It’s easy to take open-source software for granted, and to forget that the Internet we use every day depends in part on the freely donated work of thousands of programmers. If open-source software is at the heart of the Internet, then we might need to examine it from time to time to make sure it’s not bleeding.
I’m proud to be a part of 10up because we are eager to support a platform we use heavily and that powers a significant percentage of the web. I am sponsored full-time as one of the six lead developers of WordPress, and am very excited to announce further expansion of our support for WordPress. As a fellow committer for WordPress, Drew Jaynes will now also be enabled to work full-time on WordPress. Drew has been instrumental in creating awareness, standards, and output in our developer documentation, as well as contributing in many other areas in the core software and in community projects such as the WordPress.org site itself.
As a part of this expansion, we’ve created a Platform Engineer position and transitioned Drew to his new title. While we’re not currently hiring for the position, we’ve intentionally left the title open-ended as we continue to grow our support for and even build web platforms. We’ve dedicated significant resources to WordPress as well as projects like sanitize.css and VVV, and envision a future in which we continue to do the same elsewhere.
10up also has the rare opportunity to take advantage of a confluence of timing, a core WordPress initiative, and an employee who already runs the effort. We are doing this by donating 100 hours of Scott Kingsley Clark’s company time to the ongoing Fields API project, starting today. Scott has already assembled a strong group of contributors and laid a solid foundation and roadmap, and we feel strongly that supporting this initiative will help move it into a viable state for potential inclusion in a near-future release of WordPress. As a company with a central mission of creating great publishing experiences, the user and developer experiences a fields API can improve are something we are particularly well-versed in.
The majority of the web is built upon open technologies, from server software such as NGINX and Apache, to server-side toolkits like OpenSSL and Node.js, to languages like PHP and HTML, to front-end libraries like jQuery and Ember, to content management systems like Drupal and WordPress. Because these open source and/or open process projects, they must be sustained through donations, whether that of individual time or business resources.
The balance between use and support of open source software leans heavily toward use, and that imbalance has become even more apparent. Even with increased awareness around the plight of projects integral to a safe web, initiatives like OpenSSL continue to operate on small donations and the volunteer efforts of a few. It takes time to convert pledges into action, and we’ve yet to see very many pledges at all, much less action.
A previous editor’s note from Jake Goldman, president and founder of 10up, is a fitting conclusion in our philosophy and commitment still holding true today:
I’ve said repeatedly that nothing is more critical to the success of agencies that rely on community, open source software platforms than the continued success of those platforms. It is incumbent upon those who have leveraged free, open platforms with success to share that success back. By economically enabling world class engineers […] to improve open platforms, we not only ensure that our customers continue to have a first class solution, we enable the next generation of builders, who can’t yet afford such resources, to further grow our ecosystem and the platform’s demand. I believe this is the social contract of open source, and as 10up grows, so too will our contributions to open source. It’s not just responsible citizenship, it’s good business.