How much of a success is open source? In his musings on open source, and how ideas cross the chasm, Alan Patrick ponders the origin story of open source, and how it relates to a particular brand of utopianism.
“The problem of course, is that many of these Utopians are the dreamers and idealists who got in early and inspired so many others to join the movement in the first place. Without these enthusiastic early adopters, these ideas would never get off the ground to be in a position where the leaders do have to grasp the nettles.”
Part of the problem, too, is that too many promises were made by open source evangelists who understood neither project management nor people management. Anyone who’s even passingly familiar with project management knows that piling more “eyeballs” on a problem doesn’t make it shallow: what you need are the right eyeballs, in the right context, at the right time. This becomes more and more true as projects become deeply complex: someone picking up the code of, say, MySQL today will have quite a long learning curve before they can meaningfully contribute to the project.