Things I think Open Source Needs to Address

Following on from my previous post… here are some issues I think the Open Source movement needs to address:

  1. Where is Open Source Failing?
    I believe a discussion is needed about why there is a failure of Open Source to capture the desktop and web platform space. We have some successes, notably WordPress and Chrome, Firefox, but generally speaking these two categories of software are a big fail for Open Source. How come?
  2. Are we past the era of licenses and code?
    Open Source has been preoccupied with notions of code and licensing since it started. That’s fair enough, given that the first couple of decades have been about establishing fundamentals. But aren’t we past this moment? Can’t we count issues such as licensing pretty much as solved and move on? Is it now time to put other issues at the center of the culture?
  3. Becoming a full stack culture…
    Open Source, the culture, the values, the toolset, the lexicon, all value code and developing code above all else. When will Open Source embrace all roles in software development and value them equally… what does that kind of project look like? What does a network of different skill sets need to thrive?
  4. Diversity/Gender
    This is being addressed to some degree in the last years at various open source conferences and get togethers… however, it would be good to face up to the fact that (as far as I can tell) women make up < 10% (10% seems to be the high end of estimations) of all developers in Open Source… this isn’t something just for discussion, this is an issue which required urgent action. We also need to ask ourselves why do less women participate in Open Source than in proprietary software culture?
  5. The Open Source Cultural Method
    Open Source is a culture/method for solving problems. Where can this be improved? What can we borrow from existing Software Development Life Cycles that may improve our game?
  6. Open Source tools…
    What do we need to change in existing workflow tools (eg gitlab/github) to enable Open Source culture to improve? What innovations can we bring to beat the proprietary projects?
  7. Solidarity
    What does it mean to show solidarity for other open source projects? Do we need to do it? Do we expect this from other projects towards what we are working on?
  8. Challenging cultural community tropes
    What are the failings of community staples such as the Benevolent Dictator for Life? Is open source really any different from other types of collaboration? Why do we think it’s special? What can we learn from other community efforts of shared production? What tropes hold value and which are unhealthy?
  9. Encouraging Criticism
    Why aren’t there active critical voices encouraging healthy criticism? What does that say about the culture?

This is just a starter…I am sure there are many other issues that need to be put front and center. These are my starting 9…

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