Linux Foundation Chief: Businesses That Don't Use Open Source 'Will Fail'

Conner Forrest | TechRepublic | March 10, 2017

At the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference, tech industry leaders presented a keynote address on their beliefs that openness is key to success in business, and how companies should use it.

Open source took center stage at the final keynote address of the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference on Friday, where tech leaders presented on the importance of openness in tech and business. The focus on open source was highlighted in an address from Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, who claimed that organizations that "don't harvest the shared innovation" of open source "will fail." Open is the new economic norm in tech and business, Zemlin said, as "all of us are smarter than any one of us."

Jim ZemlinThe keynote was opened by Vint Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google, who gave a brief history of open efforts in the early days of the internet. There's a "thread of openness" that runs throughout the internet, Cerf said, and "the internet, itself, has open characteristics." If it weren't for the openness of the internet, Cerf noted, Tim Berners-Lee wouldn't have been able to easily publish the protocols of the World Wide Web, and Google's founders wouldn't have been able to launch their business without permission. The internet thrives on "permissionless innovation," Cerf said.

Zemlin followed Cerf on stage, where he explained how open source has changed business models in tech. In working with the Linux Foundation, Zemlin said that he is often asked which open source projects are worth betting on. He said the open source projects that matter the most are the ones with the richest ecosystems. In his presentation, a slide gave the following two criteria...