Whining About Open Source

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Dave Winer is at it again about Open Source. He's really got a pickle up his butt about it, and this is just another chapter in the saga.

He starts out by commenting:

Is it me or is it weird that so many open source purists, people who swear by it, argue it to death, and would die for it, seem to like Apple, which isn't open source? Maybe I'm missing something.

Yes, you are. You're confusing people who like Open Source with those who think everything should be Open Source. I know a ton of people who like Open Source and also like Macs or Apple: not one of them, to my knowledge, thinks that everything should be Open Source.

BTW, imho, "open source" is a vestige of dotcom mania.

Two problems: first, none of Winer's opinions are humble.

Second, "open source" has been around a lot longer than "dotcom mania" has been. Sure, it was popularized in large part because of "dotcom mania", but Open Source software runs far deeper than dotcoms ever did; it's been the backbone of many technologies for decades, and continues to be today. TiVo lives on Open Source software. The top web server and scripting language are Open Source. It's not a vestige, it's a way people do things. That's like saying the Internet is a vestige of "dotcom mania". It's nonsense.

One more thing, open source zealots, like all zealots, checked their minds at the door when they joined the party. They're anti-intellectual, can't handle disagreement, are about anything but freedom.

This, from the person voted most-likely-to-be-avoided-in-an-online-discussion (OK, not really, but I bet if there were such a vote, he'd win) because of how much he can't handle disagreement.

Most of the Open Source advocates I know are anything but anti-intellectual; Winer is the one who chastised me for correcting him when he posted a "truly random number generator" on his site that was actually pseudorandom, and for this he commented "my readers are system managers not Math Majors" and called me "small-minded." Maybe he was not being anti-intellectual, just a snob?

Neither are Open Source advocates against freedom; that doesn't even really make sense. Most of them think people should use whatever they want to use (as shown in Winer's own example about them using Macs).

And what is a "zealot"? It is the same thing as the aforementioned "purist"? If so, then one or both of the labels is obviously misapplied. If they are intended to be different, then he is lumping them together inappropriately. It's a case of "condemn people I don't like by labelling them." Most people who use and like Open Source are not zealots, are not purists.

But what am I doing trying to inject logic into this? The real point is here:

In the late 90s open source defined a club that excluded many well-intentioned hard-working developers.

Translation: "When Open Source was popular, I wasn't, and I am bitter about it." use.perl.org

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