The collaborative development and sharing of software built using open source licensing and community collaboration models is one of the most successful socioeconomic experiments in history. Studies have shown that between 70 and 90% of all software products, services, and applications are open source. Without this model of reuse-based permissionless innovation many aspects of the modern world would simply not exist: the internet, smartphones, and social media are but a few examples.
But with great success comes great responsibility. Responsibility that we have collectively managed to avoid. Until now. Around the world, governments are realizing that there is a global community which is shaping the future that they don’t even influence, never mind control. And a global supply chain of open source software which is simultaneously unmanaged, unregulated, unsecured and critical to economic success.
The days of unconstrained open source innovation are coming to an end. The question is, what comes next? Well-meaning attempts to manage, regulate, and secure the global open source phenomenon run the risk of killing the very thing that made it successful in the first place: the ability to study, modify, and freely distribute a program with everyone, for any purpose. This talk is going to discuss how we got here, and examine some policy options for the future that will protect open source from being destroyed by its own success.