What the evolution of open source can teach

Tech February 04, 2014 00:00

By Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen

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As technology continues to become more of a commodity, the standardisation of networks can help spur more rapid innovation.

We have seen how the adoption of open source and business analytics could provide added business value to the private sector, and how the public sector can do the same to help drive efficiency and streamline processes, as well.
In this article, we will summarise a few ideas on where open-source technology is headed, the trends we are witnessing in the public sector, which are reflected in the private sector as well, and finally the predictions for 2014.
Open source becomes ubiquitous 
Over the past 10 to 15 years, open-source technology has become more ubiquitous. Commercial offerings such as Amazon Web Services and Google built their infrastructures on open-source technology, and a growing number of companies such as mobile and embedded companies are increasing their investments in Linux.
Working with and not against mandates
It is unquestionable that governments work differently from enterprises. For governments or public agencies, it has long been a mandate to share best practices and processes, and in recent times, to work towards a transparent government with the approach of sharing and making data open to citizens. This push for government transparency and this collaboration align naturally with open-source technology.
Learning is a two-way street
The government can learn a number of things from private enterprises, especially about the proven characteristics of open-source technology, which makes it viable for businesses. 
Stock exchanges, global financial institutions, media and entertainment companies, and telcos are but a few examples of enterprises that have leveraged open-source technology to achieve better scalability, reliability, agility and security for their unique business needs. 
What the private sector can learn from public agencies, on the other hand, is the openness to collaborate and contribute to communities. 
One example of this collaboration is SELinux, which was initiated in early projects by the US government and subsequently shared with the open-source community. 
In Asia-Pacific, adoption of open-source technology in the public sector is still developing. In fact, Red Hat recently tied up with Singapore’s government to push for the use of open source in developing data-analytics application. This memorandum of understanding aims to help accelerate innovation and drive the adoption of business analytics with open-source solutions.
Looking to the rest of 2014
What we are seeing here is a future that has never been so open. Open source has become mainstream, and it is where innovation is stemming from. From industries, organisations and partners through to customers, they are bridging the innovation gap using open-source standards, resulting in open development processes, interoperability, sharable resources, portable services and unified management. 
It has become prevalent throughout the region, and it presents a two-way learning street between the public, private and people sectors. 
Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen is senior vice president and general manager of Red Hat Asia Pacific.