Like it or not, open source is a movement

By sharing wealth, we hope to become wealthier. This is a basic principle all open source projects have in common. Its implications are also very, very challenging, on many levels.

Our own Dan Farber had a lot of fun today with former Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn's "back to the 60s" gaffe.

But I think Quinn was making a serious statement, one that should be taken seriously.

What I think he meant was this:

Open source is a business movement. It should not be a political one.

On that, I think he's wrong. Open source is very much a political movement. Not in the Democratic vs. Republican sense (unless Democrats and Republicans treat it as such) but in a very broad, philosophical sense.

One goal of politics, after all, is the greatest good for the greatest number. This is defined in many ways -- money, freedom, control. Politics is how we make choices that determine how our societies will function.

Open source, by its nature, makes some political choices. By sharing code, we share intellectual wealth. By sharing wealth, we hope to become wealthier. This is a basic principle all open source projects have in common. Its implications are also very, very challenging, on many levels.

Peter Quinn may not like this. You may not like this. Some days I don't like this. We may wish such implications would go away. Yet they exist. And they will continue to exist. Because open source is not a destination. As the word movement implies, it's a journey.

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