The growth of open source has changed commonly held beliefs about the number of people needed to run critical tools that power technology today.
Most of today’s smartphones rely on cURL: Gamers use it for Nintendo Switch, Xbox and Sony PS5, and it powers data transfer from cars and drives popular apps, such as YouTube, Instagram, Spotify and Netflix.
It would be natural to assume that such a widely used utility is being run by an army of well-funded developers. In reality, cURL is maintained by one lone programmer, Daniel Stenberg, who works out of a home office in Sweden and relies on a modest stream of donations and volunteer contributors to keep it running. This is the story of open source.