Be it computer science, data, government, science or NASA the importance of open is becoming pervasive. Openness, in all the various fields, implies community effort. A community of people that are passionate about something and open to contribute time and effort to experience a feeling of accomplishment. I’ve been using Linux and open tech for years now and only lately I started thinking about this. It was just something I took for granted, and the problem was, I assumed everyone else knew and understood what I did.
But many people with both technical and non technical background don’t understand or even know how important it is to resist completely closing down to a corporate mindset that is selling, having little transparency and keeping the knowledge “secure” because the competition will beat or steal from ‘us’. This closed tradition is the reason many companies do things that have already been done over and over again. Think about this and it becomes apparent that this way is extremely inefficient. It greatly slows progress and innovation.
Through cooperation and inclusion, we significantly increase our resources. Through secrecy and exclusion we have to reinvent and learn things other people may already know and may be very good at. In a nutshell, that’s all there is to openness. Accept other people’s gift of knowledge and work so we don’t repeat the same mistakes and work many times.
When “Open” has no alternative
So, does this mean I think closed stuff is bad? Like Microsoft or Apple? Not really. Closed also works and in some cases even better. There’s nothing that is as shiny or can be made to look as shiny as apple products. Also, they work for what they’re built for. And really well it seems. But there are things where open simply has no alternative. Science, education and government. These are the main areas where we should have no alternatives to openness.
These are also activities that push the world forward, activities that unify and develop communities and can achieve real long lasting progress! When you think of any of these, the first thing that comest to mind actually are communities – scientists, educators and students, countries – people connected in achieving common goals. I don’t think I know a person that would say they love the fact that everything is a product for the consuming masses. And some things don’t have to be. We who understand there are viable alternatives are bound to promote them and educate others until mainstream is the right stream. Croatia seems to be starting on that way, and I hope to get a chance to contribute and witness true success!