Open Source Idealism

As someone who swims in software waters, I run into this all the time: a bunch of open source developers argue why something just shouldn’t be. Very often, it’s a feature request and they’re refusing to implement it on ideological grounds.

It is this very ideological opposition that has held open source back from taking over the world. That’s right, if a bunch of people could get over themselves, we’d all have Ubuntu on our desktops instead of Windows and MacOS.

The Internet isn’t someone’s pet project. There is a very significant amount of real money that went into building it. Likewise, everything on the Internet has taken lots of money to build. These things are, by definition, commercial. The success of a commercial project is making as many of the customers happy.

Customers have a choice on how to spend their resources, both money and time. What they want is rarely what you tell them they should want.

Customers don’t like to be told that they’re wrong or that their idea is stupid. Ideological arguments are that: you’re telling someone that they’re wrong because your system of beliefs doesn’t include their request.

Someone will write them the software that they want. Problems are solved when people put ideology aside and focus on meeting a need.


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