Resurrect the dead pool & free the code

photo by flickr user brooklyn_tygerAt Likemind this morning Henrik Berggren (of Soundcloud and Physical Interaction Lab) had a great idea that I’d like to share and discuss with all you out there.

We should start a project (movement?) to open-source all the code of companies and services that went to the dead pool.

In other words: When a company dies, or the plug is pulled on a web service, the code shouldn’t go to waste. It should be open-sourced, so that the code can live on. Instead of going to waste, this growning pool of ideas and code would be a great resource of innovation as it can be improved and built upon.

Now I understand that for every up-and-coming startup it’s tough to even think about the worst case scenario. It’s just like health insurance, drafting your will or thinking about organ donation. But just like with those three, it’s important to think about it anyway in order to be prepared, and in order to spare yourself or your family a lot of trouble.

Keeping this legacy code alive is valuable for everybody involved: The coders will continue to see their stuff used and will continue to build their reputation. Other coders will have great stuff to build upon. Investors might show resistance as they feel they own the code; but in reality it’s dead weight at this point, so they won’t lose anything. And all those who used the service and grew fond of it will have the chance to take it apart and re-build it, maybe make it better.

What do you think?

Image by brooklyn_tyger, licensed under Creative Commons

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