Sept. 20, 2021

Developing Open Source Skills in the UK | OpenUK's Upcoming Kids Camp and Digital Gloves Giveaway

Developing Open Source Skills in the UK | OpenUK's Upcoming Kids Camp and Digital Gloves Giveaway

Diving deep on open source technology and education in the UK.

This week, Ryan is joined by Amanda Brock, CEO at OpenUK, a not-for-profit company that harnesses the power of collaboration around open technology in the UK. They discuss OpenUK's upcoming Kids Camp programme of lessons using digital gloves, which they are giving away for free to thousands of children in the UK. (Learn more at Their conversation also explores the nuances of open source, including licensing, applications beyond software, and commercialization.


  • What is open source software and how does it work?
  • Socioeconomic implications of open source
  • OpenUK's focus on open technology: software, data, and hardware
  • How to use open source software with proper governance to avoid licensing issues
  • OpenUK's skills development programmes: kids programs, education, and mentorship
  • What Imogen Heap and Ariana Grande have to do with coding gloves
  • OpenUK's initiative to distribute digital gloves to kids
  • Open Kids Camp starting September 27:
  • Commercializing open source & open source market developments

Meet Our Guest
Amanda Brock is CEO of the UK body for Open Technology, being open software, open hardware and open data, OpenUK; Board Member Cabinet Office Open Standards Board; Advisory Board Member, Government Energy Sector Digitalisation Task Force; European Representative of the Open Invention Network; OASIS Open Projects’ Advisory Council Member (open source and open standards); Advisory Board Member KDE; Charity Trustee, Creative Crieff; Member of various commercial Advisory Boards including Mimoto and Everseen; and mentors C suite individuals. She is a regular international keynote speaker, podcast guest and panel member, and author covering digital, business and revenue models, Open Source, policy and legal issues, with a particular focus on open for good. She writes regularly for both academic journals and the tech press including Information Age, The Reg and CBRDigital. She is an Executive Editor and co-Founder of the Journal of Open Law Technology and Society (formerly IFOSSLR), a Fellow of the Open Forum Academy and a guest editor of an IEE Special Edition on Open Data.

Amanda is the Editor of the book, Open Source Software: Law, Policy and Practice”, 2nd Edition, to be published by Oxford University Press in September 2021 with open access sponsored by the Vietsch Foundation and contributed to by 20 leading figures in open source.

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

Can you just introduce who you are?

Amanda Brock 0:31
I'm Amanda Brock. I'm Sierra, open UK, the industry organization for the business of open source. Before becoming CEO, open UK, I spent about 25 years as a lawyer, many of them in the tech sector and five of them setting up and running the company canonicals legal team.

Ryan Purvis 0:51
So let's start with the open UK. I mean, what what is that? Well, how would you explain to someone at a coffee at a coffee table? Yeah,

Amanda Brock 0:59
how would I explain to someone? So I usually start by explaining open source software. And I do that by talking about copyright, which your average punter will start to glaze over when you mentioned copyright. But I, you know, I asked if they understand what it is. And they'll always say yes, and, you know, I explained that it stops anybody else using your thing. So the thing with software that we've all experienced over the last couple of decades, because copyright was applied to software, so when someone codes copyrights applied to it, you cannot use someone else's software, unless they say you can. Yeah. And that's allowed companies to make money. That's how they've set up their structures and their business models. over many, many years. And you know, most people know that they pay a company a license for the software, they run on their computers. So that much, they will generally understand no matter how deep their knowledge or understanding of either law or technology is. And I will then explain to them about code having to forums human readable, and computer readable. So you have the human readable code, which is what you see developers sitting typing, they do it in multiple languages, that women, which is like learning German, or French, right, if you speak the language, you'll understand what they're writing. And then most people have also seen a computer screen whizzing as it compiles. So that's a recognizable thing to explain to them. And I'll explain that that's the computer compiling it so that it understands it the computer language, the ones and zeros that they will also generally have seen somewhere in their lives. Now, once you've got them engaged with that, explaining that that human readable language has a value. And that value, if you keep it secret is that you have control because if a human neuron understand the code, you have control, and that piece where you keep that secret, you make it your secret sauce allows you to build models, build revenue, and build commercialization around software. And that's what we've all become used to over several decades, whether it's in business, or on the consumer level. And if you can understand that what open source does is share that and make it collaborative. If you've got no experience whatsoever of open, I think that's a really great introductory point. And once you understand that, this is about sharing that not necessarily making money in that way, not that you won't make money in another way. And then maybe if they're still engaged, get into how collaboration works better and creating code, that it's not really a solitary pursuit. And if you can recycle and reuse, enhance what's already there, and bounce things off other people. I think Lina says that. One of the beauties of open sources, it makes bugs shallow, you know, many eyes make bugs shallow. And once people start to understand that, it makes a lot of sense to them. So from there, I would maybe if there's still interest, start to explain the socio political movement and the history and a lot of quite engaged with that, because they see equity in it. And we're in a societal time, where we're looking at di you know, we're looking at diversity, we're looking at equity, we're looking at inclusion, and creating that equity in business resonates with people at the moment. So if you can explain the practical, here's what open source code is. And you get them engaged with that equity of business by collaboration and cooperation amongst businesses. I think they can see how that creates a fair environment. And of course, the important trait now is that we are seeing the world digitalize, the pandemic has only, you know, put that right in focus on the lens. So if you accept that the world is digitalising, that means that business is providing you with services digitally, government service their people digitally and they have Probably because of the uptake of open source, they're going to be using it. And if people can see how that can be used in a way that's fairer, that starts to get more engagement and more discussion around it. And that's often when I'll start to take people into things like open data, and open hardware. Within open UK, what we're about is the business of open technology. And for us open technology is open source software, open hardware and open data, because we think you need to bring the three together at this point in history.

Ryan Purvis 5:32
So when you say, open source, I have obviously had some exposure to I've never really heard of open hardware or open data, per se, I mean that the closest I've seen to maybe as an example of open data is the open banking framework. Now, you can see your monzo account in the same app.

Amanda Brock 5:54
Exactly. So but opening up the API making interoperable, and putting requirements around that data make a big, big difference. And open banking is an example. It's an example that was required by legislation. So method, the financial regulations required the banks to do that. And it was driven by that. We're seeing it in other areas like energy right now, where they are not yet also, I think there's a fair chance they will be there not yet regulated, but the energy sector is looking at how does it open up, and I think will increasingly see that happen with our utilities and services, you know, not just banking in energy. But what open data is, is ways of collaborating. Now, it doesn't mean that your personal private data has to be shared. And it tends to be very respectful of, or if it's done, well. very respectful of GDPR, which is obviously changing. Now, we've just seen the consultation come out last week, for the UK, at least, but for our data privacy and data protection. And there's also this big shift to and you've probably seen data and digital sovereignty happening across the globe. So what we see with opening up data is finding ways that data that isn't breaching your privacy can be opened up and shared. And actually, again, the UK has got a massive presence in the space. So we have a couple of well known organizations that do the running on the open data, got the Open Data Institute, which Tim berners Lee and others were behind, which is based out of King's Cross, actually their offices just behind King's Cross near the Guardian in London. And the ODI is actually one of our partners at COP 26. And then the Open Knowledge Foundation, which is also set up by someone from the UK and based in the UK. And the Open Knowledge Foundation has become a sort of standard set setter, bit like the Open Source Initiative that manages the licenses in open source software. So it sort of accredits licenses as being compliant. So we actually have a really strong presence in the UK, not just open source software, but across the opens. And then we look at open hardware, what you've got there as hardware specifications. It's the area that I would say, personally I've done least in and that I'm weakest on. But we have got a number of people who are really expert in it. And the way they explain it is that software and hardware start to marriage at a point when you get into chips and into silicon. So there seemed to be an accepted need for those three to come together. And I think open UK is the first organization that's from an open source software perspective, really from any of this reopens that's made that shift and committed publicly to being about the three others are doing it within the Open Source Initiative, approve a license this year, an open source software license, the CERN license, which also includes hardware. And that's the first time we've seen one of these jewel licenses being approved. So you know that that move is happening. Organizations like Eclipse foundation and Linux Foundation are starting to bring in projects that are very much about data. So I think we'll see everybody go in that direction.

Ryan Purvis 9:15
Yeah, I mean, the one thing that I remember working in one of the banks that were hesitant to use open source software was was around the licensing specifically where I think it was something around the contribution to use the software, even though you weren't contributing to the actual code itself. In using it anything you did with it would then become owned by the that software base, if that makes any sense.

Amanda Brock 9:47
Right? Yeah, no, that's not right. And that's there can be a lot of confusion. And I think that if we just pause before I explain to you why that's not right. If we pause and talk about confusion, it's something that I have a huge concern around. So what we've seen is a shift in the last decade. And we can talk a bit more about how that's happened. A lot of it's down to get heartburn that developers left to their own code and use code. That's the best code. But they can do it via public repositories like GitHub and get lab without going through procurement or legal, so then go off and get what they want, they can try it out. And then when they know that it works in their business, then they can go through that process if they need to buy services, or they can just carry on using it for free. Now, there is a bit of font less so today than there ever used to be around licensing. And there are two kinds of copyright licensing for open source software in their simplest form copyleft and permissive licenses. Now with a copyleft license, you can use as much as you like, but if you modify and distribute code, then non copyleft license and a strong copyleft license and that you know, those the shades of everything, but in a strop copyleft license. There's a sort of waterfall effect where what you you reshare if it's combined, if it's an a derivative work, and you reshare it needs to become licensed under that same license. So it's not an ownership shift is a licensing shift. The second kind of licensing is permissive, which lets you do pretty much what you want something like MIT BSD, and none of that is relevant to it. But go back to that copyleft piece. So the concern has always been, and you'll hear terms that the folks who are fans of copyleft really disliked like infected, so your your proprietary code will be infected by open source copyleft. And that, that doesn't need to happen. And that comes down to your governance and how you manage it. So if you are applying Good Housekeeping, proper governance to open source, the way that you combine copyleft code with your own proprietary code, if you have such a thing will be done so that you don't create a derivative work and so that that license consequence doesn't happen. Now, that comes back to governance. And what we're seeing in open source and increasingly in businesses is the rise of what's currently being called the open source program offices. So with an open source program office, or anybody doing your governance around open source, there are certain policies, certain practices that corporates and businesses using open source should use. And those would be things like tracking the code coming into your business, knowing where you got it from timestamping it so that you can track updates and fixes. So what we see is that open source program officers and the governance teams who are doing this well, are managing how code comes in, they're managing what can be used with what licenses internally, so you might be happy in your processes for permissive code to be used copyleft code might need an approval. Or you might have a technical fix, so that the issue is whether or not you combine code to create a derivative work. So it's like cracking eggs, right? If you crack eggs and make an omelet, you can't unwind them. If you fry to eggs, even if they touch you can separate them. And it's about the technical solutions that allow you to manage it. So all of your policies, all of your processes should be in place as part of your governance. And this is the bit that worries me the bit that worries me is that we don't have enough skills. And we need to develop those skills more. So people understand those basics. So also, we see this massive rise in open source utilization, we need to see a co related rise and understanding and governance. And that's the piece that we're trying to help fix in the UK with our skills development. And that starts grass roots where you know, quite young kids and our kids camps, just socializing some of the basic concepts with them. Then we plan to go on to more formal education, both in the academic sense with the school certification qualification and in the practical sense, in apprenticeships, so you don't just learn to code. Python, you also learn that actually Python itself is open source, it's on a license, and why open source is the way it is and how you deal with good governance. And then you get to the stage where you're looking at tertiary education and even business. We have

a founders forum and an entrepreneur in residence, Matt Barker, we're about to launch a program where there'll be mentoring and training people who are founders or future founders of open source startups. So we're looking at that full spectrum of Education and Skills Development in the UK.

Ryan Purvis 14:53
You know, the reason why we're speaking is a link through through Friday and during the dots there In digital digital inclusion, which I think what you're talking about now is a huge shift. And it's definitely not something I've seen a lot of at the grassroots level, personally. So I'm very interested to know when you know, when kids think on it, I don't know if you if they jump on it and as as excited as they should be, or,

Amanda Brock 15:18
yeah. You know, I think if you take a look at last year's camp and have a look at it at hashtag, open kids camp on Twitter, we had the most amazing response. And we gave away for 3000 gloves last year, in our first year. And it was kind of heartwarming, if I don't sound too cheesy. Well, you know, I got feedback, there were pictures of little kids who some of them younger than that they ought to have been to be doing this, because it's, it's targeted at Key Stage three. So the first few years of secondary school high school, kids who, you know, there was one who had been nervous of even putting the glove on. And when they believed they could do anything who was coding to make the glove, respond to gestures and make sounds that was blocked, simple coding, but you know, the excitement, and I think because the glove is musical. And because it is inspired by my mood. Now my mu is a glove that Imogen Heap uses an image and created it about a decade ago, I did a little bit of pro bono legal work on it for about a decade ago, which is how I met her. And images glove is, you know, really popular, it's used in all sorts of movies, and all sorts of musicians use it today. But famously, Ariana Grande, he toured with it. Back in 2015 imaging actually took me I don't know if I've ever shared this with anyone. But imaging took me a child that I was looking after to the concert, the oh two. And we went backstage afterwards and Mariana, who had been performing, you know, through the evening with the glove, it's quite amazing. And I think girls are kind of inspired, you know, girls in particular, by that, I think I'll give him try and then accidentally start coding. Yeah, you know, it's an add on almost, if I want to make this glove, make the music then I need to be able to code. And that's been really rewarding. And then imaging actually presented the awards. Last year, she gave the winners, their prizes, the kids prizes, and all done digitally, suddenly. But it was really exciting. And it was great to see them interacting with her. But they'd all made these sort of creative videos. And it programmed their gloves to do different things. Some of them have even got as far as lighting and you know, dance with the music. It was amazing. Did you want to see what we're doing? I can show? Yeah, yeah, there we go. So what we have is a glove kit inspired by the mind mu glove, which looks like this. And you can see it says made in the UK by UK. And into that you put your mic for a bit here, battery pack here. Okay, and then down here, if you've got a micro bit one, you need a speaker so your speaker attaches with crocodile clips here, you've got two you don't need a speaker. We are giving away 3800 of these boxes or 30 will go to 100 community groups and schools. And they will get with that the speaker and clips. And then we've got 1200 for digital excluded kids, which will be filtered through schools and community groups. And for them. They've got a micro bit to USB cable battery pack connectors, all that sort of stuff.

Ryan Purvis 18:42
So there is a microphone like, like a Raspberry Pi.

Amanda Brock 18:45
Sort of Yeah, it's open source. It's UK produced it was originally called the BBC Micro bit arm and the BBC put a lot of funding into it. And it's just a little board.

Ryan Purvis 19:00
Oh, cool. That's very cool.

Amanda Brock 19:03
So the microchip foundations also in the UK that runs the whole I suppose the infrastructure around and there are other devices that you can use with the micro bit. So in year one, we had a creative director, a chap called David whale who's in the ad tech Hall of Fame who did the content for us for the chorus. And David has been working with a UK company monk mate who have produced their speakers for us this year. And monk makes and David have produced this little windmill that's powered by the microbiome, a sustainability learning tool. So you might go back and get one of those we've actually got those amongst our prizes for we'll run a course and then we'll run a competition. And the way the course works as we start releasing on the 27th then we release what we call an episode every week, with a gap for two weeks in October around half term. An episode It is between 10 and 20 minutes long, it's an animated lesson. There are 10. And they're themed on the Open Source Definition. So you know, open sources for everyone because you can't discriminate against users of open source. You can't discriminate against fields of use. So we cover that, and one of the lessons, those kinds of things. So we take those 10, open source definitions, one per lesson. And then we wrap that around an activity using, I think nine out of 10, using the glove, but all using the micro bit. Five of them, you learn to code using make code, which is the language that the microbiome uses. It was created by Microsoft, it's a block code language. So five of them are not a languages block code. Five of them use make code for use Python, and one uses Java. And that move into Python is something specific to this year. So each episode has one lesson. content was created this year, not by David, although he he consulted on it, and he guided, but by a young lady called Luna hole. And Luna was 19. And April, she's in her second year at Cambridge and Robinson college. And last year, she was a mentor on the program on the camp that we did this year, she's created the the coding activities, and she's our creative director for the lessons. But with each lesson, we also have an easy, and it's a digital easy that I guess you could print out if you wanted to. There are various pieces of code and instructions in the lessons that are replicated in that as a reference point. But also we've got a number of interviews with people across open, we have a calm about sustainability, from our chief Sustainability Officer and the Open Data Institute have given us content too. So it broadens out quite a lot. But sustainability for us is a big theme across all of this. And we introduce the kids to the Sustainable Development Goals if they don't already know them. And we talk about how tech interrelates with those as we go through it, because it's such a big deal for us. And then it will all culminate for us with a competition. December January, which will be announced winners will be announced at Easter time. But on the 11th of November, we have a space at COP 26. And we're going to be in the corridor in the official un government hosted area, which has a couple of buildings, the hydro and the CCC where the world leaders will be meeting where businesses will be showing them you know, lots of different demos and proposals around net zero. But we'll actually be in the fringe event which is in that cordon. And we are hosting the open technology and sustainability day there on the 11th of November. Wow. So we're now partnering with the British Computer Society with the micro bit foundation with okay do who's helped us make the gloves and a number of other partners. And we will be using that space to look at the the way skills are developed in young people in the UK and how computer science has taught in the UK. But particularly thinking about open source and open technology in that space. Because we know that there's a massive shortage despite the fact that we are one of the top countries in the world open source. There is a massive shortage of skills in this space. And that's not going to go away because it's become mainstream. So we're really keen to help kids develop and then over time, hopefully at some stage next year, we'll have a knowledge module for apprenticeship schemes and a form of certification. We're still sort of fathoming, whether that's a GCSE or a Scottish higher what it's going to be but that will be a follow on from the course starting to go deeper into some curriculum around open source.

Ryan Purvis 24:00
So someone wants a glove? I mean, could you just read into two kids? As you mentioned earlier? Could someone buy them off your website or

Amanda Brock 24:08
no, we don't sell them. And then the you can actually my move have open sourced the glove. So they've open sourced on. I think it's a solder pad license, the template for the glove so you could go and cut your own one out and stitch it and then buy the components. We are giving away 5000 of them, and we hope to give away more in the future. But through September, you can register open backslash, open kids camp. And you can have a free glove we have 800 for individuals. We also have 3000 available to schools in boxes of or community groups in boxes authority. So up to 100 schools will get a box of 30 I keep saying schools but it's schools and community groups and then we have a further 12 100 now you need a microbot to use the glove. And we're assuming that you have one if you're applying for one of those 3800 kids, and there is that the UK supply chain is filled. So schools have them, you know, I went to my sister who's not particularly tacky, and there's three in her household, she's gonna sell it. So it's, it's a norm. But if you don't have one, and you need one, you can borrow them from libraries in the UK too. You know, there are out there. For kids who are digitally excluded, we are giving through community groups and people who like Freddy, you introduced those who have helped join the dots and get these kids tablets, and laptops and things to access their education over the last year or so. We've got 1200 that are complete with micro bit twos. And they're actually you know, I think they're about 2530 pounds just cost. So it's quite a good giveaway. And if you want one of those, you'll find this email on our website at the same place. But if you contact Ashley monocle, and it's a sh l a s h Li gh dot m o na je le at open Ashley's divvying up those 1200. And we'll start to distribute those next week, the course will come out on the 27th you can do it at your own pace. So we know these are every week but people organize you know and do it in groups, you should be able to do it individually. And we've had a wonderful teacher Pamela ball up in Scotland help us with the curriculum to make sure that it matches Key Stage three. And not just from the English perspective, but hopefully across the UK

Ryan Purvis 26:39
that linkers kids can pay.

Amanda Brock 26:41
Yeah, open backslash open kids camp,

Ryan Purvis 26:46
open kids camps. I'm just looking at your website now. Yeah.

Amanda Brock 26:50
And there's two forums there, one for the packs of 30. And one for the individual that you can follow through with and you should find Ashley's email though to

Ryan Purvis 27:01
Britain, we'll put the link in the in the show notes for that. All right. And you say keys. So when you say Key Stage Three, that's like 1010 to 30 year olds and sort of,

Amanda Brock 27:14
I think it's more sort of 11 to 15. So first year of high so through to the third year, first or third year. So what we decided was not to go for this sort of GCSE level because we knew that the kids are too busy. You know, they did, they've got the exams to focus on and they've been through an awful lot in the last couple of years. We don't think burdening them with more. There is no restriction on who can apply. I mean, it's one person with 100. But you know, if you're younger or older, you want to do it feel free, but it's matched to that curriculum.

Ryan Purvis 27:44
Okay, that's sort of a phrase I haven't heard before Key Stage three. So I wasn't trying to picture where that was. Okay. And so we talked about open hardware being specifications. Is that almost so that everyone that I guess it's like the plugs problem, every country has its own plug, or its own structure of unplug, which makes traveling difficult this is trying to cut that sort of thing? Where

Amanda Brock 28:14
it allows interoperability in that way. So yes, it's like, if you look at electric vehicle charging, when you're talking about the plugs, you know, that has its own plug, everybody else is using things on standards. So in a way it is more of that sort of standardization. Yeah. And allows interoperability, so it allows you to interface it's like building open API's.

Ryan Purvis 28:36
Mm hmm. Does that take it up quite a lot, or quite? Well, it's a new concept for me. So I'm curious to know,

Amanda Brock 28:43
it's relatively new, but it is rapidly gaining traction. So you know, they've been folk working on it. I think Andrew back, who's up in Yorkshire, created something called the open source hardware uses grip OSHA org. And I remember going to an event that they OSHA had about a decade ago, and they had printers, 3d printers. And the way it worked was the license allowed you to print the components and build your own printer if you were that way minded or inclined. So you could just take it and you know, see one build one. And the condition was that you had to teach someone else how to make it, which is kind of nice.

Ryan Purvis 29:23
Wow, because I hadn't really thought about all the auto factories and it's probably the same concept that an auto factory can build another auto factory and that creates a capacity and obviously spend time building new factories to build up capacity and when they're all built, then you can slow pushing out all the things you need. With your with your army of water factories. Okay? I hadn't thought about that way.

Amanda Brock 29:49
We what we see is more and more of this where people are collaborating and opening it up and we see it not just I guess the reputation You know, years ago was a bunch of sort of sandal wearing hippies in their mom's basement. And it's shifted so far from there. Yeah. And what we see is this, you know, it's a global collaboration, it is a global movement is not local sources, open source. So it's open and worldwide. And despite, you know, geopolitical shift, things like Brexit, we still continue to collaborate, cross border. And it allows in itself a diversity. But businesses really adopting it. And we see business adoption, go through a process where they might start by using it now a decade ago, most businesses, legal teams, whatever would have told you against company policy and engineers with a smile because they were using it. But now it's understood that it's being used, and the companies go on a journey, and that journey moves them to collaboration. There's a concept Co Op petition where you, you cooperate on something, but you still compete. And we see more and more of that. And I think we'll see it more and more sectorial as things like the energy sector opens up. And then other sectors will learn from that. And the companies who've been involved in that specific to their sector. I believe we'll see it happen more in their supply chains as time goes by.

Ryan Purvis 31:16
Yeah, because you mentioned earlier that people make money somehow. And I was thinking about the likes of say Mozilla, for example. So Mozilla, Mozilla is an open source browser right?

Amanda Brock 31:30
There. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis 31:31
Yeah. So Firefox is the is the actual one. And they make their money in various ways, one of which is they received funding from Google, I think, for using Google. Yeah. So So what do I mean, if you're explaining open source? And it sounds like you said that, you know, guys in the hippies in the in the garage? How do you convince people that that's a good way to go and is, is commercially viable ways to make money and those ways?

Amanda Brock 31:57
Well, this is a big area, and funnily enough, and I know you don't know this, I have a book that was supposed to be coming out end of this year, I think it may get pushed back to January. And it's with Oxford University Press free and open source software law policy practice, I'm afraid the title isn't particularly catchy, but it's effective. And it's the only time you will ever see my name as the editor and the front of this book, because it was a labor of love through lockdown. But my chapter is on commercialization. And that's what we are going to be teaching into this future founders sessions, in a product development, commercialization, because everybody needs to eat right? Everybody needs to be able to make enough money, and to be rewarded for their endeavors. Also, there is also this massive volunteering element to it. And what we see is different ways, sometimes it's the sale of add on services. Sometimes it's the sale of proprietary software, bells and whistles that go with the open piece, sometimes it's tailoring it, there's been a bit of a shift with cloud. So you know, 1214 years ago, you would have seen a slightly different model from today. But often, you'll see what's called Open core where they the base, code is opened up and shared. And then further up the stack, there are there is code that differentiates that is sold. And you see a very similar model and companies collaborate. So if you think about it, in this day, every company needs similar software as its base point. And often they'll go to a third party and buy something like that in the cloud. When you get into sectors or types of production, you can either all go out and build your own competing based platforms, or you can collaborate and create something, there becomes a standard, whether that's a formal standard or a de facto standard. And just the reality is that you're all using this, which then means it's easier for the supply chain to manage as well. So if they're supplying, say automotive manufacturing, automotive manufacturing uses a common platform, it's easy to build into your supply chain, how you work with that. And that opening up of the bits that you don't need to compete on, is critical to that Co Op petition model.

Ryan Purvis 34:20
Yeah, yeah, I'm thinking about, you know, to my career, how we build software from scratch, and bought a library or something like or a piece of software to add on to the software. And then that piece of software would have had two licenses, it would have the open source license or the community version. And then you'd have the commercial version. And usually the commercial version would have. Again, more SLA kind of stuff and like guarantee performance that of guarantee uptime. You'd have an expert that you couldn't you could reach out to

Amanda Brock 34:54
and it's not so much a license there. What you're looking at is buying a service on top of the license. dry. And I think that's the sort of enterprise model that we see companies like Red Hat do. And that there's two sort of ways of doing that. There's a subscription, there now waits for Red Hat, I believe Suzy, I know less might Suzy. But I believe Suzy does something similar. But Red Hat in particular, very close to the Linux kernel that beyond anybody else, I think their sailed to IBM was the biggest tech transaction in history. I know it was at the time, I think it still is. So I'm sure some do correct me if that's not the case. But you see an open source company based on that subscription model, achieving rights, which shows you it can be done. Some of the others use a more support based model, less subscription focused, where you are buying, you know, support contracts year on year, and I think that can be harder. And what is evolving around that space increasingly, is multi, multi vendor, multi product support. So you'll see companies like percona, not just support their own product, but support their competitors products, knowing that, you know, in that database space, a company might want to be running multiple databases. I think that multi product helps a lot in the business model, where we see companies struggle with an open source business model, it's often not exclusively, but often the case that they're very dependent on a single product. And in a cloud environment. The problem with that is you can have something where you know, you've invested your whole business on one product. And you know, week later as a feature in the cloud, just the way things shift at the moment, and that that's a problem that has been sort of thrown at the open source door. But actually, it's an issue that applies in the proprietary space equally. And there's a lot of work being done around the proprietary software licenses and small proprietary companies in the cloud space equally to the open source companies.

Ryan Purvis 36:58
Yeah. Imagine. Imagine, because you mentioned governance, and I was thinking about how do you? How do you tie that all together? And I'm assuming there's a part of that this information security as well? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Because Because, you know, a lot of these projects I can imagine, guys were just, you know, pushing in code. And you look at the side of Wednesday, a couple last couple months ago. Now, that's almost the same example we landed into. But actually, the governance was the problem.

Amanda Brock 37:31
Well, that said, it's not you know, it's the same. Remember, it was Equifax or something similar, where they said somebody hadn't been knocked day, and you're always gonna have human error, you're always gonna have an individual not doing something right. You're never going to be able to exclude human error unless you find a way of doing that with AI, you know, humans are fallible, but your governance ought to be in place. And those processes should be sort of in your DNA, I guess. And that takes time, what we've what we find an open source that I actually find quite pleasing. And I would make a case that open source is going to be less risk as time goes by them proprietary. So even the lawyers have been collaborating for the last decade and getting a bunch of lawyers to share their secret sauce and work together as brands. But they have been, and what we now have is a number of projects, which offer that governance, and two of them have recently been ISO accredited, so there is open chain, which looks at policies and procedures, you can use the content for free, you can sign up and get the accreditation for being open chain compliant. But open chain, which is a Linux Foundation project, also you can go in, find the policies and the procedures and take that and use that yourself without paying. So those are open tools that are available. There is also SP dx, which is again, a Linux Foundation project again, ISO accredited I think two weeks ago, an sp dx is an espoma software bill of material. And that works with supply chain, and looks at how you can accredit and certify your supply chain through the SP dx documentation. Now, that's going to be really important because if you've seen the US I think you're taking a world leading position on this and you know, we're looking at what they're doing. Biden, I think back in May, if my memory serves me well released an ordinance that open UK his legal group responded to, and in it, they was on security and they specifically drilled down into how software would be managed in the open source space in the supply chain and asked for these s bombs. So and one of the reasons I think open is going to be in a better place here is we are seeing a collaborative response. From the industry, to those concerns, and I think there's a couple of things. One is security. And another is sustainability. And that's why we already have a chief Sustainability Officer in place at open UK. And we're working, we've created a sustainability policy. We're working on our procedures, all of that's Creative Commons, and anyone can go in and take what we've done and you know, use it themselves and share it, the second pieces of the security piece, and before the end of the month, we will be announcing chief security officer, who will be working with the security advisory board. And what we're hoping there, you didn't know this, again, your questions are great. We'll be aiming to help both business and the public sector and government to understand how to do this. Well, that is not that we're going to be doing often creating things from scratch, will become a bit of a funnel, and a sounding board for them for the UK. And again, we'll look at what other countries like the US are already doing. And we'll learn from other people and collaborate internationally. Back in July, we changed our purpose. And we when we sort of set up in the iteration, we're in around open technology, back in January 2020. Our purpose was UK leadership, and to develop and sustain UK leadership in open technology. But the reality is we're on a global playing field, and we've been collaborating, we've joined all the big organizations, and we work with them. So we've shifted that purpose. And we know we're about UK leadership and open technology and global collaboration. So we aim to encourage that leadership and collaboration.

Ryan Purvis 41:41
Yeah, I think that's that's one of the that's a good move. Because if you look at what the pandemic has done, it has opened everyone's eyes to what's possible beyond geographic borders. Exactly. And, yeah, that's impressive. So in order to get in contact with you to to leverage the, what do you call yourselves in association, I guess.

Amanda Brock 42:02
Yeah, so we tend to talk about ourselves as being an industry body and business models are is is evolving, anybody can take part so you don't have to pay anything to be part of our organization. There are a number of workgroups, we have about 130 people volunteering across our ambassadors, leadership team and board. And then a variety of different work groups, you know, working on things like awards, or Legal Group, work on legal and policy staff group looking at future mobiles. And then, of course, or a future telco. And then of course, there's stuff that we're doing on cop 26. But if anybody wants to contact us admin at open, and Sophie who will get your message there will point you in the direction of the right person. And one thing I should have said to you, I know we're getting ready to wrap up is that the book that's coming out with her up is actually going to be open access. So we've managed to secure funding from the Veatch foundation. So anybody who wants to have access to that book will be able to in the spring without paying for the access.

Ryan Purvis 43:09
So you say open access is basically a free book.

Amanda Brock 43:13
You can buy it to you if you like.

Ryan Purvis 43:16
Because I've seen I've seen this model where someone will write a book and leave the book online as a web as like a web version, and you can have that part for free. If you want to download the book onto your Kindle or buy the hardcopy, then you pay

Amanda Brock 43:33
the hardcopy, which makes sense, because, you know, we're also saying that we also have sponsorship to give away a couple of 100 of those. But we have the E reader and the PDF will be available free.

Ryan Purvis 43:47
I look forward to seeing and reading that.

Amanda Brock 43:51
Yeah. If you read it from cover to cover, you'll be joining me I suspect you won't. a tough job being an editor.

Ryan Purvis 43:59
Yeah, well, the challenge accepted. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to to seeing the gloves connection.

Amanda Brock 44:10
Brilliant, and thanks very much for having me along today is really appreciated.

Ryan Purvis 44:19
Thank you for listening today's episode, and the big news, our producer editor. Thank you, Heather for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website WWW dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our news. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

Transcribed by

Amanda BrockProfile Photo

Amanda Brock

CEO at OpenUK

Leading the UK's organisation for the business of Open Technology, open source software alone contributes up to £41billion per annum to the UK economy/ GDP.
Digital leader, writer and international keynote speaker, experienced in a range of disruptive technologies, digital transformation and open technology strategy. Influencer interested in advisory, board positions and consultancy.
Sectors/ Verticals: Software; Open/Commons; MNO; OTT and Digital; Operating Systems; Apps; ISP; SOC; OEM ; AI; IoT and Wearables; Data Centres; E-business and Retail; Automotive; Fashion; Fintech and Financial Services.
International: Europe and CIS since 2000; US since 2004; Asia including Taiwan and China since 2008; and emerging markets including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.
Additional Skills: Litigation and Risk management ; Corporate and IPO; Compliance and Regulatory; HR Director; Legal Operations; Defensive IP Collaboration; Cross Enterprise Collaborations and Founder.