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Open-source Sunday School: Faith and works

What the scriptures teach us about open source. (Yes, this is meant to be tongue in cheek.)

2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Clearly James had open source in mind when he wrote this. :-) Why? Let me count the ways.

He must have been tired of hearing proprietary vendors talk about security...without opening up their security measures for review and improvement. Or perhaps he wearied of proprietary vendors talking about open standards...while they simultaneously locked them up in proprietary implementations of those standards.

Or maybe congregations of customers were pleading with him to have the proprietary shepherds talking about the power their software gives to these customers...without the customers actually being able to exercise that power on their own terms.

Proprietary software demands that the customer accept software on the vendor's terms. Always. Open-source software gives control back to the customer, putting the onus of the software's utility on the vendor. It's not enough to talk about security, flexibility, cost containment, and value. Source code and the transparency it engenders walks the walk that proprietary vendors talk about, but are stymied to deliver. Stymied by their clumsy, closed licensing models.

At least, that's what the Bible tells me. ;-)