UPDATED 10:53 EDT / JUNE 15 2012

Open Source is a Game of Partnerships, Bigger than Competition

“Open Source is an interesting game,” says Hortonworks Co-founder and CTO Eric Baldeschweiler. “Employees who leave you are working feverishly to make your products better. Your competitors are working feverishly to make your products better. So we are looking for win-wins and trying to work with everybody in the community.”

To be successful in the Open Source community, he said in an interview in the SiliconAngle Cube at Hadoop Summit 2012, you have to understand that you need to make space for other people to succeed. And that means people worldwide.

And many traditional companies make the mistake of leaving no time for employees to be with their families and other personal activities. “We’re in a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “We believe people should have time for things outside of work.”

One major advantage of Open Source is the community is so large that people can try things in parallel and try out many more ideas and approaches than any one company can in the development of a product. The result is that products evolve much faster. It generates many failures, but the successes are well tested and stronger for that.

The community is made up of two types of people. One set “wants to pull stuff out of Apache, add their special sauce, and run with that. We work with those people all the time. Then there are people who want to test things and see what they can do with them.” Both groups are important to the evolution of technologies like Hadoop.

HortonWorks has just introduced the HortonWorks Data Platform is designed to provide users with a dependable platform that works on which they can build. “It is about testability, repeatability, dependability, and deployability.”

Looking forward, he said that users can expect quarterly updates including bug fixes and new functionality. Predicting when version 2 of the Data Platform will be finished is more difficult, but he thinks it should come out early next year.

Meanwhile, HortonWorks is growing very quickly. Barely a year after it was founded, it now has 80 employees and has sales, marketing, support, and consulting groups as well as product development, which is Baldeschweiler’s area. “We have some interesting problems to solve,” he said. “I’m looking for technology leaders who can help us solve them.”


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