Urbit have an interesting approach towards programming open-source computer systems that fits in well with the co-operative frame-of-reference.
They’ve been offering code bounties for things that they need done.
Their underlying principles can be found here,
Quote from their latest mailshot:
This week we’re introducing our newest grants program, Scholarships, sharing an
update on the Urbit community, and introducing the newest members of the Urbit
Foundation team. We’ve also got some important infrastructure updates about King
Haskell and an overhaul of our Getting Started guide. Let’s dive in:
1 - Scholarships
I’m excited to announce the (soft) launch of a new type of grant we’re calling
Scholarships. The big idea behind the program is to grow the base of
individuals that can contribute to Urbit through hands-on, one-to-one mentorship
with infrastructure engineers at Tlon.
The program works by first having an infrastructure engineer define and scope a
project, and then pairing them with someone from the community. Unlike other grants,
these projects are centered on platform development, meaning Arvo or Vere, rather
than on userspace development. Scholars will learn much about how Urbit works, take
on impactful infrastructure projects, and gain insight into how infrastructure
engineers think about building Urbit.
We’ve begun scholarships with two members of the Urbit community who have
demonstrated high technical aptitude and commitment via grants or other open-source
projects. We don’tt have any additional openings at this time, but expect to have a
few more in the coming months.
If you’re interested in a scholarship, sign up for the waitlist here:
This might suit some of the Founder&Coders people who want to work on systems programming, instead of applications programming.
As their aims fit in well with the co-operative ethos,
"Urbit is a new OS and peer-to-peer network that’s simple by design, built to last forever, and 100% owned by its users. Under the hood, Urbit is a clean-slate software stack compact enough that an individual developer can understand and control it completely.
We built this new stack to give people a single integrated tool for communicating and building communities – a tool they can trust, control, and extend to their liking. We want to do away with the terrible user experience of the current ‘frankenstack’ of apps and services that we all use today. ",
working on Urbit would be a project that would suit the Tech Co-operative way of doing business.
This looks very interesting. I just read their documentation and they’ve put a lot of thought into the power relationship between end users and “MEGACORP”. This is why I’m puzzled that they’ve chosen a permissive open-source license (MIT) that indirectly serves MEGACORP. This license allows MEGACORP (or anyone else) to fork Urbit’s code into a proprietary product, add additional features, and promote a spiffy new proprietary version that then competes with now-stodgy old Urbit. It also allows the copyright holders themselves to do this–do they plan to commercialize it in this way in the future? There are many Free Software licenses that specifically rule out this possibility, and MEGACORP hates, hates, hates them: Google has forbidden their own open-source code from being released under the GPL, and Apple’s iOS store likewise forbids the GPL. (Perhaps Urbit has chosen MIT in order to be available to iPhone users? Thus MEGACORP pressure does have an effect, even on Urbit.)
At any rate, potential contributors might want to make peace with the possibility that their contributions could be non-reciprocated by MEGACORP in the future, or lobby the copyright holders for a stronger license.