When People Don’t Get Open Source

I’ve been involved with open source software for a bit of time now as well as the odd random hack in various hackathons. I believe in open source as a paradigm because it allows for spontaneous cooperation and collaboration. However, being open isn’t just a state of mind. The business case stands up. When companies go under, the software, as an asset ceases to be developed. In open source when a community ceases development (for whatever reason) it can be picked up by another person, group etc. Because of this it’s important for the development and design process to be open and clear for outsiders, this lends itself to more collaboration and the community can grow itself.

The obverse of this is closed open source development, but where organisations profess to be open source. This blog post was formed due to a comment about developing an app (which already exists, but never mind – reinvention of the wheel seems the flavor de jour currently) and inviting someone to partake in the closed process. Just because your source code is available doesn’t mean that your project is open source. Listening to your community adds breath to your decision making, avoiding technological masturbatory projects and ultimately that leads to a better product. Open source is 10% code, the other 90% is design process, communication, community engagement among many other factors. Releasing your source code and not wishing to listen to a community of developers is just cynical, abhorrent and wrong.


Written and submitted from the Nottingham Geospatial Building (52.953, -1.18405)

Author: Mark Iliffe

Traveller, Programmer, Geospatialist and Motorcyclist

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