Facebook recently turned the $141 billion data-center computer-hardware industry on its head. Julie Bort described it well when she wrote in Business Insider:
“Facebook’s extraordinary Open Compute Project is doing for hardware what Linux, Android, and many other popular products did for software: making it free and “open source.”
That means that anyone can look at, use, or modify the designs of the hugely expensive computers that big companies use to run their operations — all for free.”
(Read the article here.)
In software development this is done to a limited degree in Forums where developers can post an issue and others can suggest solutions. This got me to thinking. I am always pushing my developers to reach out when they are stuck and seek other opinions on solving a challenging requirement. They do not always listen. Partly out of stubborness that they want to solve it no matter how many hours it takes (though I limit the hours they can bill for).
The advantage of open source collaboration is obvious – faster, cleaner solutions for those who share the issue and the solution. I believe everyone would profit as the developer looks good, his company looks good with clean, strong solutions, and my favorite goal, efficiency, is achieved. This world is hamstrung by egos and that greatest of evils, secrecy. Nothing good has EVER come from secrecy. Only inefficiency, lost opportunities, hurt feelings, muddied reputations (especially for the secret keeper), stagnation as growth is hampered, and more.
Secrets are unethical too. Granted there are times where secrecy can help your company get it’s product developed and patented before someone steals it, or it can preven an opponent from gaining an advantage. But at some point the truth needs to come out. Trugh promotes growth and healing. It also avoids messy confrontations and awkward situations when it does come out, and secrets do have a way of being exposed at some point in the future, much to the shame of the secret keeper.
Let’s all promote open source collaboration as much as possible and watch what happens. I would be willing to bet that growth would explode exponentially. And believers in God would have clear consciences as He encourages TRUTH and condemns secrecy (gossipers, backbiters, etc 1 Pet 4:15). Openness would break down barriers holding back solutions to greenhouse gasses, shrink carbon footprints, enhance internet speeds, promote more efficient banking, loan approvals, even government prodecdures! Can you imagine faster service from government agencies? What a concept! Efficiency (I’m not sure the government even knows how to spell “efficiency”, let alone truly seek it).
Collaboration can open previously closed doors to easing traffic (telecommuting is super efficient where applicable), reduce the confusing array of similar products (forcing us to research which one is best), and get everyone on the same page of understanding how the world works. A worthy goal. Let’s start a globe-spanning movement for open, honest collaboration and watch what happens. A pipe dream perhaps given human egos, but a worthy goal worth seeking none-the-less. Especially for honest, truth-loving people who want easier, more efficient, productive lives. Isn’t that all us deep down?