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Tapping on open source for innovation: Red Hat interview

Zafirah Salim | Dec. 23, 2015
In this interview, Damien Wong, General Manager and Senior Director, ASEAN, Red Hat, shares some trends and predictions of open source, as well as talks about how businesses can better tap on open source to leverage its benefits.

There are thousands of open source projects out there in all stages of development. How would a CIO know which ones to build on?

The role of a CIO has evolved from being just a technology leader to a business tech leader. Today, a CIO has a more strategic role to play in understanding the business drivers, helping to formulate solutions and at the same time selecting the right technology and partner for their company.

While more and more companies are tapping on open source for innovation, making it work for your company is more complicated than simply installing some software downloaded from the community. The key to choosing the right project to work with is understanding whether the software meets your needs, and if it is suitable for your use case and can help solve your problem (i.e. those who are using or developing on the software):

Firstly, and also most importantly, the project must meet your requirements and help your business achieve its goal. Other than functionality, CIOs should also consider the developers as well as the user base, and if the software would be suitable for them.

Secondly, it is essential to have an active community because without a community, there is no project. There should be active and healthy participation to mark, track and resolve issues. CIOs should also take note of the development model of the software, and how contributions are made to the project.

Are there any serious security issues in mixing open source and proprietary software?

Open technology and security are tightly connected. Rather than relying on one company or development team to create a secure solution, open technology helps industries like public and private sector to work together to create their ideal, secure environments.

Enterprises are increasingly mixing open source and proprietary software to get the best of both worlds, while at the same time reducing costs. As long as the software has been developed for performance and has been rigorously reviewed, there should not be any security issues. However, enterprises should still thoroughly evaluate the software mix and also establish a well-documented security policy, containing clear guidelines about the installation and maintenance of the software mix.

How is the Internet of Things (IoT) working with open source solutions to drive business transformation?

Linux and open source are the major drivers of IoT development. It is not possible to have IoT without open source as it provides agility, flexibility and transparency in product development. 

In IoT, everyday objects are part of a network - sending and receiving data to and from other "things." With the world eminently connected by embedded devices, this means that at a consumer level, you can adjust your home's thermostat from across an ocean. As for businesses, this creates new opportunities for them to connect with customers and partners; as well as oceans of data to collect, store, and analyse.


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