Open source does not ask what qualifications you have, what country you live in, or whether you have the right to work on something. It is there and so long as you have access to some form of computing capability — cloud, not cloud, it really doesn’t matter — you can be a productive member of society or simply have some fun. Open source breaks down barriers to entry that stifle innovation and are designed to keep people dependent on others.
While some claim the open source revolution is coming, Mydex believes that transformation due to open source is happening already.
What’s so special about open source?
We at Mydex believe open source is better because:
- open source is true collaboration by people to deliver things we need as a society. The world is going online. Transactions, knowledge, communication: our digital lives are becoming integral to our physical lives. We cannot become reliant on one or two large corporations for the very fabric of our digital life — the internet does not work that way and neither does human society. Serfdom and feudalism are over but if we don’t use open source, we could end up back there.
- open source is more secure because it can be inspected; many eyes on the same code mean less chance of it being compromised. This is key for Mydex, we inspect all our code and test constantly. There has been a worrying trend from the USA of open source code that is compiled due to ‘export regulations’ — Mydex won’t use it if we cannot inspect it.
- open source means innovation can flourish. If you are on a mission, have a vision and a passion for something, you can turn your ideas into reality faster and more effectively with open source. No vendor certification programmes and pay walls that create false markets and add cost to everything. You can simply teach yourself, work with communities and make it happen.
In talking about open source and open systems, it is difficult not to draw a comparison with what some call ‘Freemium’ services. These are organisations who want you — need you! — to use their services, because it is your data and your behaviours from which they make their money. This unspoken ‘contract’ offers the illusion of open, free services but there is a price. In the open source community we see lines being drawn between genuinely free software and open source software that comes with a license that places obligations on the individual. See http://www.fsf.org/ for more information; it is an important discussion.
The Mydex CIC Platform is open and free to individuals as we work for them, and it is built with open source software end to end. We feed back into the community at a basic level right now, but we hope when we are at scale and generating profits to invest significant resources in extending the open source, free software portfolio around personal control of personal data — making it available to everyone.
How open source is Mydex CIC?
Mydex is totally dependent on open source components to bring the Mydex Platform to life. As a community interest company that provides a service free to our members — the individuals we serve who are at the core of our social purpose — we could not have begun to do this without using open source software to develop it on.
Like many start-ups, we climbed on the shoulders of open source initially, putting back what we could, from fixing bugs to sharing experience. As things develop, we are feeding back improvements to the open source components and providing examples of code on a free software basis for people seeking to connect and work with the platform.
The Mydex platform itself is ISO27001 certified, as is our whole company. Security and trust is at the core of what we do. This means we have made some unique configurations of the software which are part of the core asset we hold. It is our mission to spread personal control of personal data as widely as possible, so we will always keep the Mydex platform open, with open APIs.
As a Community Interest Company, part of our reinvestment strategy (65% of any profits must be reinvested in our specific social purpose: to serve our individual members and the wider community). Mydex CIC contributes and provides support for open source projects, enabling the provision of free training, education, tools and services which would also include building adaptors for other platforms to make them easy to integrate with our platform. Many organisations who use open source have limited discretionary budget to build out and enhance their service, but our business model as a CIC inherently enables us to do this, so we think we can really contribute in this area.
I’m an open source developer. How do I try out Mydex?
It’s really straightforward, you can start today! We have a ‘Sandbox’ which mirrors our live platform in terms of functionality and has in addition some developer features to help anyone quickly get to work with the platform.
There is full online documentation at https://dev.mydex.org which takes you through getting started, provides code snippets and examples of API calls, and allows you to create your own Personal Data Store and test mydexID so you can try out the personal data and identity services APIs.