Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a hilariously titled blog post that his company would be removing all of its patents “in the spirit of the open source movement.” And it’s a movement indeed. More and more companies are making the switch to open source thinking, embracing a philosophy of quality and innovation through sharing.
So just what is open source, and what can it do for you and your business?
When I first started as a Rails developer, I thought of all the Rails gems as magic. Some smart people were making all these cool libraries for me to use! I had no idea how any of these libraries worked, and I was ok with that. They worked and did what I needed them to do. They seemed so comprehensive and thought out, that I didn’t even know what I would contribute to them even if I wanted to!
To this day, I haven’t contributed any open source code to the Rails community. And that’s because the Rails community is extremely active on open source, so it’s actually hard to find things to contribute to! Of course you can go through issues and try to solve them, but they are usually pretty complex and intimidating, to be honest. With all these smart people commenting on the issues, it’s hard to feel like you’re good enough to solve it!
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably not a programmer. (No worries. You’re in safe hands, here.) If you are a programmer, odds are you’re plugged into GitHub right now, building the next great something. That, or you’re too busy writing an endless book of gushing sonnets about the much-loved service to read an article like this.