Wildcard, CastleCMS and Open Source
The concept of “open source” is now over 20 years old! It is an umbrella term for software, services, and products that are free to use, inspect, modify, and redistribute.
Open source has come a long way, from an obscure, niche concept among software practitioners, starting in the mid 1980s, to mainstream acceptance among decision makers and procurement specialists today.
The Open Source Value Proposition
Open source is clearly a good value proposition for an organization wanting to use software:
- It’s free of charge
- There are none of the usual purchasing barriers to downloading it and installing it
- You can easily try it and run it through its paces to find out if you like it
If the organization using open-source software is so inclined, they can also:
- Fix bugs they find
- Make changes to things they don’t quite like
- Add new features and functions they need
- Share those bug fixes, changes, and enhancements with others
- Not be “locked-in” with a vendor
That last point is probably the most important reason for using open-source software: you are never “locked-in” to a specific vendor, because anyone (including you or your employees) can provide the bug fixes and maintenance services the software needs. While a vendor can help you select, set up, and maintain an open-source package, you can always shop around for another qualified vendor, or you can “grow your own” software maintenance.
Why Does Anyone Create Open-Source Software?
The benefits to using open-source software are clear and compelling, but why would anyone want to create software that others could install, use, and distribute for free?
Wildcard Corp. has used open-source software from its very beginnings:
- Linux operating systems for its servers and development machines
- Networking software, caching servers, firewalls, and anti-virus software
- Programming languages such as Python
- Programming frameworks such as Pyramid, Django, and Zope
- Web content management systems such as Plone
Over time, our expertise and team have grown. We have seen how we could fix bugs, make changes, add features to these open-source tools...and so we did. We also saw how communities of developers and users of those open-source tools were making their own contributions, and we saw the value in joining those efforts and continuing to improve those tools together.
Ultimately, Wildcard contributes to and creates open-source software because:
- We believe in providing ethical, value-added services to our clients; we reject the business model of locking in clients and restricting their freedom to get good service for good value
- We believe in giving back, not just to the communities we and our team live in, but also to the software communities who nurture and improve the tools we use ourselves
- We have the expertise, experience, and ability to add useful, compelling features to open-source packages
- We know that whatever we share, we get back 10- or 100-fold; the bigger the open-source community of contributors and users, the bigger that return on investment
How does Wildcard Contribute to Open Source?
Wildcard’s largest open source contributions have been to the Plone (plone.org, plone.com), the secure, open-source web content management system (CMS) that we have used since 2008, and have used as the foundation for our own open-source CastleCMS (castlecms.io), purpose-designed for large web sites and intranets and for truly security-conscious organizations.
We chose to use Plone for its unmatched security track record, bar none, because our clients are among the most demanding organizations in the world. Plone’s longevity (since 2001) and stability have been balanced by its continuing innovation, with advanced baked-in security that other CMSs can only dream of, a modern REST API matched with current front-end technologies.
Since 2008, Wildcard:
- took on key roles in several Plone teams: Security, Communications, Framework (the “core” product team), and the non-profit Plone Foundation Board
- organized Plone conferences, regional symposia, and development sprints
- created CastleCMS, the powerful and extraordinarily secure content management system, and open sourced it
We know that helping Plone helps us make CastleCMS even better, but we also love that it helps everyone else using Plone, from the smallest artisans showing their wares online to universities powering their entire campus web presence, to local, regional, and federal governments providing online portals to their citizens.
Wildcard’s Commitment to Open Source
Wildcard is deeply embedded in and committed to open source, and we cannot envision a time when we would do otherwise.
Certainly, working in an open-source community has its challenges: no one dictates the direction of the software, but has to work collaboratively to harness the enthusiasm and skills of others and come together as a much more powerful team.
But we know we stand on the shoulders of giants.
Found out more:
- Wildcard Corp., provider of cybersecurity, web development, and IT solutions
- CastleCMS, the powerful and extraordinarily secure content management system
- the Open Source Initiative, promoting and protecting open source software, projects and communities
- the Free Software Foundation, the nonprofit that started the free software and open source movements
[Photo by Jack McLane]