There are some universal truths about open source software (OSS). It has revolutionized our world and become the foundation of our digital society, the backbone of our digital economy, and the basis of our digital existence. Every household and enterprise brand name in technology is built upon it, whether that name is Alexa or Android, Azure, or AWS. 

Open source software has played a significant part in everything from the internet and mobile apps we use every day to operating systems and programming languages used to construct the future. Even the systems we traditionally think of as being closed, such as Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Mac and iPhone, are developed using open source software.

Just as a powerful current drives the arteries of a river, open source software is the force that propels our digital economy and allows for scientific and technological advancements that benefit our lives. 

But only a few decades ago, few people had even heard of open source software, and it was limited to a small group of enthusiastic devotees. Yet the concept of free and open source software (FOSS) has been around a long time, going back to the early days of the user communities for IBM mainframes and academic institutions. FOSS is software that anyone can use, study, modify, and distribute without restriction. The term “open source” was coined to describe this type of software, and the concept was formalized with the launch of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in 1998.

Organizations involved in building products or services involving software, regardless of their specific industry or sector, are likely to adopt OSS and contribute to open source projects deemed critical to their products and services. Organizations are creating open source program offices (OSPOs) to manage their open source activities, from adopting OSS and compliance with applicable licenses to participating in open standards and foundations. 

Many new industries and thousands of businesses have joined the open source revolution. Those organizations that chose a deliberate OSS strategy, incorporating best practices,  methods, and engineering processes, emerged as leaders in their industries or verticals for open source initiatives.

And yet, many organizations have not embraced open source at all. Some see it as a risky undertaking, lacking a strategy to move forward, needing pathways to see the value proposition of free and open source software, and requiring migration from a risk point of view to a value point of view. In addition to challenges with open source consumption, many organizations prohibit their employees from open source contributions either on their behalf or personally in the employee’s spare time.

To help guide organizations through their own open source journeys, Ibrahim Haddad, Ph.D., Executive Director of LF AI & Data, has written a report that offers a practical and systematic approach to establishing an OSS strategy, which includes developing an implementation plan and accelerating an organization’s open source efforts. 

The past two decades have been critical for open source software in enterprise engagement and adoption. The challenge for organizations is their transition from ad hoc and incidental adoption to open source value delivered back to the business using a strategic and planned methodology. This report delivers on the promise of helping enterprises establish an open source strategy, develop and execute an implementation plan, and accelerate their open source efforts to support their business goals. 

Ibrahim Haddad, Ph.D.

This research is a collection of learnings and best practices that Dr. Haddad has developed, collaborating with the LF AI & Data community members who have pursued their own open source journeys for years.

Effective organizations have guided their open source usage through strategy, honed over time with communities such as LF AI & Data and the TODO Group to guide their ongoing use of OSS and their engagement with the open source ecosystem.

This report helps to address the fears of transitioning to open source and explore the many opportunities it offers by covering the following topics:

  • The business case for open source software
  • How to develop an open source strategy
  • Creating an open source program office
  • Implementing an open source strategy
  • Measuring success with open source
  • Best practices for organizational involvement in open source projects

Leading open source network operating system enabling dis-aggregation for data centers now hosted by the Linux Foundation to enable neutral governance in a software ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCOApril 14, 2022  Today, the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC, an open source networking operating system), is now part of the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation provides a venue for continued ecosystem, developer growth and diversity, as well as collaboration across the open source networking stack.  

“We are pleased to welcome SONiC to the Linux Foundation family of open networking projects,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “SONiC is a  leader in open source data center NOS deployments, and we’re looking forward to growing its developer community.” 

The Linux Foundation will primarily focus on the software component of SONiC, and continue to partner with Open Compute Platform(OCP) on aligning hardware and specifications like SAI. 

“Microsoft founded SONiC to bring high reliability and fast innovation to the routers in Azure cloud data centers. We created it as open source so the entire networking ecosystem would grow stronger.  SONiC already runs on millions of ports in the networks of cloud scalers, enterprises, and fintechs.  The SONiC project is thrilled to be joining the Linux Foundation to take the community to its next jump in scale, participation, and usage,” said  Dave Maltz, Technical Fellow and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure Networking.

About SONiC

Created by Microsoft for its Azure data centers, SONiC is an open source network operating system (NOS)  based on Linux that runs on over 100 different switches from multiple vendors and ASICs. It offers a full-suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service providers. It offers teams the flexibility to create the network solutions they need while leveraging the collective strength of a large ecosystem and community. 

Existing Ecosystem

SONiC brings a strong existing ecosystem, with premier members including Alibaba, Broadcom, Dell, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and 50+ global partners. The SONiC community will host its first hackathon later this year. Stay tuned for details and registration information. More information about SONiC, including how to join, is available at SONiC (azure.github.io).

Support from Key Stakeholders & Customers

Alibaba

“This is a big milestone for the SONiC community. After joining the Linux Foundation, the SONiC community will play a much more important role in the networking ecosystem,” said Dennis Cai, Head of Network Infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud. “Congratulations!  As one of the pioneering SONiC users and contributors, Alibaba Cloud has widely deployed SONiC- based whitebox switches in our data centers, edge computing cloud, P4- based network gateways, and will extend the deployment to Wide Area Networks. With modern network OS design and operation- friendly features, we already gained tremendous value from the large-scale deployments. Alibaba is committed to the SONiC community, and will continue bringing our large-scale deployment best practices to the community, such as open hardware specs , network in-band telemetry, high performance networking, and network resiliency features, SRv6, etc.” 

Broadcom

“Large hyperscalers agree that merchant silicon, hardware independence, and open source protocol and management stack are essential for running their data center networks. Broadcom has wholeheartedly supported this vision with leading-edge, predictable silicon execution and contributions to the SONiC project. We are excited to see the SONiC initiative join the Linux Foundation and look forward to working with the streamlined ecosystem to drive the data center and hyperscale needs of the future,” said Mohammad Hanif, senior director of engineering, Core Switching Group, Broadcom.

Dell Technologies 

“We believe SONiC will continue its accelerated adoption into the modern data center, delivering the scale, flexibility and programmability needed to run enterprise-level networks,” said Dave Lincoln, vice president of product management at Dell Technologies. “As a leading SONiC contributor, we see the advantages it brings to the supporting open source community and customers. As we continue the drive to take open-source-based solutions mainstream, we look forward to working with the Linux Foundation and its supporting communities to drive SONIC’s development and adoption.”

EBay

“eBay operates a large-scale network infrastructure to support its growing global business. eBay cares about the openness and quality of NOS to operate its network infrastructure. eBay is an active participant in the SONiC community and deploys SONiC at scale in its infrastructure. eBay is excited to see this next step of growth of the SONiC community,” said Parantap Lahiri, vice president, Network and Datacenter Engineering at eBay. 

EPFL

“At EPFL, we have been looking for a vendor neutral and flexible NOS that can provide HaaS capabilities for our Private Cloud Environment. SONiC OS provides us the solution we have been looking for in our Data Centre, allowing us to migrate to a powerful and modern Data Centre network. We are looking forward to this next phase in the SONiC community,” said Julien Demierre, Network and System architect at EPFL.

Google

“We believe moving SONiC to the Linux Foundation is very important as it will further enhance collaboration across the open source network, community and ecosystem. Google has more than a decade of experience in SDN; our data centers and WAN are exclusively SDN controlled, and we are excited to have helped bring SDN capabilities to SONiC . We fully support the move to the LF and intend to continue making significant upstream contributions to drive feature velocity and make it easier for operators to realize the benefits of SDN with PINS/SONiC and P4,” said  Dan Lenoski, vice president, Engineering, Network Infrastructure, Google. 

Intel 

“Intel has a strong history of working with SONiC and the Linux Foundation to help to propel innovation in an open, cooperative environment where ideas are shared and iterated.  We continually promote open collaboration, encompassing open-source technologies such as the Infrastructure Programmer Developer Kit and P4 integrated networking stack (PINS), using Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Infrastructure Processing Units and Tofino Intelligent Fabric Processors as base hardware,” said Ed Doe, vice president and general manager, Switch and Fabric Group at Intel. “Joining the Linux Foundation will help SONiC to flourish, and in turn create greater benefit for cloud service providers, network operators and enterprises to create customized network solutions and transform data-intensive workloads from data center to the edge.”

NVIDIA

“This is an important milestone for SONiC and the community behind it,” said Amit Katz, vice president of Ethernet Switches at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is committed to supporting the community version of SONiC that is 100 percent open source, enabling data center operators to control the code inside their cloud fabrics, accelerated by state-of-the-art platforms with SONiC support, such as NVIDIA’s Spectrum family of switches.” 

Open Compute Project 

“The Open Compute Project Foundation is pleased to continue its collaboration with SONIC as part of the OCP’s new hardware – software co-design strategy. The open source SONiC Network Operating System is enabling rapid innovation across the network ecosystem, and it began with the definition of the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) at OCP.   Hardware – software co-design focuses on software that requires intimate knowledge of the hardware to drive maximum hardware performance, and speed time-to-market for hardware where system performance and ecological footprint can be highly dependent on software and hardware interactions,” said George Tchaparian, CEO Open Compute Project Foundation.

About the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.

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The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see our trademark usage page: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Last year’s Jobs Report generated interesting insights into the nature of the open source jobs market – and informed priorities for developers and hiring managers alike. The big takeaway was that hiring open source talent is a priority, and that cloud computing skills are among the top requested by hiring managers, beating out Linux for the first time ever in the report’s 9-year history at the Linux Foundation. Here are a few highlights:

Now in its 10th year, the jobs survey and report will uncover current market data in a post-COVID (or what could soon feel like it) world. 

This year, in addition to determining which skills job seekers should develop to improve their overall employability prospects, we also seek to understand the nature and impact of the “Great Resignation.” Did such a staffing exodus occur in the IT industry in 2021, and do we expect to feel additional effects of it in 2022? And what can employers do to retain their employees under such conditions? Can we hire to meet our staffing needs, or do we have to increase the skill sets of our existing team members?

The jobs market has changed, and in open source it feels hotter than ever! We’re seeing the formation of new OSPOs and the acceleration of open source projects and standards across the globe. In this environment, we’re especially excited to uncover what the data will tell us this year, to confirm or dispel our hypothesis that open source talent is much in demand, and that certain skills are more sought after than others. But which ones? And what is it going to take to keep skilled people on the job? 

Only YOU can help us to answer these questions. By taking the survey (and sharing it so that others can take it, too!) you’ll contribute to a valuable dataset to better understand the current state of the open source jobs market in 2022. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete, with your privacy and confidentiality protected. 

Thank you for participating!

Who We Are Looking To Participate

  • Employers
  • Hiring Managers
  • Human Resources Staff
  • Job Seekers
  • IT Directors and IT Management
  • IT Training Developers and Training Providers

Project Leadership

The project will be led by Clyde Seepersad, SVP & General Manager of Linux Foundation Training & Certification, and Hilary Carter, VP Research at the Linux Foundation.