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Stephen Chin for JFrog

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Why I Left the Bay for the Swamp — A Story of Open Source Diversity

Frog in the Swamp
Frog in the Swamp: Ronincmc [CC BY-SA 4.0]

I left what many consider a dream job running developer marketing at Oracle next to the SF Bay to join a leading DevOps startup who identifies with frogs and the swamp. Here is what I learned in the high tech cloud industry and why I chose to go back to my roots.

One hundred and fifty years ago in the SF Bay Area it would be a common sight to see mixed herds of elk, deer, and pronghorn antelope grazing in the hills while grizzly bears fish for salmon in nearby rivers and streams. Now you are more likely to see billboards on cloud computing solutions and cranes constructing new tech buildings in the distance. The deer are still present, but have been relegated to pilfering flowers and tomatoes from residential gardens while dodging hurried soccer moms (like my wife).

Similar to how urbanization has put pressure on biological diversity in the SF Bay Area, open source startups are also struggling to survive in a technology industry that is dominated by cloud computing giants. They have made a successful business model out of packaging open source software in the cloud with professional support to lure developers into adopting their infrastructure. If large cloud companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle continue to pilfer open source software and remove monetization opportunities for the companies that actively develop and maintain this software, innovation will be limited to the open source projects these tech giants deem profitable.

JFrog is one of the companies bucking this trend with great innovation and strong contributions back to open source. They have been supporting DevOps workflows for over a decade (before developers even knew why artifact and package management matter) and are leading the cloud-native revolution with the acquisition of Shippable, Conan and Cloudmunch to build a unified artifact management, security, and deployment solution. However, the secret of their success is a culture of open source investment and community support. 10 years ago, before I became a Java Rock Star, I was a part of the “swamp” community as an early Artifactory customer, and this continues to be the driving force in JFrog’s success today.

JFrog is doubling down on the community with free module repositories for a growing number of language communities including Go (GoCenter), Java (JCenter), and C/C++ (Conan-Center). Also, any open-source project can take advantage of free Artifactory Pro instances in the cloud, which covers the above languages plus JavaScript, Python, Ruby, R, Lua, Scala, Fortran, Objective C, Swift, . NET, etc. And with almost 100 open-source projects including Helm charts and an open command-line interface, they are giving back to the community. Finally, by bringing onboard a senior developer relations leader (yours truly), that shows their continued commitment to invest in open source and community.

So the next time you are tempted to simply use the one-click service that your cloud provider conveniently bundles for you, think about the open-source developers who brought the innovation and give them a chance to impress you. A special shout out to Eliot Horowitz, co-creator of MongoDB, Neha Narkhede, co-creator of Kafka (Confluent), Salvatore Sanfilippo, inventor of Redis, Mitchell Hashimoto, creator of Terraform (Hashicorp), Shay Banon, creator of Elasticsearch (Elastic), Yoav Landman, and Fred Simon founders of JFrog . These tech leaders all have successfully founded companies that drive the DevOps and cloud native movements and are worthy of my and your support.

I am glad to be joining these open-source leaders to take our industry forward. Expect more great open source and technical content straight from the swamp on the JFrog Developer blog.

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