On Why Open Source Anything is Good For Society
Now that I’ve finished my first week at my internship at Cinchapi, I’ve learned so much already. I’ve gotten a taste of a lot of skills and platforms that a software engineer may come across in their career. I finally have the opportunity to use Jira and other Atlassian products, I use Slack much more often, and I’m becoming much more aware of Git and the Github workflow.
But, in addition to learning of the non-development sides of the position, I’m learning more about database technologies and how to augment antiquated practices. One interesting thing that I’ve learned is the technology behind one of Cinchapi’s core products, ConcourseDB. Concourse is extremely innovative, because it has features such as granular just-in-time locking, self-tuning, buffered storage, and other cool stuff. Although, I think that most important feature of ConcourseDB is that it’s open source. Concourse’s open source nature has come to remind me of the importance of open sourcing technological advances whether they’re in computing or not.
Open sourcing innovation is important, first, because it opens doors to further innovation. This is the “standing on the shoulders of giants” that one person can do when another reaches a technological advancement. It has been the release of knowledge and innovation by an innumerable amount of people in thousands of fields that has gotten us to where we are today, and we shouldn’t stop sharing these ideas for the sole purpose of accruing profit. Look back at greats like Sir Isaac Newton, Richard Feynman, Nicola Tesla, and many others whose contributions in their respective fields have accelerated the technological development of society.
Open sourcing innovation is also important because it makes life easier. Without open innovation, we quite literally wouldn’t be able to experience life in the same fashion. Open innovation has allowed society to advance in a unified manner, as opposed to a small group of individuals and corporations leading the advancement.
Open innovation also induces competitive pressure among individuals and organizations. This competition leverages the aforementioned idea that a technological breakthrough in a field leads to more subsequent innovation, which in turn causes more advancement. In short, open sourcing new technology starts a recurring cycle that lets the industry move faster than if it were kept secret.
So, ultimately I’m proud of the Cinchapi team for open sourcing ConcourseDB, as I’m sure its technological advances will further the computing industry and, hopefully, society as a whole. But Cinchapi’s not the only one doing this: Facebook open sourced buck, OpenAI and others are publishing new advancements in AI research, and Google kind of open sourced VR a while back. It’s open innovation like this that lets this industry move as fast as it does. I hope to see more of it as time passes!
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