September 12, 2019 | 3min read
The Culture of Sharing Knowledge. What’s the Future of Open-Source?
For a long time now, our engineers have been actively involved in creating and contributing to various open-source libraries. Our culture has always been about sharing knowledge and contributing to the tech community. Today we sit down with Darek—our Staff Software Engineer, the creator of the most well known Android BLE library RxAndroidBle, and the best person to discuss the GitHub community with.
It’s hard to look back at the history of open source and not think about Linux. What are your experiences with this most-used open-source software?
My first exposure to Unix systems (SolarisOS) and the introduction to more serious programming happened during my university years. I needed to practice with an OS that wasn’t Windows. Since Unix systems were costly, I tried Linux in the Ubuntu distribution. From what I have heard, it was one of the most user-friendly versions available. It turned out, however, that I had to spend long hours to make things work. All in all, it was a valuable time during which I have learned a lot.
Some years later, I have won a Raspberry Pi—a small computer—at a Hackathon and decided to play with it. Fortunately, it then turned out to be a lot easier than I had remembered. I could now use a Linux system daily.
DarekStaff Software EngineerTime is our scarcest resource, and this is where open source gives a lot of value. The most beautiful part of the movement is that anyone can contribute and no addition is too small.
My adventure began around three years ago. I have just finished another Android project that involved Bluetooth Low Energy communication. At the time, BLE stack on this OS was full of issues and peculiarities which I happened to stumble upon. It was a painful way to learn.
One day, Jakub—Polidea’s Co-founder and former CEO—came to me and gave me an idea: “Maybe you could consolidate and reforge your knowledge into a library that could benefit more people?“. That’s how I have started what appears to be the most well known Android BLE library today and made Pull Requests to several other open-source projects. It gives me a lot of drive.
Most of all, it’s about sharing your skills and knowledge. There are a lot of things that are hard to master and take years to get right. Yet, most people simply don’t want or have time to learn everything they need to use. Time is our scarcest resource, and this is where open source gives a lot of value. The most beautiful part of the movement is that anyone can contribute and no addition is too small, after all—“If [we] have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” (Isaac Newton).
I’m optimistic about the future of the open-source movement. It’s too good and beneficial for everyone to be neglected. It empowers us as developers to accumulate effort in order to use it to the best effect. For some time in history, the majority of progress was not easily accessible, either due to logistic issues or being developed and maintained behind closed doors. Now, the ease of communication and access allows for collaboration to everyone interested. Still, there are not too many people involved, but it’s a lot easier than it was, and I expect that this course will continue. After all, open-source is an accessible reservoir of knowledge available for everyone to drink from freely.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our open-libraries, and for any project-related questions, contact us directly.
Staff Software Engineer