Open Source, Open Minds

Today’s disruption is tomorrow’s tool.

By Bob Rhubart

March/April 2017

Based on entirely unscientific observation it seems that there has been a noticeable uptick in references to open source tools in blogs and tweets from Oracle Technology Network community members. Having sprung into action on far flimsier assumptions, this seems to me a perfect opportunity to check with community members about any recent changes in their use of open source software. As it turns out, open source has indeed been generating some additional heat of late.

In his role as a senior consultant for Capgemini, Oracle ACE Associate Phil Wilkins works with a variety of organizations. “My relationship with open source has ebbed and flowed, very much influenced by an organization’s predisposition to open source,” he says. “But it has never gone away. Who doesn’t regularly encounter Tomcat or Jetty?”

Open source has taken on a much more relevant role for me.”
–Arturo Viveros, Oracle ACE

Other open source products are showing up on Wilkins’ radar, including server-side JavaScript environment Node.js, and Kafka, Apache’s distributed streaming platform. Wilkins sees this as part of the impact of polyglot programming and microservices on the Oracle ecosystem in which he operates.

For Oracle ACE Director Luc Bors, managing partner and CTO at eProseed in the Netherlands, the past year saw a big change. While his use of open source products had been limited in the past, in 2016 he and his team completed a project that exclusively used Oracle open source products NetBeans, Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit (Oracle JET), GlassFish, EclipseLink, and MySQL.

That project and those products left an impression. Late in 2016, Bors presented sessions focused on the project at the German Oracle User Group (DOAG) and UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) conferences. And there’s more open source in his future. “I will continue to use Oracle JET and NetBeans for UI development as much as possible,” Bors says.

Last year also marked a change for Oracle ACE Arturo Viveros, principal architect at Sysco AS, based in Norway. “Open source has taken on a much more relevant role for me,” he says. “I attribute this in some measure to the influence cloud computing and digital transformation are having on the way we do things.” Viveros also cites the influence of open source tools for continuous integration and automated provisioning, such as Jenkins, Puppet, Ansible, Chef, and Vagrant.

“This kind of technology lets you keep the ‘infrastructure as code’ as well as automate and streamline the development and release lifecycle, improving time to market and reducing both overhead and the possibility of human error without losing a lot of flexibility,” Viveros explains. “Also, it stirs organizations closer to a true DevOps approach, which has become even more attractive and necessary with hybrid cloud integration.”

Viveros expects to continue working with open source, looking into “practical ways to leverage disruptive technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, Elasticsearch, Kafka, and Blockstack.” He also plans to continue his involvement with the communities around the various open source products. “When you use these tools with a purpose, it becomes quite natural to help improve them, extend the available public resources, provide your own, and give as much feedback as possible,” he explains.

Oracle ACE Robert van Molken, senior integration and cloud specialist with AMIS, based in the Netherlands, also saw his use of open source increase in 2016, thanks to his work on creating a pluggable Internet of Things (IoT) solution.

“For years I’ve used SoapUI for testing SOAP and REST services and for creating unit and integration test suites,” he explains. “My favorite IDE currently is NetBeans, which I use to create Angular- and JavaScript-based web applications, and for Java development.” For his IoT solution, van Molken’s work makes what he describes as heavy use of Node.js, Python, and MQTT. “And I’m experimenting with disruptive technologies such as Docker, Kafka, and Blockchain.”

Disruptive technologies, van Molken asserts, “tend to start as open source projects.”

Are open source products disrupting your world or changing the way you work? Has your use of open source products increased? Join in the community discussion and share your perspective.

Next Steps

WATCH the video: Implementing Node.js in the Enterprise

LISTEN to the podcast: “Docker and Virtualization.”