Opening up the secret sauce. Open sourcing Bucky Box



I took this photo last night, check it out…

Matt Mullenweg visits Wellington and talks about the benefits of Open Source

Do you know who he is? Okay, well the slide tells it all. It’s Matt Mullenweg, the guy leads the stuff that powers 22% of web sites out on the Internet today. Twenty – Two – Percent. Wow. That’s WordPress, and it’s an open source success story.

It’s a timely visit for sure. This is because last week we made the decision to open source  Bucky Box.

Matt’s model of a revenue earning company (Automattic) that drives along an open source codebase inspired us. Being able to tell him this, straight after our decision made it feel poetic. (Thanks Matt, code is poetry? So is coming to Wellington in such a timely manner).

Why move to open source?

Apart from the obvious values and mission alignment, we’ve gotten our heads around an open source business model that will work for us. I guess it’s been more of a stumbling onto it, than brilliant forward thinking.

Earlier this year, we started offering bespoke development services. We thought this would cater for larger scale enterprises. It would be our opportunity to learn about a market segment beyond our existing niche.

That’s not what happened.

What happened was an influx of new and existing customers approaching us for features to be built into Bucky Box for their specific needs. So here we have it, customers were paying us to build our own product. That felt kinda weird.

Given our mission and values – to democratise food – it just made sense to open up our source code so a community can get behind it.

How will we make money?

This is a significant change for our business, Bucky Box as a company will now make money in two ways:

  1. hosting the Bucky Box cloud app, just as it does today
  2. developing the Bucky Box codebase to your specific needs

Initially I doubt it will impact customers much, as it will still be easier (and usually cheaper) to go the hosted route we offer, but for some technically savvy users, particularly those who want the confidence that comes with controlling their own destiny with the code, it will be reassuring.

We’ll need your help

Setting up our codebase into a modular installable package to give away will take some work. So if you’re a developer, or a funding organisation that supports this kind of work, please by all means drop us a line.


6 thoughts on “Opening up the secret sauce. Open sourcing Bucky Box

  1. Hi Will great to see you doing well in Wellington. You are in excellent company with Matt Mullenweg & lately Elon Musk on the open source pathway.

  2. Great to hear Will.

    We’re embarking on a project to make Loomio extraordinarily easy for anyone to self-host (using Docker.io), so I reckon we’ll have some useful advice to share soon.

  3. Hi. Any progress on releasing the code? I’ve learned the hard way not to commit to a service that I have no control over and will not use Buckybox until the code and an export data function is available in the service. Thanks.

    1. Hi Matt,

      Yup the web store has been released a couple of months ago: https://github.com/buckybox/webstore. Feel free to install it on your own server, tweak it and plug it into our API if you want. We’ve been working toward releasing our customer dashboard as well (the part that manages orders). Then the only part left will be the core system but we’ll probably rewrite this one from scratch eventually…

      I tend to agree with your comment about controlling your data. Note that everything is already exportable in CSV format in the current version of Bucky Box though. This might be of interest: http://www.buckybox.com/privacy.html (1st paragraph)

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