Bloom: a free and open source Google
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
- Universal and unprecedented challenges (Why?)
- Open source, access, data… (How?)
- Bloom: the top-secret master plan (What?)
- In summary
To bring an answer to the universal and unprecedented challenges of our century, we have created a free and open source ‘Google’ (and without advertising or targeting): Bloom - currently a suite of productivity apps but tomorrow the only ecosystem you will need to meet your daily needs. We believe that open source is the only way to build a sustainable world.
Universal and unprecedented challenges (Why?)
It’s not news: the beginning of the 21st century is a decisive turn in the history of humanity. If today, culture doesn’t have frontiers (sport events, art…), the problems either. It is all together that we must respond to both short-term (social) and long-term (environmental) challenges.
The ecological crisis
The ecological crisis is the most important because it encompasses many underlying problems, be it access to drinking water, global warming, extinction of animal species, climate exoduses, pollution of soils and aqueous reserves, respiratory diseases, 7th continent of plastic…
Out overconsumption precipitate the destruction of our habitat and put us in danger. The assessment is alarming, the imobilism even more.
The social crisis
One question obsesses us: Why do we have to work harder and harder to reach a decent standard of living, when we see all the wealth produced in the world?
With taxes, work is today our only means of wealth redistribution. Technology is making human work less and less necessary to meet our needs.
Two futures show off:
- Consume more and more
- Better distribution of wealth
Consuming more and more - economies based on debt and growth - is obviously not compatible with the ecological crisis.
Conversely, reducing the need for production = less work = even more unemployment and therefore less redistributed wealth.
Global wealth distribution. World economic forum.
If the question of the last decades was: How to produce more and more?, today, THE question is: How to improve the global standard of living without continuing to accelerate our self-destruction?
Continuing to mutualize cost and privatize profits is fundamentally incompatible with the social contract (Arab spring, Occupy Wall Street, Brexit, Yellow vests…).
Open source, access, data… (How?)
The solution? Even a child of 4 years would find it without problem: sharing.
In our digital age where copying and distributing a digital document costs virtually nothing and where aberrations are already in place (private copying tax, excesses of rights holders on content sharing platforms, drifting of scientific journals, copyright trolls…), the desire to strengthen intellectual property laws whose negative externalities are never even mentioned, is greedy AND criminal. Yes, patents on drugs or seeds kill.
All this bureaucracy is of course not welcome as humanity faces major crises.
Open source: The open-source model is a decentralized software development model that encourages open collaboration. A main principle of open-source software development is peer production, with products such as source code, blueprints, and documentation freely available to the public. The open-source movement in software began as a response to the limitations of proprietary code. The model is used for projects such as in open-source appropriate technology, and open-source drug discovery.
When Bob works on a proprietary project, the fruits of his work benefit his employer and to a lesser extent the clients of the latter. The day he changes job, he loses all the work done previously.
When Alice contributes or works on an open source project, the fruits of her work benefits her, users of the open source project and the rest of the world who can use it for free, modify it, improve it. When Alice changes her job or leaves, the result of her previous work remains accessible to her, she can continue to benefit.
Thus the wealth produced is accumulated, rather than each actor of society wastes resources to recreate it in his corner.
New communication technologies (chat, video-conferencing…) are now enabling organizations and companies to break away from traditional offices. Staff no longer need to be in the same city, the same country or even the same continent.
This poses new challenges in terms of social interactions, but it is a first lever to reduce our global energy consumption.
This intersection of the means of instant communication and the opening of the production tools allow global cooperation. Users can contribute, participate in the creation of the products they use.
Entering a model of cooperation is the only way to limit the overexploitation of our environment and thus limit our own poisoning.
Resilience and sustainability
The financial crisis of 2008 has painfully reminded us that companies that we thought were untouchable can go bankrupt. But since, the global economic situation has not improved.
Open source allows projects to survive not only to the bankruptcy of a company, but also to a cut of the Internet, or an economic war.
A springboard for education
Education shapes our societies. Imposing artificial limits (copyright, excessive prices, DRM…) is only the guarantee of a slow and painful death of them.
Open source, on the other hand, benefits triply to education:
- By drastically reducing costs
- By improving the quality of educational materials
- By allowing free study of existing systems
Open data: is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
The data is today compared to oil, in the same way that the latter is the fuel of our engines, the data is the fuel of the algorithms.
It is by collecting a lot of data and giving them meaning we can improve the detection of diseases, improve recycling, reduce our energy consumption.
The problem is that today these data, produced by everyone, become the property of big companies (the giants of tech), and are used among other things to destabilize our political organizations.
Having these data in open access would increase the speed and quality of innovation in all areas.
At a time when we are increasingly delegating our memory and knowledge to companies that enclose them in private silos, we have absolutely no guarantee about their future, both in terms of their preservation and their integrity.
Open access: Open access (OA) is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers, and, in its most precise meaning, with the addition of an open license that removes most restrictions on use and reuse.
There is nothing more to say: everyone agrees on the interest for the common good to publish publicly and freely the results of researchers funded by both the public and private sectors (the latter being anyway financed by our taxes…).
I recommend Peter Suber’s book Open Acces to deepen the subject.
Transparency: virtuous but above all necessary
All these movements of openness bring transparency. The information becomes accessible. Anyone, without distinction, can grasp it, enrich it, give it meaning.
But this virtuous transparency is especially necessary, because if the real information spreads at the speed of light, fake news too.
There are 2 main directions to limit effects of the latter:
- Mass censorship
On one hand, it is easy to understand why mass censorship is harmful, but on the other hand, transparency alone is not enough to put an end to false information. Above all, it provides contradictory and provable facts (unlike fake news).
The first step of transparency is to make the information public. The second is to make it easy to access, easy to search, easy to reuse.
Without transparency, there is no public life, no trust, no stable society. Transparency is the very foundation of counter-power.
Bloom: the top-secret master plan (What?)
We believe in a world of sharing and cooperation. That’s why we created Bloom.
Bloom is an organization which use open source / access / data… to redistribute freely its production, relying on new technologies to do it cheaply at scale, rather than using them as an imperialist weapon. Ethics rather than profit, even if the latter is not neglected to ensure the sustainability of the organization.
This new paradigm makes it possible to significantly reduce our global ecological footprint since the rest of the world does not have to waste resources and energy to reinvent what we (or others) have already developed.
It is thus a virtuous circle that is formed, where cooperation breaks the frontiers between companies and consumers. Where production no longer rhymes with auto-destruction.
Our mission? Empowering the world with open technologies.
Bloom offers today the following online services:
- Bloom Drive: an online Drive
- Phaser: an automatic security scanner for websites
- Bitflow: a download manager, which allows you to download files directly into your drive (torrents, HTTP).
- Bloom Music: a music player that plays music directly from your drive
- Bloom Gallery: a gallery for your photos and videos
- Bloom Contacts: a contact manager
- Bloom Notes: a note-taking app
All these services have a free tier (or are completely free) for no counterpart (no targeting, no advertising…), and whose source code is freely available on GitHub.
Today productivity oriented we will contribute tomorrow to more diverse sectors such as agriculture, architecture, transport…
Bloom is the 21st century Linux.
Bloom conciliate the best of the Startuplaland religion: radical execution rather than bureaucracy, scalability, flawless user experience, strong product culture, iterative process, and open source: a mode of development that has proven its superiority, open governance, an unmatched sustainability and a perfect symbiosis between the interests of developers and those of users.
We chose the AGPL v3.0 viral license for most of our creations to encourage others to contribute back and to do the same. No open core, no bullshit.
Regarding governance, federation is on the roadmap but we must first find solutions to problems affecting existing systems (spam in the world of emails, legislative arbitrations in the world of Mastodon…).
We believe in a world where everyone can contribute, not just experts. Where citizens and consumers become actors. That is why we are committed to facilitate this global and barrier-free cooperation.
Bloom’s official language of communication is English.
Development happens here: github.com/skerkour/bloom.
More information is available on our website bloom.sh/open-source.
Rust is Bloom’s official programming language, for a multitude of reasons, the main ones being:
- An expressive and modern language
- An open-source language that fully embraces our values
- A language that allows both high-level abstractions and low-level constructs, without performance cost
- All our services must be able to be self-hosted on a Raspberry pi
- Here again the compound interests come into play, being expert in a language capable of * both web services, robotics and blockchains, can multiply the creative capabilities
- Developers love it <3
- Because it is THE language to rule them all
It is (and will be) used for all Bloom projects unless otherwise required (Typescript + VueJS for web applications, Kotlin for Android applications, Swift for IOS applications…).
To contribute to Bloom’s design, please follow this link: github.com/skerkour/bloom.
Spread the word, talk with your entourage, share Bloom on social networks! We are still at the beginning of the adventure breaking the news would help us a loooooot!
If you do not have the time or skills to contribute, but our project seems promising to you, you can contribute financially.
This money will be used to finance people who contribute with their time to a more open world:
- By subscribing on bloom.sh
Many thanks to those who have already contributed directly or indirectly:
- My family
- Marina Da Silva
- 42 school
- Jean-Roger Callière
- Katerina Limpitsouni
- Nikolay Kim
- Sean Griffin
- Ed Page
- Jesse Szwedko
- Dmitriy Olshevskiy
- Tyson Clugg
- Ben Overmyer
- Jose Nazario
- Andrew Gallant
As well as:
- Pablo Servigne
- Cécile Serrano
- Josette Crastes
- Étienne Théodore
- Music’All’s ‘Ks’
- Yanaël Barbier
- Nabil Brizini
for proofreading (of the French version),
And to all the other enthusiasts of sharing without whom it would not have been possible.
In summary the master plan is as follows:
- Build free software and charge for hosting, security of hosted data and enterprise support
- With this money reduce prices, free the data and the access to scientific knowledge
- With this money and this community create the open infrastructure to run these software and host this open data
Our mission? Empowering the world with open technologies.
Our values? Cooperation, Acuity, Transparency, Simplicity (CATS 🐱).
- 2018 - Failed to find our THE why?
- Q1 / Q2 2019 - Beta
- Q3 2019 - Offline first + self-hosting
- Q4 2019 - End-to-end encryption + teams
- Q1 2020 - Add services
- Q2 2020 - IOS Application + Data Portability
- Q3 / Q4 2020 - Federation
- ∞ Never stop challenging the status quo
But shhh, it’s a secret 🤫
It has been said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing…