We discuss all things open-source, leaving Michael and Joe to hold down the fort while Allen is away, while Joe’s impersonations are spot on and Michael is on a first name basis, assuming he can pronounce it.
This episode of the Coding Blocks podcast is about the people and organizations behind open-source software. We talk about the different incentives behind projects, and their governance to see if we can understand our ecosystem better.
This episode’s show notes can be found at https://www.codingblocks.net/episode150, if you’re reading this via your podcast player.
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You Thought You Knew OSS
Q: What do most developers think about when they think of “open-source” software?
Q: Is the formal definition more important than the general perception?
Formal Definitions of Open-Source opensource.org: Open source software is made by many people and distributed under an OSD-compliant license which grants all the rights to use, study, change, and share the software in modified and unmodified form. Software freedom is essential to enabling community development of open source software. opensource.com: Open source commonly refers to software that uses an open development process and is licensed to include the source code
Q: It seems like most newer projects (with the exception of Vue) are associated with corporations or foundations. When and why did that change?
GitHub Star Distribution
Q: What are the most popular projects? Who were they made for, and why? https://github.com/EvanLi/Github-Ranking
Who uses open-source software? There are a lot of stats and surveys…none greatAll surveys and stats agree that open-source is on the riseYou kinda can’t not use open-source software. Your OS, tools, networking hardware, etc all use copious amounts of open-souce software.
Individuals Many (most) smaller libraries are written and maintained by individual authors, and have few or no contributorsSome large / important libraries have thousands of contributors 10 most contributed GitHub projects in 2019 VS Code has almost 20k contributorsFlutter has 13k contributorsKubernetes and Ansible have around 7k
Q: Why do individuals create open source? What do they get out of it?
Corporations A lot of corporate “open source” that are utilities or tools for working with those companies (ie: Azure SDK)Many open source projects are stewarded by a single company (Confluent, Elastic, MongoDB)Many open source projects listed below are now run by a foundation
Let’s look at some of the most prominent projects that were started by corporations. Note: many of these projects came in through acquisitions, and many have since been donated to foundations.
Microsoft Maybe the biggest? Maybe?.NET, Helm, TypeScript, Postgres, VS Code, NPM, GitHubhttps://opensource.microsoft.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_and_open_source
Google Kubernetes, Angular, Chromium, Android, Go, Dart, Protobuff, TensorFlow, Flutter, Skaffold, Spinnaker, Polymer, Yeomanhttps://opensource.google/projects/explore/featured
Facebook React, PyTorch, GraphQL, RocksDB, Presto, Jest, Fluxhttps://opensource.facebook.com/projects
Amazon Well, lots of toolkits and sdks for AWS…
Oracle Java, MySQLhttps://developer.oracle.com/open-source/
Sometimes a company will either outright own, or otherwise build a business centered around a technology. These companies will typically offer services and support around open-source projects. DataStaxElasticsearchCanonicalMongoDB
Q: Why do corporations publish open-source software? What do they get out of releasing projects?
Foundations Foundations are organizations that own open-source projectsFoundations have many different kinds of governance models, but generally they are responsible for things like… code stewardship (pull requests, versions, planning, contributors, lifecycle, support, certification*)financial support (domains, hosting, marketing, grants)legal issues (including protecting the contributors liability) Most big open-source projects you can think of run under some sort of foundationTypically they are funded by large corporate backersThere are a ton of foundations here. including many “one-offs”: https://opensource.com/resources/organizations ** WordPress Foundation, Python Foundation, Mozilla foundationsFoundations are run in a variety of ways, and for different reasons, some even offer many competing projectshttps://opensource.guide/leadership-and-governance/ ** BDFL – Python, small projects, one person has final say ** “Meritocracy” (not a great term) – Active contributors are given decision making power, voting ** Liberal Contribution: Projects seek concensus rather than a pure vote, strive to be inclusive (Node, Rust)
Apache (1999) Governance: https://www.apache.org/foundation/governance/Org Chart: https://www.apache.org/foundation/governance/orgcharthttps://projects.apache.org/Non-Profit Company, mostly Java, tons of libraries, dataAll volunteer board, 350+ projectsProjectsHTTPD, Kafka, Spark, Flink, Groovy, Avro, Log4…, Maven, ActiveMQ, Lucene, Solr,
Cloud Native Computing Foundation Kubernetes, Helm, Prometheus, FluentD, Linkerd, OpenTracingA whole bunch of others that start with a K
Linux Foundation Linux KernelKubernetes..? Ah, they’re over CNCF, and many, many, many other thingsLet’s Encrypt, NodeJS (through the OpenJs Foundation)
Q: Why do corporations donate projects, why do individuals? Who really owns open-source code?
Resources We Like USA Facts – Our nation, in numbers (usafacts.org)
Tip of the Week Peacock – Subtly change the color of your VS Code workspace. (marketplace.visualstudio.com)SketchUp – 3d model *all* of your projects. (sketchup.com)