The ‘random’ channel on the Simpleweb Slack is often a depository for nonsense. Right now as I scroll up there’s an article about gelato made with real avocado (neatly formed into the shape of an actual avocado), a ‘help yourself’ notice about leftover cookies in the kitchen, dog pictures, a Gizmo the Gremlin photoshopped onto the middle shelf of a waiter’s trolley…you get the idea.

However, it’s also a repository of fascinating information, perfect for timewasting research and sometimes things get deep…

This week, fierce debate ensued between three of our developers, Adil, Andy and David, when Adil made the following rather bold statement:It was indeed food for thought as within a minute Andy had replied:

We thought the ensuing debate was worth sharing:

Adil 11:41 AM
okay, whats your reasoning?

Everything built on the web (every app on your phone) relies in one form or another on open source technology. Every business that uses technology relies on open source. So generator; definitely. If you disagree, offer me an alternative that has created more wealth!

Distributor; when in the history of mankind has information and technology been *more* accessible then now? Anybody can create the ‘next big app’, by building on the shoulders of giants (open source!!!)

I don’t mean it in a snarky way and I do apologise if I come across as such 🙇🏽‍♂️

david 11:44 AM
** years ago when I read the GNU Manifesto, I dreamed that something like this might happen. I didn’t believe it actually would.

andy 11:46 AM
I was coming at it more from a “common usage” than a “potentiality” thing – yes in theory *anyone* can create the next big app built on top of OSS, but in practice a lot of what happens is this:
– New OSS project occurs
– SV Business makes use of OSS (SV = Silicon Valley)
– SV Business finds issues in OSS
– SV Business tries to force maintainers to fix it (viewing it similarly to a support contract with another co)
– Maintainers get burned out
– SV Business makes loads of money and do not give anything back
I view this more as a concentrator than a distributor

david 11:47 AM
Just 11 years ago, approximately no phones had any open source, and the mobile web was a clunky afterthought.

Adil 11:51 AM
I fully agree with you @andy; this happens far too often. However, this doesn’t disprove the statement “Open source is the greatest distributor of wealth in the history of mankind”.

OK, so there’s agreement, we’re getting somewhere…

andy 11:52 AM
@david what phones now are Actually open source? (Android needs Google’s closed source spyware to work and I am pretty sure iOS/Windows phone/etc. are all closed source as well) Many make use of some OSS tech, but wrap it in their closed source lock in

david 11:52 AM
@andy None still!

andy 11:52 AM
@Adil I would argue that the Internet itself is possibly the larger distributor than OSS

Adil 11:53 AM
That is interesting! (i need some time to digest and reply)

david 11:53 AM
You said it was food for thought, and it has certainly provoked thought!

andy 11:55 AM
Open source is just a small fraction of the information on the internet, and the spread of open knowledge initiatives (such as wikipedia, various .gov pages which provide open access to law details/how to set up a company/ etc.) have helped many people as much if not more than the small part that is directly tech related.

Adil 11:57 AM
It may be a small part, but it touches (almost) everything on the internet.

andy 11:59 AM
I am not denying that, but I feel that the internet as a whole is a bigger wealth distributor (and sadly a greater wealth concentrator) than OSS directly.

david 11:59 AM
It is very hard to compare the 21st century with other massive technology changes such as steam, mains electricity, and the internal combustion engine (I could argue that they were even bigger, but I don’t have the data!)

Adil 12:01 PM
@david sadly!

andy 12:02 PM
goes full archaeologist “Have you considered the development of agriculture”

Adil 12:02 PM

(Luckily…) The debate was left at the question of how opensource compares to the development of agriculture.

We’d love to know your thoughts!

Oh, and did you know that there’s a sound alert for Slack for everytime someone mentions hummus?

Note: We should point out that the views expressed during fierce debate at Simpleweb may not necessarily be the views of the company and no developers were hurt or injured as a result.

If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.

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