Open Source Open for Business

Summary

I read this article because I am co-oping at Deloitte’s 30 Rockefeller Head Quarters this summer. I thought reading this would be a great way to learn about open source at Deloitte. 

Why should you read this article?

This article offers insight as to what large companies are spending money on. For example, Deloitte and Datawheel created a joint research effort called Open Source Compass, and provided statistics from the research they conducted. 

Another benefit of this article is that it examines ideas rarely discussed in open source communities (OSC). Specifically, the authors note how contributing to OSCs can increase productivity, growth, knowledge and security. However, this is weird because many older companies–particularly those involved with finance and legal work–focus on profits and secrecy. Since profits drive the economy, it is interesting that a large company like Deloitte would endorse OSS and contributing to OSCs. In addition, the authors describe how OSS is beneficial for auditing because all the code is publicly available. 

Lastly, Deloitte acknowledges that participating in OSCs provides junior developers with opportunities to “read code written by more experienced codes and highly creative pioneers.” Although this benefit is acknowledged by universities and OSCs, it is rare to see large companies recommending OSS for junior developers to gain experience. Again, this surprising is because older private companies tend to favor proprietary software. 

Critiques

The authors mention companies contributing to OSS, but do not provide examples of companies contributing. The authors state that “for technology capabilities at the core of strategic differentiation, a healthy reluctance to depend on–let alone share expertise with–anyone outside the organization’s direct control is in order.” Although that notion makes sense, the authors do not provide examples of companies contributing to OSS. This conveys that a company’s “core of strategic differentiation” consists of all of its internally developed software. In other words, all internally developed code gives companies a competitive edge, and therefore, should not be shared.

Questions

  1. Why do the authors claim that it is beneficial for companies to contribute to OSS without providing any examples?
  2. Does Deloitte contribute to the OSS they use? If so, how? 

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