Devopsdays 2019: how convenience is killing open standards - Bernd Erk

Tags: devopsdays

He started his career on Solaris (SUN’s unix OS). A commercial unix. At that time you could also use HPUX or AIX or… All commercial. For fixes, you had to talk to your vendors.

You did have some standards, though. POSIX, for instance, a standard for how a UNIX system should behave. API, some common tools, etc. It allowed common tools to be used, like the GNU tools. This way more and more open source came into the business. Then linux started coming up. They started to run the production webserver on a desktop with suse linux standing under someone’s desk…

A lot was standardized in that time. Standard licenses. Lots of open standards. W3C, IETF, etc. And there’s more open source than ever before!

Note: an API isn’t the same as an open standard.

But… things are changing. More and more code is being run on public clouds instead of on-premise. How balanced is that market? Azure and AWS are the two big ones. Google is also quite big. Those three don’t have a real open standard for their systems. (There’s a bit of work on open standards, but they’re not really used).

Tools like terraform are so popular because they can talk to all those different cloud providers. So terraform is kind-of becoming the standard…

How to deal with open source? And open source on all those cloud providers? New licenses have been made, trying to force people to contribute their changes back.

Open source and standards need support. 80% of open source software is made by commercial companies nowadays. But we have to pay attention to the generic problem.

Convenience is a risk. If you have an iphone, you get a lot of convenience. But when you move to a blackberry, you lose the use of all your app store apps.

Slowness is a risk, too. If you don’t move forward in time, you lose lots of opportunity.

What about pricing? Insulin prices have gone from $67 in 2006 to $285 in 2019. There are only three companies making it. So watch out with having just three big cloud providers. Even more because all three originate from the same country.

Be reasonable. Reason about it. Support variety. Keep it in mind. Demand contribution back to open source.

As an industry, we’re fighting for diversity on the human side. It is also something we should fight for on the technical side.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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