I previously blogged about the first reason why I love open source. You can read that post here. This is the second in the WILOS (Why I Love Open Source) series. It’s difficult to come up with just one reason to focus on at at time and maybe that’s why my posts on the topic come so far apart. But I have narrowed down my second reason why I love open source and I’ve listed it below along with my reasoning. Please keep in mind these are in no particular order and I hope you’ll agree with each of these reasons.
Reason 2: Open source gives power.
Ok, no panicking. Don’t go thinking this is the “I will rule the world” type of power. Power in open source is very, very different. Read my points below and I think you’ll agree that power is an excellent reason to love open source. There’s different types of power and different applications and displays of power. Here’s what I mean.
Power drives communities
When a community holds power they are able to do great things. A community which has been empowered to make decisions and change the course of the project is a highly motivating force. These open source communities are powerful and capable of shaping their future based on the needs not of a single corporation but of the entire community. This power enables the community to feel in control and share a bond which encourages teamwork and cooperation. In addition the empowered open source community maintains stronger bonds of trust between the individuals which make up that community.Great open source communities are built on the trust and relationships of dedicated individuals.
Power belongs to everyone
Open source is unique in that it allows everyone to be empowered. The really great open source communities give their volunteers the opportunity to own the source code themselves. They can take control of the code. What do I mean by taking control of the code? It’s easy. If you see a problem. You can submit a pull request to fix it. If you see a need you can fill that need. The opportunity is available for you in an open source community (and particular the open source code projects). This is power. This is exciting power. This means the power for improving the project belongs to each and every individual.
Power means responsibility
It can be an awe-some and intimidating task to think that each community volunteer yields the power to change the direction of a global open source project. This amount of power can be overwhelming and certainly challenging…but as the popular phrase goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Each of us working in a volunteer open source community must behave responsibility. We have the power to make changes which will affect others well beyond our own sphere of influence. This empowerment means we are responsible. We must maintain a sense of respect, support, and encouragement for others. We must hold this power responsibly. Questions about what that looks like? It’s as simple as the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I love open source for so many reasons. The power to change our world and improve the lives and businesses of people I would never otherwise meet is almost breath-taking. Stop and think about it for a second. The power to help others and provide a sense of empowerment to someone else is yours. Your open source activities empower you to find both personal and professional satisfaction.
Do you consider open source to be powerful? Have you thought about the power you hold when volunteering your time in an open source community? If you haven’t then I hope these couple of points have encouraged you to think about it again. And I believe you’ll agree with me. Power is certainly another reason to love open source!