At Open Whisper Systems, we’ve been developing open source “consumer-facing” software for
the past four years. We want to share some of the things we’ve learned while doing it.
As a software developer, I envy writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Unlike software, when
they create something, it is really done — forever. A recorded album can be just the same 20 years
later, but software has to change.
Software exists as part of an ecosystem, and the ecosystem is moving. The platform changes
out from under it, the networks evolve, security threats and countermeasures are in constant shift,
and the collective UX language rarely sits still. As more money, time, and focus has gone into the
ecosystem, the faster the whole thing has begun to travel.
All of this means that the set of expectations users have for social and communication features
are evolving rapidly. Anyone building software today knows that it is not possible to stand still.