July 11, 2014
The Future of Open Source
I was recently involved in a discussion where the topic of open source came up. The comment was made that open source has become quite ubiquitous in the world and the concept of open source was no longer novel or unique. In fact open source has become pretty much the “norm” or the standard by which technology projects are created. So with that base in mind, what does the open source of tomorrow look like?
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind what follows are my own thoughts only. You may completely disagree. I may be entirely wrong about what tomorrow’s open source holds and how the future of open source looks. These are only my thoughts based on my opinions.
Today’s Open Source
I think when we explore what open source has done for technology in general we see some interesting points and some great success stories. Everyone is familiar with the success of major corporations like Linux, which has now proven its dominance as an operating system (I refer to server dominance – they still struggle with implementations for the end user). We’ve seen countless companies (and governments) attempt to integrate open source deeply throughout their products. And we’ve seen millions of smaller projects employ open source and publish their code on popular social sites like GitHub or BitBucket. That’s now.
Tomorrow’s open source continues on this basis but expands it even more. And it’s already begun. Here’s a few things I think we’ll see in the future of open source.
Open Source Will Go Beyond Technology
This idea of going beyond technology has already begun to occur. We’ve seen articles about companies involved in open source farming, open source healthcare, and many other areas of life. The concept that open source refers to merely the code behind a particular software project is yesterday’s thinking. Looking forward at what tomorrow holds we see a world where open source permeates every aspect of life.
The benefits to this saturation are numerous. We’ll see advancements in our scientific research. We’ll experience faster innovation in the study and treatment of various health conditions. We’ll be capable of improving our planet by improving our understanding of nature and each other.
The idea of open source will continue to grow and expand beyond the current community of the technical and the engineers. More and more people will be familiar with the term open source, but the idea will be vastly different then what it means today.
Open Source Projects Will Be Blended
In the future of open source the projects built on open source will begin to be blended. We’ll see a sharing of open source information cross-pollinate between various aspects of life much more so then is evident today. If we look at a small subset of open source available today we notice the efforts of communities to make their open source product not only available to everyone but interoperable with others as well.
The communities want to work together and interchange bits of open source systems to allow people to create what they want to see without being reliant on any one open source project. As mentioned, the majority of open source today is code-based. Developers share their code through online social networks and encourage others to use it. They work to make their code generic enough that it can be used with other open source code as well.
In the future this sharing and blending continues to become more of a priority. In the future open source will lose the heavy “tech” feel and be found everywhere in the world and as that encompassing occurs the new cutting-edge will be seamless interaction between different systems. The future of open source will be the sharing of knowledge and concepts.
Open Source Will Be Simplified
The next logical step for open source to take is a simplification. As those individuals push the limits of blending open source across platforms the need for a standard or simplified base will become more and more a priority. Open source projects will seek ways to increase the ease with which they can be blended and integrated with each other and through this process the concept of open source will be simplified and standardized.
The simplification of open source will increase the number of individuals who can work with open source. Currently open source is somewhat limited to technology. As such the more technical-minded of the world are leading the charge and creating things with open source. In the future this balance begins to shift.
Tomorrow’s open source is everywhere, in everything, and simple enough for everyone to be a creator rather than just a consumer. The world will become more open as more people are empowered to put their imaginations to work in creating something new. Because they can.
Open Source Continues.
The future of open source is somewhat of a mystery. I admit the ideas above are perhaps more of the immediate future than a long-term vision. (Maybe I’ll share other revelations later). One thing is clear. Open source has proven its dominance and will continue to impact our lives in more and more ways. The benefits of open source will continue to grow and the use of open source will be far more widespread.The future of open source is the future of our world, and it’s exciting.
Do you have ideas about the future of open source? Tweet me, I’d love to hear them! Let’s share knowledge, let’s promote open source, it’s our future.
February 22, 2014
The World Needs Open Source
This is a presentation I gave at CMS Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The crowd was incredible from countries all across Africa. The vibe was excited and everyone eager to be involved. Obviously, the world needs open source!