The Spirit of Open Source

The Spirit of Open Source

This post is mainly me recording down a train of thought I’ve been having before I lose it. It started off as some random feelings about open source and the community that is essential to it. It is a hard dependency.

It has naturally sprouted also as a bit of an extension to much of the commentary around community bickering, elitism, toxicity, or whatever term you would like to put to it.

As a relative newcomer to the scene, I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to make some sense of it and I feared if I didn’t write it down it would continue to be a bit of a jumbled mess in my brain. Part of my learning had been making my way through The Cathedral and the Bazaar, a very enlightening book by Eric S Raymond. It has proven to be a wonderful resource, which was recommended to me and I am now recommending to you.

How wonderful is this concept of a group of often disparate people coming together to effectively birth a thing? A thing that would have otherwise not existed. A thing that is constantly poked and prodded. A thing that is continually improved, such that it may grow and flower into wonderful projects like Debian or Ubuntu or Arch or Elementary or GIMP or LibreOffice or Gnome or Plasma or i3 or {$project}.

A thing that so often stands on the shoulders of many that came before it.

A thing that benefits so many, but asks for so little in return.

It makes me thankful and very appreciative.

Even though we are talking about computer programs, there is an inalienable tie to our humanity. In my own mind, I have distilled a single goal - to create and improve. We all share that goal. Yet within this lofty claim lies a reflection of all our differences, opinions and preferences. How is this not a perfect reconstruction of our shared human state? I’m here to celebrate it. Join me in doing so. I implore you to celebrate our differences, our uniqueness and our contributions both as human beings and to the software world. Support your fellow programmers, testers, users, bloggers, content creators and contributors alike, no matter the race, gender, creed, nationality, language, distro, package manager, DE, or browser.

I can’t think of a better term for it other than “The Federation of Open Source.”

(Blah! Picard. I believed in what The Federation of Planets stood for as well)

Thank you for making it through to the end of my rant.