Open Source Means Open Communities
By user12610707 on Aug 28, 2006
The use of the word "source" in the term "open source" originates from "source code" meaning programs, programmers, hacking, arcana, great hacks, kludges, staying late at the computer center, lots of caffeine, long hair and scraggly beards, Szechuan Chinese food, and so forth. As Annette pointed out in her blog entry Open Source Means Closed Communities, this emphasis on programmers and programming tends to shut out contributions from anyone other than programmers.
But let's be clear: this image is not of a typical open source project, but of a stereotypical open source project. The values of a community reflect the values of the members and of the people who created it. Just because a project is now "open source" doesn't mean that hackers are going to swarm in and push out everybody else.
Now, Annette will claim that software projects have always had a cultural bias favoring programmers over other contributors. I'll be one of the first to agree. However, open source projects don't threaten to restore this bias. Indeed, open source represents an opportunity to create a new community with a new value system, ridding us of this bias once and for all. This is the way to meet Annette's challenge.
Finally, Annette closed her entry with the question, "Does that mean that a QA engineer might just have more influence than a programmer one day?" That deserves a reply, but in another blog entry.