• Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


When you picture a software engineer building brilliant code, you may imagine them hunkered down in a dark room, glowering at a computer screen, intent on keeping the new creation secret. But according to experts Kevin Xu and Jordan Schneider, that’s far from an accurate picture. Most software engineers “prefer to work with and on open source projects,” even when they don’t make much money, or get much credit. This report from WIRED explains why open source is a win for America, and for the world, and why policymakers should take steps to support it.


Open source is a fast method for developing innovative, secure software.

Open source allows software engineers to develop and distribute software in GitHub or GitLab: public repositories that are open to scrutiny and collaboration from the greater software engineering community.

Open source software benefits from crowd-sourced knowledge and experience. The original engineer’s efforts are public, thus, exposing the code to the scrutiny of peers, who can reveal weaknesses and security concerns. Because open source allows hackers and security experts alike to inspect the software, it evolves more quickly and the finished product is safer.

Open source is known for its software, but it also...

About the Author

Kevin Xu is an investor and adviser for OSS Capital, an open source start up. He served in the Obama White House. Jordan Schneider hosts the blog, Lawfare’s ChinaTalk podcast, and authors the ChinaTalk newsletter.

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