I’ve been a supporter of the open source movement since I first got on the web in the early 90s. Almost everything I’ve learned about the web and programming, I learned from downloading open source software and giving it a try, then hacking it to customize it to my own needs. If it weren’t for the open source movement, and the hard-working, innovative and community spirit of all the developers and users, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. Even if you’ve never downloaded and installed your own GNU licensed software, open source still impacts you. Chances are you’re using Firefox as your browser, or the site you’re visiting is running on Apache server software, or the site itself is written in PHP, or it’s a blog using WordPress, Expression Engine, Movable Type or any number of solutions. The open source movement laid the groundwork for many of the tenets we take for granted these days: users as co-developers; early releases of software, multiple versions and modularity. These days, open source is big business, used by individuals, organizations, corporations and governments.
When Whurley posed the question, “Will there ever be such a thing as an “open source” candidate?” it definitely struck a chord with me. As he writes, “Have any of the 2008 candidates ever even heard the words ‘open’ and ‘source’ used together in a sentence? My guess is probably not, which is sad. Think about the current issues around patent reform. Does open source play a role? If so, shouldn’t the candidates have some basic knowledge of open source?”
Absolutely! “It’s with that in mind that I put together a little survey. Assume for a moment that a knowledge of open source is prerequisite (or integral) in solving issues like patent reform. Who would you vote for? In other words, who would be the best candidate for the open source community?”
Share your opinion below on Whurley’s embeddable poll, then spread the word by blogging about it yourself and polling your readers. The poll will be open until 11:59am Tuesday, Feb 12th, and results posted on Wednesday, Feb 13th.