I recently started listening to The Limits of Power and found a striking revelation regarding the Open Source community. In an early part of the book, Bacevich recounts President Jimmy Carter’s comments on a crisis facing the nation that was ignored and culminated, at least to some degree, in our present debt crisis. He highlighted the shift from the production-oriented culture of the years before Vietnam to the consumption-oriented culture we have today.
An exception I see lies within the Open Source community. In OSS, we create, share, help, and produce quality, assisting one another in our efforts. Those in OSS spend a lot of their free time producing. I’m sure many of us consume quite a lot, as well, but we all share a spirit of productivity that at least some part of the US culture has lost.
Why? Is the IT industry so different? Is it just so new that so much opportunity abounds? I don’t think so, but I have not engaged heavily in other industries outside of plying my trade to help them. Perhaps we hold the keys to the realms of innovation?
Regardless, I celebrate OSS and its community for their ability to rise above mere consumption and produce. Well done!