Colloquium Talk: Open Technology and Unlock Human Potential

Jonathan Bryce
Executive Director, Open Infrastructure Foundation

Tuesday November 17, 2020 2:30 – 3:30 PM

Recorded talk can be accessed here


Throughout human history, a conflict between closed innovation and open sharing has tugged at the progress made possible by technological advancement. When I create something new, do I control the benefits and retain the value for myself, or do I share the advancement broadly and let others move it forward while risking a lower return for myself? I imagine these questions have been asked every day for millennia by inventors and scientists, military leaders and governments, entrepreneurs and CEOs.

We now live in a hyper-connected world where everything around us depends on digital infrastructure and software. All science is computer science, all finance is FinTech, modern war is cyberwar and human progress depends on access to networked computing and storage. Many of these changes are driven by the phenomena of dramatically increasing power of technology infrastructure with dramatically decreasing cost and size. But who will control the direction and access of these fundamental components?

The free and open source software movements pioneered a method of technology creation that is broadly accessible while allowing massive commercial opportunity. With the ubiquity of open source software like Linux, it is easy to say “open source has won.” The era of cloud computing has been greatly advanced by Linux, OpenStack, Kubernetes and other projects, yet also has introduced controversy and turmoil as the dynamics of technology licensing and commercialization have been disrupted. In this environment, what is the role of open source and how can those of us who work with technology navigate the opportunities and threats to deliver and distribute the capabilities that the world needs?
As we consider these questions, I’ll share my journey to becoming an open source advocate and where I think the biggest risks and potential will exist over the coming decade for anyone, including students, to participate and have an impact on our world.

About the Speaker
Jonathan Bryce, who has spent his career building the cloud, is Executive Director of the Open Infrastructure Foundation. Previously he was a founder of The Rackspace Cloud. He started his career working as a web developer for Rackspace, and during his tenure, he and co-worker Todd Morey had a vision to build a sophisticated web hosting environment where users and businesses alike could turn to design, develop and deploy their ideal web site – all without being responsible for procuring the technology, installing it or making sure it is built to be always available. This vision became The Rackspace Cloud. Since then he has been a major driver of OpenStack, the open source cloud software initiative.

About the Collaboratory
A partnership between Red Hat and Boston University, the Red Hat Collaboratory connects BU faculty and students with industry practitioners working in open-source software communities. The Collaboratory aims to advance research focused on emerging technologies in a number of areas including operating systems, cloud computing services, machine learning and automation, and big data platforms.

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