Many people wonder what the point of open source is? For those who don’t get it, they think it is giving stuff out for free. They don’t understand how BeagleBone exploded the way they did. More importantly, they don’t seem to understand that the internet as we know it, or many innovations in terms of the modern world, wouldn’t exist or be the same if it wasn’t for open source. Even when you look at proprietary tech companies like Apple, one can argue figures such as Steve Wozniak were greatly inspired by the open hardware movement many decades ago.
Outside of the whole software side of things, open source have greatly inspired tinkers and engineers. Something that have spawned outside of open source is open innovation, and people have been more and more willing to share designs, diagrams and schematics related to cool things they are working on. In terms of open innovation, perhaps some of my more favorite examples include BPS.space, and Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Alpha.
With the spirit of open innovation, you also have sites like SketchFab with some downloadable 3D assets marked for reuse. Websites like Hackaday, Instructables, and Hackster have also been known to inspire makers and doers.
Also projects on YouTube by hobbyist such as openDog has also been in the spirit of open hardware and innovation.
Now let us talk about technology for a bit. Simply put what is the purpose of technology and why does technology exist? I believe that the dilemma of a good inventor is to build something that makes our lives easier. It is to have technology make the world a better place and be used in a beneficial way.
While proprietary tech is still quite a good thing, especially for heavily involved research and R&D companies, open source is also a great thing. Many companies that release proprietary tech also have released open source tech. The beauty of open source is that it speeds up usage of an innovation dramatically when others can build untop of what you have made.
One big aspect of open source is also redistribution or free software. In extreme cases, such as the video above, many legal challenges have gotten in the way of people even redistributing the simplest of software. It goes around the whole argument in regards to copyright, intellectual property law, distribution rights, and the right to repair act. While that video is more of an IP than right to repair case, this seems more of an excessive example.
I challenged myself to even make my own open source license off the spirit of open innovation. I even needed that. What I called it is quite obvious.
The Open Innovation License is a very serious thing. It is something I plan on promoting and advocating for. Outside of having the basics covered in regards to open source, it emphasizes in detail a broader scope of technology. It also doesn’t include a header file which makes license management much easier in terms of it being primarily a LICENSE.md file (at least for version 1).
In regards to mission, it actually includes a mission statement in part of the license. This is done in a way that is actually quite simplistic while attempting to maintain the legal integrity of the rest of the license.
Trying to get many people on the same page in regards to technology and promoting the idea of technology being used to make the world a better place, is an important step that still haven’t been fully formalized in the tech community.
Anyways regardless, we innovate for a purpose. I think Open Innovation is going to be a bigger trend in tech and want to contribute my part. In terms of where society is heading, technology can either be used for good and bad. I think when technology is behind a paywall or centralized authority, it is more than likely to have some misuse given how code can be hidden from the general public. While proprietary tech makes sense in a lot of situations, so does open source. This isn’t just an article on open source, but rather how open source spawns innovation, and how more and more people innovating should be centered around the goal of usefulness and betterment.
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