Subsidising R&D for a handful of trillion-dollar tech giants

26 August 2021

A good summary of what happens when cloud companies come for an open-source project, in this case Mapbox

Mapbox found themselves in a similar position to Mongo and Redis: they were subsidizing R&D for a handful of trillion-dollar tech giants.

Once upon a time, I really thought you could give away your trade secrets and still be successful. I thought the scale of the internet had enabled a new genre of company that could become massive despite only capturing an infinitesimally small fraction of the value they created. I believed the act of building a company around open source software was virtuous and ethical. I saw it as an end in itself.

As noted here, those looking to open-source for the creation of digital infrastructure (AKA ‘digital public goods’) may find themselves needing to navigate similar forces.

Thanks to Andrew for pointing me at this story.