Open Source the Inevitable

Anyone who didn't see open source coming was just kidding themselves about what software is fundamentally. Software is speech. Software is the embodiment of ideas. Once an idea is born it spreads.

Patent law used to recognize this truth. After all, an invention is an idea given substance. The limited monopoly power granted by a patent is intended to fade in time. And, after a time the idea behind an invention becomes part of the greater matrix of ideas that create the culture and community of inventors.

Eventually, enough time will pass that the novelty of every software "invention" will fade and the ideas that drive those inventions will become part of the greater fabric of the community of software creators. Open source is one method of speeding up this process. By forcing software to expose its inner working you forcibly populate the world with the thoughts and ideas that were used to create the software.

Closed source software spreads its thoughts and ideas much more slowly. So much more slowly that the thoughts and ideas the pervade the open source community will eventually over power the closed source community's ideas. In this way open source is guaranteed victory over closed mind-sets... But, not necessarily economic victory.

In the arena of "hearts and minds" victory by open source is not revolutionary, it is evolutionary. Victory for open source in this arena is not the destruction of a particular company, it is the change of the company. Open source is just a label for a small part of a grander change coming for humanity.

The expression ideas is slowly becoming divorced from the physical world. In time the only thing that will have value are thoughts and ideas. Ideas have no value or power until they are shared. Open source is about sharing thoughts and ideas. And, our future is more about the power of thoughts and ideas than it is about control of resources.