I keep seeing this posts by some of the manager types on planet MySQL about how they or some other guy is worrying about open source vendors not raking in billions or are not stealing billions of money out of peoples pockets that should not be playing on the stock market and things along those lines. While I do agree that its great to see open source software flourish .. actually let me clear that up, why do I even care if open source software flourishes? I care because I think open source software enables a different kind of growth for society, one that is shared, one that lowers barriers, one that I feel is more in tune with a world at peace.
Of course I want people that take part in this to be able to provide themselves and their families a decent life. But the fact of the matter is, these people do not need millions, the people that use this open source as an enabler do not need millions in marketing budgets either to realize the usefulness. Of course market capital can help in funding boring tasks like QA and documentation or full time developers etc. But the show will go on even without that.
And guess what? Those small companies that make a buck with open source, they foster a culture where people go home happy at the end of the day instead of being bitter like most others. This is of course not something easily valued in monetary terms, but its nice that the pool of would be homocidal maniacs is reduced by these companies. At the same time even big guys are making plenty of money and giving back a bit here and there. New companies are popping up and slowly making it to big bucks too. So whats the point of this blog post? Lets get over this obsession with these companies that are supposed to make a few people insanly rich by selling their life (aka modern slaves) to VCs that are owned by people that haven't figured out yet to do better things in their lifes but to stack their millions higher and higher.
Reminds me about the irritation I see these aquisition rumors: Of course it matters to people who their are getting gobbled up by and so its not trivial that a Microsoft goes knocking at the doors of Yahoo (not that Yahoo is a small shop or entirely dependent on open source, but from the outside it seems none the less sufficiently open sourcy for a fair share of the tech staff). Do they really believe that key people will stick around after they are required to use their new "@microsoft.com" email address? Especially since these key people have plenty of options. Then again I guess these guys know their risk-analysis 101 and they are mostly after buying users.
While I am trying to save the world, I might also want to mention that its time we kick the system a serious jolt. I like standards, but the out dated processes by ISO and the likes are making a mockery if the idea. Seems like a little less corruption in such public services is too much to ask. Anyways, lets end this post not well formed </rant>
Bravo!! You make an excellent point about the effect that open source has on society and that it allows us to grow in a (mostly) non-polluting, non-corrupting way, implicitly green. Ideas are shared, built upon and expanded. MySQL has generated more business for society than could ever be captured on its books, far more than Sun's recent valuation if you count the myriad shops and individuals that have leveraged its tremendous power at such a low barrier to entry. Not sure where we'd be today without the likes of LAMP.
Really great article that points with the fact that Open Source community is the one that grows TOGETHER equally over all the fronts. It is slow but it is not slow because it is weak but contrary because it is massive and it will be more massive over the time that is to come.
Open source is like having the ability to make mods for an online game. Its fun, it can be shared and it gives a source of satisfaction when you do something with it. Sometime later I'd like to add this to my blog over at http://database2go.bloggin.info Its a rant but its still a solid one. Well actually it didn't seem much like a rant until I read the /rant part. It sounded more like an informed opinion of why open source should keep flourishing.