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Open Source (Software) Pitfall

 

by Mihai Guiman

 

Everybody has heard about open source software. The sad part is that few understand what it is.

Last week I have attended a networking event aimed to gather professionals from the IT industry and university representatives, mainly focusing on research and innovative projects. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some feedback from technical people outside our niche market (fintech) on our FinTP Project and FINkers United community.

After registering for the event, the first feedback I received from the organizer was that the topic is not really in line with the general scope of discussions. Sure, who cares that a financial transaction processing application is now available for those who couldn’t afford one in the past, or that launching FinTP is a first step towards developing an industry common solution which might evolve into a new standardization layer?

At the event I received the second feedback from someone in the outsourcing business (apparently we are still in competition with the Indians/Chinese, although the logic of big numbers would be violated by this comparison): open source is also a form of outsourcing. I started to think it was high time to split.

 

Then again, the guy got me thinking. Oversimplifying, open source is different from outsource by three letters. This also explains why many people claim that open source is like the Wild West, because everything is out in the open therefore anything is possible due to the lack of rules and governance. All the buzzwords revolving around open source, like open, transparent, free and collaboration often create an image of an unprotected and chaotic workspace, with hackers trying to take advantage at every turn. In this dark scenario, could a highly procedural and regulated institution like a big corporation or bank have an open source policy in place?

But what if people ignored semantics and saw the real important values of the open source philosophy: free cultural sharing, free competition and cooperation in non-differentiating areas? Even though it is no kind of art, open source software is in its essence an act of creativity. Literary clubs manage to create an environment which allows individuals with different styles and schools of thinking to cooperate between themselves and share ideas on phrases declining, sentiments or feelings. Professionals in more technical fields should find it even easier to build a knowledge exchange agora and debate on software engineering or financial business flows. Obviously, the foundation has to be based on sharing common interests.

I encourage professionals of all profiles to browse the new learning, idea sharing and collective creativity space – FINkers United. Contributions will lead to boosting the FinTP project we have initially contributed and will create a fresh spirit of true cooperation, satisfying each individual’s needs to professional progress and industry recognition.

 

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