Republican pundit pushes Obama as open source

Alex Castellanos has some choice words for Obama's "open-source" way, and Microsoft's outdated approach to software development.

For those who missed CNN's coverage of the U.S. presidential election, you missed a real treat. Alex Castellanos, a Republican consultant, discussed President-elect Barack Obama's "bottom-up" approach to leadership, comparing it to the open-source movement (and chiding traditional Washington "top-down" government as akin to the "old way" that Microsoft builds software).

(Obama) said his campaign began with a simple idea: "Change begins from the bottom up." That's not the way the U.S. government works. The seminal essay--this is a little wonk-speak here--in computer software architecture is called The Cathedral and the Bazaar. And the cathedral is the old way of doing things. It's the way Microsoft builds software. We're going to do it our way, worship at our church or you don't get to do it at all.

But the open-source movement in computer engineering is people get together from all over the world and build computer software bottom-up. Is Barack Obama going to be the old top-down industrial-age cathedral leader, or is he going to be the fellow we heard tonight, this new generation of leadership that is very bottom-up for the communications age?

It's an open question as to whether Obama will actually live up to his hype, and Castellanos', but I agree that Obama's groundswell approach to leadership, along with his call for help from the masses to construct the government they desire, is very open source.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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