Enterprise Initiatives

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Nick Carr who is famous for his book "Does IT Matter" has a new article about Open Source, "The Ignorance of Crowds".

This article is a very interesting read and talks about both the good and the bad of Open Source. After reading the article, I believe what Nick is trying to say is that good Open Source projects are not as open as you might think. Here is an excerpt from the article:

.... the open source model — when it works effectively — is not as egalitarian or democratic as it is often made out to be. Linux has been successful not just because so many people have been involved, but because the crowd’s work has been filtered through a central authority who holds supreme power as a synthesizer and decision maker. As the Linux project has grown, Torvalds has gathered a hierarchy of talented software programmers around him to help manage the crowd and its contributions. It’s not a stretch to say that the Linux bureaucracy forms a cathedral that coordinates the work of the bazaar and molds it into a unified product.

He also mentions that Open Source is not where creative ideas come from but where people take a great idea and refine it. I not sure I agree with that but I do see his point of view. Regardless, Open Source provides alternatives to buyers who traditionally were at the mercy of billion dollar software giants.

I have seen some people comment on the article. A few of them perceived the article as a bashing of the Open Source community. I didn't see it that way. I saw him pointing out some of the challenges of peer production and the need for some form of governance.

What are your thoughts?


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