Multicore NZ

Why Open Source?

This short article, presents in a simple way what is open source software. Yes, it does marketing for Red Hat, but I loved these paragraphs:

“The concept behind open source is not new. For centuries, universities and research communities have shared their work. Monks copied books by hand. Scientists publish new discoveries in journals. Mathematical formulas are distributed, improved, redistributed”.

“Imagine if all of this past knowledge was kept hidden or its use was restricted to only those who are willing to pay for it. Yet this is the mentality behind the proprietary software model. In the same way shared knowledge propels the whole of society forward, open technology development can drive innovation for an entire industry”.

For more than 20 years I owned a Mathematics Academy. We made money by private tuition, lectures, publications. Our service was well recognised as one of the best and customers paid for that, they didn’t chose us for being cheap. We never paid royalties or licenses for our knowledge that we freely learned over the years. I said to the students: you can’t go wrong with Maths, it has 3,000 years of expertise before you…

Compare it with proprietary software. Or music…

Are you paying royalties, licenses, etc when you use your lawyer or accountant? The difference between their knowledge and yours are years of expertise and study, but the knowledge that they use is available in your public library: you just need to read the legislation. But you have a business to run, hence you buy their time. Not just the time that they spent learning about all the details and variations, but the time that they already spent gaining experience in situations similar to yours. But your accountant doesn’t “own” the access to the IRD code, aye?

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