The Internet is the tree, open source the fruit

Open source is still the fruit in this game. The Internet is the tree. Nurture and grow it if you want open source to prosper in 2009.

Disney penguin, from Disney buying Clubpenguin.com in 2007
One of the big journalistic trends of 2008 was to call every new Internet paradigm open source.

Blogging was open source journalism. Social networks were open source crowdsourcing.

This was both a compliment and a warning.

Even journalists who wouldn't know a Linux penguin from a Disney one (above) were giving open source its props. But as with e a decade ago (and perhaps i today) it's the sign of a market top.

The fact is that open source, as well as the e and the i, are all fruit of the same tree, which is the Internet.

The Internet zeroes out distribution costs and nearly does the same to marketing costs. Any product or process that can be reduced to digital bits becomes subject to this economic process.

In many fields, journalism being one, the result is wrenching, more destruction than creative. In software, however, it has opened up many new opportunities for profit.

Many of those opportunities are given the software industry, but not all of them. People and companies of all sizes benefit from free code. They also benefit from being able to see and edit the code.

Open source, in terms of its work in developing new business models, may be the harbinger of many great fortunes to come in many fields.

Just remember that open source is still the fruit in this game. The Internet is the tree. Nurture and grow it if you want open source to prosper in 2009. 

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