This is going to be a bit different post than the previous. It will not be an article about a hot industry trend or a new Cleeng update. I’ll leave that to my marketing colleagues. As a tech guy, I will discuss the importance of the open source community for the development teams in software companies like ours.
Cleeng and Open Source
Why does Cleeng use Open Source software?
- Security. When more people can see and test the code, they have a better chance to spot security vulnerabilities. It is relatively rare to discover critical issues in well-established projects with a big community supporting it. Of course, there is a catch: once security hole is discovered, it very quickly becomes public. You need to have a dev-ops team that will react quickly and an established process to monitor the software you’re using.
- Quality. When working on commercial, closed-source software, developers tend to make shortcuts to release early and satisfy the business requirements. In the long run, this can cause unexpected bugs and performance issues. OSS is built from people with passion, who care a lot about quality. When a project has a large community, all changes are publically discussed and often new ideas are formed and new tools are built, all contributing to overall advancement in software development.
- Easy to try. Trying out commercial products can be complex. In typical SaaS product, you need to sign in, leave your credit card details, get an invoice, and pass it to your Finance Team. With OSS you can easily install it, try and delete it after 10 minutes, if you are not satisfied. You can be validating the product up to six months if you need that time.
How can your company help OSS projects?
If your company is making money, using OSS tools, you should consider supporting them. Passionate developers are often spending their free time working on great products – why not motivate them to keep up the good work?
The easy option is to donate the project (even literally buying a beer!). Often companies developing OSS projects offer premium licenses where you pay for support.
But there’s another, even better way.
What really matters for an Open Source author is the time when he or she gets feedback or code contribution. If you find a bug – submit an issue on Github. Or even better, try to fix it and submit a pull request.
As an author and maintainer of a few PHP packages, people using, discussing and suggesting changes to my projects are what really motivates me.
Also, most tech companies produce their own software tools for solving problems that may be common in the industry. Why not publish it online and let others use it?
I was paying close attention to the development of Zend Expressive – new microframework from a famous PHP company. When validating if we should use it within our organization, I managed to find a solution to a common problem that I and many other developers discussed. I published it and after a few months it has been adapted and published under the Zend Framework brand (https://github.com/
I’m excited to see it picking up and landing in multiple projects now!