Free and Open-Source Software bring an Open-Community
It’s often associated that open-source is referred to Linux and FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software). But as equally as important is the community. And what I want to touch base on is not only the open-source community, but how “open” the development community is as opposed to the development community of Microsoft Windows. And particularly at a corporate and managerial level.
Within the Windows development community, it can be very difficult to generate friendships, relationships and general communications between developers. And also take into consideration the Directors and Leaders of such large scale projects.
Take Bill Gates for example. Bill is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Microsoft. Despite your personal opinions of Bill, he is definitely an interesting technologist and figure of our industry. But try to contact Bill on a personal level. You’re not going to get his email address. And if you do, the email will probably never even go directly to Bill himself, rather several layers of staffers before selected portions of your original email finally get through. And I could imagine contacting the late Steve Jobs of Apple would be very much the same drawn out process.
And then we get to the wonderful world of open-source and Unix/Linux development. The Creator and Grandfather of the Linux kernel itself, Linus Torvalds. Linus is a cool bloke. At least in the eyes of most Linux geeks and fans alike. In comparison to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Linus Torvalds is different. At least in a sense that Linus does not cut himself off from the development community and user base. If you’re like me and a reader and contributor to the Linux kernel and the official mailing list, you will have noticed that Linus is a regular contributor to the mailing list and is able to be emailed personally using his
public email address, which gets through to Linus Torvalds, the man himself!
So it brings forth my point that the development world of free and open-source software differs from that of proprietary and closed-source software and their companies.
Unix and Linux is open-source. But its community remains just as open. This can only be a good thing. As developers are happy to discuss projects between themselves and publicly. Linux IRC channels are always a flurry of activity. And nowadays, we have Facebook which has added to the activity. Facebook is littered with Linux user groups and networks. And some of these groups have very enthusiastic developers among them. Myself included. It literally ‘blows me away’ at the enthusiasm level of my fellow
Linux users and developers.
As long as the users and developers keep the discussion and minds as open as the operating systems that we choose to use, then that has to lead to a positive future for free and open-source software development. And it has become apparent that it just can not be rivaled by commercial operating systems and software.
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