The Open Source Metaphor

Open source is a metaphor for the way innovation works best in all ways of life.

Rarely does brilliance come out of nowhere.  It usually comes from being inspired by something and taking that inspiration and adding a little more. 

That’s how open source software works.  That’s how blogging works.  That’s how a lot of things work.

So with that thought rattling around in my brain, I came upon the Trickster’s discussion of bluesman Robert Johnson this weekend.  Robert Johnson is an inspiration to many of the great musicians of our times, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, etc.  But many debate his contribution to the world of music and claim he was a "minor figure" in the development of the blues.

Well I have tried to get into Robert Johson more than a couple times, but his music is too sparse and too thinly recorded for my enjoyment.

That said, Trickster’s post is worth reading because in it he asserts the exact same point that I was making about the open source metaphor.

To qoute from Trickster’s post:

"Johnson did what hundreds of great artists have done–he took folk material from around him in the world and through an act of creative molding, turned that material into something more than just found stuff. He turned it into literature."

This is how open source works.  It is how blogging works.  And with the digital revolution upon us, I believe this is how much of the innovation that will result from the digital revolution will work.