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Using Open Source Methods in a Private Company

Let’s say your business doesn’t have one bit of interest in sharing its internal code with the outside world. Does that mean that open source methods of programming can’t do you any good? Camille Fournier, Director of Engineering for retailer Rent the Runway, Apache ZooKeeper committer, and former Goldman Sachs VP, believes adopting open source software development methods can help even your organization.

At OSCon, the major open source convention in Portland, OR, Fournier opened her session, “Internal Open Source: Running internal projects with open source methods,” by observing that while “open source software is everywhere,” not all companies have adopted it.

“Most companies, big and small, have some code that is shared by many but owned by few. It may be in the form of useful libraries for common tasks like logging and configuration. It may be in the form of internal services that cross business functions,” she said. “Managing these libraries and services often falls onto the teams that originally created them, or on a core tech team that owns all shared software. This model has many drawbacks: slow changes, a lack of transparency for users, and a tendency to cause bottlenecks for other developers.”

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