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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?
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.
“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.
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.
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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