How Has Cloud Computing Rocked The World Of Open Source?

Open source development is doubtless one of the fields most affected by cloud computing. But are the changes brought about by the cloud really for the better?

The Open-Source Cloud

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’d argue against the notion that cloud computing has had a significant impact on open-source development. After all, it’s changed pretty much everything about how we do business. The ability to rapidly deploy infrastructure – and to access that infrastructure from virtually anywhere in the world – has proven invaluable to most every field.

Open-source is no exception. According to Diana Cooper of The Linux Journal, the majority of software development and deployment now takes place in the cloud. As a result of this, it’s easier than ever for both businesses and independent programmers to develop their own solutions – many of which make use of open-source code. What’s more, thanks to the cloud’s capacity to run software independently of host architecture (virtualization is the backbone of the technology, after all), compatibility is more or less a non-issue.

This means that developers – open-source and corporate alike – can focus more on design and testing than deployment. This newfound ease doesn’t come without a price, however. Because of how much cloud deployment differs from the traditional model, it’s wreaked a fair bit of havoc on software licensing and registration.

Licensing Trouble

“Because software is provided as a service in the cloud, licensing obligations linked to the act of distribution no longer apply,” writes Cooper. “This has led to the development of newer cloud-driven restrictive open-source licenses.“

Without getting too much into the regulatory side of things – we could write an entire piece on that alone – the cloud effectively introduced a loophole into both permissive and restrictive open-source licenses, allowing organizations to make use of open-source software without providing the code. This has, in turn, led many open-source development firms to introduce new remote network clauses to their usage and distribution licenses.

Cloud Computing And Open-Source Development

Ease of development and deployment aren’t the only reasons the cloud and open-source software get along so well. Many enterprises have shifted towards open-source development for the same reasons as they moved to cloud computing: namely, that it both encourages greater collaboration and significantly reduces cost of ownership. The release of a number of open-source cloud solutions (such as OpenStack) has only furthered this trend.

In Closing

There’s a lot to love about the cloud no matter where you stand – but that statement rings especially true from an open-source perspective. Significantly easier development and deployment, better licensing, and reduced cost of ownership combined with increased collaboration make cloud computing a winning proposition indeed.

About William :- Will Hayles is a technical writer and blogger for Outscale, a leading cloud hosting provider in the USA and France.

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