How a software firm 'goes' open source

What happens when an organisation decides to take its previously proprietary software and make it open source?

Some software is essentially proprietary and closed, while other software is open source. Depending on the chosen licensing mechanics, open source software generally makes some version of its code freely available for use and, crucially, for onward software development.

Open source projects make their source code freely available to the world, which allows end users to easily modify the project to fit their needs. In many projects, these users share their 'code commits' with the original project maintainers in the hope that their advancements and enhancements will be accepted by the project maintainers and made available to the rest of the community.

We know that some software is open from the start (or at least starts off as an internal project always intended for wider community availability later), some software is proprietary and stays that way - but, some software projects start off closed and then go open.

 

How do you go open source?

Given these fundamentals, what happens when an organisation decides to take its previously proprietary software and make it open source?

One man that knows is Evan Sparks, CEO at Determined AI. In 2017, Sparks and his co-founders started Determined AI with the conviction and belief that deep learning (as an element on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) spectrum) was going to become the most important computational workload for businesses of all kinds. The downside of this truism is that accessibility to the best platforms and tools to do deep learning efficiently is typically reserved for companies with hundreds of billions (or trillion) of dollars in market capitalisation.

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