What does "open" really mean to you?

04-06-2017 01:12 AM
Labels (1)
Regular Contributor II

Recently, I encountered an interesting blog post on KnowWhere called "Esri isn't evil". I was really impressed by the openness of the the author who calls himself an open source advocate. He brings up some good questions. What is open really? And can a company like Esri with proprietary software actually be open, too?

I think it is good to be clear about what open really means. Do we want to talk open source? Do we mean open data? Or rather open specs? Or do we want to discuss open business models? This helps to avoid confusion during a discussion.

Esri is maintaining a website on its open vision that I highly recommend to read.It clearly breaks down Esri's understanding of open and how the company is supporting the various categories. Fair enough.

But how do you look at open? What is your understanding? And what does it really mean for you after all? Let us know your opinion!

Best, Lars

Bildergebnis für open

2 Replies
Occasional Contributor

Open source means in my opinion the product’s code is openly readable to anyone. If for example it’s an API, the actual API is readable.

Easy to see why open source is a good. Community collaboration, there’s no hidden agendas and it’s normally free to use. I use many open source tools and products in my everyday life. It’s a community that is, and always will be needed.

That being said. I use many closed source products too. Products that I trust wholeheartedly that they’re done properly and I expect to work.

Open and closed source work well separately and together. Esri has a good mix. An example is the JavaScript API. It’s closed source but there’s plenty of community support available still. Open source projects on GitHub, sample code and Esri genuinely try to help the developer community. It's free(mostly) to develop and try out. When you start to profit, money goes to support the creators. I think that makes sense.

I could write pages about this... But this is an overview of my opinion. 

Esri Contributor

I wrote an article about this a few months ago... "open" means too many things, but I think each one would understand "open" differently based on the context you use to use it.

You can search "open" in a thesaurus, in the wikipedia, or anywhere else and you will find different meanings. The three of us writing here use to work with developers and startups, and if a tech company use the term "open" will understand "open" as "Open source", that's why I use to say.... to avoid misunderstandings we should tray to avoid the sentence: "Esri is Open", because it will likely lead open a discussion with many people.

I really believe in the Esri Open Vision, which doesn't mean (of course) that our business model or core products are open/open source.


BTW: Google is another great example of company promoting and embracing open source but their core products are not open, their business model either, etc <- and I also believe that Google also deserves to call themselves "a company with an open vision", don't you?.