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Open Source Leadership Summit 2018

Submitted by walterheck on March 15, 2018

I’m on the way back from the Open Source Leadership summit with a head full of thoughts. Some great networking, interesting sessions from thought leaders in a setting of the wine country in Northern California with great food. What’s not to love? Some of the topics that interested me are listed below in no particular order.



Kubernetes is all the rage these days. The CNCF announced at this conference that Kubernetes is the first project to graduate since they started. That’s great news and says a lot about the maturity and stability of the project. However when you take a step back and don’t look at the technology but at the world surrounding it to me it seems (at the risk of offending some people) a lot like the OpenStack story: technology with lots of potential, a foundation to take stewardship and lots of large enterprises interested in making money off of the technology (not to be confused with businesses that make money using the technology). Add to this a large hype with many people talking about Kubernetes and a much much smaller group actually using it. 

The interesting part about this conference then is that I happened to share a table at lunch with Joe Beda (one of the founders of Kubernetes) and a gentleman whose name escapes me that was involved in early openstack times. They both assured me that Kubernetes is trying to learn from the mistakes that were made in early OpenStack days. Its great to hear this from people that are closely involved, but I’m still concerned about this. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Open Source Program Office (OSPO)

Quite a few sessions were about OSPO’s and what different companies are doing in this space. An Open Source Program Office is basically a group within a large enterprise that is created to recognise the value a business gets out of Open Source software and to form policy around this, think about formalizing contributions and interact with legal on issues like licenses. One of the best sessions I saw on the topic was by Christine Abernathy from Facebook outlining how FB approaches their OSPO. Considering Facebook was since it’s infancy very active in open source projects this was a great example for others.

License Compliance

In the last year alone I have run into a number of startups getting into the license compliance space. This space deals with figuring out if the large swaths of open source used within a company is actually compatible and according to their policies. This involves scanning tons of code for licenses, dependencies and in some cases even snippet matching. Traditionally Black Duck has been the largest player in this space but now some interesting younger players are heating up the scene. One of the sponsors of the event FOSSA announced opening up a part of their toolkit as Open Source at the OSLS. Interesting times, and I wonder if I just hadn’t noticed before or it’s really something the Open Source world is starting to care more about.

Large Enterprises

Quite interesting also was it to see the CTO of Microsoft Azure evangelizing all of the open source projects Microsoft is contributing to. With .NET core and a large number of other projects being open source Microsoft is actually one of the largest players in the Open Source scene these days. I personally couldn’t have dreamed of this 10 years ago.

Another large player prominently present at the event was IBM. At a lunch event I watched Jim Zemlin praise IBM for many important things in the open source world, one of them being an investment of over 100 Million dollars in the famous SCO lawsuit. I then had a very nice conversation with A program director in charge of an entire department at IBM that contributes to Open Source projects that are strategically important to IBM in a completely autonomous fashion.


I had lots of great conversations at this summit with thought leaders, titans of the field and just in general very smart people. Looking forward to next year’s summit.