Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

May the Source Be With You

May the Source Be With You

Maybe One Key to Strengthening Open Source is Just Differentiating Between Work and Play

By Robert X. Cringely

Was it something I said? Last week, I wrote about ways in which Open Source development might be vulnerable to both external subversion by a motivated competitor, and to what I claimed was an inevitable deceleration of software projects into which no money is being poured. But what got me in trouble with so many readers weren’t these ideas, but my use of the word “nobodies,” referring to Open Source software stars in the making. This wasn’t meant to be offensive. It simply represented my belief that until you are “somebody” in any field, you are nobody. I know I was. Some people think I still am.

Semantics aside, this week I proposed to take the other side of the argument -- that Open Source is here to stay. And of course it is, in that nobody is trying to make it illegal to give away software. But will Open Source be as big a factor 20 years from now as it is today? It can be, I think, if Open Source remains true to its roots -- that is if we can even remember them.