish for
  • More widespread than known
  • Active committer community

There are 3 developers at Schuberg Philis working with CloudStack and around 100 developers in the CloudStack community. It is natural for developers in the community to help each other, so when you give to the community other developers are more likely to help you. The results of contributing is that you will get things back. When there is a problem you do not always have to solve it yourself, potentially there are 100 developers who can help you solving it.

Enterprises claim that they are do not use open source, but in practice 30% of the tools and code base is open source. The question is not why to do open source, but how to do it, as Harm presented:

  • Don’t be a tourist
  • Work on stuff that matters
  • Create more value then you capture
  • Take the long view
  • Create opportunities for discrete contribution

Harm mentioned the recent problems with Heartbleed. One of the reasons behind the problem is that vendors use OpenSSL as tourists, meaning that they deploy it but are not contributing back to the community. Another reason according to Harm is that Heartbleed does not have a big development group.

Schuberg Philis also shares their open source experience and tooling with their customers, by organizing meetups, workshops, talking with the business, speaking at conferences and sharing their code and cookbooks.

Success factors for making open source software development work are speed, openness, trust, flexibility, and adaptability. As a company you have to embrace it and dare to be vulnerable.

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