Our mission is to raise the quality of all software.
We will do this by raising the quality and frequency of contributions to free and open source software; the services, frameworks, plugins and tools we collectively refer to as libraries. Libraries are published freely under a copyleft license by maintainers, maintainers work with contributors to develop their projects which are used by consumers. Consumers utilise libraries in their own software, for which they may become a contributor or maintainer in the future.
Specifically we tackle three distinct problems:
Helping people make faster, more informed decisions about the software that they use.
We are increasingly exploring smaller and smaller niches in modern software development. This is a good thing. However the majority of distribution channels do not provide sufficient tools for developers to discover libraries that could be valuable to them. Similarly they do not provide adequate information for individuals to judge the merit of one library over another when they tackle similar issues or solve similar problems.
When presented with this challenge developers often react by ‘scratching their own itch’; developing something from base principles and publishing it using a copyleft license. In the process they might poorly navigate issues that have already been successfully addressed by others. This leads not only to a replication of effort but potentially lowers the overall quality of freely available software while further exacerbating the problem for others.
By building a utility service for indexing and surfacing search results across any distribution channel, and by federating this service back through these channels we will turn the floodlight into a spotlight: Narrowing the focus of the community on adding value, accelerating convergence toward an accepted best practice or tool and thus raise the quality of freely available software.
Helping maintainers understand more about the software they depend upon and the consumers of their software.
As we move toward a more granular approach to software development our applications become more difficult to manage. We build our foundations on sand; our dependencies are constantly shifting and in need of continuous monitoring and management. By indexing and monitoring libraries and understanding the relationships between them, we can automate some of the functions of the maintainer and refocus their efforts on adding value rather than turning the crank.
Similarly we can help maintainers by reflecting the state of the ecosystem back at them. Exposing the network of consumers who depend upon their software and the characteristics of the projects their software is deployed within. With this information maintainers can focus their efforts on areas where they can have the most impact.
By building tools and by offering them to those working on free and open source software without charge, we will ensure that maintainers and consumers get maximum value from the ecosystem. Consumers will be better equipped to see the value they extract from their dependencies. With this knowledge and a little time saved they might consider contributing back and, guided by their self-interest, may choose to support the projects that support them…
Supporting undervalued software by highlighting shortfalls in contribution and funneling support to them.
The free and open source ecosystem has grown almost exponentially over the last ten years. We see the same patterns in this system as we see in nature. Projects rise and fall in popularity, sometimes making way for others. In doing so they leave a legacy, a legacy that can become a risk for us all. Who’s supporting these projects?
By highlighting libraries that are undervalued and under-supported, to those who will directly benefit by contributing, we can increase the number of contributors to these projects. Our hope is that by focusing search and by creating tools to help maintainers we can turbo-charge contributors and contributions.
What We Won’t Do
We do not believe that profiling any one individual will benefit the ecosystem. People predominantly commit their time to free and open source software on a voluntary basis. With that in mind everyone who does so should be considered, regarded and thanked equally.