The present condition of Open Source is far from ideal.
Open source should be a true grassroots-level movement, driven by developers who aim to make an impact through software.
Open Source applications should not just be code, they should be available as an easy-to-use service. Developers of Open Source software should not merely dump the code on GitHub but also enable the applications to be available as a service. This would allow scores of businesses and users who lack the technical expertise to use them in one click.
Not for profit Open Source organizations like Apache Software Foundation should ideally offer all their applications as a service and should surpass tech unicorns in terms of revenue and valuation. Open Source communities should be "Not for Profit" organizations that employ engineers full-time and reward every contribution. All open-source communities should ideally be independent and should be taking decisions in the best interest of their users.
The future of Open Source should be one where individual developers can contribute to projects they"re passionate about and work full-time without financial concerns. This freedom will enable developers to explore their creativity, innovate, and contribute to the Open Source ecosystem without being constrained by traditional employment at large corporations. This is the true freedom that developers aspire for and truly deserve.
Organizations of all sizes should be able to discover and use Open Source software that is not only cost-effective but also extremely simple to use. For example, a dean of a university should be able to click and deploy a highly scalable Moodle cluster for tens of thousands of students.
Open Source should be the leader in innovation, accelerate the digitization of businesses and provide developers with opportunities and true freedom.
Why isn’t open source all these things?
The diversity of the Open Source landscape is truly impressive, offering a wide array of applications to meet various needs. From databases, CRM systems, and ERP software to specialized tools for hospitals, astronomers, and personal relationship management, Open Source applications cater to everyone"s requirements.
Open Source also plays a vital role in the success of entrepreneurs, enabling them to easily bring their innovative visions to reality.
However, despite its incredible impact, Open Source has only scratched the surface of its potential.
Three critical problems are preventing Open Source from becoming what it is capable of.
Problem 1: Open Source is a Dump Yard of Code
Open Source software is primarily utilized by large corporations or startups with the resources to hire an engineering team. However, the rest of the world either does not know Open Source or if they do, the vast collection of code is hardly of any use to them.
There are more than 100 million businesses globally and more than 1 billion individuals with a smartphone. Almost all of them cannot use Open Source applications. Businesses and individuals will benefit tremendously if Open Source can be made accessible to them.
Problem 2: Open Source is Not Truly Open
Open source is not a developer-driven, grassroots-level movement that it was first conceived to be.
Most of the contributions to open-source projects are made by employees of large corporations or well-funded startups. Most of the developers are unable to contribute to open source due to the misalignment of financial incentives.
To aggravate the problem further, large corporations and startups open source code only if it serves their strategic needs or if open-sourcing does not negatively impact their business position, rarely do companies open source software for the greater good alone.
This leads to limited innovation and keeps open source in a perpetual state of playing catch-up.
Problem 3: Open source is difficult and practically impossible to use
Numerous high-quality and reliable open-source applications can be good (and even better) alternatives to many popular SAAS applications.
However, utilizing free open-source applications for communication needs like chat ends up being costlier than using commercial SAAS solutions like Slack.
Consider an example of a company with 10,000 employees. If the company uses Slack for $10 per user per month, the company would be shelling out $1.2 Million annually. In theory, the company can use Mattermost (An open source alternative for Slack) and save $1.2 Million annually. However, to deploy Mattermost and ensure 24/7 availability, the company will need at least a small team of DevOps engineers available on call round the clock. The overall cost including all the ancillary costs makes self-hosting Mattermost as expensive as a commercial SAAS offering. While large companies can at least contemplate this, most of the other businesses
The difficulty in using open source is not limited to companies alone. Individual developers also find it difficult to try and use open-source applications. Usually, developers must learn various aspects of open-source applications before they can install, configure and use any open-source application. To make matters worse, many open-source applications have a very steep learning curve.
To overcome the challenges faced by Open Source, Semut has been tirelessly working for the past three years to develop groundbreaking technologies that have the potential to unlock the true potential of Open Source. The solutions consist of a suite of technologies designed to revolutionize how Open Source applications are developed, deployed, and used by businesses and individuals alike.
Solution 1: The Semut Framework
Semut has developed a simple, language-agnostic framework that allows developers to rapidly build managed services for any application. This framework significantly reduces the effort and time required to create managed services. With the Semut framework, we envision a future where every Open Source application can be used as a SAAS application, providing unparalleled accessibility and ease of use to a diverse set of population.
Key Advantages of the Semut Framework:
- Simplicity: Managed services built using the Semut framework are incredibly easy to develop
- Flexibility: Managed services built using Semut are cloud-agnostic, platform-agnostic, and infrastructure-agnostic
- True multi-cloud experience: Users are not locked into proprietary services built by specific cloud providers
- Consistent Interface: Users enjoy a consistent interface, performance, and behavior across cloud and on-premises deployments
- Self-hosting: Open Source managed services built using Semut can be self-hosted by anyone including non-technical users, in one click
Solution 2: The Semut Hub
Semut has also built the Semut Hub, a platform that serves as a marketplace for managed services. Developers can publish their managed services (free, open-source, or commercial) on the Semut Hub, making it easy for users to discover and deploy the services they need. This innovative marketplace helps bridge the gap between Open Source developers and a broad range of users including non-technical users, fostering a more vibrant and collaborative ecosystem.
Solution 3: Semut Runtimes
The third key technology developed by Semut is Semut Runtimes, which enables running managed services on any platform or cloud. This powerful technology allows businesses and individuals to deploy managed services seamlessly, regardless of their chosen platform or infrastructure, making Open Source applications more accessible and user-friendly than ever before.
Solution 4: Semut Cloud Platform
Semut is currently working on a multi-tenant cloud platform hosted on AWS, designed to provide non-technical users with the ability to use managed services without worrying about infrastructure. The Semut Cloud Platform works in conjunction with the Semut Hub to offer users a one-click experience for running fully managed PaaS and SaaS applications in the cloud. Unlike traditional SaaS products, Semut"s solutions provide users with true data sovereignty. Please note that the Semut Cloud Platform is NOT part of the early developer preview, however, we are working hard and excitedly looking forward to sharing this with everyone.
Semut"s innovative solutions hold the key to tapping into the full potential of Open Source. By addressing the critical challenges of accessibility, ease of use, and developer-driven contributions, Semut"s technologies pave the way for a more inclusive, collaborative, and transformative Open Source ecosystem. With these solutions in place, we can finally realize the vision of Open Source as a powerful force for innovation and progress, benefiting businesses and individuals alike.
We are extremely excited to share what we have been building. Developers can sign up for an early-access developer preview by visiting our website at https://semut.io. Please note we have limited capacity at the moment and will be progressively rolling out access on a FIFO basis.
We Need Warriors
Are you a brilliant software engineer bold enough to take on challenges widely believed to be impossible to solve? Are you an individual who has extraordinary confidence in yourself and your skills? Do you firmly believe that you have the ability to change the status quo and cause a paradigm shift? If yes, we want to hear from you. Reach out to us at [email protected].