I don’t mind if I’m incomprehensible

Unaware and Don't Care

with 2 comments

I drove with a friend to Kent, WA to visit another friend last weekend.  Aside from getting high blood pressure when I found out my longtime friend is a Republican who voted for Bush and yet haven’t even heard of Scooter Libby or Abu Ghraib, and getting a painfully annoying sunburn, I also tried to explain what open source is to my friends.

During the course of conversation, Jeff, my friend Steve’s fellow SCCA Time Trial racing and Subaru STi owning friend, mentioned a couple of open source projects that allow him to flash the Engine Control Unit (ECU) of his car, which is friggin’ sweet.

I was slightly surprised later to find that neither of my friends knew what open source is.  That was because I know a bunch of geeky people who work on software and know what open source is and know IE is responsible for the death of Jesus.  (They are also left leaning, Democrat voting, socialist-commies!)  It was a reminder that outside the circle of software developers, CIOs, and tech company executives and lawyers, not many people know what open source is.  Or even care.

That’s totally okay.  It doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is the quality of the software.  How many among the millions of Firefox users use it because of it’s open source?  Or even know that it is?  (Please save Jesus by using Firefox.  Or Opera.  Or Safari.  Or…OmniWeb?  Just stop using IE!)

Anyway.  I don’t think I explained open source very well.  I used a counter example with Windows.

How would you explain open source to people who don’t know about software development?


Written by Barry

May 27, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Posted in Nerdy

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. “So you know that one episode of American Idol, when…”

    It’s a good question. I’m still working on understanding software development — being able to explain it may never happen.

    David Smith

    May 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm

  2. Maybe its better to not explain it so well. Your friends might think OSS is a communist ploy.


    May 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm

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