Josh Simmons's blog

Charting a Course for 2020 and Beyond

A Compass

This is an interesting time for open source.

An approach to intellectual property that was once seen as radical is now mainstream. In 2011, 13 years after "open source" was coined and the Open Source Initiative was founded to promote and protect it, O'Reilly Media declared that open source had won. In 2016, WIRED followed suit. Now, open source undergirds software development across a truly unfathomable range of applications and fans the flames of other open culture movements. It has inspired new ways of collaborating with each other, experiments in community governance, and has been so successful that it is colloquially taken to mean all of the above.

And yet, open source feels so tenuous sometimes. Questions dog us. Setting aside run-of-the-mill fear, uncertainty, and doubt, people are raising legitimate questions: are our projects sustainable? Are our communities safe and healthy? Are maintainers being treated fairly? Is our work just? Can open source weather continued attempts at redefinition?

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