The ultimate guide to contributing to open source, an unparallelled reliance on Linux, 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.

How to Contribute to Open Source: The Ultimate Guide

“The biggest challenge for most people is that they don’t identify their areas of interest and where they can help us. They come to the project and ask, ‘How can I help?’” he said. “Instead, they could say, ‘This is the skill set I’d like to achieve.’ For example, ‘I’d like to develop some specific functionality for this piece of the project.’”

The impact: Saying "I want to contribute to open source" is a bit like saying "I want to work in the not-for-profit sector". Open source is a means to an end, and there is almost certainly a project working toward the end you care about that could use the skills you have.

Vulnerability Scoring Struggles to Remain Viable in the Era of Cloud Native Computing

To this claim, Danen said, “It was designed to indicate the severity of a flaw relative to other flaws. Nowhere will you see it described, by FIRST who created it, as a means of assessing risk. So yes, reliable to describe the mechanics of a vulnerability, but wholly inadequate to describe the risk of the vulnerability to a particular organization or environment.”

The impact: Using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) classification systems for vulnerabilities is becoming more difficult. Non-experts will usually use a number that describes something in the easiest possible way. The challenge is for experts is to make sure that the easiest possible way is also the right way.

The rise of parallel serverless compute

So why isn’t everything fast, amazing, and running this way already? One of the challenging parts about this today is that most software is designed to run on single machines, and parallelization may be limited to the number of machine cores or threads available locally. Because this architecture & “serverless compute” is so new (cough cough 2014), most software is not designed to leverage this approach. I see this changing in the future as more become aware of this approach.

The impact: It is actually hard to think scalably and takes a lot of practice to mentally understand what can be done alongside other things and what has to be done sequentially.

From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX

Ordinary? Yes, ordinary. You see, spacecraft CPUs are far from the newest and greatest. They're developed for spacecraft, which takes years -- even decades -- to go from the drafting board to launch. For example, the International Space Station (ISS) runs on 1988-vintage 20 MHz Intel 80386SX CPUs. We don't know, however, what chips the Falcon 9 uses. Chances are, though, their design is at least a decade older than what you'd buy at a Best Buy now. 

The impact: If your time horizon is measured in decades, there is a good chance Linux is your best option for a stable operating system.

Why the Success of Edge Computing Relies on a Linux Legacy

For edge computing innovation, we need to be thinking more about how we create sustainable solutions and technologies given how many deployments will require a longer life cycle and are more tightly bound to hardware and equipment refreshes. The path of innovation leads from Linux to and through the network edge. Companies that follow this approach will be better positioned to leverage the promise and power of the edge while avoiding fragmentation and lock-in.

The impact: Edge devices can't (shouldn't?) be ephemeral; to get the value we're promised by cheap, always on, always monitoring, always streaming devices they really need to be reliable over time. Linux = sustainability.

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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