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50 Shades of Open Source: It's No Longer Black or White

The idea of companies being hardline open or closed source just doesn't exist anymore. Everyone is using open source and that's blurring the lines.

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After attending my first ever GitHub Universe (yes, it was awesome) as Axosoft’s evangelist for GitKraken, I learned that open source is super sexy. And, well…closed source is delightfully naughty, too! So, basically, two spaces that are supposed to be mortal enemies are now friends with benefits.

CEO of GitHub, Chris Wanstrath, kicked off GitHub Universe with this message:

“It’s not an open source/closed source world — it’s more nuanced. Some of the biggest companies today are using open source. The world is much more gray today than black and white.” 
You could hear a collective gasp from the audience, like someone had just said, “Guess who’s running for president? Octocat, Mona Lisa, and she’s winning!”

So, let me try to explain some of the shades of gray around open and closed source:

  • GitKraken is built on an open source framework, Electron, but it is not open source.
  • Nodegit is open source and one of our developers is a core maintainer even though he, himself, works on a closed source project, GitKraken.
  • GitHub is not open-source, although it does support and facilitate open-source projects and communities.
  • Yes, the Octocat is a girl named Mona Lisa! Totally makes sense, right?!

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Okay, I was more confused than when I started this blog, so I asked one of our GitKraken developers, Kyle Smith, what he had to say about the open and closed source situation.

“I think open source is great. One of the most mind-blowing things for me when I started working on GitKraken was realizing how easy it was to contribute to open source; that you could talk to and work with your dev heroes online and make significant (or tiny) contributions to tools you use.”

He went on to say, “I don’t understand the sometimes harsh reactions people have over closed source. People have to make money to eat.”



An astounding example of this is GitHub’s Social Impact team, led by Nicole Sanchez. Her day-to-day duties include meeting and training every person at GitHub on what diversity and inclusion mean so that they can create a vibrant community online and off.

So, really, GitHub is using some of their closed source dollars to support the most open source idea of all: community building.

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GitHub CEO, Chris Wanstrath addresses the audience at GitHub Universe.

And so, it seems fitting that the last word of this blog goes to the king of open and closed source, Chris Wanstrath, who said:

Open source isn’t just about libraries. It’s about people making a real difference in the world.

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Topics:
open source ,closed source ,community

Published at DZone with permission of Tania Katan. See the original article here.

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