This is a post from our online class discussion that somehow swerved into OSS. It has been sitting in my WordPress drafts along with many other rough ideas waiting to be released:
We should be free to participate in the system we choose: the closed, proprietary system or the more communal open source system. My point about what Krug mentions in the interview is that when innovations are shared in a community, innovation grows exponentially (the OSS model). The early growth of the Internet is an example of this kind of information sharing. Mike’s example points to this as well.
I’ve worked in the graphic arts field and had my ideas stolen, and I didn’t like that. But, I did (and do) enjoy sharing tricks and tips with my peers (my fellow artisans, for lack of better term). If I find a better way to secure a Windows computer for public use, it seems irrelevant how much time I spent developing it. It is much more useful if I share it openly with others (who are very likely to improve on it and share that information with myself and others). I find this kind of sharing quite prevalent among librarians. Thank goodness, there are so many experts on the Internet who freely share their hard won wisdom and expertise to teach us things like CSS, HTML, podcasting, etc. They certainly could choose to sell it in book from or charge for that same information which would be fine and acceptable, but have less dissemination.
Those programmers who make up the OSS movement choose to share their code, their labor (though many are paid for this work) with the understanding that a thousand eyes are better at finding bugs than just one set.
I really suggest that if anyone wants to understand the premise of OSS, they should read The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which Doc Martens has mentioned in the Open Source discussion board. (which I’ve pasted below)
Most of you who are interested in this probably have already read Eric Raymond’s classic essay in “First Monday”
so here’s his own page with more (including some links to extensions and critiques):