I believe that in the future, major advancements in technology will be made by regular people, pushing code to a public repository.
As the world of OSS continues to expand, it is imperative developers come together to build software that solves everyday problems. A lot of companies are already jumping on this train. Startups like Comma, Rainbow and Keybase are developing their user-facing software in the open, and the results are mind-blowing. For example, Comma supports more cars than any other self-driving software due to community support. Even the software used in the imaging of the black hole is on GitHub. Incredible, right?
Looking at most open-source software that exists today, a minute percentage of them are consumer-facing. Most of them are developer tools. As important as developer tools are, they only scratch the surface of the potential of the open-source community. Imagine if the number of contributors on React, worked on a solution to detect natural disasters before they occur.
What then are the hindrances to this movement that can catalyse the evolution of technology? Fear that the competition will steal your source code.
Well, here's where licenses come in. For example, under the GNU GPL V3 license, the "competition" has a right to clone and use your software, on the condition that they make their version open-source as well. (Meaning you can benefit from the improvements they make ;)). This may not be a perfect solution, but most of the time, the contributions gained outweighs the code copied (read stolen).
Shameless Plug: Overt
To play my modest part in building this future, I've begun working on Overt, a project that aims to create software that solves many of the problems humans face everyday. To begin with, I'm working on Auxilium, an app that helps people report accidents and emergencies around them, and inform others in their vicinity.
1 - This should not be taken as an attack on the React developer community, or the developer-tools community at all. In fact, I use React everyday at work.
I'm a 16 year-old Nigerian software developer currently working as an intern at G2i. I believe in the power of open-source and collaboration.
P.S.: This is my first article here. I'd appreciate any form of (constructive) criticism on it. Thanks for reading.