I believe that software, and in fact entire companies, should be run in a way that assumes that the sum of the talent of people outside your walls is greater than the sum of the few you have inside. None of us are as smart as all of us. Given the right environment — one that leverages the marginal cost of distributing software and ideas — independent actors can work toward something that benefits them, while also increasing the capability of the entire community.
This is where open source gets really interesting: it’s not just about the legal wonkery around software licensing, but what effect open sourced software has on people using it. In the proprietary world, those people are typically called “users,” a strange term that connotes dependence and addiction. In the open source world, they’re more rightly called a community.
Matt posted this a few weeks ago. This blog is hosted on WordPress.com, and prior to that on wordpress.org deployments across several hosting providers. Matt’s post is worth mentioning here, not because of that WordPress connection, rather, the post is probably the best rationale I’ve seen for the value of open source software. Read the post via the link.