Ask not what open source can do for you,ask what you can do for open source
by Scott Davis
We've all used "closed source" products where various fees are paid to cover the cost of producing functionality, upgrades, and fixes. We wait with bated breath for the latest roadmap and complain when OUR desired features are not on it. We consistently "ask" the product to do more for us, earning that right because we paid good money for it. Ultimately though, this ties our individual rate of innovation to the vendor's.
We either have to wait (behind customers who have paid more money), or accept risk by moving now and making customizations (which the vendor will not support). This dichotomy only exists because of the inherent nature of closed source products.
Taking a cue from President John F. Kennedy's famous quote, morphed for this article's title, what if we weren't beholden to such an entity? What if, instead of paying money and complaining, we could:
- download the product for free
- assess fit directly in our environment
- add new features as WE require
- contribute back enhancements for all to use
Basically, move to a model where we're able to participate directly in the product's evolution - asking what we can do for it instead of vice versa. That's the true power of an open source approach.
Allowing innovation to move more quickly and removing the stigma of customization, all while ensuring that "a rising tide lifts all boats" (credit to JFK on that one too).
Government has been leading a solid charge here, especially where Drupal is concerned. No surprise given the shared ethos.