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Open source movement celebrating 20th anniversary

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This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the open source movement and, as we reflect on the evolution of this collaborative technology, there are many reasons to celebrate.

As shown by the Open Source Initiative, a global non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting software freedom in society, the past 20 years have seen open source systems go from laughable to integral. The companies and governments that once derided the notion of accessible and collaborative software are now using open source code to redefine business and policy. The US government now requires government agencies to release 20 per cent of any new code they commission as open source software, while financial giants like JP Morgan, the London Stock Exchange and Wells Fargo are amongst companies backing Hyperledger, an open source software program reinventing the stock exchange. From a development perspective, JavaScript continues to dominate the open source development scene. With a variety of widely used and respected frameworks, libraries and tools, JavaScript has become a prime example of how developers can help propel each other’s code to new heights and build on each other’s work to achieve real innovation.

However, for all these encouraging developments, there is still work to be done for proponents of open source culture to ensure mainstream usage. Many developers quote lack of accessibility and learning resources as significant factors inhibiting involvement and this is something we must address if we want to see the continued evolution and adoption of the open source movement. More industries need to realize the true potential of exposing their work to community scrutiny and contribution by actively mobilizing global developers with educational resources, marketing efforts and financial incentives. Luckily, the blockchain industry is paving the way in this with open source culture remaining not only industry standard, but an industry requirement for the majority of top blockchain projects.

Building something as futuristic and complex as blockchain protocols, or application building tools cannot be done in private. It is a community-driven effort that relies on the shared knowledge, experience and creativity of its participants. Open source technology is the vehicle that drives this collaborative development and thus, we must build on the achievements of its first 20 years to create a more efficient, innovative and diverse future.”

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