First thing I do when I open my hatches, is grabbing my mobile and look what is on Steem. Not even going out off bed first, just a fast scroll before the day really hits off. And there it was, Dan Larimer resigning as a CEO from SteemIt Incorporated... What!? The visionary engineer leaving the Steemboat? Now there must be something fishy going on, maybe just under the surface. The last straw that tipt over the first domino. Okay, you've got it, I know. What I mean is that there might be a final thing that happened, but it was probably after a build up.
And after some looking around I ended up at Github, the place where amazing software projects are born and raised. The Steem project has its home there also, just like Bitcoin and many others. The Open Source community mainly 'lives' there and contributes 24/7 to software projects that are being used by billions of people around the world. Many people are using Open Source based projects without even being aware of it. And even companies, like Apple, use it, but only the ones with a license that lets them keep their own projects closed source. But not all companies do that. Some big company names use Open Source and share the fruit of their work with the public again. Even Microsoft joined in lately, with Linux(!) and joining the Cryptoconomy. Now who would have predicted that a few years ago...
Open source is good for fast innovations
Bitcoin is Open Source, it is the reason it got where it is today, because of that. Closed source means centralized control. Now in some cases new projects start off as being closed source or open sourced but with a limiting license. This can be done to make sure a BETA stage is done in a controled fashion. And while it is done, to protect it under a license that prohibits changes to the basic working of a project. With the Steem license this is done by making sure there is no other genesis block to be created. That could be a restriction to make sure there is not going to be another split, at least, not until the experimental stage is done.
It is possible though that the tasks of SteemIt Incorporated will be moved to a foundation, once Steem is out off BETA. Also making sure the license will change to fully Open Source. That would need about 3 lines removed from the current, restricted, license. Will it happen? Yes, as far as I came to understand, after watching Ned Scott on a videostream, another CEO of SteemIt Incorporated, at a talk in Oslo Norway last year, Steem will be made a substantive functioning entity. And then competition can start, maybe creating many forks all over the world. To me, that sounded like: Steem will be fully Open Source after it is out off BETA. And to me that makes sense. Would like to see a 'Nederlandse' fork. And developers contributing to each others branch. Can you imagine how awesome that would be?
Maybe it was about timing
At the code residence of Steem at Github I could see that Dan had made the suggestion to make the project Open Source. And Sneak closed it up, changed the title and made replies impossible for non contributers. All that happened just a few days prior to Dan resigning. At Github all edits and changes are registered and can be viewed. So what it shows is Dan taking action to make a start to Open Source Steem and Sneak reversed all his actions. And making it impossible to have a discussion about it for others. Although two replies managed to slip through before the lock was being applied. Apparantly it was something that Dan wanted to commit to the project. One could see that as a proposal for a change. In this case a change in the Steem license.
He also had created a new branche for the Steem Open Source version, which was deleted by Sneak, a Steem developer and part of SteemIt Incorporated. It almost reads like a struggle for power, from my point of view. And when one reads the most recent comments by Dan that kind of does show that there was a dispute going on. Ned and Sneak seem to fear competition right now, so not going Open Source, yet(?). And I would find it very interesting to hear Ned and Sneak their take on going Open Source, after Steem does go out off BETA. Because, well, I was kind of expecting that to happen. After the experimenting fase was over, at least. That could mean that Dan took innitiative in the right direction, but too soon according to Ned and Sneak.
Open Source and big profit
Now some big companies went Open Source a long long time ago. And made some big bucks while doing so. Industries that value in multi billions thanks to Open Source projects. A huge part of the internet would not excist as it is today, if not for Open Source soft- and hardware. There would not be you and me posting on the Steem blockchain. Forget any Peer To Peer network, could not excist without the efforts of the Open Source community. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Bitshares, all Open Sourced, and what does that total crypto market do at the moment? About 25 billion Euro and still counting! Open Source monetized there for you to see...
Exchanges in these cryptos would not have excisted if not for Open Source to make it possible. So, in a way, I can understand the actions Dan took at Github to propose an Open Sourced Steem project. And apparantly the rest of the team at SteemIt Incorporated disagreed on this. So it was reversed and Dan took a conclusion, leading to his public resignation, I guess. Which actually gave me some mixed feelings. Perhaps he made a bolt move and did it too soon, in the opion of the others. It is sad to see it went this way. Yet, I started following him at Github because I'm very anxious to witness his next big project, that eventually will be Open Sourced, I'm pretty sure. And I want to be there at that next blockchain platform, he is coming up with, from the start!
Like shouting in a desert
The thing with visionaries is that their way of thinking, dreaming vividly, is so far out there, that most of the people find it hard to understand. Or they lose interest because of cognitive dissonance. That is the burden of a visionary. Most people are good a short term challenges, with a small window view. Now profit, now work, now growth, short term solutions for long term challenges. It will not solve anything, just like big Pharma goes about things. And when a visionary comes along that one often can explain why short term solutions would only make things worse, but what kind of long term solutions would function, they are not understood. Companies like Microsoft, for example, needed a long time, and a lot of profit loss, to understand Open Source can be extremely profitable. Ask a visionary company like Google, to name just one...
But for many visionaries it is like shouting in the desert. Sometimes it takes twenty years or more before their clear insights are understood and commonly accepted. Well, if they are lucky, that is. And for me Dan Larimer is one of those visionaries we have in the blockchain realm. Bitshares is badly under valued, just like Steem and his next project might be too, yet I'm looking forward to it. Just like I enjoyed to read many of his posts. Maybe he is going to be the one that makes a circular Cryptoconomy with a basic income integrated on a blockchain a reality.
Anyway, I find it sad that he resigned. But maybe it is a opening to something new and better. While Steem moves on, goes out off BETA and will then go Open Source. Maybe we are going to read from SteemIt Incorporated soon where it is going from here. That seems fair to expect at this point
All the best to you Dan Larimer, looking forward to your next project!
photo 'Dollard bay' cc-by-sa @oaldamster