Is COBOL your plan B? and more industry trends

A weekly look at open source community and industry trends.
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As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

Initiative to help train COBOL coders

Despite its age, COBOL is reliable and is still widely used—there's an estimated 220 billion lines of COBOL still in use today. IBM, one of the founding organizations behind COBOL, continues to offer mainframes compatible with the language.

The issue with COBOL now is that there are few programmers left with the skills to maintain legacy COBOL applications. Specifically, state agencies are struggling to find actively working COBOL engineers who can update their unemployment benefit systems to factor in new parameters for unemployment eligibility.

The impact: I'm a writer first and foremost, and the most code I've ever written was under 100 lines of Perl to manage network config. Part of me is wondering how hard it could possibly be to pick up enough COBOL to be attractive to a bank? Always good to have a plan B, right?

Open source made the cloud in its image

Cloud is impossible without the economics of free and open source software, but cloud is arguably even more impossible—at least, in the way we experience it today—without the freedoms and design principles offered by open source. Erica Brescia makes this point perfectly.

The impact: I think it would be wrong to argue that anything but the economics of open source led to its ubiquity. John Mark Walker makes this point perfectly.

What's next for Open Infrastructure and the OpenStack Foundation

A couple of years ago, our community recognized that we had something special at OSF: a successful approach to helping software communities thrive and grow, an approach that was worth replicating. At the same time, we recognized that the best way to support open infrastructure was to expand our contributions to a broader ecosystem of open source projects.

We developed a formal model for project support that includes (1) accepting pilot projects to nurture and (2) confirming for long-term support those projects that demonstrate progress and our community’s core values (Four Opens). Using this model, we have confirmed three new open infrastructure projects to complement OpenStack in powering the world’s open infrastructure: Kata Containers, Airship and Zuul. Those are in addition to active growth in the StarlingX community. In 2020, our goal is to create more documentation around this model.

The impact: I think it is important to have more than one viable open source foundation to keep them all honest and innovative. The public soul searching done by the OpenStack Foundation over the last couple of years has demonstrated the power of discovering a clear vision, mission, and framework of action by which to achieve them.

Fluentd project journey report

Fluentd is an open source data collector that unifies data collection and consumption for better use and understanding. Developed by Treasure Data in 2011, Fluentd was created to solve log/data collection and distribution needs at scale, offering a comprehensive and reliable service that can be implemented in conjunction with microservices and generic cloud monitoring tools.

This report attempts to objectively assess the state of the Fluentd project and how CNCF has impacted the progress and growth of Fluentd. 

The impact: I love these reports, and would like to see more companies producing similar. Congrats to all those involved in the Fluentd project.

I hope you enjoyed this list and come back next week for more open source community, market, and industry trends.

Tim Hildred stands with arms crossed.
I'm Tim. I like to write about how technology affects people, and vice versa. I’m constantly engaging with the news, tech, and culture with an eye to building the best possible sci-fi future.

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