ACS Open Source Overview
A convenor's opinion about ACS members and Open Source
What do younger ACS members need to know about Open Source in order to get ahead?
Open source systems, tools, and practices are the future of information technology - indeed they have been for the best part of a decade. There is absolutely no need to purchase any software in order to gain familiarity or expertise in an enterprise application - simply download the leading open source equivalent from your favourite (Linux) distribution. In the unlikely event that as a major component of your application development, DBA, systems administration work day isn't utilising open source technology, you are likely to be pigeon-holing yourself into a very narrow niche.
What do older ACS members need to know about Open Source in order to keep on top of rapid changes in the workplace?
While many things do change, some stay the same. Linux is essentially the same Unix that's been around for forty years. But with the advent of the Cloud comes a vast and distributed set of tools and systems you need to be familiar with. From GitHub to Heroku to hosted Jira, all of the services to write, deploy, and support applications are not only one-click away to procure, but free for limited-use licencing (and all built using open source software). Everything is now on-demand and hosted elsewhere. If you're thinking to buy hardware and software and spend a couple of weeks racking and setting up your environments, you've really not learnt anything from the tech wreck.
In a nutshell, what is the value of Open Source today?
It is ubiquitous. It is in every device, from phones and consumer-grade routers all the way to enterprise storage, switches, and servers. It is unlikely that any new(ish) software application/suite will be written in a language or tool chain that is not open source - even on Microsoft operating systems. The reasons for this are manifold, but particularly that it's lowest cost, highest quality, and you're guaranteed right of use in perpetuity.
Do you have a best and worst case study you could point to us?
Which industries use Open Source the most? Which industries do you think it should be used in more?
Open source is in use everywhere, however in Australia, all levels of government continue to be incredibly reticent in their adoption. This is disappointing because regardless of professional opportunities missed for local firms, as a citizen it is my taxes which are not being effectively spent on vastly more expensive and dubiously more functional software. With open solutions interdepartmental collaboration could further drive down total cost of ownership. I'd much rather these savings were materialised and used on very necessary front-line services for the general public.
What kind of events does the Open Source SIG hold?
We concentrate upon the more commercial aspects of Open Source and generally try to get vendors and commercial service providers to overview and then demonstrate an application or language. A wide range of vendors from Red Hat to MongoDB have presented along with an even wider range of topics from Bitcoin to Splunk.