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FINOS Joins the Linux Foundation

Introduction

This week we are excited to announce that FINOS, the Fintech Open Source Foundation, is joining our Linux Foundation community of projects. With critical financial services projects under its stewardship, FINOS has become the hub for open collaboration in the financial services industry. FINOS serves similar needs to other vertical industry communities at the Linux Foundation, such as the Academy Software Foundation focused on the motion picture industry, Automotive Grade Linux focused on the automotive industry, and others. With FINOS at the LF, we are excited for the many cross community collaboration opportunities. 

What is FINOS and What Challenges is it Helping Financial Services Firms Address?

FINOS’  purpose is to accelerate collaboration and innovation in financial services technology through the adoption of open source software, standards and best practices.

FINOS is composed of over 30 member organizations, developing software and standards for data and data technologies, cloud services, financial desktop applications, and more. It is unique among open source foundations in that it is an open community for financial services and fintech firms to address unique industry challenges, as opposed to being horizontal across industries.

Financial services firms face unique obstacles to open source collaboration, including legal & regulatory concerns, internal policies, cultural friction, and heavily restricted technology environments. FINOS is a path to working outside corporate boundaries with others in the industry that are trying to solve the same problems.

In order to more efficiently leverage open source, FINOS supports its members every step of the way starting with its Open Source Readiness Project, providing guidance and tools for financial services participants new to open source. 

In addition to providing reference guides and policy templates that financial organizations may use in adopting open source software, FINOS provides tools that include frameworks and underlying shared code for creating the foundational backbone & infrastructure, middleware, data and application layers for open source financial applications. 

To assist in the consumption of these tools, FINOS also runs regular readiness meetings to help financial services organizations discuss common challenges, share successful experiences and more broadly prepare for the adoption of open source software.

Why Does the Financial Services Industry Need Open Source Software and Organizations Such as FINOS? 

As with other vertical industries, the financial services industry can realize the same benefits by adopting open source technologies. This is achieved by reducing overall total cost of ownership by sharing the development of common software components and underlying technology infrastructure through mutualization — this allows financial services and fintech firms to quicken their time to market for their services and product offerings and improve overall software quality. 

Having a broader pool of developers working on open source financial software enables financial services companies to attract and retain talent from a larger pool. Embracing open source software also allows IT stakeholders and decision-makers in financial services organizations to de-risk software investments by reducing vendor lock-in, and fostering internal and external re-use of software components. 

Additionally, open software and open standards can dramatically simplify workflow integration and improve interoperability between financial institutions, counterparties, and even regulators. This increases firms’ ability to meet rapidly changing client and regulatory needs more quickly and seamlessly.. Ultimately, FINOS seeks to create a “build once” approach to many aspects of financial technology solutions and leverages its community experts and active board-level engagement  from a wide range of prominent leaders within finance. 

Finally, it enables financial and technology firms working in this space to learn about high-value and industry-wide business challenges that can inform and validate product and project roadmaps.

FINOS Project Highlights

The value of FINOS is expressed through its many programs and services, which include, but are not exclusive to these open source software and open standardization projects:

The FINOS open source software project landscape. Image Credit: FINOS

The FINOS open source software project landscape. Image Credit: FINOS

FDC3: Launched in 2017 by OpenFin in collaboration with major industry participants, FDC3’s mission is to develop specific protocols and taxonomies to advance the ability of desktop applications in financial workflows to operate in a plug and play fashion, without prior bilateral agreements. Under the neutral FINOS umbrella, and now the Linux Foundation, FDC3 is now widely adopted and has received contributions from several banks, buy-side firms, consultancies, and financial technology vendors.

A sample FDC3 application.

A sample FDC3 application. Image Credit: FINOS

Plexus: Contributed to FINOS in 2017 by Deutsche Bank and developed in the open as part of its production Autobahn platform, Plexus defines an open standard for desktop application interoperability with a container-agnostic reference implementation. This enables seamless workflows between independent apps developed by different organizations in different technologies. The project aims to be a fully documented open standard and open source platform designed to connect thousands of different applications from across the financial services industry, enabling banks’ and clients’ systems to talk to each other. 

Perspective: Initially developed by JP Morgan’s trading business, Perspective is an interactive Web Assembly based data streaming and visualization component for large, real-time datasets. It comes with a suite of simple context-aware visual plugins for D3FC and Hypergrid, an integration with Jupyterlab, and runtime modules for the browser, Python, and Node.js. Perspective is a mature, production-ready library with a highly engaged community that is now increasingly used in production environments and is contributed to by FINOS institutional member organizations.

A sample Perspective application.

A sample Perspective application. Image Credit: FINOS

Alloy: Set to be contributed to FINOS by Goldman Sachs later in 2020, the Alloy workbench and the underpinning Pure language offer an advanced modeling environment to explore, define, connect and integrate data into financial business processes. Although it can help firms address internal challenges the greater benefit comes from the huge potential for the industry to share, collaborate and standardize on common data models for trading, instrumentation, regulatory reporting and more. A pilot is currently ongoing among major banks and documentation is available at alloy.finos.org.

Cloud Service Certification: Originally contributed to FINOS by JP Morgan who was working internally on building infrastructure as code controls to meet its own cloud deployment regulatory requirements, the Cloud Service Certification was created with the rationale that most banks were undergoing similar efforts — thus the benefits of mutualization could be extended to not only technology implementation, but also on regulatory interpretation, as well. The overall goal of the project is to build commonly interpreted BDD-style tests to verify regulatory compliance of cloud services for Cloud Service Providers (CSP) in order to build test implementations that can be used to prove the regulatory worthiness of cloud services on an ongoing basis. Several firms involved in the Cloud Service Certification include JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Red Hat, Wipro and ScottLogic, and FINOS is actively recruiting new banks and vendors to participate.

Waltz: Developed by Khartec Ltd and FINOS Platinum Member, Deutsche Bank, Waltz was created to help large organizations understand their application environment in a consistent, well-documented, easily digestible format, and to address complex enterprise architecture data organizational issues often encountered in their overall technology landscape. Waltz shows where applications reside, what they do, and how they are connected. Waltz has been used to assist with key performance metrics, data lineage, regulatory responses, and application rationalization/migration programs. 

A sample Waltz data model for a large enterprise environment

A sample Waltz data model for a large enterprise environment. Image Credit: FINOS

Why is FINOS Joining the Linux Foundation?

FINOS has grown significantly in the last two years, bringing greater awareness of open source to the financial services industry and in turn increasing the level of collaboration amongst industry participants. Joining the Linux Foundation will help FINOS accelerate this engagement even more. With common core values and highly compatible systems of governance FINOS will be able to take advantage of increased scalability and mutualization that only being part of a much larger foundation can provide, particularly through the Linux Foundation’s extensive support program offerings including but not limited to training, certification and events management. 

As with the Linux Foundation which acts as a neutral party for open source projects of all types, FINOS provides a neutral space for fintech firms to build open solutions with its projects and platforms in a neutral forum. At the Linux Foundation, FINOS will be able to continue sponsoring projects with strong disruption potential in a traditionally locked-in and proprietary industry, and will continue to permit frictionless engagement between financial services developers who are actively contributing to FINOS in full compliance. 

FINOS currently uses a governance by contribution model which enables them to be operated transparently and independently under the oversight and steering of its board of directors. This is in direct alignment with the Linux Foundation’s “do-ocracy” model where responsibilities are attached to people who do the work rather than elected or selected by some identified decision-maker. Likewise, the Linux Foundation’s projects also operate transparently and independently, and each community develops its own operational guidelines that serve to create a working technical collaboration. 

As with the Linux Foundation, FINOS has projects that are organized into thematic programs which provide easy discoverability, and federated governance over its community. 

FINOS already hosts over a hundred collaborative projects that are contributed to by its members, external companies and individuals. 

As its communities continue to scale, FINOS will need additional support staff and the abilities of an experienced, larger umbrella organization to help it achieve its goals. The toolsets and procedures, fundraising support, and overall entity management which FINOS will inherit as a result of joining the umbrella of the Linux Foundation will help them continue to scale their programmatic efforts for many years to come.

“In less than two years FINOS has become the go-to foundation for open source collaboration in financial services. With this sector’s focus on technology-driven solutions, we feel the time is right to bring our two communities together to enable the next stage of innovation for our projects,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with Gab, the FINOS team and its members as we together chart the future of global financial services collaboration.”

“FINOS has achieved tremendous growth across our project portfolio thanks to our 35 members and wider community,” explained Gabriele Columbro. “The FINOS community’s passion and dedication to applying open source practices to address concrete, pressing topics — in areas such as cloud computing, financial modeling, desktop interoperability, messaging, tooling, and data technology — has established the transformative potential of open source within financial services. We are thrilled to join forces with the Linux Foundation to accelerate this growth and welcome an even more diverse set of members and projects under the FINOS umbrella.”

SAP has established an open source program office to further its open source activities and expand its engagement with the open source communities.

SAP has been working with open source for decades and has now established an open source program office (OSPO) to further formalize the coordination of its open source activities and expand its engagement with the open source communities. “SAP was one of the first industry players to formally define processes for open source consumption and contribution,” says Peter Giese, director of the Open Source Program Office.

Even so, many people do not yet consider SAP to be a company that embraces open source engagement and contributions.

“In the past, we may not have been active enough in sharing our open source activities,” says Giese.

Now, SAP is shining a spotlight on its work in open source. Transparency is an essential part of the new open source mandate, beginning with an explanation of what the company has been up to and where it is headed with open source.

How SAP came to adopt open source

“In 1998, SAP started to port the R/3 system, our market-leading ERP system, to Linux,” says Giese. “That was an important milestone for establishing Linux in the enterprise software market.”

Porting a system to Linux was just a first step, and a successful one. The action spurred an internal discussion and exploration of how and where to adopt Linux going forward.

“We came to the conclusion that Linux would become a major force,” Giese says. “Today that’s obvious, but at the time it was not as obvious to everybody. That’s when we started our endeavors into open source.”

In 2001, SAP formally defined and internally documented its process for open source consumption, and the company committed to using inbound open source projects to build SAP products. There were lots of details to attend to, such as open source licensing, security, and export control restrictions.

By 2004, SAP already had information on the specifications exchange with other companies and was one of the founding members of the Eclipse Foundation. From then onwards, SAP developers actively contributed to several Eclipse projects, including JGit, EGit, Mat, Tycho and Che.

However, it wasn’t until 2008 that SAP started to actively promote open source contributions from SAP employees on a company-wide basis. That was also the year when the company rolled out its outbound open source process. “We had a set of guidelines and rules for what SAP teams had to do in order to share their work with the open source community,” explains Giese.

In 2010, SAP integrated open source tools further into its development processes. “We moved to a higher level of compliance by introducing systematic open source code scanning as part of our standard development processes,” says Giese. “That means we started to systematically scan open source code for license compliance and security issues.”

In 2014, SAP shared with the open source community a tool called CLA assistant which was developed for managing open source contributor license agreements.

Even though these activities and projects were very successful, there was a growing need for more central coordination of SAP’s open source activities.

“We had several teams that took care of specific aspects of open source, such as security scanning, license scanning, and building our own open source tooling. But there was no dedicated function or role with the overall responsibility for everything open source at SAP,” says Giese. “That has changed now, and SAP’s chief technology officer is responsible for open source at SAP.”

SAP and open source today

The new central Open Source Program Office was established in early 2018.

“We wanted to be more active and visible in our interactions with our outside customers and partners, and with open source foundations and other open source communities,” says Giese. “That’s why we also joined the TODO Group last year to share experiences, jointly develop best practices, and work on common tooling.”

Giese points out that the company’s investments and contributions to open source are substantial, yet they still come as a surprise to many people.

“For example, in February 2018, Fil Maj from Adobe published a worldwide ranking of companies, with their total number of their employees actively contributing to open source projects on GitHub, and SAP ranked at number seven”, says Giese. “There are, of course, different ways to create such statistics, but it gives you an idea of SAP’s role as a contributor. Maybe we’re one of open source’s best kept secrets.”

SAP prefers not to be a secret any longer and is stepping up its open source game in more visible ways. “We’re going to participate in more of the open source community conferences, such as Open Source Summit, OSCON, FOSDEM, EclipseCon, KubeCon, and so on” says Giese. SAP’s climb to higher visibility is a sign of its continued commitment to excellence in open source, and the company aims to form more partnerships and spur accelerated innovations.

One recent example of SAP’s innovative open source projects is Gardener, a solution for Kubernetes clusters as a service, as listed in the CNCF Cloud Native Landscape. It enables the management of a large number of Kubernetes clusters and the reuse of Kubernetes primitives in its core architecture.

Another newly open-sourced SAP project is Kyma, a flexible and easy way to connect and extend enterprise applications in a cloud native world.

SAP is actively encouraging companies and other developers to codevelop and cooperate on projects such as Gardener and Kyma.

“This type of co-innovation, for me, is the most compelling aspect about the whole open source movement,” says Giese.

Learn more about prominent SAP projects on their open source page.

How SAP’s open source office works

SAP formed its Open Source Program Office as a virtual team consisting of several teams from different board areas.

“We are working in scrum mode, which is a software development methodology. It has advantages in driving an open source program office,” says Michael Picht, chief development architect in OSPO. “You work in sprints in scrum, and this means you’re forced to break down your tasks into smaller pieces.”

“The scrum methodology propagates cross-functional teams, and that’s what our OSPO is. We have colleagues from across the company in there. Scrum facilitates the work in such a setup. It sounds strange to some people when they hear we work in scrum mode, but in our case, it is working quite well.”

Picht says that “breaking large jobs down into smaller chunks and working in four-week sprints makes challenging and long-running tasks easier to master. It does require some training, however, to make sure all team members are comfortable with the method.”

The office’s mission is to nurture and support the open source approach to software development – inside and outside SAP. Consequently, for employees who want to contribute to open source projects in their spare time outside of the company context, SAP has simplified the clearance process dramatically. “We have provided a few simple rules and as long as you adhere to these you can directly start to work on open source projects in your spare time,” says Giese.

The company is also redesigning its corporate open source contribution process to make it even more efficient. The goal is to shift from policing developers to enabling them through simpler forms, automation of process steps, and support team services.

For the open source community, to advance open source best practices and tooling, SAP recently contributed it’s open source vulnerability assessment tool, which supports any software development organization in assessing security vulnerabilities of open-source components in their application development.

SAP’s open source program office will continue to look for ways to speed up and improve processes, and to support developers, partners, and open source communities.

“This will never end, this will always go on, so we always want to find new ways to improve open source processes and tools further,” says Picht.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Peter Giese, director of SAP’s Open Source Program Office and Michael Picht, chief development architect, for their time in contributions to this case study. We would also like to thank Pam Baker for taking the time to conduct interviews at the Open Source Program Office.

SAP is an active member of the Linux Foundation and LF projects including Cloud Foundry Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Hyperledger, ODPi, OpenAPI Initiative, and TODO Group.

The Linux Foundation offers an abundance of resources to help you achieve success with open source.

At organizations everywhere, managing the use of open source software well requires the participation of business executives, the legal team, software architecture, software development and maintenance staff and product managers. One of the most significant challenges is integrating all of these functions with their very different points of view into a coherent and efficient set of practices.

More than ever, it makes sense to investigate the many free and inexpensive resources for open source management that are available, and observe the practices of professional open source offices that have been launched within companies ranging from Microsoft to Oath to Red Hat.

Fundamentals

The Linux Foundation’s Fundamentals of Professional Open Source Management (LFC210) course is a good place to start. The course is explicitly designed to help individuals in disparate organizational roles understand the best practices for success.

The course is organized around the key phases of developing a professional open source management program:

  • Open Source Software and Open Source Management Basics
  • Open Source Management Strategy
  • Open Source Policy
  • Open Source Processes
  • Open Source Management Program Implementation

Best Practices

The Linux Foundation also offers a free ebook on open source management: Enterprise Open Source: A Practical Introduction. The 45-page ebook can teach you how to accelerate your company’s open source efforts, based on the experience of hundreds of companies spanning more than two decades of professional enterprise open source management. The ebook covers:

  • Why use open source
  • Various open source business models
  • How to develop your own open source strategy
  • Important open source workflow practices
  • Tools and integration

Official open source programs play an increasingly significant role in how DevOps and open source best practices are adopted by organizations, according to a survey conducted by The New Stack and The Linux Foundation (via the TODO Group). More than half of respondents to the survey (53 percent) across many industries said their organization has an open source software program or has plans to establish one.

More than anything, open source programs are responsible for fostering open source culture,” the survey’s authors have reported. “By creating an open source culture, companies with open source programs see the benefits we’ve previously reported, including increased speed and agility in the development cycle, better license compliance and more awareness of which open source projects a company’s products depend on.”

Free Guides

How can your organization professionally create and manage a successful open source program, with proper policies and a strong organizational structure? The Linux Foundation offers a complete guide to the process, available here for free. The guide covers an array of topics for open source offices including: roles and responsibilities, corporate structures, elements of an open source management program, how to choose and hire an open source program manager, and more.

The free guide also features contributions from open source leaders. “The open source program office is an essential part of any modern company with a reasonably ambitious plan to influence various sectors of software ecosystems,” notes John Mark Walker, Founder of the Open Source Entrepreneur Network (OSEN) in the guide. “If a company wants to increase its influence, clarify its open source messaging, maximize the clout of its projects, or increase the efficiency of its product development, a multifaceted approach to open source programs is essential.”  

Interested in even more on professional open source management? Don’t miss The Linux Foundation’s other free guides, which delve into tools for open source management, how to measure the success of an open source program, and much more.

Open Source Compliance

This fully updated ebook provides detailed information on issues related to the licensing, development, and reuse of open source software.The Linux Foundation has released the second edition of Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise by Ibrahim Haddad, which offers organizations a practical guide to using open source code and participating in open source communities while complying with both the spirit and the letter of open source licensing.

This fully updated ebook — with new contributions from Shane Coughlan and Kate Stewart — provides detailed information on issues related to the licensing, development, and reuse of open source software. The new edition also includes all new chapters on OpenChain, which focuses on increasing open source compliance in the supply chain, and SPDX, which is a set of standard formats for communicating the components, licenses, and copyrights of software packages.

“Open source compliance is the process by which users, integrators, and developers of open source observe copyright notices and satisfy license obligations for their open source software components,” Haddad states in the book.

This 200+ page book encompasses the entire process of open source compliance, including an introduction on how to establish an open source management program, a description of relevant roles and responsibilities, an overview of common compliance tools and processes, and all new material to help navigate mergers and acquisitions. It offers proven best practices as well as practical checklists to help those responsible for compliance activities create their own processes and policies.

Essential topics covered in this updated ebook include:

  • An introduction to open source compliance
  • Compliance roles and responsibilities
  • Building a compliance program
  • Best practices in compliance management
  • Source code scanning tools

To learn more about the benefits of open source compliance and how to achieve it, download the free ebook today!

As operators continue to experience growing demands on their networks in the lead up to 5G, the need for high-bandwidth, flat, and super high-speed Optical Transport Networks (OTNs) is greater than ever. Combined with an increasingly global market, there is a clear need for service providers to work across international boundaries and provide end-to-end services for their customers that is carrier and geographic-agnostic.

Enter the Cross-domain, Cross-layer VPN (CCVPN) use case, coming with the next ONAP release, Casablanca (due in late 2018). Piloted by Linux Foundation Platinum members China Mobile, Vodafone and Huawei — with contributions from a handful of other vendors — in response to evolving market needs, CCVPN enables code that will allow ONAP to  automate and orchestrate cloud-enabled, software-defined VPN services across network operator borders.  This means that operators will be able to provision a VPN service that cross international borders by accessing and orchestrating resources on other carrier networks.

The use case was demonstrated on-stage at Open Networking Summit Europe and includes two ONAP instances: one deployed by China Mobile and one deployed by Vodafone. Both instances orchestrate the respective operator underlay OTNs networks, overlay SD-WAN networks and leverage each others networks for for cross-operator VPN service delivery.

In addition to provisioning cross-domain, cross-layer VPN, this effort represents true collaboration to solve industry challenges. By combining forces, developers from different companies are continuing to work together and with the community to refine features to fully enable CCVPN as part of the Casablanca release. To learn more about ONAP, please visit www.onap.org; more details on the CCVPN project are available on the project Wiki page here. Blog posts from Huawei and Vodafone  are also available for additional information.

open source event

Don’t miss Open Source Summit & ELC + OpenIoT Summit Europe, October 22 – 24 in Edinburgh.

See why you need to be at Open Source Summit Europe and Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit Europe next month! Hurry — space is going quickly. Secure your spot and register by September 22 to save $150.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons you’ll want to be at this event:

  1. Timely Cutting-edge Content: 300+ sessions on Linux development, embedded Linux systems, IoT, cloud native development, cloud infrastructure, AI, blockchain and open source program management & community leadership.
  2. Deep Dive Labs & Tutorials: An Introduction to Linux Control Groups (cgroups),  Building Kubernetes Native Apps with the Operator Framework, Resilient and Fast Persistent Container Storage Leveraging Linux’s Storage Functionalities,  and 10 Years of Linux Containers, are just some of the labs and tutorials included in one low registration price.
  3. 12 Co-located Events*: Come for OSS & ELC + OpenIoT Summit and stay for LF Energy Summit, Linux Security Summit, Cloud & Container Embedded Apprentice Linux Engineer tutorials, IoT Apprentice Linux Engineer tutorials, Hyperledger Scotland Meetup, Linux in Safety-Critical Systems Summit, and many more co-located events.  (*Some co-located events may require an additional registration fee.)
  4. Discover New Projects & Technologies: Over 30 sponsors will be showcasing new projects and technologies in the Sponsor Showcase throughout the event, joined by our Technical Showcase at the Onsite Attendee reception showcasing Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects from system developers and hardware makers.
  5. Social Activities & Evening Events: Take a break and go on a sightseeing bus tour, join the 5K fun run or morning meditation, and meet with fellow attendees through the networking app. Collaborate with fellow attendees at the attendee reception at the National Museum of Scotland and at the Onsite Attendee Reception & Sponsor + Technical Showcase.
  6. Diversity Empowerment Summit: Explore ways to advance diversity and inclusion in the community and across the technology industry.
  7. Women in Open Source Lunch &  Better Together Diversity Social: Women and non-binary members of the open source community are invited to network with each other at the lunch sponsored by Adobe, while all underrepresented minorities are welcome to attend the at the Better Together Diversity Social.
  8. Developer & Hallway Track Lounge: The highlight for many at this event is the ability to collaborate with the open source community. This dedicated lounge offers a space for developers to hack and collaborate throughout the event as well as plenty of seating for hallway track discussions.
  9. Networking Opportunities: Attend the Speed Networking & Mentoring event, OS Career Mixer, or use the networking app to expand your open source community connections by finding and meeting with attendees with similar interests.
  10. Hear from the Leading Technologists in Open Source: Keynote talks include a Linux Kernel update, a fireside chat with Linus Torvalds & Dirk Hohndel, a look at the future of AI and Deep Learning, a panel discussion on the future of energy with open source, a discussion on diversity & inclusion, a talk on the parallels between open source & video games, and insightful talks on how open source is changing banking, human rights and scientific collaboration

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Last chance to attend Open Source Summit in Vancouver. Register now!

See who’s attending Open Source Summit in Vancouver and choose your OSS conference experience.

Open Source Summit is right around the corner! Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from industry experts on the latest in open source. From keynotes by Van Jones (CNN Contributor & Best Selling Author) and Window Snyder (Security Expert) to 250+ sessions featuring groundbreaking technologies and project updates, led by speakers from companies such as Google, Uber, Facebook, and Red Hat — Open Source Summit is the opportunity for you to learn how open source is shaping innovation, and how to best navigate the open source landscape.

Join 2,000 of your open source peers to make new connections, collaborate and share ideas, grow your technical skills, and much more!

See Who’s Attending:

Choose the Open Source Summit experience package that fits your needs — Hall Pass or Full Attendee Pass.

Choose the Open Source Summit experience package that fits your needs — Hall Pass or Full Attendee Pass.

Sign up to receive updates on Open Source Summit:

 Register now to secure your spot.

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open source

Guy Martin, Director, Open@Autodesk, explains how Autodesk consumes and contributes to open source.

Companies today can’t get away with not using open source, says Guy Martin, Director, Open@Autodesk, who recently sat down with us for a deep dive into Autodesk’s engagement with and contributions to the open source community.

Guy Martin

Guy Martin, Director, Open@Autodesk

“Like any company… we consume a lot of open source,” said Martin, “I was brought in to help Autodesk’s open source strategy in terms of how we contribute back more effectively to open source, how we open source code within our environment, which we want to be a standard — code which is non-differentiating and not strategic IP.”

One of the things that Martin is most proud of is the work his company is doing in the film and media space.

“We have contributed to projects like Universal Scene Description (USD) and OpenColorIO to help our film and media customers utilize not only our products but also products from other companies through the combination of open source software,” said Martin. This leads to a typical open source ecosystem that allows film and media companies to mix and match solutions from different vendors.

In addition to contributing to various open source projects, the company has also open sourced some of its own projects. Autodesk’s GitHub repository currently has more than 51 projects.

Process and planning

But it’s not easy for a large company like Autodesk to engage with the open source community. Because they also have industry-leading proprietary solutions, they need to be extra careful with consuming and contributing to open source. They need to understand various licenses to avoid legal complexity, and they must be aware that releasing some code may also expose company IP.  These are areas where all companies must tread carefully, and developers need to be fully confident that they can use code efficiently without dealing with a heavyweight process to get permissions for using or contributing.

“There needs to be a process around what we are going to open source which involves legal at a very early stage,” Martin said.

When Martin started working at Autodesk, he sat down with the legal department and found that one of the challenges in open sourcing code was lack of any business strategy around the process. One team might decide to open source something, start discussing with legal, then after a few months or more of all this work someone from business unit might look at it and ask why are we open sourcing this? All the previous efforts would be wasted.

Strategic value

“Now the process starts with the business team. We engage the business leaders; we engage the engineering teams. When we decide to open source something, we ask what’s the strategic value for Autodesk in open sourcing. What do we gain and what do we lose regarding the ability to patent things. These are the genuine business concerns,” he said.

Beyond open sourcing their own code, legal also needs to get involved when it comes to using (or contributing to) external open source projects. Before Martin joined the company, Autodesk had many different ways and means for getting approval to contribute something to upstream open source or consume some open source project.

Martin worked with the open source legal counsel at the company to fix the process. “Now we have a single process for anyone who wants to consume some open source code or wants to contribute to some. We are still improving that process,” he said.

Another thing that Autodesk has done is create a whitelist of pre-approved open source licenses, so developers have more freedom and flexibility. There is still some oversight from legal in case there is something they are not comfortable with. “We still have to track that work from a compliance perspective, but it does lift the burden from developers,” said Martin.

Autodesk has also implemented more communication channels internally, which leads to more transparency across the company. This helps people understand the value of contributing to as well as consuming open source.

Open Source Summit

Open Source Summit is THE place to learn about latest open source trends and technologies. Register now!

Open Source Summit North America is right around the corner. There will be hundreds of sessions, workshops, and talks, all curated by experts in the Linux and open source communities. It’s not an easy feat to choose the topics and sessions you want to attend at the event  because there are so many topics and only so much time.

In this article, we talk with Laura Abbott, a developer employed by Red Hat, and Bryan Liles, a developer at Heptio, a Kubernetes company, based in Seattle, Washington, about the upcoming event. Abbott is on the program committee for Open Source Summit, and Liles is one of the program chairs, working hard “to build out a schedule that touches on many aspects of Open Source.”

Hot topics

“I’ve been interested in cloud-native applications for a few years now, and I spend most of my time thinking about the problems and developing software in this space,” said Liles. “I’m also interested in computer vision, augmented reality, and virtual reality. One of the most important topics in this space right now is Machine Learning. It’s amazing to see all the open source solutions being created. I feel that even as a hobbyist, I can find tools to help me build and run models without causing me to go into debt. Personally, I’m looking forward to the talks in the Infrastructure & Automation and the Kubernetes/Containers/Cloud Native Apps tracks.”

Here are just a few of the must-see cloud computing sessions:

As a kernel developer, Abbott gets excited when people talk about their future kernel work, especially when it involves the internals like the page cache or memory management. “I also love to see topics that talk about getting people involved in projects for the first time,” she said. “I’m also excited to see the Diversity Empowerment Summit and learning from the speakers there.”

You may wonder as we are moving toward the cloud native world, where everything is running in a cloud, does Linux even matter anymore? But, the fact is Linux is powering the cloud.

“Linux is what’s powering all those topics. When people say Linux. they’re usually referring to the complete platform from kernel to userspace libraries. You need a solid base to be able to run your application in the cloud. The entire community of Linux contributors enables today’s developers to work with the latest technologies,” said Abbott.

A few of the featured talks in the Linux Systems and Development track include:

Latest Trends

“DevOps is unsurprisingly a hot topic,” said Abbott. “There is a lot of focus on how to move towards newer best practices with projects like Kubernetes and how to best monitor your infrastructure. Blockchain technologies are a very hot topic. Some of this work is very forward looking but there’s a lot of interest in figuring out if blockchain can solve existing problems,” said Abbott.

That means OSSNA is the place to be if you are interested in emerging trends and technologies. “If you are looking to see what is coming next, or currently involved in Open Source, you should attend,” says Liles. “The venue is in a great location in Vancouver, so you can also take in the city between listening to your peers during talks or debating current trends during the hallway track,” said Liles.

Abbott concluded, “Anyone who is excited about Linux should attend. There’s people talking about such a wide variety of topics from kernel development to people management. There’s something for everyone.”

Sign up to receive updates on Open Source Summit North America:

Open FinTech

Speak at Open FinTech Forum, coming up this fall in New York.

Focusing on the intersection of financial services and open source, Open FinTech Forum will provide CIOs and senior technologists guidance on building internal open source programs and an in-depth look at cutting edge open source technologies including AI, Blockchain, Cloud Native & Kubernetes/Containers, Quantum Computing that can be leveraged to drive efficiencies and flexibility.

The call for speaking proposals is open through July 21st. If you are interested in sharing your experience with this audience, we’d like to hear from you. We’re looking for talks including project roadmaps from key community developers to use cases from those IT professionals in financial services or related verticals on their open source implementations.

Learn more about the CFP process, see a full list of suggested topics and submit by July 21. Update: The CFP closed on July 21. If you’re interested in speaking at other Linux Foundation events, learn more here: https://events.linuxfoundation.org/.

Submit Now >>

Sign up to receive updates on Open FinTech Forum, happening October 10-11 in New York:

Already confirmed Open FinTech Forum 2018 speakers include:

  • Chris Aniszczyk, CTO/COO, Cloud Native Computing Foundationand Co-Founder, TODO Group
  • Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger
  • Karen Copenhaver, Leading IP Strategist
  • Sally Eaves, CTO, Professor of FinTech Practice, Global Strategic Advisor and Author, Forbes Technology Council
  • Ibrahim Haddad, Vice President of R&D, Samsung Electronics
  • Keith Laban, Software Engineer, Bloomberg
  • Yuri Litvinovich, Senior Cloud Engineer, Scotia Bank
  • Ania Musial, Senior Software Engineer, Machine Learning Platform, Bloomberg
  • Robert Palatnick, Managing Director and Chief Technology Architect, DTCC
  • Jason Poley, Distinguished Engineer/VP Cloud Architect, Barclays
  • Justin Rackliffe, Director, Open Source Governance at Fidelity Investments
  • Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Projects, The Linux Foundation
  • Bob Sutor, Vice President for IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem, IBM Research

The full schedule of sessions will be announced in August.

Not interesting in speaking, but thinking of attending?

Open FinTech Forum will better inform IT decision-makers about the open technologies driving digital transformation and how to best utilize an open source strategy and implementation to enable new products, services and capabilities; increase IT efficiencies; establish and strengthen internal license compliance programs; attract top level talent; and train existing talent on the latest disruptive technologies. Register now to attend.

Register Now>>

Linux Foundation members and LF project members receive a 20% discount on registration pricing. FinTech CIOs and senior technologists may receive a 50% discount on registration fees.

Email events@linuxfoundation.org for discount codes.