Why is the open source community said to be the prototype of DAO?

To understand open source, Web3 and the world

Today we will continue to pick up the “Please Answer-Web3” series and share the article — Why is the open source community the prototype of DAO? We will discuss many topics such as “Open Source Ecology in Today’s World”, “Necessity of Neutral Linux, Apache Open Source Foundation”, “Successful Open Source Communities such as Kubernetes”, “Company vs Open Source Community vs DAO”, etc.

The open source movement, since the invention of Git by Linus Torvalds, made Linux the first successful open source community in the world. In the following time of the new millennium, three generations of open source business models represented by RedHat, MongoDB and Terraform, etc., successfully implemented open source operation as a mature innovative software innovation method, which is favored in both primary and secondary markets.

However, the current “successful” open source startups still face challenges like, the maturity cycle of open source projects ranging from a few years to ten years, compared with the product line in the company system, it seems that the implementation time is too long for the open source community. Actual contributors do not receive actual monetary incentives like employees in the company, so the turnover rate of community members is high and the overall output is naturally slow.

Firstly, let’s take a look at what the open source ecosystem in today’s world looks like:

From the perspective of division of labor, the ecological niche of open source is gradually clear — open source commercial companies, such as domestic PingCap, foreign Terraform, etc., are responsible for the incubation and leadership of innovative software through open source means. In order to balance various concerns, the neutral open source foundation Linux, Apache and others were born, accepted project donations, and assisted in iteration. Finally, the project graduated and became the de-facto standard in the field, and cooperated with cloud giants to realize SaaS.

How important is the neutral Linux, Apache open source foundation?

Let’s take a sub-foundation CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) under Linux as an example to illustrate, and see a partial screenshot from CNCF Cloud Native Interactive Landscape:

Note that there are countless projects such as container scheduling Kubernetes, remote invocation of gPRC, service discovery etcd, etc. All IPs belong to the foundation.

It can be said that without the help of the CNCF Foundation established in 2015 to promote the maturity of these open source technologies, the commercialization of cloud computing will inevitably come many years later.

The neutral Linux and Apache open source foundations, like the United Nations, reconcile the interests of many parties with an NGO-like attitude, so that companies, individuals and teams who want to contribute similar open source concepts to the community will not have any scruples, also no longer fear that the interests of the community will be monopolized by early risers.

At the same time, it hosts the project, owns all copyright IP, and provides a series of ecological support such as further incubation, legal affairs, summit exposure, community training, and open source mentors. Those who experienced old open source would guide people with new open source.

The CNCF Foundation also has a sound and systematic governance structure to support open source projects. When I was at Alibaba Cloud, I was responsible for donating a number of open source infrastructure projects, which is like when our company sells a subsidiary to another company, requiring at least several months and a large number of legal documents to be delivered.

Similar to the United Nations has permanent members, CNCF also has TOC (top decision-making committee), and we can see that these representatives are all designated by major donors:

https://www.cncf.io/people/technical-oversight -committee/

Although the neutrality of the foundation is also moderate, after all, the funding comes from donations from big technology companies, but the overall degree has provided enough soil for the incubation of innovative software. A neutral open source foundation has also become a game equilibrium point for all interested parties.

Next, let’s take a look at one of the most popular open source projects, Kubernetes — the cornerstone project of the cloud computing era. So far the project has 93k stars, more than 3k contributors, and 7w PRs (code submission requests). Imagine the next software company with 3,000 employees, it must be a huge unicorn.

https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes

Open source code is naturally placed on GitHub, including:

-Multiple repo with main code repo, documentation code docs repo, community repo, etc.

-Official website https://kubernetes.io, and all code is placed in the docs repo

-Code of conduct, the principle of collaboration

-Community governance structure

Open source communities are more effective than corporations at creating innovative new software. However, she did not abandon the successful experience that the company system had accumulated, but inherited it. For example, the most important thing is the governance structure of the open source community, which is usually explained in http://governance.md of the community repo:

Does it look familiar? The Steering Committee draws on the company’s C-Level manager group, the leader of each line. Sub-project is the direction of each business unit of the company, and the open source community is called SIGs (Special Interest Groups). Working Group is a group that collaborates across sub-projects. The aforementioned code of conduct is also similar to the open source community member version of the company’s “employee handbook”.

However, compared with the company, the core difference is that the division of work in the open source community is based on labor, not the power. We are not in a relationship between superiors and subordinates. There will also be no situation that often occurs in the company — the subordinates flatter the superiors by occupying a good team, and do not need to rely on strength to speak. If an open source community does not maximize the implementation of best-in-class ideas during the governance process, all members of the community will directly face the risk of project failure.

One is prosperous, and one is lost. The open source community with no salary and no real distribution of monetary benefits has actually emerged in a sense, and all members have the same sense of ownership as the “company shareholders” who are responsible to the company. Because obviously, if a developer does not have an idea for a certain open source project and highly approves it, she/he will naturally neither stay at her/his own expense, nor spend a lot of time and energy to push the project forward.

Well, finally, we might as well include DAO and try to compare the three today in 2022:

company VS open source community VS DAO

After hundreds of years of development and mature corporate system, among which the LLC limited liability company is the most widely used, it has become too old to continue to provide innovation for human beings on a large scale. After decades of successful commercialization of the open source community, companies like Middle-aged breadwinners do not have a legal basis either. A newborn like DAO is curious and full of infinite possibilities, but it lacks experience and hopes to receive the guidance of its predecessors such as the corporate system and the open source community.

Conclusion

Understanding open source may be abstract, but as one of the background colors of the gradual informatization of human society, it can help you better understand and invest. For example, the fork (fork) of open source projects is commonplace, but at the same time, it has the basic principle of “Upstream First”, which does not encourage everyone to repeat the wheel at will.

So when there is a new public chain, we must be vigilant — will this be a story-telling game for capital financing? After all, on the premise that ETH does not have huge flaws, open source people will choose “do not increase entities” more often.

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See you next time!

(The above information is not intended as investment advice, this article only represents personal opinion)

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