The Benefits of Open Source Software

March 11, 2020

Telos DreamStack is an open source toolkit for developing blockchain applications that reduces overhead and time-to-market while following best practices in modern software. There several reasons why we decided to release it under the WTFPL open source license:

Collaboration as a Competitive Advantage

This is core to the value proposition of DreamStack and open source in general. In software development reusability and composability are key characteristics of good quality software. It makes no sense for new companies that require a lean strategy for success to spend time reinventing the wheel when they could benefit and support each other by sharing a common code base or framework for their projects and they all contribute to enhance and evolve, “Unity is strength”!.

This requires a paradigm shift for some people as it changes the narrative from scarcity to an abundance mindset. The scarcity mindset revolves around the idea that there simply isn’t enough to go around and it always focuses on the extreme short term of every decision, ignoring long term and the greater common good. The abundance mentality focuses on the long term, building “win-win” situations and it tends to create positive feelings towards others.

More Customer Focus

Because users and customers can directly see and get involved in the development, open source projects are typically more aligned with their users’ needs than closed source software. You will also notice that open source projects tend to develop in a “wider” way. Whereas a commercial vendor might focus on one specific thing, a community has many “irons in the fire” and is working on a wide range of features, all of interest to an individual or small group of contributing companies or individuals. It creates a far more valuable product for the users.

Engineering Economics

While open source work may have benevolent results, it is not an act of charity. Releasing work as open source and the corresponding contribution process eventually result in a higher return on the initial investment made versus the alternative closed source process. John Nash, a famous mathematician and subject of the Oscar winning movie “A Beautiful Mind”, won the nobel prize in economics for his work on “cooperative games”. He demonstrated that cooperating is not a zero sum game and that by working together all participants may yield higher returns than the investment they make. The best real world example of this may be open source software.

Publishing your project under an open source license can encourage adoption of a standard. When a project becomes a standard, you benefit from a massive influx of outside contributors so the project, and the ecosystem around it, evolves more rapidly. This accelerates innovation across the industry and facilitates the adoption of services and products you offer that are built on top of the project. When people build on top of your project, they are invested in your success as well as their own.

More Perspectives Make Better Software

A single person or team can’t get everything right on software, especially for projects that aim to support multiple use cases. More perspectives lead to better design and evolution of the software and as more people actively use the software more innovations and bug fixes circle back to the shared codebase which makes it every time more robust and reliable as it is being battle-tested in several fields and applications.

Transparency and Accountability

The Telos DreamStack project is sponsored by Bitcash, CSX and the greater Telos community through the Telos Worker Proposal system (aka Telos Works). This requires a high level of public accountability and transparency in our deliverables and process, public Github repositories allow us to meet these requirements as all software updates and contributions are logged on the system and are publicly accessible to everyone at any time.

Reducing Costs and Avoiding Vendor Lock

Companies, especially in early stages, want to reduce costs and avoid vendor costs. By leveraging open source projects they can benefit from free working software ensuring you they get to use it however they need and without arbitrary limitations, for as long as they like. Clearly, open source is the better option.

Easier Recruiting and Onboarding

Recruiting developers is hard, there is high demand and few qualified people. For most companies this is hard, and onboarding to the project a long and expensive process too, is it much easier when new hires are already familiar with some of the technology and the community building and supporting it. You can recruit from the pool of external contributors, having had the benefit of already seeing someone’s work with technology.

Open Source Explained in LEGO

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