Open source lives in polyglot programming

The prominence and pervasiveness of open source software in cloud computing is something I’ve researched and written about quite a bit. I’ve also discussed how open source software is a key component and catalyst for the devops trend that blends application development and deployment via IT operations. Now I’m seeing the same effect from open source software yet again in a disruptive trend: polyglot programming.

An upcoming report on polyglot programming by 451 Research will more deeply explore these drivers and impacts, including the role of open source software.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Big business better use open source

There was a recent skirmish about open source software in the enterprise regarding a contention that open source is not really used by big business, which was refuted, naturally, by open source vendors. Nevertheless, my experience among not only vendors, but also investors and particularly large enterprise end users, is that open source is typically atop the list of priorities, strategies and options. Granted, I’m an analyst working primarily covering open source software in the enterprise, but I have many conversations with non-open source companies, and the end users with which I speak are focused on open source among many other things.

I wrote about big companies using open source last year, and today I find that most companies, whatever vertical or industry, are leveraging open source software in one way or another, whether infrastructure software and operating systems such as Linux, middleware where we see Apache Tomcat and Red Hat JBoss going strong or applications, where every category has open source options, and most categories have paid, commercial open source options.

I am currently repeating a theme that I came up with when economic conditions were growing the use of open source, including paid use, mission-critical use, production use and, yes, big business use. The theme is this: a few years ago, enterprise organizations might say they were not using open source or did not want to use open source for this reason or that reason, and it was probably accepted as somewhat reasonable. Flash forward to today, and the commercial support and credibility of open source have evolved amid a drive toward open source alternatives from economic conditions. Thus, to say that an organization avoids or bans open source software today is tantamount to saying that organization does not save money, does not do things efficiently and is not progressive. There may be those who continue to believe that the use of open source is still relegated to geeky development or IT operations teams, or that it is limited to test and dev projects, but it has already made inroads into production. Whether the leadership of big business knows it or not may be another matter.

Nagios fork – commercial growing pains, commercial interests

Open source eyes are watching the latest fork, this time Icinga, a new offshoot of the widely-used open source monitoring software Nagios. The fork and its impetus appear to center on a community desire for faster, wider, more open development, but it seems there may indeed be another prong to this fork.

Netways, a German company that supports and contributes to Nagios, is among those behind Icinga. As the new project team’s site indicates, ‘This team currently consists of members of the previous Nagios community advisory board, developers of numerous Nagios extensions and Netways, the organiser of the Conference on Nagios and provider of the NagiosExchange platform.’ Although it is certainly natural and even beneficial to have some commercial backing of a fork, the extent to which this represents Netways’ efforts to establish itself as the German company and community for Nagios seems unclear. I would also add that this is the only reference from Icinga on Netways, other than the team page which highlights three of seven founding members working on Netways-related projects with Nagios. Again, it is good to see vendor involvement, participation and support and Netways has contributed positively to the Nagios community, but there has also been some bad blood between Netways and Nagios Enterprises, the bootstrapped, commercial company based on Nagios and founded by the software’s creator, Ethan Galstad. The dispute centers on trademark issues, both honoring the Nagios U.S. trademark and Netware’s successful move to secure a German trademark for Nagios.

This dispute, along with some perspective on what it all means, is summed up rather objectively and well by Nagios developer Andreas Ericsson here.

While it seems the Icinga fork may have some commercial influences of its own, there is truly a bottleneck issue with the Nagios project, which admittedly was never originally intended for the large, enterprise environments it monitors today. The so-called bottleneck himself, Nagios creator Ethan Galstad, acknowledged there have been holdups in the software’s progress because of his position as sole code gatekeeper. The good news is that Galstad, as well as Ericsson, have recognized the need to change things and plan to do so. I expect we’ll be hearing about some changes in procedures and roles in the Nagios development community shortly. Ericsson has hopes the revamping may bring back the Icinga contributors. While I find this unlikely, I still think the Icinga fork has already served a valid purpose as a form of open source discipline that is forcing project leaders to listen to the community and assess things. I also liken this to Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux, which didn’t hurt Red Hat as much as serve as a necessary check on Red Hat’s Linux business, which was improved with speeded and sharpened support in response.

In the end, the Nagios fork shows how there are certainly growing pains when taking an open source project to widespread enterprise use and business. It also shows that commercial interests are playing a more prominent role, even from the point of inception, in open source software projects and, yes, forks.