Nice quote I’m have to remember in to the future when I have some ‘theoretical arguments’: Open source: Reality bites?
A great philosopher may sit in his study and deny the existence of matter: but if he takes a walk in the street he must take care to leave his theory behind him….
Pyrro said that there was no such thing as pain; and he saw no proof that there were such things as carts, and wagons; and he refused to get out of their way: but Pyrro had, fortunately for him, three or four stout slaves, who followed their master, without following his doctrine; and whenever they saw one of these ideal machines approaching, took him up by the arms and legs, and without attempting to controvert his arguments, put him down in a place of safety.
We may believe anything for a moment, but we shall soon be lashed out of our impertinences by hard and stubborn realities. (4, 7)
I know I find open source in everything, but it seems to me to be a perfect rendering of James’ pragmatism. It’s not about the theory behind open source that matters. The only thing that matters is the output. That output makes me think that open source is “true” in the Jamesian sense. From “Pragmatism’s Conception of Truth:”
True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we can not. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas; that, therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known as…. The truth of an idea is not a stagnant property inherent in it. Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.
As Matt says, in business the only thing that matters is delivery of a product. Whether this be a nail or a word processor. In the value chain that creates ‘things’ for people’s lifes. The strength of open source is exactly what RMS saw when he started down the GNU path. Freedom to choose, creates the freedom to innovate which plays to the strengthens of the human condition.
The balancing act always being the profit of the present vs the profit of the future. Microsoft being a clear example in the former case for software and maybe the original company behind Nautilus File Manager being an example of the later.