I wanted to write a quick post on the difference between Monadic and Radicle, and how our team contributes to the Radicle project. This post is also featured on monadic.xyz. Enjoy !
Monadic is a group of technologists who in 2017, set out to re-imagine free and open source software collaboration with protocols, not platforms. While we’re a Berlin-based software company, we are remote-first, with team members spread across six countries. We have a home base in the heart of Kreuzberg, in a sunny office with giant plants and lots of tea.
As lovers of free and open source, we think that maintaining the resilience and health of the free and open source ecosystem is more important than ever. Our reliance on centralized platforms is unsustainable and contradicts the values of free and open source that brought us all together in the first place. We conceived Radicle as an alternative — a free and open-source way to host, share, and build software together. You can read more about our vision of decentralized code collaboration here.
We’ve been lucky enough to have found an amazing group of partners that, like us, want to make decentralized code collaboration a reality.
In addition to contributing to the Radicle project, the Monadic team leads the development of Upstream, a desktop application built on Radicle. We believe that building functional, usable, and beautiful experiences for developers is essential when challenging the status quo. While we envision this application to be the main way users interact with Radicle, it will not be the only way. Upstream, as with the Radicle protocols, will be completely open-source and forkable — giving anybody the space to develop their own code collaboration experience.
While Monadic currently drives most of Radicle development, we don’t own Radicle . Radicle is a free and open source project, made up of protocols that anyone can use, modify, and build on. We believe that to truly be a decentralized alternative for code collaboration, Radicle needs to be developed by a community, not just for one. Our goal is for the project to be maintained, governed, and owned by its community — putting it in the hands of the free and open source developers that use it. Monadic will be just one of many organizations building, maintaining, and contributing to the Radicle protocols. Our current role within the Radicle project is to support and guide the progressive decentralization of the project while contributing as much as we can with the resources at hand. This means:
The Radicle project will not be owned or governed by Monadic. Ownership of project repositories will be transferred to their maintainers and formal proposal improvement mechanisms will be put in place.
Protocol specifications, funds, trademarks & legal artefacts, and domains will be controlled by a separate, neutral, non-profit entity called the Radicle Foundation.
Monadic will manage the development of Upstream, a desktop client built on Radicle. All Upstream work will be public by default and licensed under GPL.
In the meantime, we’ll maintain Radicle until it’s ready to be off-ramped to the community and focus on building experiences (like Upstream!) that make it easier, better, and simpler to use and build on Radicle.
In any free and open source project, transparency and openness is key for developing an engaged and supported community. The presence of a core group of full-time contributors is great for development of a project, but can often introduce more ‘closed’ and ‘internal’ processes that can inhibit the growth of an open source community. Here’s how we’re introducing transparency into what we do at Monadic:
With regards to contributions to the Radicle protocols , we believe there must be a natural focal shift away from ‘core team’ development to community development. We believe this is necessary to maintain the resilience of the project outside of venture funding & investment and to develop a diverse, inclusive, and supported community of contributors and users. Therefore, all internal Monadic collaboration that influences the development & direction of Radicle project has continuously been made public, in an effort to bring transparency in our decision making process, tradeoffs and constraints and onboard more contributors to the Radicle project. Team members contributing to the Radicle protocols collaborate publicly on our community forum, community.radworks.org — By focusing on introducing accessibility and encouraging engagement at all steps of the process, we reduce the dependence of the project on the core team and create the space for the community to take over. Here’s where you can find our collaboration.
All code collaboration will take place on Radicle, but for now is on GitHub
All other collaboration takes place here, on community.radworks.org
A public IRC channel (#radicle) exists for real-time collaboration within the community
With regards to the Monadic’s development of Upstream , we believe that to truly embody free and open source values we must also embody a “public by default” mode of development. Our team uses community.radworks.org (specifically the #Product category) for public collaboration on Upstream development. In addition, we document our work in a public workspace on Notion. This will be the place to check out our product roadmaps, cycle objectives, project management dashboards, and other key parts of the product development process.
By developing openly, we introduce transparency into our work and create clear avenues for engagement with our community members, users, and contributors. It also drives us to continuously improve our documentation, communicate our decision-making, and create accessible and safe spaces for people to challenge our thought processes. Check out the Monadic workspace here.
By keeping progressive decentralization and transparency at heart of our work, we hope to support the independence and resilience of the Radicle project while building beautiful peer-to-peer code collaboration experiences. If you have any questions about Monadic let us know here !