Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Writer predicts demise of Open Info Culture

Article of reference: An End to Open Source after Economic Downturn

Just read the article. The author is either:

  1. thinking of open source/open info world as sort of a donations-of-the-wealthy-enough, where wealth has more to do with time than money. He is thinking of it as an equivalent to donations to United Way.
  2. thinking of the commodity being produced as a widget that gets simply given away. Sort of like building lawnmowers, then just parking them on the street corner and any idiot can pick one up. Further, this equates the open source/info people to tinkerers that want to build lawnmowers for fun -basically mechanics with some extra time who like having a mini-factory at home.

The author doesn't get that we are making the meaningful and useful part of a telecommunication infrastructure, the last mile of it. Or more like the last few inches of the TCP/IP layer where those worthless bits get turned into what we really want and need.

Yes, a lot of activity will cease. Which kind? The kind that is all hype, the dross, the crap, the stuff that marketing is telling is cool rather than the true popular will. Thank god for everyone of these deaths. Thank god.

Open info culture will whittle down to projects that resemble the seminal moments of its beginnings: Stallman's obsessive pursuit of a C compiler, Torvald's posting of an OS project. Open info culture will become once again Zen, the users crafting what they use.

No, this will not do much for getting some chicken on the dinner table, or the roof fixed, but then that's not what open info culture was originally about in its purer days.

A note on specifics: I would see myself using Google's cloud computing services MORE, not less, if I am less wealthy. I see myself using only free software to do anything on a computer. If no new open source was created, I bet I can do anything needed with the python, perl and sqllite we already have. Even if Wikipedia was to slow in its addition of new material, I would use what's already there. Google may make less revenue if economic activity goes down, but I bet it still has a resiliency much like the broadcasting and entertainment business did during the Depression and World War 2.

No comments: