It’s been a while, I hope we can revive our conversation.
I would like to continue by discussing the benefits (value) of open source.
I took the list in Tobie Langel’s talk at Fosdem (~22:00 minute) as a base, added some additional items, especially under “society” level.
As you can see, these benefits would be more applicable to more permissive licenses (MIT, BSD) compare to lesser ones and none to proprietary.
- Exposure / better career opportunities: Quoting from @bureado; “exposure across markets and industries for your code or contributions” and higher chance of being recruited
- Any other benefits?
Organization / project level:
- Contributions from outside: Improved code / documentation / security
- Community: Allows the organization to have a strong community around the product
- Higher adoption rate: The product can grow in the market organically (requires less marketing?)
- Access to talent pool: Higher reputation in dev community can make the recruitment easier
Society / community / across organizations level:
- Influence direction: Allows other parties to influence / contribute to the project
- No vendor lock-in (Freedom): Other parties have the chance to fork the project and continue. This maximizes the freedom and prevents monopolies in the market. Even if the vendor is out of business, project may live (less business risk).
- Improved education / learning: Allows education systems to be much more integrated to business world / real life solutions.
- Better best practices: Similarly, allows us to share / create best practices, so any developer can get to the same level.
- Lesser lawsuits: Having lesser restrictions over the products / services should lead to lesser legal complications.
- Prevents investment overlap / increased productivity (Reinventing the wheel): No other party has to spend time & money to recreate that software / knowledge. This leads to better usage of our overall resources (less investments in the same area), and it would increase the speed of progress.
What do you think about the list? Any items would you like to add, change or maybe remove?
Some additional questions:
- Can we apply these benefits to other industries as well? e.g. manufacturing, architecture, medicine
- Can we find some ways to measure these benefits (can we build a business case)?
- How many organizations are there in the market that are keep repeating each other’s work (size of the overlapping investments)?
- And how much open source could’ve helped us to prevent this? What would happen if we could’ve increased the size of the open source spending / investments by x%?
Here are my final statements:
- In overall, open source is way more valuable compare to proprietary license / approach, especially on “society” level
- In an ideal world (that everybody knows / understands these benefits), open source would get more resources than proprietary (society ~ consumers wouldn’t invest in proprietary as much as today - I will open this one on the next part)
- To achieve maximum productivity, we should not only focus to existing open source initiatives, but we should aim to make any/all type of knowledge open source
- To get to this level, open source should become a financially attractive option for commercial organizations as well (either through market, or through other means like “subsidies” - planning to continue from here).
It would be great to get your input.