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Open Source is Not About Youa minimal, functionalist view of open source

Rich Hickey, creator of the Clojure programming language, published an interesting, well written piece called Open Source is Not About You on GitHub. If you read this blog for open source, you should read Rich’s post.

A taste:

Open source is a licensing and delivery mechanism, period. It means you get the source for software and the right to use and modify it. All social impositions associated with it, including the idea of ‘community-driven-development’ are part of a recently-invented mythology with little basis in how things actually work, a mythology that embodies, cult-like, both a lack of support for diversity in the ways things can work and a pervasive sense of communal entitlement.

I’ve done a bit of writing on different meanings of open source myself, to try and broaden respect for their diversity. It’s Not About Community comes to mind.

As for myself, I’m sympathetic to Rich’s minimalist view, but also see “open source” as a movement with some energy left. I Don’t Want to Know What “Open Source” Means makes a case for allowing definitions to blur, if that spreads more of the good around.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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