The pragmatic case for open services

I’ve been meaning to comment again (see constitutionally open services from last July) on free services as in free software, discussion of which has picked up noticably in the past few months (see Luis Villa’s evaluating a free/open service definition rough draft and comments on that post for one entry into that discussion).

I may get to it eventually, but a big part of my commentary would be on the pragmatic “open source” argument for open services, which I think has hardly been made in that context. Matthew Gertner makes the case in Facebook and the Case for Open Source:

From my perspective, the most interesting thing about the recent leak of Facebook source code is what a non-event it was. As such it’s one of the strongest arguments for open source that I’ve seen in a while.

Gertner goes on to explain how of the possible downsides from the leak could be seen as benefits. Of course open source isn’t magic and a source code leak isn’t going to help any more than a source code dump with no process. But for at least some sites willing to invest in that process, there is almost all upside to opening the code that runs the site.

4 Responses

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