The article The Internet Was Built on the Free Labor of Open Source Developers. Is That Sustainable? looks at the economics driving the Open Source movement and how it puts those utilizing that software without investing in it at risk.
|Resource Name||The Internet Was Built on the Free Labor of Open Source Developers. Is That Sustainable?|
|Focus||Funding open source software development.|
Much of modern HPC software is underpinned by open source software - be that the Linux Kernel, Tensorflow, SuperLU, or others. Yet treating the availability of that software as an externality means taking on the risk that said software has flaws that may impair your own work.
Daniel Oberhaus explores the problems in this model using the now infamous "Heartbleed Bug", tracing its introduction into openSSL through to the final discovery and fix. Along the way he looks at the cost estimates for dealing with the bug (~ $500 Million) and compares that to the development budget for openSSL at the time ($2000/year). Much of the compensation for developers in open source work is non-monetary, forcing influence to be less direct. The author traces a series of actions that organizations can take, including directly tasking employees to work on projects, establishing grants, and paying for support contracts to help assure the codes they rely on are robust and reliable without having the costs or direct control typical of traditional development.