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Discussing Open Source At VMware With Chip Childers


Over the years, there has been a shift away from software being engineered and maintained by just a few players to building up open source communities. Almost all proprietary software today has open source code embedded into it and companies are realizing the benefits of forging strategic communities to build ecosystems to solve problems in a new, collaborative way.

In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk, Swapnil Bhartiya catches up with Chip Childers, now Chief Open Source Officer at VMware, while at VMware Explore to talk about his own journey of open source and the key areas he is working on at VMware. He goes on to talk about the evolution of open source and what new open source challenges he is seeing at VMware.

Key highlights of this video interview are:

  • VMware are proud of where they are in their open source journey but Childers feels like there is always room for improvement. He discusses how the open source office supports the three main pillars of activity inside of VMware: maintaining compliance with open source licensing and understanding how to secure the software supply chain, strategic support from both third-party projects and VMware-owned projects, and roadmap innovation.
  • Childers was previously working at the Linux Foundation supporting the Cloud Foundry project and is now in a corporate environment. Childers explains that the breadth of VMware’s engagement in open source is broader than that of the Cloud Foundry Foundation and the Linux Foundation. He discusses the importance of building strategic dependencies to help build ecosystems across VMware’s portfolio.
  • Some companies have been using open source licensing as a marketing tool or tactic against competitors. Childers sees it as a time of chaos from which the technology industry will emerge stronger and with best practices established. He sees it as an opportunity to find a method to work in a more transparent, open way and to recognize the work that still needs to be done such as around security in the supply chain.
  • There are some concerns currently about the Broadcom acquisition but Childers reassures us that the enterprise software industry, including VMware, is very much involved in engaging with open source communities. He explains that it is fundamental to VMware’s customers who consider an organization’s reputation in the open source community as one of their buying decisions.
  • They are seeing talking addressing some of the open source projects that VMware invests in or the projects that VMware has initiated and stewarding at VMware Explore. Childers discusses how VMware is helping open source consumers of VMware technology and how it enables them to get the value from VMware products.
  • One of the hottest topics today is software supply chain security. Childers feels that the entire industry has a new opportunity to solve a problem that we may have minimized collectively in the past. He explains that the potential threat of not having a secure supply chain is becoming evident. Childers discusses how VMware’s Open Source program office is trying to help the Python community do a better job of securing pipelines and what they are working to achieve.

Connect with Chip Childers (LinkedIn)
Learn more about VMware (Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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