Feature Articles

A Perspective of Resilience as Pertains to the Risks Posed by Relying on Digital Platforms

Over the past few months, we have witnessed the "Pushmi-Pullyu" of Big Tech controls and their political influence/power of digital platforms, legislative hearings on their control, public outrage, alternative platforming, censorship, etc. etc...I should say now: this is not a political commentary. It is however a perspective of resilience as pertains to the risks of digital platform reliance. It would seem easy to write about this right now after high profile platforms have made history-making decisions over the past few days. BUT the recognition of their broad authorities and critical capabilities has been a recognized risk for many years; this is not new.

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4 Reasons Businesses Adopted Open Source In 2020

Companies are turning to open source during the pandemic, with 44% of organizations reporting they will increase their use of open source for application development, finds Tidelift's third managed open source survey. We've heard this lyric before; in previous recessions, organizations turned to open source for cost savings and stayed for its other transformational benefits. We wanted to understand which long-term benefits were most helpful to organizations of different sizes. Here's a summary of what we found.

Rock Around The Resilience Wheel - Continuity of Operations Through Disruptive Change

As 2020 comes to a close we are still faced with myriad issues pertaining to public health, elections, economic duress and recovery, unemployment, and living under persistent, pendular change. Resilience has become a popular buzzword to get through these times but is utilized to mean very different things to people looking through very different lenses. Diverse definitions are great but at some point, at some higher and comprehensive perspective, a bow must be put around a common resilience baseline. In layman’s terms, resilience is getting through disruptions and change with some foresight and planning. Resilience matters regardless of the lens you are viewing it through. Covenant Park has coined several catchphrases over our several decades of resilience, risk, continuity, emergency management, security, and national and international planning and execution. Some of those phrases include:

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History Shows that Openness Is a Key to Innovation

Innovations come from humble places, Ridley's argues, and large, bureaucratic corporations were not particularly good at developing innovative products. Instead, small, loosely assembled communities (open organizations with front line teams) have been more innovative throughout history. They have been far more capable of exploring new concepts, particularly if they have a wide base of contributions to work with. Let me review two historical examples of this, drawn from Ridley's work (one brief, one lengthier).

Setting A Standard For Digital Public Goods

In June 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations published a "Roadmap for Digtal Cooperation." In this report, he expanded on recommendations made a year before, calling on all actors, including the Member States, the United Nations system, the private sector, and others, to promote digital public goods. He says to realize the benefits of increased internet connectivity, open source projects in the form of digital public goods must be at the center. While the term "digital public good" appears as early as April 2017, this report offers the first broadly accepted definition of digital public goods...The Digital Public Goods Alliance (DGPA) translated that definition into a nine-indicator open standard that we hope will serve as a comprehensive, shared definition to promote the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods for a more equitable world.

How This Open Source Security Tool Halted Significant DDos Attacks

In 2020, our ways of living and working were turned completely upside down in a matter of days. As COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, we brought our companies home, and staying connected to our colleagues, friends, and family online became a critical necessity. This opened the door for hackers to cause disruption; for example, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks around the world were up 151% in the first half of the year, according to Neustar.

What Do Open Source Product Teams Do?

Product managers and product marketing managers are the two most common product management roles, but product management can be further split into any number of roles, including competitive analysis, business strategy, sales enablement, revenue growth, content creation, sales tools, and more. With a very large product, even the product management role may be broken up into separate roles. You may even hear titles like technical marketing manager, product evangelist, and business owner, not to mention people-management roles for groups of individual contributor roles. For the purpose of this article, I refer to all of these roles collectively as "product management."

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A Web-native Approach to Open Source Scientific Publishing

This summer, eLife was pleased to launch Executable Research Articles (ERAs) in partnership with Stencila, allowing authors to post computationally reproducible versions of their published papers in the open-access journal. The open source ERA technology stack delivers a truly web-native format that treats live, interactive code as a first-class asset. It was developed to address current challenges around reproducing and reusing published results-challenges mostly caused by the lack of infrastructure for publishers to showcase the richness and sophistication of the computational methods used by researchers in their work.

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Resilience must be Blind to the Catalyst - Part I

On October 29 William Stemper, Forbes Councils Member put forth a thoughtful piece titled Three Steps To Building Resilience Through Technology.The article goes a long ways towards solidifying why resilience has a more urgent place in our businesses. I commend the article to the readers of this post. While Mr. Stemper focuses primarily on technology at his job at Comcast, he tees up some further, more holistic insights. Read More »

The Ransomware Attacks on Hospitals Are (Cyber) Criminal

One of the redeeming aspects of crises is that, amidst all the confusion, suffering, and loss, there are usually moments of grace, of humans showing their best nature... Unfortunately, crises also tend to bring out the worst of our natures... And then there are the cyberattacks. Last week the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and HHS issued a joint alert Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector, warning that they have "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers." I'll spare you the technical details of the expected attack strategies or suggested mitigation efforts, but I will note that they warned: "CISA, FBI, and HHS do not recommend paying ransom." Read More »

How To Define A Product In The Open Source Software Supply Chain

 

In the first article in this series, "Is open source a development model, business model, or something else?" I introduced the concept that open source is part of the supply chain for software products. But to truly understand open source as a supply chain, you must have a decent understanding of what a product is. A product can be thought of as a business, and as legendary business guru Peter Drucker said, "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer." Drucker's statement means a business or product must be useful enough to pay for, or it will fail. Product differentiation is the thing that creates and retains customers.

Is Open Source A Development Model, Business Model, Or Something Else?

The OSD gives a clear definition of what open source software is, but doesn't provide much insight into how the adoption of open source affects a company's ability to build and deliver products or services that people want and need. Stated another way, there's still tremendous debate about the best ways to build a business based on open source. In this first of a multi-part series, I will lay the groundwork for understanding what products are, what product managers do, and how open source can be considered a supply chain. In future articles, I will go deeper into each of these topics, but I'll start by dissecting some common, but fundamentally confusing vocabulary.

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Open Source Tools Provide An Economic Advantage For Science

Free and open source software (FOSS) and the distributed digital manufacturing of free and open source hardware (FOSH) have shown great promise for developing custom scientific tools. For some time now, FOSH has provided scientists a high return on investment. In fact, my previous research in the Open Source Labreported substantial economic savings from using these technologies. However, the open source design paradigm has since grown by orders of magnitude; now, there are examples of open source technology for science in the vast majority of disciplines, and several resources, including the Journal of Open Hardware, are dedicated to publishing them.

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Data Management for Large-scale COVID-19 Immunization: This is all not as simple as it seems

There is a global race for the development of a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Finding a vaccine that works and receives approval is only part of the process. There are a series of other steps that need to be taken so that the vaccine can be delivered. These include the mass production of the vaccine, shipment, administration and record-keeping. This may be even more complex as there may be several vaccines. In this article we review some of these issues with a particular focus on the United States.

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How Breaking My Back Led Me To Open Source

Open source gave a voice and a community to someone coping with the aftermath of a major injury, and eventually led to a new career...Breaking my back was a pivotal experience on many fronts. It scared the hell out of me. But the road to recovery helped me become a more resilient, courageous, and patient human being. Interestingly, it was this incident that also led me to the world of open source. Living with chronic pain is lonely, but I found my voice and a community via WordPress. Now, nearly eight years later, I'm working for the number one open source company in the world.

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