In this thought-provoking conversation Cornelia Davis of Weaveworks and Matt Asay of AWS explore the history of the open source movement, and examine the motivating factors that have driven consumers to increasingly insist on open source. Arguably launched by the success of Linux as an open source project, the shift has driven technology providers to include open source software as an integral component of an enterprise-wide technology strategy.

A few defining moments led to this explosion of available open source projects, as well as an increase in trust shown by the number of companies who have built businesses around open source. Matt has spent virtually his entire career experiencing these shifts first hand, and we think you’ll agree, that he brings a wealth of fascinating insights to the open source conversation.

Cornelia: What do most customers want from open source?

Matt: The things that customers have been looking for have remained constant. That is they want high innovation software at the best possible price with the least risk of lock-in. Lock-in is often touted as the number one benefit, but no one cares about lock-in if the software isn’t very good. The first order of priority is that most want super innovative software. When I started in open source in 2000, open source was considered more “copycat” than innovative. Today open source is a lot more innovative. In 2000 Linux was definitely in copycat mode, and now today it’s in innovator mode. And if you look at Kubernetes, it’s all about innovation. Today, the best software often, but not always comes from the open source world, and customers definitely want to tap into that.

“The role of vendors for open source is or what they should be doing is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to run the software that they want. And increasingly what they want is open source software. How can we make it as easy as possible to run Apache Kafka or Kubernetes? This is a real service that a cloud provider like AWS provides to customers. Can we do it and maintain the freedom associated with using that software?” -- Matt Asay, Enterprise Strategy and Evangelism, AWS


Matt Asay Bio: Matt Asay is head of Enterprise Strategy and Evangelism at Amazon Web Services. Formerly, Asay was Head of Developer Ecosystem for Adobe. Prior to Adobe, Asay held a range of roles at open source companies: VP of business development, marketing, and community at MongoDB; VP of business development at real-time analytics company Nodeable (acquired by Appcelerator); VP of business development and interim CEO at mobile HTML5 start-up Strobe (acquired by Facebook); COO at Canonical, the Ubuntu Linux company; and head of the Americas at Alfresco, a content management startup. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and holds a J.D. from Stanford, where he focused on open source and other IP licensing issues.

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