Peace, Love and Penguins? Well ...

Filed under
OSS

Somehow the Free and Open Source software world acquired this silly image of happy hippies living in perfect harmony, altruistically cranking out awesome code for the betterment of humankind. As if! You will surely be disappointed if that's what you expect to find. What you will find is it's founded on healthy values. It is structured to reward both cooperation and independence, so there's no need for threats of dire punishments to keep people in line, and few limitations on creativity or invention.

It is also based on openness and transparency, which typically induce attacks of culture shock in people raised up in protected corporate cloisters, surrounded by comforting layers of non-disclosure agreements and contractual secrecy. There's little going on in FOSS that doesn't go on behind closed corporate doors every day. The difference is it's all out in the open, with boisterous peanut galleries cheering on the participants, and even wading in to take sides and express opinions with the confidence of people who think their opinions actually matter.

Is this a strength or a liability?