From exploring space to curing cancer, humans are constantly tackling new challenges or inventing new tools to revolutionize the way we live and affect the planet we inhabit. Computer scientists and programmers are the new heroes of today’s world, and our work influences the lifestyle of most, if not all, human beings.
When our code is shared, we allow people to improve it, use it in their own projects, or make it more accessible and useful.
When I think of one project that combines worldwide fame and open source status, it usually ends up being the Linux kernel. My first encounter with the kernel was through Ubuntu, which I installed on my computer the day my machine suddenly crashed. The moment I downloaded a completely free and functional operating system, and was able to finish my school projects without the need to spend a single penny, I looked up and thanked Linus Torvalds (Linux’s creator).
I later realized that Linux was not only useful for me, but also for millions of humans who either use it for their projects or just to access websites and applications that rely on servers run on Linux.
Just like Linux, there are many open source projects where programmers from all around the world collaborate and code tools that improve productivity in various domains.
This week, I encourage you to share your code. If you are a software engineer or a programming enthusiast, consider contributing to open source projects or sharing any useful scripts you wrote on GitHub. If you are an organization that values collaboration and accessibility, consider sharing your code with the wider community.
Building a fence around code slows down human progress. When bright minds collaborate, no problem can outsmart humans.
Ayoub Belemlih is a junior at Macalester College, and one of four software engineering interns in Software for Good’s Spring 2017 intern cohort.