Open source vs closed source: a false dichotomy

The reaction to Jaron Lanier’s article in Discover magazine on the merits of closed vs open source has ranged from balanced to vicious, but the best comment that I’ve yet seen comes from Dana Blenkenhorn on ZDNet:

“It’s more of a town vs. gown dispute. There’s a time for sharing and there’s a time to strike out in a new, bold, possibly fatal direction.

The rise of open source is akin to that of the academy itself. Computer code has grown to the point where a shared store of knowledge, a central base, is necessary for innovation to continue.

But we should not confuse the base itself with the innovation we seek, any more than a library should be confused with a doctoral thesis. The library enables the thesis, but the thesis itself is always original.

Just as Jaron Lanier is an original, and a treasure to both the open source and the closed source virtual worlds.”