Join, Earn, Contribute

From Mad Penguin — Leo Laporte: The PC and open source will outlive Windows:

It’s gonna get increasingly difficult for private enterprise to compete against open source, because open source combines the goodwill and efforts of thousands of people in all different areas in a way that they can marshal so much more brainpower than any private company can. What open source teaches us is that while money is an important motivator for people, it’s not the only motivator.

What really motivates people is the ability to create on your own terms, and the ability to get recognition for what you do. As long as you can feed yourself, those things become more important than making a buck.

I can deal with that. The “private enterprises” he’s talking about are closed software companies. He talks a great deal about Microsoft, but it really goes for any enterprise — as well as any individual. What companies have to do is join the community, earn credibility over time by doing business from within the community, and contribute back so we all benefit and the cycle continues. You need all three elements. It’s not communism and it’s not capitalism. I don’t know what it is, but it’s liberating for both the group and the individual. And it seems pretty simple, too.