Facebook IPO could still be a good thing for Open Source

facebook logoFrom the ‘Greed Doesn’t Conquer All’ files:

Facebook’s IPO has been hammered in the mainstream press as a disaster because of NASDAQ troubles as well as a precipitous decline in the value of the stock. While that’s kinda/sorta interesting, I’m an open source guy, so I’m interested in other stuff.

For one, whether Facebook is a $100 Billion company or just a $70 Billion company, they are a company built on open source software. Yes Facebook uses the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/ PHP) stack but they’ve done so much more and contributed a lot of it back to the community too.

Instead of just being a PHP user, Facebook created their own HipHop PHP runtime project. Facebook officially announced HipHop as a way to speed up PHP operations and efficiency. At the database tier, Facebook stores user data is in the MySQL open source database. In addition to MySQL, Facebook leverages a pair of NoSQL type databases as well including Cassandra</A> and HBase which is part of the Apache Hadoop project.

In order to help enable the data analysis, Facebook uses an open source technology called scribe. And the list goes on and on.

From a hardware perspective, Facebook helped to launch OpenCompute, which could end up revolutionizing the server hardware business. Already the group has come up with the OpenRack spec which could improve data center efficiencies.

Sure, it’s easy to focus on the greed when it comes to Facebook, and there is no shortage of that to go around. But the IPO has likely made millionaires out of some very talented open source developers too.

Let’s hope that the IPO shenanigans do not distract Facebook’s Hacker Way, especially in terms of open source. Facebook can continue to be a positive force in the open source community, or they could tighten up and close up as quarterly financial targets get in the way. Considering that there current success in terms of user adoption is based on open source, I hope they remember their roots.



Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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