There was a time when many open source contributors contributed to small projects which were primarily things they used personally. Quickly, the industry started seeing value in open source and how it avoided vendor control and lock-in, by giving you options and the ability to make modifications yourself. Higher quality and increased security also increasingly became important considerations addressed by open source.
As industry interests took hold, existing open source contributors saw benefits the of widespread adoption, including more employment opportunities as their expertise became more valuable. However, there are downsides. Projects have become more complicated, the rush to cloud platforms has brought a new form of vendor lock-in, investments into core infrastructure pieces like OpenSSL are not as high as they need to be, and single vendor controlled open source projects are making it more difficult for outsiders to get involved.
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the term “open source” this year, we have an opportunity to reflect upon these changes in the landscape and figure out what we can do, professionally and personally, to thrive and continue furthering open source ideals in this new ecosystem. Whether it’s working to base your infrastructure on a platform that abstracts away the proprietary cloud back-end to avoid lock-in, or personally donating money to an organization you believe in, there are many ways you can make a difference.