Open source and developers at Dell and the changing nature of OSS, & Loco Moco, with Barton George – Lords of Computing Podcast #13

I’ve had a theory that the hard-line philosophy of open source has softened in recent times. Rather than thinking closed source is to be avoided at all costs, I think most developer types are a lot more willing to accept closed source bits mixed in with open source bits. That is, open core has “won.” I discuss this topic with my long time pal, Barton George, while at SpringOne Platform, plus the work he’s doing in the developer and OSS worlds at Dell.

We also talk about Hawaiian food.

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Show-notes and Links

What I’m looking forward to at SpringOne Platform

The biggest cloud native conference is coming up at the first week of August, SpringOne Platform. To plan out my time I took at look at the sessions. Here’s what I’m looking forward to and what I think you, dear readers, will find interesting as well. Doing a list like this, of course, ends up excluding some awesome sessions, so be sure to check out the talk list yourself as well.

Also, if you’re interested and haven’t registered yet, be sure to use the code pivotal-cote-300 to get $300 off.

Dealing with legacy

Almost every conversation I have with large organizations involves a discussion about dealing with legacy software. While you may not be running JFK era IT, you probably have to deal with legacy. Here’s some sessions on that topic:

Cloud Native Coding

Moving to The New, New Thing requires different ways of architecting and coding your software. Here’s some sessions that go over those new ways:

Case Studies

While cooked up demos of Pet Stores and Breweries are education, I’m most interested in hearing tales of what’s actually happened out in the world. Here are some of the case studies that look interesting:

The Usual Chuckle-heads

And, to highlight talks from my team:

(And, remember: if you want to come, you can get $300 if use the code pivotal-cote-300 when you register.)

Dealing with “disposable software” for enterprises

With consumer SaaSes and mobile apps coming and going, I’ve been thinking of the idea of “disposable software”: apps that last a year or so, but aren’t guaranteed to last longer. In the consumer space, there’s rarely been a guarantee that free software will last – that’s part of the “price” you pay for free.

This mentality is getting into business software more and more, however, and I don’t think “enterprises” are prepared for it. Part of the premium you pay for enterprise software should include the guarantee that it will have a longer life-cycle, but it’s worth asking if it does.

Also, it’s good for enterprises to be aware of vendors, particularly open source driven ones, are putting out code that might be “disposable.” The prevailing product management think nowadays encourages experimenting and trying things out: abandoning “failed” experiments and continuing successful ones. Clearly, if you’re a “normal” enterprise, you want to avoid those failed experiments and, at best, properly control and govern your use of them.

Of course, there are trade-offs:

  • With consumer, experiment-driven software, you’re always getting the newest thinking, which might turn out to be a good idea and provide your business with differentiating, “secret sauce”; or it might be a failed experiment that gets canceled
  • With “enterprise,” stable software you can generally count on it existing and being supported next year; but you’ll often be behind the curve on innovation, meaning you’ll have to layer on the “secret sauce” on your own.

It’s good to engage with both types of strategies, you just have manage the approach to hedge the risks of each.

Cloud Native Promises in the Land of Continuously Delivered Microservices – Gartner AADI 2015 Talk

I gave a talk at Gartner AADI, US going over the need for organizations to become good at software (you know, our usual thing at Pivotal) and some thinking we have about the three pillars of becoming a software defined business (software defined delivery, DevOps, and microservices) as well as the “contracts and promises” way of looking at what Pivotal Cloud Foundry does. I manage to jam it all into 30 minutes. Here’s the abstract:

If software is eating the world, software capability is the disruptor’s advantage and the disrupted’s vulnerability. Continuous Delivery, Microservices and DevOps are three labels that describe aspects of the same phenomena; the principles and practices of high performing organizations that deliver highly available software, rapidly, at scale. This presentation catalogs the capabilities that allow organizations to move quickly, reliably and economically in an end-to-end infrastructure-to-application platform; these Cloud Native advantages outlined as promises and contracts.

In addition to the slides, check out the video recording from Gartner, they’ve got them a fancy interface with the video and slides they gots!

Dell Software

I’ve been working with the team standing up the Dell Software Group since I joined Dell in August, in the role of a corporate strategy guy. Back in March, we launched the group, which is very exciting. People often ask me what areas Dell will focus on in software. In today’s financial analyst meeting presentation, you can find this slide:

Dell's software focus areas

So there you go: security, systems management, business intelligence, and applications. When I was still at RedMonk, I started to see the assemblage of a software group at last year’s industry analyst conference, so it’s been fun to see – and help! – the sausage getting made.

Learning to love updates

He also explained that rapid releases help Google to introduce “gradual, gentle” upgrades over time, which makes the browser update process easier for users. Ruel walked around the still controversial automated browser update feature, but hinted that users value convenience and don’t want to be bothered with unnecessary system messages, or system restarts after installation. As long as the software update remains convenient for the user, Google apparently believes that the automated update is seen as a benefit by users. —Google Details Successes of its Chrome Release Process

Over the years, the whole release often thing has had one constant counter-argument: users don’t want updates that frequently. They like stability, and all that.

Gradually, as in the above, frequent upgrades have become a functional feature rather than just marketing – classically, you put out upgrades to get people to spend more money on the new version of your software.

But when the software is free (and you monetize some service, like ads in Google’s case), upgrades become a way to keep people in your ecosystem. Having frequent update becomes a differentiator, not a hassle.

[ Podcast] Episode 109 – I'm gonna get bombed. Watch out for the shrapnel.

Charles, recording episode 109

In this episode, Charles and I talk about daiquiris and cigars in Munich; Miller High Life & Mickey’s when it comes to Charles’ decreased beer snobbery and my grandfather; giving away software to sell it; Charles take on Green IT: “turning out the light when you take a shit…wait…after you take shit”; and finally the recent WordPress acquisition, Gravatar.

(This episode edited by Coté.)

Oh, and happy halloween!:

Halloween Party

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[ Podcast] Episode 106 – Crumple Bags, Marketing Software, Charles's Triumphant Return to the Editor's Chair

In this episode, Coté and Charles talk about developer tools, esp. when it comes to when Charles will spend money on tools. Throughout, we hear some nuanced comments on the benefits of pair-programming: namely having someone there to share best practices and usage idioms with.

We also hear about Silva’s new Mac and how cute it is.

(This episode edited by Charles.)

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