Some weeks ago Facebook released its source code as Free and Open Source Software.
I’m very curious about the consequences of this action. Initially I was to suppose this choice would have been a tsunami in the social networking sites world, but I haven’t found many mentions of this around. So I tried to look around and to answer the question “Which were the consequences of Facebook making its code opensource?”.
I don’t have a clear idea, but it seems very small consequences.
How many clones of facebook popped up? Are they used? I haven’t found any facebook clone worth mentioning.
How many people downloaded the code? How many code patches were provided to Facebook? I guess one of the biggest intended consequences was this one: Facebook getting bug fixes, and chunks of code or suggestions on how to improve performances. Also, it is now easier, I think, for Facebook hiring new developers because they can know them in advance from the commits and suggestions they write about Facebook code. But for example there have been any exploit from people reading the code and finding weaknesses? Probably not, it is much more meaningful, if you discover a glitch to send an email just to Facebook to explain it, there is a chance Facebook might want to hire you as security expert.
Overall, Facebook is better off or worst off after the decision to release the code as Free Software? I was not able to get too much information about this and I’m a bit surprised. Actually I haven’t yet downloaded the code in order to test it. I was about to do it but then for Webvalley we decided to use BuddyPress so “check Facebook code” is still in the todo list.
Some interesting links which might be worth checking in more detail: open source projects on facebook wiki, the portal for developers on Facebook code (interesting!), Project Cassandra: Facebook’s Open Source Alternative to Google BigTable, the fact Google recently released its Protocol Buffers as open source, Facebook did it much earlier with Thrift.
So, did I miss something? What do you think were the consequences of Facebook opensourcing its code?