Access to an essentially free code base is dramatically reducing software development costs in terms of development cycles, due to system reuse. Yet, warns Access global product director, Robert Guest, there are numerous questions around the short-term benefits of open source.
The open source movement has radically transformed software development – and has had a global impact across all business sectors, including the media and entertainment industry. The ability to access a vast array of software modules and the underlying source code has enabled software developers to utilise common functionality, and focus on innovation and value added services. Today, most embedded platforms are developed using Linux, an open source operating system and compiled using the open source gcc compiler. Open communications protocols such as a TCP and IP power the internet, and OpenSSL is another open source technology widely used to provide security.
Yet, where open source undoubtedly provides increased potential for innovation, there are a number of pitfalls that engineering teams and operators need to recognise to ensure that short-term benefits of open source don’t turn into long-term problems. The fundamental expected benefit of access to an essentially free code base is dramatically reduced costs in terms of software development cycles, due to software reuse. However, the flip side is that highly skilled developers, with a wide knowledge of the adopted modules, are required to build successfully deployable solutions. These are an expensive commodity – and if outsourced, then knowledge can easily be lost.
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