Open Source is a mindset

Stek.io makes open source software easily available for everyone. We make installing, hosting and updating great tools a one click experience. But open source is more than software. Open source is a mindset that you can apply to other worlds as well. That's what I want to talk about today.

Have a look at the video below. Because that is a nice video to make clear that open source is a way of thinking, a way of working.

First the basics. When we talk open source, what do we mean?

1) Access to the source or recipe of any given work. The origin of open source is the frustration with black boxes. Not being allowed to fix stuff, not being allowed to get near the software of machines. It is simple: the source needs to be open!

2) Free remix and redistribution of any given work. In an open source world you are allowed to change a work. Add to it. Make it your own. And give your version back to the world. There is no sole owner.

3) End to predatory vendor lock-in. There are really good companies that make great software. But when you want to use it you can only obtain it from them or if you want stuff built or changed you are not flexible in your choice of vendor. Because there is no owner, you can move to another party when you want in an open source world.

4) Higher degree of cooperation. Together you can do more. You can build software on your own and be a succesful business as well. But look what you can do when you join forces? That's what open source is about.

Open source is about decentralisation, is about sharing, is about collaboration, is about free. But that doesn't mean there is no money involved.

Wordpress is free open source software, but ....

  • Wordpress.com makes money by hosting (the same business model Stek.io has).

  • Companies make money by using Wordpress as a CMS to build websites for companies.

  • Companies make money by building plugins on top of Wordpress.

  • Companies make money by building templates for specific use cases.

With the open source mindset of decentralisation, sharing and collaboration, you can achieve a lot in almost every situation.

One single example. When you are a writer you can use your community to help you write a book. And you can make that content freely available to the world. Why would you do that? Well, I did just that. Because many people got involved, the book became better. And I had a lot of ambassadors for the work. They helped me promote it and get to an audience. They helped distribute the free pdf as well by sharing on Twitter. How did I make money? The paper book was high quality and looked really good. People saw the added value and 5000 of them bought it. And because so many people heard about the book, I was invited to do lots of paid presentations.

This is just one example. Think for yourself how the concept of open could help you or your business.

Finally, the movie ends with three open source myths:

You have no control. That's not true. As the initiator of a work you are in control. Because you can decide where a project is heading and what is added and what not. If other people have other ideas, they can start their branche as an owner.

Open is unsafe. That's not true either. In a succesful open source project people work together to get to the the best result and keep unwanted people out.

Everything is free. That's not true too. I've made that point clear earlier ;-)

Do you have other 'open' examples? Add them to the comments!

This blogpost is brought to you by Stek.io, we make installing, hosting and updating open source tools easy for everyone. Try it for free!

Erwin Blom

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