When open source projects close the process, something's wrong
Posted by: Anonymous
on November 04, 2007 06:16 PM
The author of the article fails to grasp the distinction between licensing rights and contribution privileges. If the code is truly open source, ANYONE has the RIGHT to fork, but not everyone has the PRIVILEGE of contribution. Just like with any other group activity, the privilege to contribute must be earned by politicking, socialization, and illustrating evidence that the potential contributor will add value to the overall effort. It is still fundamentally a human endeavor and a matter of taste and acculturation. An Open Process does not necessarily follow from Open Code. The two concepts are orthogonal.
If the potential contributor is not willing to engage in these activities, he or she can always fork the code and make their own private changes and/or attempt to germinate a new project community with a different kind of "process culture". The author seems ignorant of Open Source mores and history. Different projects have different cultures and different processes.
A classic example of the forking/cultural/process distinction is the creation of the OpenBSD project fork from FreeBSD.