the guardian offers a really good overview of the unfolding open source phenomenon. the traditional model for developing new products has been to hire a couple of smart people, throw some money at it, and keep the secrets from competitors. but now software developers have discovered that by allowing people to freely view and change the source code of a program, people do all of the work for you, offering new ideas, tools, and fixing bugs for free.
the idea isn't just for computer software, but works for almost anything. take the encyclopedia, where you have to hire experts to write short articles which might be dull or incomplete, you create a stagnant information form. if you compare this with something like wikipedia.org, which allows anyone to write or change encyclopedia entries, traditional encyclopedias can't compare in the amount of information they offer. wikipedia now has over 500,000 articles and is the largest encyclopedia throughout history, and most of the articles are still pretty good.
the article, always connect, explores this in detail, going into things like open source science, medicine, or even restaurant menus. don't like your caramel applecake fish dinner? change the recipe, and send it back to the cooks.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Posted by Jim at 3:04 PM