Sunday, March 2, 2003

Open Source Benefits Whom?

By way of Don's blog:

[James Avery] The open source movement is really only going to provide software for geeks like me to play around with before we go to work to build Microsoft applications."

I have to say this argument resonates with me. So often I think we can observe the effect that everyone assumes everyone else is just like them. So open source developers - highly skilled, computer-adept people - are likely to develop software aimed straight at...highly skilled, computer-adept people. Of course, ask these same people to descibe a typical user (i.e. the marketplace) and "highly skilled" and "computer-adept" are not the top phrases you'll hear.

Does this mean we shouldn't encourage open source? Hell, no! Just because something is ultimately futile in the big picture does not mean we shouldn't do it. Indeed, I struggle with this dilemma in my professional life all the time. For as many people as I teach or mentor, I know that at the end of the day, less than half of them have both the time and the talent to really make use of what I've told them. At times, I've thought this was grounds for just going into a corner and doing everything myself (note the assumption on my part that I'm any good). But eventually I realized that "it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Therefore one of these days soon, I'm going to go contribute to some worthwhile piece of open source software. If you have suggestions, for what to help out on, please let me know.


  1. You should definitely check out Crystal Space. It is right up your alley, man.

  2. Hmm. Moderately interesting. However, I'm fairly new to the 3D scene. Or rather, just getting back into it, and I'd rather focus on the Managed DirectX API right now, rather than hare off into OpenGL.