Our organisation and team have an open-source-first philosophy because our experience of the collective wisdom that an open-source community brings – with passionate, experienced and inquisitive developers, through transparency in code – is that the security, fairness and speed of evolution often provide a value beyond that which closed business models can maintain.
Although, using open-source software does not in itself guarantee security, choosing popular and widely used, peer-reviewed and regularly maintained open-software licences typically means that there is more openness to criticism and improvement from a broader community than any single organisation could sustain – or even afford – because hiding things is generally more expensive than deploying the same resources on creating. This can eventually stifle innovation, disenchant the creators and results in the use of market domination to maintain inefficient pricing rather than promoting value through sharing knowledge and efficiency benefits with the customer’s society as well as their own.
From a developer’s point of view, being able to publish work openly, enables them to promote their skills and be able to seek peer-review and remuneration from clients based on the value they add in licensing code for commercial implementation, support and maintenance.
The value of any broadly useful idea – that can and inevitably will be studied and copied – is primarily in the implementation, understanding and ability to evolve it. So the licensee is paying for the skills to continue to develop, and not to hide the art of the creation from others, to the detriment of the developers credit and society’s collective knowledge.
Can you copy this website and organisation because it is uses open-source software? Sure, just as you can create your own wheels in any form you wish.
Our team has over 100 years of collective ecommerce development experience, so if you have a similar experience or access to it, and if you feel that is a sustainable and worthy use of your resources, then you live in the same predominantly free world that afforded us the same opportunities.
For the same reasons that the gov.uk open-source initiative provides a greater good for the UK and societies worldwide able to share in that, we have the same aspirations for ecommerce – the more open offerings, the merrier.
With enough skill, you can copy any work of art, but originality, care and reward for investing in the ability to create are where real value is added to society, which is why we focus on choices that provide better overall value for our users, customers and partners.
We guide our friends, colleagues and fellows to seek inspiration from the past and present, and then build on that with originality to solve new problems that haven’t yet been adequately serviced or made resource-efficient.
Yes, there’s a lot of websites offering goods, service and information – and we regularly study and use many of them – but we are on a quest to provide unique solutions where we don’t feel that there is sufficient momentum to create and innovate in this way. We work to promote the values that many of our organisation’s open philosophies are designed to demonstrate and prove sustainable.
Where we have to use any closed-source platform, if there is not yet a suitable open-source alternative, then we look for organisations that have an internal open philosophy, and are based on open-source frameworks, so that the value we seek from their systems isn’t the ability to interrogate the source-code ourselves, but to know that sufficient others can, and that the licence we have is for the implementation, commercial usage and support of ongoing development.
Although, we continue to monitor open-source equivalents, and should they eventually surpass the integrity and capability of any proprietary solution, then we have the capabilities to change and evolve with the open-source community.
The value in our organisation is not in proprietary systems but in openness and trusted relationships which, our team has collectively spent thousands of years building between customers, team members, suppliers, and partners – and we hope that our relationship with you is one where we can continue to further our mutual aims to improve, evolve and enjoy our time, with clear consciences that we pursue lives lived sustainably and for the greater good of others.
Where possible, when we improve the open-source software we use, we return the suggested solutions to the project moderators for review and inclusion or evolution as they see fit. We also respectfully follow zero-day security etiquette best-practice for notification of potential vulnerabilities we have assessed and patched, as we expect from our own surveyors.
Over time, we have a mission to open-source all our organisation’s publically useful documentation and non-personal data for peer-review, community use and contribution both through this website and relevant forums.
Shared technology, used wisely, can create great time and energy efficiency for the benefit of many more than those that are the brief custodians of it – and these are benefits we both enjoy and are obliged to share.
Choosing an open-source-first philosophy is testament to our belief in community values, and an opportunity to seed the roots of an accountable and efficient organisation, built on honest relationships, merit and trust.