Have you read The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond? If you haven’t, know that when one compares the ‘cathedral’ method of production and work – which doesn’t necessarily have to be in the realm of software development – to the ‘bazaar’ method of production and work, the intent of the cathedral process if solely for authorship, ownership, and profitability; why else would someone not want their code to be shared… unless for credit, rights, ownership, and ultimately money to be gained? Don’t get me wrong, this is the basis of capitalism and it is very common and successful means of production, but as for me I wholly agree with Eric Raymond, and I too am a proponent of the open-source movement.
In my opinion, the old adage of ‘nothing in this world is for free’ is largely true, except for open-source or ‘bazaar’ production process. I believe strongly that a community shouldn’t care about authorship, ownership, and material value… by its very definition, a community shares common values, common characteristics, and pursue a common interest. Take for example WordPress, a web software that anyone can use to create a beautiful website or blog. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time, and the reason why this is so is because the core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, thousands plugin developers, and even more theme designers/developers; I know, because I’m one of them. The reason why WordPress is both ‘free and priceless’ is because it isn’t copyrighted, owned, or sold… it’s free, it’s from a community, and it’s open-source (which means they want your help).
Another example of open-source development is from the Mozilla Foundation – a non-profit organization that exists to support and lead the open source Mozilla project – who makes such free products as the Firefox web browser, ChatZilla, Thunderbird, Firebug, and more. The Mozilla Foundation’s goal is to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Web; in contrast is Google’s revenue of $14.9 billion in the third quarter of 2013, or like Apple whose third quarter of 2014 earnings equaled $37.4 billion in revenue.
Also, from a workflow standpoint alone, the cathedral method of workflow and production lends itself to critical error by being so closed off to specific groups. A great example of this is the iOS8 recall following rampant problems, which had aggressive release date, as opposed to community and open-source based updates that are much more tested and developed, an example of this being WordPress 4.0 (or Benny). So, suffice to say when it comes to profit driven versus community driven; ta-da, I’m on the open-source side of the argument.