The entire world relies on open source software
Ethical questions around GitHub's new co-pilot tool, building public goods outside of financial apps in crypto, and some pressing legal questions
This week we’re starting to introduce more crypto-related updates and thoughts from around the web. Why, you may ask? Because: we’re obsessed with it - it’s why and how we started 2C - and it’s paving the future for practically every internet business or governing body there is today.
This week we’re looking at the backbone of what defined the hyper-growth of the internet: Open Source. Linus Torvalds’ first release of source code in 1991 allowed Linux to spread by allowing users to fork, modify, and share software. It’s hard to imagine a world where we wouldn’t be able to take something that’s been created and build upon it - the reach and influence touches not only our professional lives, but our personal lives too.
That being said, most companies today aren’t incentivized to open source their services unless it benefits their bottomline. For instance, Zuck confirmed recently that trillion-dollar valued Facebook is turning into a ‘metaverse’ company. However, people are starting to wonder whether a digital universe should be open source, rather than owned by one central authority.
Although blockchain itself may not technically be open source, the systems, communities, and implementation embodies an open mentality of the open source ethos. We’ve seen this to be true for the most part within the Ethereum community.
🔥 Hot conversations:
Vitalik (creator of Ethereum) gave a talk at ETHCC on“things that matter outside of DeFi” - a must listen. He discussed again the importance of creating public goods projects and privacy solutions in the ETH ecosystem, rather than building financial apps.
"DeFi people are great… but this isn’t all that Ethereum is trying to do." - VB
Big Data Quarterly reviews how large companies and various geographical regions play a role, and how the business of OSS will evolve. An interesting point made at the outset of the article questions what it means to truly be open source:
“In 2020, very few open source software projects remained truly “open” without a single company acting essentially as an owner.”
Look anywhere in crypto and you’ll see a Discord invite link. It is the platform of choice for the crypto community. It makes me wonder whether crypto-based communities will make Discord a multi-billion dollar platform over the next few years.
✨ Movers & Shakers in Crypto:
Axies are the new Cryptokitties. In the Philippines Axie Infinity has developed a dedicated following of players who farm the game as a means of supplementing income.
Bye bye S3, hello FIL with https://web3.storage/
Austin Griffith is reinforcing how important it is to simplify onboarding into dapp creation for the community with with Scaffold-eth.
🧐 Open Source Legal Debates
Github Copilot sparked a lot of controversy last month. "Trained on billions of lines of public code, GitHub Copilot puts the knowledge you need at your fingertips".
"Copilot’s source material is code: millions of lines uploaded by the 65 million users of GitHub" and some developers take issue.
"Will using Copilot count as creating a derivative work of the original copyleft-licensed code?"
Open Source Alternatives to common business tools and commercial products
A huge, categorized list of free, mostly self-hosted substitutes for everyday business.
GitHub's README Project shows how so much of the software ecosystem relies on OSS and how cascading changes can even affect end users. The big takeaway: "a trend towards more modular design and development in open source, with maintainers creating smaller packages that require fewer maintainers and less work to maintain"
Google's casebook is an exhaustive examination of the unsettled grey area between OSS and patent law. You may need a couple law degrees for this read, but it's a great resource.
JUST FOR FUN
Tips & Tricks
Maybe more important than the code in your project is the README that belongs to it. This browser-based tool can be used to add common blocks like Installation, Usage, Contributors, etc. to a fresh Markdown file. Make sure your document is well formatted and not just a mess of run-on text.
Volta helps wrangle Node.js versions on a developer's local machine. It is an alternative to nvm that works universally, obeys project package.json requirements, remembers which global packages belong to which Node, and it's super fast. An honorable mention: it's also worth checking out asdf - An extendable version manager.
Thanks to Taylor Beseda for helping curate this content.
Follow him on twitter @tbeseda.