When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · January
· · · · 16 (1 entry)

Open-Source Whatever · Over at O’Reilly, John Mark Walk­er writes There Is No Open Source Com­mu­ni­ty, and Ni­cholas Car­r, who en­joys de­cry­ing, well, any­thing pop­u­lar, chimes in with The Amoral­i­ty of Open Source. They both paint a pic­ture of mis­guid­ed in­no­cents who be­lieve in some starry-eyed vi­sion of post-capitalist in­tel­lec­tu­al col­lec­tivis­m, but are ac­tu­al­ly pawns in the hands of larg­er eco­nom­ic forces. They’re both re­al­ly wrong. Grant­ed: Open Source is not a na­tion or a cor­po­ra­tion or a po­lit­i­cal par­ty or a re­li­gion. (While there are “movement people”, or­ga­nized in­to the skeptical-of-each-other Open Source and Free Soft­ware sect­s, they are a tiny—albeit noisy—minority.) Ab­sent those things, what is left? A col­lec­tion of peo­ple who like work­ing on soft­ware and look for op­por­tu­ni­ties, prefer­ably but not nec­es­sar­i­ly paid, to do so. If that isn’t a “community”, what is? And fur­ther­more, I would rec­om­mend that Walk­er and Carr spend some time hang­ing out in the IRC chan­nels and piz­za par­ties and con­fer­ences and mail­ing lists and wikis where the Open-Source peo­ple ac­tu­al­ly, you know, are. They would dis­cov­er, now what’s the word I’m look­ing for... peo­ple who ac­tive­ly seek out their own kind, who share jar­gon and jokes and tools and thought lead­ers and en­e­mies. The word I’m look­ing for is “community”. And any­one who thinks that this com­mu­ni­ty would go away if Sun and IBM and Novell and so on were to stop fund­ing it is nut­s. Open Source Soft­ware is its own re­ward; that, and hang­ing out with peo­ple who share our pas­sion­s. We don’ need no steenkin’ eco­nomic­s. Or ide­olo­gies ei­ther.
 
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