POKT DNA emphasizes that POKT aims to be an “open” community with “transparent” operations
While this concept sounds noble, its real value manifests when implemented consistently. The other day I voiced concerns on Telegram regarding PNF’s inconsistent enforcement of public repos and development transparency among different initiatives. Instead of dwelling on the past, let’s focus on the future.
I propose that if the DAO funds development, the process should be conducted openly, complete with public repositories. Public development is pivotal in open-source culture. The POKT DNA should mandate public development, and PNF should ensure unbiased enforcement.
Many equate “open-source” with publicly accessible code. However, in the FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) culture, it also implies that the development process is transparent and trackable through Git versioning. Git’s strength lies in its ability to chronicle software development progress, fostering participation. Github, built on Git’s foundation, has become one of the most popular tools in software history because of this transparency.
To genuinely classify POKT as an “open-source” project, its development must be transparent. While many POKT components, like the Shannon development, embrace open-source principles, others do not develop with public repositories. For POKT to thrive with external contributions, a consistent definition of “open-source” is essential. Inconsistent practices, where PNF mandates transparency for some but not for others, especially when both are DAO-funded, is not tenable.
This proposal seeks to clarify and standardize the definition of “open-source” within the POKT ecosystem.
Here’s a guideline for POKT and PNF:
To qualify for DAO development funding, a project should have previously established public repositories, mirroring the Sockets’ requirements. While there could be exceptions, they must be explicitly presented to the DAO. Git’s versioning system should be the default, setting the standard for public development and determining the conditions for DAO fund allocation.
PNF must impartially uphold this requirement for any project seeking DAO development funding. Projects funded via an RPG (Retroactive Public Good) should make their repositories public, including the Git version history, before obtaining funds.
I welcome feedback from both PNF and the POKT community. The objective is to create a standard ensuring equitable treatment of all developers.
Contrarily, inconsistencies in POKT’s open-source requirements will breed more bureaucracy and drama. This proposal doesn’t add to PNF’s workload; it merely requires projects to make their repos public before funding. PNF already demands this for Sockets, so this just extends that requirement to all DAO beneficiaries.
Pocket has evolved significantly since its mainnet launch in August 2020. Initial proposals weren’t always fully open-source, but they met their deliverable goals. Today, POKT is a maturer ecosystem without the same risks for early contributors, and the ecosystem has grown to fully rely on open-source principles for it’s progress. While the POKT DNA captures the spirit of open-source culture, its implementation has been inconsistent, underscoring the need for clarity.
If PNF believes that a project deserves DAO funds despite not adhering to open-source principles, they should clearly communicate this stance. This proposal doesn’t necessarily reverse previously made decisions, like the funding of POKTScan. Instead, it emphasizes a consistent standard for all DAO-funded open-source initiatives.
To non-developers, public development might seem trivial. But for developers, tracking commit history is vital for understanding coding decisions. While some projects, like Uniswap, prefer private development followed by restricted open-sourcing to guard against imitation (e.g., SushiSwap), this approach isn’t universally accepted and has faced criticism.
POKT operates differently from monolithic structures like Uniswap. It benefits from being an entirely open-source initiative where everyone can contribute and learn. If POKT were to allow some initiatives/companies to develop in private with DAO resources, then it opens to door to competitive advantages or lack of accountability. Competitive advantages are neutralized when the development is public and transparent. Projects funded by the DAO shouldn’t erase their development histories as well, and there’s little justification for DAO-backed projects to be non-transparent.