Open Source Is Not All Rainbows and Unicorns, Says VMware’s Dirk Hohndel

In an interview with Christine Hall at ITProToday, Dirk Hohndel, VMware's chief open source officer, discussed the “symbiotic relationship” between open source and the enterprise as well as the current state of the open source software industry.

“Open source is a methodology that allows fast innovation,” Hohndel says. And, rather than thinking of it as a technology that has taken over the enterprise, he believes it has fostered a new era of integration. “Today, thanks to open source, we again have integrated infrastructures. A lot of vendors collaborate and compete, but, at the same time, use the same set of API's and the same set of infrastructure components to help them be successful.”

“I think open source has certainly reached a golden age and has penetrated this industry in ways that even the most optimistic early adopters in open source would never have foreseen,” he states. 

The user experience, however, is still a different matter. “When I think about users, I think about my mom or the neighbor who can't get their WiFi set up. I think about the people who aren't tech savvy, and that really is the hurdle that the open source community hasn't cracked,” he says.

So, “it's not all unicorns and rainbows,” he says, noting that other aspects of today's ecosystem are also concerning. For example, “the shift to web development and web delivery of applications kind of undermines the way the open source licenses work.”

Another concern Hohndel sees is that software as an industry is moving from an engineering skill to more of a trade. This trend of viewing the work as an assembly task rather than an engineering one “has a huge impact on some of the core tenets of software engineering–around performance, around security, and around compliance with the open source licenses.” 

Read the complete article at ITProToday.

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