Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Will the real open source community please stand up?

Filed under
OSS

I recently had an e-mail conversation with an IT pro that knocked me for a loop. Responding to a presentation I did on open source, he said, "It's a great topic, but I would have liked to see a member of the open source community participating."

Whoa! I didn't know that I wasn't a member of the open source community! So I wrote back, saying that I certainly consider myself part of the community. He responded by saying that in his opinion the open source community was confined to those individuals who are open source developers.

That definition sure does limit the size, scope and inclusiveness of the open source community, and I'm wondering if it's a definition shared by many IT professionals.

This exchange got me to thinking about the term "community." It's thrown around a lot. You often hear statements beginning with, "The community believes in …" or "The community won't respect …," without any real identification of who makes up the community.

Over the past few weeks, I have been polling people on what they mean by the term "community."

What's been fascinating is the ambiguity of the responses. Some people identify the community as my correspondent did, including only open source coders. Others include people who contribute other project artifacts, like bug reports, documentation and so on.

Many people have a very inclusive definition that encompasses developers, artifact contributors and the entire user base. It is this latter definition that I find most congenial. In fact, I think a broad definition of community is crucial to the ultimate success of open source.

One of the real strengths of open source is that -- unlike commercial software -- its users have myriad resources to turn to. Open source is no monolithic, take it or leave it, world. It's hard to overstate the power of this aspect of open source. Something about open source brings out mutual effort, which makes using it much, much easier.

So what's wrong in defining the open source community as only a group of developers?

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

FreeBSD-Based TrueOS Operating System Gets New Jail Tools, Automounting Feature

The developers of the FreeBSD-based TrueOS operating system (formerly PC-BSD) announced the release and general availability of a new stable build versioned 2017-02-22. Read more

Calamares 3.1 Distribution-Independent Linux Installer Officially Released

The Calamares open-source universal installer framework for Linux-based operating systems has been updated recently to version 3.1, a major release the users of the KaOS GNU/Linux distribution can already enjoy if they download the latest ISO snapshot. Read more

Reiser4 Updated For The Linux 4.10 Kernel

The out-of-tree Reiser4 file-system has been updated for the Linux 4.10 kernel. Reiser4 for the Linux 4.10.0 kernel is available as of earlier this week, managing to release their updated file-system driver code quite promptly. This port to Linux 4.10 yielded a few changes to the Reiser4 code as they re-based to this Linux kernel with the ->readlink() of inode operations being removed as well as the WRITE_FLUSH_FUA flag being removed. Read more