What Happened to the Vision in Open Source?
Last week, I was writing about MediaGoblin when I was struck by a sudden realization: the project was not about code for its own sake. Instead it was about the sort of vision that seems to be disappearing recently from free and open source software (FOSS).
What makes MediaGoblin stand out is not just the idea of an all-in-one file-sharer, as convenient as that might be. Rather, the code is an explicit critique of centralized web services like Instagram, which require users to communicate through a single web site rather than directly with each other. As events of the past few years have proved, such centralization threatens privacy and makes surveillance all too easy.