Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
|Open Source Is Not A Silver Bullet
We must focus on software solutions that solve real-world problems for the masses, rather than just creating cool software.
source is great. After all, who doesn’t like free! That is the basic
premise of open source software (OSS), software code created by dozens
or hundreds of people that you can freely use, modify, contribute to as
you wish. What’s not to like!
BAS world has been awash lately with talk of OSS, which is an excellent
sign of progress in the industry. In my view, this movement is a
godsend for software geeks, the army of developers who thrive at
creating and sharing “cool” and useful stuff. This trend is also
significant for non-geeks (most of us), since OSS is, today, the
foundation of applications that solve real business problems. The
difference between these two views of OSS is subtle but essential to
understanding this trend.
Let’s break this down a bit more.
critical word driving the technology world today is “innovation.”
SpaceX could not have done what they are doing 10 or 20 years ago since
much of the things they are doing are based on things that had not been
innovated back then. To a lesser extent, this is true for Henry Ford,
who would not have been able to create his Model T were it not for past
innovations such as the internal combustion engine. The important thing
is that Innovation builds upon previous innovation, and here OSS is a
great accelerant that dramatically speeds up this cycle, to the benefit
of the industry mission.
is in our everyday lives today. The chances are that you are reading
this article using a web browser based on OSS (Chrome, Firefox, and
Safari). Much of the Internet is operating on OSS components including
Linux OS, Apache web servers, MySQL databases and hundreds of browser
components used by thousands of websites around the Internet. Even
Apple, known for a very user- and design-centric products is based at
its core on many OSS components.
OSS today is a business imperative, not a geeky activity.
previously mentioned, there are two faces of OSS. The first is how
someone would use pieces of OSS to solve a software development
problem. These are people who typically use their GitHub profile to
communicate their expertise when seeking jobs and other professional
outreach. The second, and the most significant group of people are
those who focus on solving business problems using applications that
may or may not contain OSS; it does not matter to these users as long
as their issues are addressed. These are people who would more likely
rely on their LinkedIn profile!
I am arguing here is that for most people (the latter group of above),
applications developed using OSS are just better, and the productivity
from these class of products are leaps and bounds ahead of products
created without OSS.
So, if OSS is not the silver bullet answer, what is?
is my opinion that for the BAS industry to truly innovate and deliver
on the promise of digital technology to improve buildings, we must
focus on the needs of the LinkedIn class professionals, not just the
GitHub army. We must focus on software solutions that solve real-world
problems for the masses, rather than just creating cool software.
Anka Labs, this is precisely our mission; we focus on creating great
software for the broadest array of engineers, contractors, system
integrators, system vendors, building owners and operators. Where
possible, we use OSS, but our measure of success is that the products
are used to solve users’ needs.
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