The heart of open source is trust

The heart of open source is trust

Summary: Trust is the heart of open source. At its most basic vendors trust that those who download their software will contribute back to it, either financially or in some other way. Those who download trust they're not just getting malware.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Bill & Dave, the story of HP by Michael Malone, from Amazon.comOpen source has definitely reached the third level of fame.

You know, level one is "What's open source?" Level two is "Get me open source!"

Level three is "Get me something like open source!" Or, put open source on everything.

This week's headlines feature:

Some of the above are real open source projects. Some are open source aspirations. Some are an attempt at branding. Some are just silly.

But they do all point to one key value of open source, one that's older than the movement itself, one that's really as old as the Hewlett-Packard Co. profiled in Michael Malone's Bill & Dave.

Trust.

Trust is the heart of open source.

I have discussed several values on this blog but the key to understanding what it's all about is trust.

At its most basic vendors trust that those who download their software will contribute back to it, either financially or in some other way. Those who download trust they're not just getting malware.

Trust is at the center of the Internet's business model. To paraphrase Dr. Strangelove's Gen. Ripper, ISPs mix "precious bodily fluids." Send data first, settle payment later.

Trust, in business, is considered hard to earn. But it's easy to earn in open source, if you just give trust first. Giving trust proves you worthy of receiving trust.

Trust is the lesson that turns mere fame into immortality.

Topic: Open Source

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4 comments
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  • Good topic but I think 'transparency' is the key

    The transparency of open source fosters truth. The truth builds the trust.
    jimmyed2000
  • Trust?

    It's about time people started ignoring the few headliners and realised some basic facts about open source.

    Trust?

    Yes you can trust that the new version will break the old version.

    You can trust that the documentation will either be unreadable or wrong or both.

    You can trust that your code additions will need to be rewritten each time a new version comes out, no matter how closely you followed the guidelines.

    You can trust that they got the most passionate programmers, just not the best, The best are getting paid.

    You can trust that there will be a flame war and a fork a few times a month.

    You can trust that you will need at least one programmer who's job is to keep the rather ricketty boat afloat.

    Cynical? I prefer realist. Unlike most of the people fawning over open source, I actually use it and modify it. If you don't have the money to buy modern sophisticated, well-tested software, then you make do with open source. Sometimes it works, sometimes you need to do extensive modification to get it to work and a lot of the time it's a terrible waste of time and money. Sometimes you actually find a well written, well documented piece of software that justifies you selecting open source, but that event is few and far between.

    So by all means use it, but go into it with your eyes wide open.
    tonymcs@...
  • Message has been deleted.

    koooud
  • RE: The heart of open source is trust

    At its most basic vendors trust that those who download their software will contribute back to it, either financially or in some other way. Those who download trust theyre not just getting malware.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="white"> k</font></a>
    zakkiromi