Software Forks

Complex software prevents it’s “forking”. There are times when the end users may not be happy about a project’s direction and may need to “fork” it. There are various onerous licensing systems too which require deft navigation.

Why are they important for AI/Healthcare or any of the myriad issues I have been covering here? It is because increased complexity leads to more failure points that would be harmful for the end user in ways that it cannot be predicted. Open Source software kind of forms a widespread “peer review” while proprietary systems pass muster only a few “quality control” analysts.

Complexity forms barriers. These barriers can squeeze out alternative implementations by increasing the resources needed to maintain a fork. They make it harder for a community to form and provide alternatives to users.On top of that, if the costs of maintenance are high, a source of money becomes necessary. This means either a revenue stream, or an investor that expects a return on their investment. Monetization becomes necessary.


The complexity of browsers is another instance. When I started tracking the browsers way back in 1995 (during the Netscape era), it was apparent that standards were deliberately being forced in browsers to lock out the others in the ecosystem. Companies thrive on rent seeking behavior to “drive value for the investors” and that rule book is as old as the system of monopolisation. Therefore, it is imperative to push through simplicity as well as reducing the complexity in the moving parts.

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