It's a shampoo world anyway

Anonymity is the cradle of open source

Garrett Birkel published an annotated version of Neal Stepheson’s “In the beginning was the commandline”.

Although I don’t agree with all of his comments (as I didn’t agree completely with Stepheson’s original essay), Garrett makes a couple of interesting observations. My favorite one is the claim that the open source software model could only gain momentum because of the anonymity of the internet:

[…] No Internet, no Linux. No Open Source Software in general.
Why? Because the keystone of these creations is their appeal to previously anonymous contributors, and without the Internet, they could not be anonymous. They'd be part of a users' group, a lab, a company, a readership -- even if they were all just customers at the same coffee shop, there would be no reason for them not to form a company and take legal ownership of their work, and seek compensation for distributing it.

Maybe this idea is pretty obvious and well known. It is also not bulletproof and quite attackable. But it is a refreshing realistic alternative to the common stories about the birth and uprising of open source software.

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April 2020
the shampoo world is
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