In January, 2006, I published this article on O’Reilly’s OnLAMP.com site, which was recently shut down. I’ve always been proud of this essay, because I think I got a lot right. I’m republishing it now in the hopes that it will continue to educate others – and perhaps allow others to critically evaluate where I fell short in my arguments. The central thesis is here:
Basically, stop treating open source as a social movement, because it’s not. This false assumption has caused much harm to software developers and users alike (more on that in a follow-up article). However, while I’m busy patting myself on the back for writing about software commoditization, I missed something fairly big: the value of source code itself is essentially worthless. This may have actually been more important than the price of software.