Internet NZ - "Why we're fans of Open Source"

Posted on: November 7, 2014 - 15:23 By: dave

In the lead up to next week's NZ Open Source Awards, sponsor Internet NZ's Dean Pemberton has written a stirring article on why Internet NZ values (Free and) Open Source Software. Great to see this take on the topic from an organisation that, though well aligned with FOSS principles of sharing and "freedom to create without permission" (which also applies to the Internet in general), tends not to make any partisan pronouncements on software development methodologies.

Some excerpts from Dean's article:

"[With Open Source Software] the end-user has been empowered to be able to determine the direction that they choose to innovate and expand their environment.  They have been given the ability to choose that they want the new feature in the next month, not the next year when a traditional vendor may want to release the next version.  This shift of innovation direction and speed is one of the enablers for the ‘permissionless innovation’ we hear organisations such as Google and Facebook praising for their successes.

But we can’t stop there. If you think that living the Open Source dream is all about installing Linux or running your website on Drupal then you’re on the right direction but thinking WAY too small."

We tend to agree. And we like the idea that FOSS fosters a predisposition to "permissionless innovation" as its principles permeate other aspects of life beyond software like hardware and "making tools" like 3D printers and various automated additive and subtractive fabrication tools (like laser cutters and computer controlled milling machines).

As Dean points out, many of us have an unsatisfying relationship with some of our physical technologies, with alarm clocks being singled out for special mention: if the hardware and software is open source, then its behaviour can be altered in a more contructive, nuanced way than might be most people's first inclination - to perform possibly terminal "percussive maintenance" with a hammer.