Friday, January 04, 2008

Long Live Closed-Source Software! | Computers | DISCOVER Magazine

Jaron Lanier in Discover, via Fake Steve; read the full article for more context-setting etc.

[...] Open wisdom-of-crowds software movements have become influential, but they haven’t promoted the kind of radical creativity I love most in computer science. If anything, they’ve been hindrances. Some of the youngest, brightest minds have been trapped in a 1970s intellectual framework because they are hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique, shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it.

Before you write me that angry e-mail, please know I’m not anti–open source. I frequently argue for it in various specific projects. But a politically correct dogma holds that open source is automatically the best path to creativity and innovation, and that claim is not borne out by the facts.

I revisit Neal Stephenson's "In the Beginning...was the Command Line" (also available as a free download) every few years, as the essay is what I consider to be one of the most compelling cases for open source, but I also agree about the creativity/innovation issue.

Long Live Closed-Source Software! | Computers | DISCOVER Magazine

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