Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A new project: Was open source inevitable?

Last fall, I listened to the episode Was the Protestant Reformation Inevitable? on the Tides of History podcast. It turns out to be a fascinating question both because of the importance of the event and the difficulty of giving a definitive answer. I encourage a listen.

However, for me, it turned out to be fascinating for another reason as well. It got me thinking that a similar question could be asked about open source. And this got me excited because I'm a big believer in how history and counterfactuals can shed a lot of light on current and future processes—such as those around how open source software (and other types of openness) might develop in the future.

My plan is to turn this into a miniseries within my existing Innovate @Open podcast. Although my podcasts are normally fairly straightforward one-on-one interviews, this three(?) parter will be more produced and feature edited interviews from a variety of guests interspersed with commentary and perhaps historical material.

I had originally planned to do most of the interviews at events and I had started to do so. But with essentially all travel shutdown at the moment I'm taking advantage of the relative lull to reach out to people.

If you think you have something to add, feel free to get in touch. I'm mostly interested in ways things could have played out in a materially different way. Perhaps not without open source at all but a materially different landscape.

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