A View on Software Development in the Next Decade

[This is a narrative of our talks at MIT and Harvard on July 16–17. Our slides are here.]

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Two years ago, I faced the dilemma of working for a company or for an open-source software library. I wanted the true freedom and openness in the open-source world, but I cannot risk a company salary as I have two children to raise.

The freedom to work for an open source project is not just a personal affair. The serious Heartbleed Bug with a massive impact revealed how a poorly funded and maintained open source library can “make you bleed”. The author…

Many Internet services have network effects — the platform that takes a critical mass of users would take most. While this “winner-take-all” pattern creates a fair reward for first movers, if abused, it could result in a monopoly that harms users. It locks in users and suppresses competition. However, the current Internet ecosystem fails to prevent the problem because users are bound to service providers. If users are able to fully control their identities and relationships out of any service provider, we will see competition that is healthier and more equitable. This is similar to the WLNP protecting consumers’ right…

Technical Aspects of a Developer Collaboration Platform for Sharing Code Value

Decentralizing a service is not only a technical issue, but also about forming a new “social contract” among all the parties concerned. We are developing drepo, a decentralized Git hosting and collaboration system. This article explains why we need it and how to make it.

Decentralization opens up the data end of a traditional service provider such as SourceForge, Google Code, GitHub, or GitLab. The data end is a realm which all companies cling to (see the value of data) but should have been given back to the users. Users do not stop using all traditional service providers in a…

Jinglei Ren

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