Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of joining Dries Buytaert (Drupal), DB Hurley (Joomla! and Mautic), Barb Palser (Google), and Tim Lehnen (Drupal Association) for a panel discussion on the future of the open web and open source at Drupal Europe in Darmstadt, Germany.
You can watch the video here:
I discussed the open web as the foundation – the operating system, if you will – which open source software projects run on. We have all worked very hard to define, protect, and promote open source software. We have not paid as much attention as we should to the stability of the open web itself. As a range of social and political issues now threaten our ability to access, use, code, deploy, and publish on the open web, open source projects must advocate for it with the same determination they have brought to code.
I encouraged open source projects to define what their missions mean in the context of the open web, establish those values as being essential to their project, and defend them in the public and policy spheres. If our mission is to allow people to experience digital freedom, we must define what that freedom is and how it is achieved. If our mission is to democratise publishing, we must define what conditions need to exist for people to use those tools. With those definitions agreed, we must address them, and the policies which shape or threaten them, in a constructive and cooperative way.
I am hopeful that discussions held during the conference about taking that idea from concept to reality bear fruit soon.
On the way out of Darmstadt I spotted something which reminded me why I came here. The actions we take within our projects, however small, can protect the people in our data from those who would use that data to hurt them. It us up to us to ensure that we do what we can to protect those people, and our projects, and the open web we work on, while we still have a chance to make a difference.