Open source vs. witchcraft

In my late night ramblings, I found this quote from Linus Torvalds:

I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It’s the right way to do things. I compare it to science vs. witchcraft. In science, the whole system builds on people looking at other people’s results and building on top of them. In witchcraft, somebody had a small secret and guarded it — but never allowed others to really understand it and build on it.

Traditional software is like witchcraft. In history, witchcraft just died out. The same will happen in software. When problems get serious enough, you can’t have one person or one company guarding their secrets. You have to have everybody share in knowledge.

The fact that this reality is systematically ignored, is perhaps a part of the reason of why software is in the sorry state we all know. And now I’m going to sleep.


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