Microservices vs. Inner Source

I just listened to Eberhard Wolff’s BED-Con talk on microservice-based system architectures, which he prefers to call Independent Systems Architectures (ISA). One purpose of calling it ISA is to emphasize that there should be no common data model and no shared reusable libraries between microservices. Obviously, by discounting reuse, ISA may increase development speed short-term while increasing cost and quality problems long-term. Eventually, in his talk, Wolff came around and argued that microservce implementation independence and reuse are a trade-off rather than an either-or decision.

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OpenKONSEQUENZ: Offene Software für Netzbetreiber (in German)

Consulting company PTA reports about its development of open source software for the German energy software user consortium openKONSEQUENZ, which sponsors and manages the development of open source software for the energy sector. The Netzpraxis article start out with:

Auf der openKONSEQUENZ-Plattform steht seit kurzem Unternehmen der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft das Modul »Betriebstagebuch« zur Verfügung. Da es sich bei penKONSEQUENZ um eine Genossenschaft i.G. und beim Betriebstagebuch um eine Open-Source-Lösung handelt, können es Netzbetreiber und andere interessierte Unternehmen kostenlos nutzen.

Read the full article (available as PDF).

Evaluation of Theories vs. Validation of Hypotheses

Research should be presented with appropriate choice of words to the world. So it bugs me if researchers, maybe unknowingly, overreach and call the evaluation of a theory a validation thereof. I don’t think you can ever fully validate a theory, you can only validate individual hypotheses.

The following figure shows how I think key terms should be used.

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MECE Translated: Überlappungsfrei und Erschöpfend

When teaching about modeling the world, I often talk about how concepts should be MECE, that is, mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive. I didn’t invent this acronym, I took it from Barbara Minto’s writings about structured reasoning.

I finally figured out the appropriate German translation, and, oh wonder, it is shorter than the English version. It is:

Überlappungsfrei und erschöpfend.


How to Capture Open Source User Consortia 4/4

tl;dr: Existing foundations need a new kind of incubator to capture budding user consortia.

An open source user consortium is a consortium of companies who sponsor, steer, and possibly also develop open source software for their own use rather than as part of software products they sell. As explained previously, this phenomenon may not be widely understood yet, but the opportunity is large. The user consortia and their members stand to benefit, and so do those existing open source foundations that are able to capture this thrust and prevent the creation of separate consortia but rather manage to integrate these interests with their own governance structure.

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The Scope of the Opportunity 3/4

tl;dr: The scope of the opportunity at hand is large, much larger than today’s impact of open source.

The software industry is large; all other industries together that need software are larger. Much larger.

Today’s open source software is mostly serving the needs of software vendors. When you look at the projects guided by the ASF, the EF, or the LF, you’ll see a lot of infrastructure, technology, and utility components for the software industry. There are not a lot of components for application domains, be it banking, energy, logistics, or agriculture.

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Does the Incorporation Type Matter to Open Source Foundations? 2/4

tl;dr: It doesn’t really matter how a foundation incorporates; what matters is the actual governance.

A typical response to the creation of new open source foundations is to decry them as “vanity foundations”. In a few instances, that may be true, but I think as a generalization it is not correct.

Usually, companies think first before spending significant money on something, in particular if it is of high visibility and might turn into an embarrassement. This doesn’t mean they always fully understand what they are doing. In fact, I believe that the understanding of companies of what open source means to them and how they want to support and steer its development is ever evolving. After a learning period these “vanity foundations” might just end up with a project and governance structure like the ASF’s.

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