Another Legacy of OSS

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, August 9. 2005

During my OSCON talk, I tried to stress that in addition to the pure "mechanical" nature of what it takes to build a skill set to use OSS, there is also the cultural aspect; the basics of collabortive development. The ability for a single project to span a large community, both in numbers and in distance. On a somewhat different topic (although this will all tie in soon enough), over the weekend Eileen and I were driving to the store with our middle son Tim, and I needed to stop off and get gas. When I got back in the car, I mentioned that it was the 1st time I ever had to pay $2.50 for a gallon of gas. Tim asked if I thought gas prices were ever going to go down, and I said that I didn't. That we'll see it continue to rise, maybe slow, maybe fast, but always up. "Wow," he said, "I wonder how much it will cost when I start going to work (he's 13)." I mentioned that, IMO, what we'll see is a huge shift in how people work; no longer will we see people commuting back and forth to offices. It will be too expensive and too wasteful. Telecommuting will grow and expand... And then it hit me, in a way it never did before. All the lessons learned from OSS, as far as distributed collaborative development, will be directly applicable to that cultural shift. There has been so much effort and discussion regarding how OSS-style development will "revolutionize" software development (all correct, of course), but that is so restrictive and limiting. We are paving the way for the way the world will work globally in the not too distant future. Collaborative communities and a sense of peer-review in a truly distributed virtual sense will become the rule, and not the exception; it will be how all "business" is done, not just software development. And the mechanisms by which all this is done, will be based on what we are doing today. That's a helluva legacy.

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