Thoughts on moving beyond open source software.
I would put it in a very blunt way: for many years we were suckers, and let them take what we developed and make tons of money on this.- Ofer Bengal, CEO Redis Labs
The availability of source code produces many goods. It spreads knowledge and good technique, enables users to repair issues, and opens a path for those with niche wants or needs to satisfy them.
The victory of open-source software over closed-source has been viewed as a vindication of the worse is better design philosophy. However, as has been pointed out before, perhaps this success is not really due to worse is better design but rather some misvalued factor.
It is increasingly dawning on open-source project founders that the real cause of the victory of open source may not have been worse is better design or bazaar-style development, but the enormous and free benefits their work provided to businesses. The business consensus around open source is not a victory over private interests, but a victory for private interests. Open-source has succeeded by creating asymmetric benefits for users at the expense of project founders.
It is time to rethink the open-source model and repair this unfair relationship. Any new model should seek to do so without losing the goods mentioned above. The new model is provisionally dubbed: conditionally open source software. The source code is still available, but subject to new conditions. This entails entirely new licensing models that prioritize sustainability and funding, and new tools for developers that want to operate under this model.
Operating under this new model also requires a new philosophy. One that cuts against many prevailing trends.
- the cathedral and the bazaaar
- lisp: good news, bad news, how to win big
- worse is better
- the rise of worse is better
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