Are we in a real open source war?

Summary: Every complex civilization will develop complex systems that can be destroyed through the concentrated efforts of small groups.

John RobbAt his blog Global Guerillas, John Robb (left) writes that what's called the War on Terror is actually the first true open source war.

The decentralized, and seemingly chaotic guerrilla war in Iraq demonstrates a pattern that will likely serve as a model for next generation terrorists. This pattern shows a level of learning, activity, and success similar to what we see in the open source software community.

Robb then ticks off similarities between how open source works and today's evolving terror networks. Terrorists learn from the mistakes of others, and copy others' successes. They don't need a centralized structure to be effective.

The result is a war against the very idea of civilization. Every complex civilization will develop complex systems that can be destroyed through the concentrated efforts of small groups. There are so many of these vulnerabilities that not all can be protected. The best protection is consensus, giving everyone a stake in the system.

I think this idea of everyone having a stake, and not the small conspiracies of anarchists, is what open source is all about. I don't think today's terrorists know a thing about open source. I think they're hackers. And if they are hackers, they can be beaten, if their numbers can be kept low by giving everyone a stake in progress.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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