developerWorks Open — Building Vibrant Ecosystems Around Open Source Projects

by Neil Mackinnon

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In my role as editor and writer for developerWorks Open, I post a lot of content to various social media channels. I recently posted about a new open source project we’re featuring on dWO, and one of the responses to the post went something like this. “As soon as I saw it was an IBM page I stopped reading. They don’t know or care about open source.”

Although that kind of reaction is rare, it’s not the first time a reader has responded to one of my posts with a similar sentiment. The thinking seems to be, “IBM is just boring back-end enterprise stuff, what do they know about open source? What has it ever contributed?” My answer is always the same: If you think IBM isn’t committed to open source, you haven’t been paying attention.

Open ecosystems

dwOpenmark-greenAt developerWorks Open, we’re helping to build vibrant ecosystems around open source projects. What does this mean in real terms? It means providing a spotlight for new open source innovations on the developerWorks Open website. It means hosting regular webcasts – “Tech Talks” – where open source innovators have the chance to peel back the covers on their projects and share their insight with an audience of thousands. It means attending industry conferences to demo our projects and meet like-minded developers and technology enthusiasts. And it means connecting people, giving open source innovators, enthusiasts, and beginners the chance to come together to talk, collaborate, and contribute to exciting new projects.

Leading-edge technology

So what kind of technology do we feature on developerWorks Open? All kinds! From cloud to Big Data, analytics to security, mobile to design, we’re spotlighting and growing dynamic open source innovations. These are the technologies you dream about working on, leading-edge advancements in mobile apps, serverless computing, enterprise security, and analytics at the edge.

Take a look at some of the projects we’re featuring right now:

  • Apache SystemML: A scalable machine-learning language that is helping to usher in the Age of Thinking Machines.
  • Node-RED: A simple tool for wiring together the Internet of Things, now pre-installed on the popular, affordable Raspberry Pi computer.
  • Humix: A robot connectivity and design framework that makes it easy to build a cloud-brained robot in just a few clicks.
  • Watson Developer Cloud SDKs: A set of language-specific software developer kits that make it easy to tap into services provided by Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing platform.

Machine learning. Internet of Things. Robot connectivity. Cognitive computing. Artificial intelligence. These are the most compelling technologies of our time, and these are the technologies IBMers are working on right now, collaboratively and in the open.

Connecting experience with fresh thinking

We’ll help introduce you to those innovators. IBM has some of the most brilliant technology minds in the world working on open source projects and developerWorks Open serves as a connection point in that hothouse of technological know-how.

Through developer stories, webcasts, communities, and collaboration environments, we help bridge the gap between our technical leaders, whose experience and skills are unmatched, and our newest employees, who come to the company brimming with fresh ideas and different viewpoints. No other company in the world can offer that kind of access to visionary technology leadership.

Open by design

So, what do I say to doubters? I’m a big sports fan, so whenever I hear people like that social media poster say that they “know” IBM doesn’t do open source, it makes me think of what people used to “know” in the sports world: they knew no one could run a four-minute mile. They knew that a soccer team from Leicester couldn’t win the British Premier League. They knew that the Boston Red Sox would never win the World Series. And all of these things were true – until they weren’t.

If you’re one of those people who thinks IBM doesn’t “do” open source, it’s time to think again. IBM is transforming itself, embracing a collaborative, agile, and yes, open development environment.

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Is IBM committed to open source? Absolutely. The developerWorks Open initiative, which recently spotlighted its 100th open source project, stands as proof of this commitment. It’s a dynamic, growing environment where innovative IBMers can shine a light on their projects, and contributors from inside and outside the company can work to move open technologies forward.


Check out the projects on developerWorks Open today. We’re open by design, and we’re loving every minute of it.

Neil Mackinnon is Editor and content developer for IBM Developer Works Open

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