Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

I recently saw an article by Joey DeBruin and was very touched. Many great software in history were born from the open source movement, so in the next era of more emphasis on collaboration, or in other words, what can Web3 bring to the open source industry? Some of the views in the article may be controversial, but the purpose of publishing this article is to provide you with a direction for thinking.


“The tokenization of Web3 may provide a business model for open source contributors. The correlation between the two does exist, but the form is worth exploring”

Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

Many opinions have mentioned that Web3 and encryption technology can solve a series of problems such as data monopoly and algorithm control , but I think that exploring this problem needs to think more fundamentally:

Open source: Many of the computer software and other products we use today are derived from open source. Open source provides many basic components for many of the products we use. These components are like bricks for building a house.

In this article, we talk about the relationship between Web3 and open source, maybe it will inspire you.

The rise of open source

 First of all, when it comes to the connection between open source and Web3, you need to understand the following points:

  • What? Open source and how will open source affect our daily lives?
  • How? How did the open source trend come about?
  • Why? What is the mechanism that allows open source to continue to iterate? From the perspective of public goods, why should we empower open source? What is its importance?

Understanding the above questions will help you understand how today’s Web3 is riding on the east wind of open source, continuing to iterate the open source model in various ways, helping the decentralized community get more economic incentives, and consolidating the overall decentralized community. Growth and Inclusion.

The impact of open source

Open source, as the name suggests, the source code is public and can be seen by anyone in a public mode. If you want to read, download or optimize or use according to your own use, you can directly find Linux (mainstream classic open source operating system)

For example: To a certain extent, the open source model can be understood as Wikipedia, but in this article, we are not talking about editing entries together, but we are all working together to write valuable software. What’s even more interesting is that the useful and trustworthy thing about open source is that you can “fork” a project, that is, you can rewrite the source code to suit your needs. As a result, many open source projects evolve into a dominant tool in a field because people don’t get nervous or feel limited because the software they depend on is a monopoly.

In a recent Forrester report, 96% of companies felt “open source is very important to the business and a mission critical” and 98% plan to increase or maintain their strategy on open source over the next year. There are also reports that Linux is the preferred choice for modern server operating systems. With 96.3% of the top 1 million web servers running Linux, open source is basically a key part of many widely used technologies we see today.

Open source becomes the trend

Want to understand in more detail what is the nature of the open source drive that drives it? Two books are highly recommended:

This part of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” or “The Penguin of Kos” mainly includes two points:

  • The cost of writing software continues to decrease
  • The cost of publishing information online approaches zero

Technologies such as Git or Wikis (both of which allow multiple people to work in parallel) further reduce coordination costs.

This means that different groups of people can come together and produce software of the same level or even better than the closed-source versions created and sold by traditional companies. But why do you all do it? Usually because they think it’s fun, or because they’re users of the software themselves and don’t want to pay, or because they can make a living doing it.

To sum it up: the trend to power open source has just begun, and has been going on for decades before, and I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan.

Why should we make open source better?

In most cases , independent open source developers are paid really little compared to the value created, or compared to the money tech giants can make in “traditional” tech jobs . And open source projects don’t get enough resources compared to the value they can provide. Thus. When problems arise , the general public can feel the power of open source…

Tell a story: The Heartbleed Bug a few years ago leaked encrypted user data on tens of millions of servers. The Heartbleed Bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the system’s protected memory, attackers can eavesdrop on communications at will, and steal data directly from service providers by impersonating service providers and users, data on 4.5 million patients in US hospital systems and records were stolen.

Last year’s “Log4j2” vulnerability, many technology giants have been recruited. The following cartoon is funny, but also terrifying, and it’s very accurate.

Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

That said: open source, while great value, struggles to maintain its own little light and heat in many critical projects due to its nature as a public good.

Web3 and Service Model

There are indeed viable business models in open source, and there are many multi-billion dollar companies built on open source projects. A typical example is Red Hat.

Red Hat sells services to enterprises that want to use Linux. Specifically, enterprise customers pay a fee to get an on-demand, advanced SaaS-like product with security and privacy features, rather than using the open source version directly . Hat can help enterprises customize Linux services. Red Hat was acquired by IBM for $34 billion in 2019, with annual revenue reaching billions of dollars.

 However, the problem with these centralized business models is that these business models actually rely on many decentralized counterparts. What makes Linux so valuable is that there are thousands of contributors who can provide stability and integration that other operating systems cannot.

If Red Hat tried to produce Linux itself with its own employees, it would probably fail. It’s the same way that Wikipedia entries are better than centralized encyclopedias like Encyclopedia Britannica: Peer Production trumps hierarchies when it comes to creating certain types of goods, and that’s where our argument for Web3 lies today.

Many Linux developers live off modest donations (from Red Hat and others like it), but Red Hat can add a layer directly on top of it and generate billions of dollars in revenue per year. It seems a little strange. So why don’t all these Linux developers build their own enterprise layer and use the profits to fund everyone’s work?

To answer this question, we need to consider the steps that the Linux community must take to achieve this goal:

  • Develop some sales/marketing teams to handle corporate clients
  • Find developers who are willing to work on enterprise services by giving them high subsidies
  • If these developers end up creating a multi-billion dollar company, they can figure out a way to reward each person proportionally based on their contribution.

Note that these are essentially coordination costs, and coordination costs are not low, and coordination is what the corporate model is good at. Therefore, a separate company can be formed to do these things. However, the major challenge of allocating equity to Linux development contributors around the world is that equity allocation is very difficult to balance, so it is only possible to maintain this decentralized and open relationship with developers, going around back again…

But what if there were more flexible ways to coordinate digital ownership? This is what Web3 wants to do, imagine we do the same steps as above, but coordinated by tokens .

  • Create a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization),
  • Aside from using Tokens for ownership and governance, many elements of DAOs look similar to some traditional organizations.
  • Use these tokens and the cash flow created by the DAO to pay developers and sales/marketing teams.
  • Tokens are also used to reward contributors to open source versions.
  • Link the income of the enterprise version directly to the Token, so that everyone can get the success of the whole project in proportion (open source + service model)

Of course, there are still some problems with the current Web3, and it still needs to be iterated , but these things can be done now for those who are willing to become pioneers. There are tools to create DAOs with one click, there are ways to tie revenue directly to governance tokens, and there are systems that reward contributors based on a community-determined level of contribution.

The DAO and the beer business

Richard Stallman founded the free software movement and the GNU project, one of the origins of open source. Stallman put forward: “Free as in speech, not as in beer.” The main pursuit of free software is the public interest and the right to digital freedom.

Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

Pictured: Richard Stallman

Then, open source software also developed. However, in the current open source field, there are many cases of “free” use of software, but this is not because large companies refuse to pay for services, but because the mainstream model of software is “SaaS – software as a service”.

Instead of buying perpetual licenses, companies pay a monthly service fee to use the current version of the product (usually on the cloud). Commercial companies pay for this convenience, and this model is a large-scale business model that can be built using open source.

If you put it all together, the reason open source has always been free like beer is because the coordination costs between open source projects and their service-based counterparts are prohibitive. That’s why we’re talking about tokenization and the decentralization community here today with such a huge opportunity.

Of course, there are already large corporations using this model of tying their service business to a decentralized protocol, from Braintree, Parsiq, most centralized exchanges, to Ethereum itself. These service businesses come in many forms: for example, the services of Ethereum are to provide computing power for applications in the world, while on Braintree, the services provided are mainly to help traditional enterprises and provide payment solutions for various new models (cryptocurrency).

Braintree is a Chicago-based company that specializes in mobile and web payment systems for e-commerce companies. Braintree also accepts bitcoin for payments and transactions, and users can open an account with Coinbase and then link the new account to Braintree.

Let’s look at this picture again:

Will Web3 make the future of open source better?

However, not all of these platforms themselves are open source, but importantly, the revenue linked to the service model is directly fed back to the value of the native token. In this case, the incentive to push open source over time is enormous, as it allows for a more dynamic developer and service-based ecosystem to continue, and the project will strive to make It works in the best interest of the network (because if it doesn’t, it can be “fork” and someone else fork can then rewrite a better version).

Of course, a tokenized and decentralized community will not be the only feasible model in the future. Nor are they the only innovations possible through cryptocurrencies. BTC is digital gold, and NFT can be understood as a safe for digital assets. The influence of these encryption origins and basic characteristics may have a profound impact on the future of open source. But I think what makes this particular field so exciting is that decentralized communities are not just building open source, they are refactoring a lot of things in our modern lives and optimizing a lot of systems that currently exist.

And it’s not just code. Think Wikipedia, Facebook, Uber, Linux – all these projects are projects where a few people work on defining the rules of the platform, and then a large number of people are involved in building value. In these communities, the difficulty of capturing and distributing value takes many forms, from the Facebook or Uber model of a few people capturing huge value, to the Wikipedia or Linux model: almost no one directly benefits financially. Well, the structure described above can be applied to Facebook, just like Linux, where users participate in the creation and capture of value.

I got into the Web3 field because of my lifelong connection and commitment to science, the most important public good in the world. The biggest problem I’ve found is that public goods that rely on donations or funding, if not directly linked to the value of the products, are never resourceful enough to compare to their impact. Web3 offers new business models through a more flexible and dynamic form of digital ownership, where decentralized organizations and public goods can be linked directly to equity and revenue streams through tokens.

If this can be done, the base of open resources that can be built will greatly increase and power a more innovative and equitable world.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/will-web3-make-the-future-of-open-source-better/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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