100 Million Reasons Why Architecture Matters

by Michael Tiemann, Chief Technical Officer

Table of Contents

  • An architectural perspective
  • The $78 billion problem
  • Red Hat on Wall Street
  • Government open source adoption
  • Summary

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An architectural perspective

"When a private individual mediates an undertaking, however directly connected it may be to the welfare of society, he never thinks of soliciting the cooperation of the government, but he publishes his plan, offers to execute it himself, courts the assistance of other individuals, and struggles manfully against all obstacles. Undoubtedly he is often less successful than the state might have been in his position, but in the end, the sum of these private undertakings far exceeds what the government could have done."

-- Alexis de Tocqueville  

This observation by Alexis de Tocqueville, published in 1835, speaks volumes about both Americans and about the architecture of democracy in America. Namely, that democracy is not a limited political theory nor a limited political mechanism, but that the concepts and values of individual empowerment could spread even to every activity of the private sector. Thus, American democracy is one of those rare creations that transcends even itself. For what better compliment could there be of a democratic government, but that society could be improved by working quite independently from it?

Today, when we consider the successes and failures of the technology industry, the perspective must be an architectural one. Technology itself cannot be viewed on its own, nor even in the context of its application, but instead from the perspective of what creates, and then destroys or sustains the technology over time. I will argue that when it comes to technology, architecture matters, and that architecture matters absolutely. Moreover, in a democratic society driven by free-market principles, architectures that support rather than subvert choice will be the only architectures to endure, and that technologies inconsistent with such architectures are doomed to fail.