An Introduction to Open Source at

In this series kickoff, Ian looks at the roles open source plays at how the company contributes to existing projects, how new open source projects are released, and how open source software is used internally.
Written by Ian Varley – July ‘14. This is based on a presentation from Dreamforce ’13 of the same name.

Whether you realize it or not, you use open-source software every day. You’re using it right now, in fact–significant chunks of the web run on open-source software, including this blog (which runs on WordPress). “Open source” means that the source code for the software program is a matter of public record, rather than a secret held by one person or company. In many cases, it also means that the software is collaboratively maintained by a group.

What’s so great about open-source software? The simplest answer is captured by the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats”. In successful open-source software projects, everyone gets out more than they put in. Having a diverse pool of contributors means that an open source project is more robust than any single person or company could have made it on their own.

So what part does open-source software play at This blog series explores that question in 3 parts: how we use open source, how we contribute to existing open source projects, and how we release new software as open source.

Note: This series focuses on a subset of Salesforce’s products: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter, and the platform. It doesn’t go into details about other products in the Salesforce family like ExactTarget, Pardot, Heroku, Buddy Media, and The exclusion isn’t because these products don’t use open source–they most certainly do! But, we’ll leave those for a future post. Also note that this post is subject to the standard safe harbor agreement; we’re not making any promises about the current or future state of our products in this post.