From open ecosystem to open ambient

Survival of software has long been defined by the ability of everyone involved to think, behave and operate like a telco. That is partially why large software companies have, surreptitiously or not, become carriers on their own. And it’s also why the open source community identified this problem early on by welcoming activities on its edge such as open Wi-Fi and mesh networking.

One could argue this has been a survival response to prevent the software goodness from being held hostage by the phone company. Ultimately, developers realize if they want to expand their user base to the underconnected rest of the planet, they depend on the telco, or at the very least have to play by the telco rules. The telco has capital, infrastructure, social impact, policy influence and then some. And while the open source value chain (corporations, governments, developers, makers, policymakers, investors and so on) has proven impact in many of those areas, this is still a protocloud answer to the problem.

In a mature cloud world, we should expect the open source ecosystem to embrace ambient computing as the vehicle to disrupt the carrier realities of today.

Ambient is seamless, natural and adaptive. It’s low-touch, but pervasive. It redefines net neutrality as, just like ambient, it’s both personal and collective. It also means that the value chain needs to think ambient — from go-to-market to business model to community governance.

I’m really excited to see a number of core technology projects in the open source space that are enabling this reality and look forward to more at the crossroads of ambient intelligence and open source in the next 9 months.