I spent some time today reading Plato's classic, The Republic and, in particular, his famous Allegory of the Cave. I have many good friends who work for proprietary software companies, and I'm always puzzled by their inability to see how open source could benefit them. They persist in believing that maximum money derives from maximum control over their software and, hence, maximum control over their customers.
This strange insistence on seeing the world through proprietary glasses perplexes me as the software world moves online and companies like Google show that you can make huge mountains of cash by giving your core service away for free. Infatuated as they are with bits and bytes, they have completely missed the movement of software away from software, per se, to service.
Which brings me back to Plato's cave.
And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened:--Behold! human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets....… Read more