I just finished reading Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas Friedman, a New York Times Op Ed columnist and Pulitzer Prize recipient. It was given to me by a co-worker at my former place of employment. I was hesitant to read it until now given some of the views held by said co-worker.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find a moderate voice who had tough views on all sides of the isle. Reading through the collection of articles, which is what this book was, gave me a sense that Mr. Friedman knew what he was talking about and didn’t try to come to a simple conclusion of why thing are the way they are.
A lot of the things he talked about, in terms of the modern world, are evident on not just the scale of global politics but also recurse down to our own communities within FOSS and how we developed. Take for instance his view of the transition of the balance of power between super powers (essentially the nation states of the US and USSR) to the modern trinity of nation states, corporate interests and super empowered individuals. A lot of this is fueled by globalization, the Internet and a broader reach of the media. Now look at FOSS. It began because of super empowered individuals with the reach of the Internet and expanded to include companies and even governments as they debate laws mandating FOSS and/or Open Standard software usage.
One of the things that heartens me about our communities is that if you look around you see a wide range of people from different background and nationalities. Some of us work for companies, some of us are students, others from government agencies and still others who’s social circles have nothing to do with FOSS. We don’t always agree but that is usually a clash of personalities or technical direction and not as a direct result of clashing cultures. So, what is the special sauce that allows such a diverse community work together towards common goals? I would like to think it is in the way we work, in the open and competitive, not closed off and adversarial. It is an environment where anyone is allowed to follow their own desires and voice their own opinions.
There is an interesting parallel from the world at large and our little piece of it. The book, while looking at the world at large, just sort of spoke to my experiences working in and with the community.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]