The third generation of internet, or Web 3.0, has arrived and every day brings us closer to a more decentralized web ecosystem that brings power back to users. One of the biggest contributors to Web 3.0 and its success is open-source software.
Open-source software empowers users to take full control, allowing individuals to seamlessly access and use platforms in whatever way is most useful for them. They also allow users to connect, collaborate and learn from one another, spurring greater creativity and making up the underpinning of most of the internet as we know it today.
So what exactly is open-source?
One of the keys to fully benefiting from open-source platforms is to understand what it truly means. As defined on Coincenter.org, “Open-source software is collaboratively produced, shared freely, published transparently, and developed to be a community good rather than the property or business of a single company or person.” This vision is in line with what the founders of Golem Network had in mind from the beginning. Today, developers can verify the code and build their applications using Golem as a platform. Such applications can then be viewed by others in the community and be used to run, maintain or contribute and improve on. Soon, a community of users working together takes off, creating a continuously growing ecosystem of code, much like we now have here at Golem.
One of the most recognized examples of an open-source project outside of the blockchain world is WordPress. The WordPress codebase is open for anyone to copy, distribute and/or modify. The results speak for themselves, as according to WordPress, their platform powers 41% of the entire internet.
Open-source platforms are not only becoming increasingly popular, but are one of the best ways of accomplishing the purpose of Web 3.0: creating a fully decentralized internet, and bringing collaborative power to the people. When users can create and build without limitation, the sky’s the limit. The majority of software we use already — whether websites, apps or online services — all rely on open-source code, even when it's privately made by companies like Instagram or YouTube. This software is the backbone of our digital infrastructure and supports our daily activities on the web, unveiling a stable web 3.0 ecosystem that will keep us connected as we enter an entirely digital future.
Another reason for open-source’s rise in popularity over the last few years stems from the fact that you don’t need to be an expert developer to create and participate within the community — so not only can anybody use open-source code, but anyone can contribute to it as well (though it takes some work). Open-source runs on contributions from developers across the world, and because it’s never “complete” and requires ongoing maintenance, the open-source community is constantly growing. In an ideal open-source community, users will work with others to grow their coding capabilities and improve their projects simultaneously.
How open-source software promotes creativity
Open-source is one of the best ways to maximize creativity through its ability to foster communities within the platform. The philosophy is that through collaboration, the software can evolve, grow, and improve. By allowing users to connect directly, developers can work together to create far greater projects than one individual can do alone. The power behind open source is not about the transparent nature of the coding itself, but collaboration.
For example, take one of the largest open-source examples, Linux operating systems. It gives users more control compared to a non open-source operating system, like Windows. As a result, users have developed hundreds of versions of Linux operating systems. People can work together to help build the best version of the system to fit their needs and use it actively. While a closed-source system like Microsoft has its limitations, the Linux community has free range to work together and build on the software, creating a living form of knowledge.
How Golem Network embraces open-source
At Golem Network, we realized having a community on our network would be invaluable. This is core to our philosophy. We encourage and enable our participants from around the world to share development and computing resources. One way Golem promotes community involvement and creativity is by running Hackathons where users are encouraged to code directly on our platform, claiming bounties and smart contracts in exchange for prizes.
Golem also encourages open-source participation through Awesome Golem, a list created by the community that includes resources, links, projects, tools and apps. Through Awesome Golem, users can find exactly what they are looking for in a matter of seconds. Users also need zero coding experience to contribute to Awesome Golem. It’s enough to use a cheat sheet for Markdown, which is a simple format to write easy-to-read and easy-to-write plain text that anyone can learn in just a few minutes. For example, one community member contributed by creating an FAQ that initially started out as a Google Doc. Making sure that anyone and everyone can contribute is a priority for us.
As Web 3.0 platforms continue to move forward and grow, so will the use of open-source software. There is no substitute for the creativity that open-source collaboration can bring. When an entire community of users come together to freely create, share, and learn, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.