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Everybody Owns the Great Ideas

Post created 2014-03-10 12:28 by Gabe Koss.

I was driving to work the other day and listening to a show on VPR where they were interviewing a band called Elbow. They played a sample form a song called "New York Morning" which had some lyrics that got me thinking.

And, I quote:

The first to put a simple truth in words

Binds the world in a feeling all familiar

'Cause everybody owns the great ideas

And it feels like there's a big one round the corner

The line that really got me was "everybody owns the great ideas", hence the title of this post. This resonated strongly and simply with me in the context of the importance of Open Source technologies.

I have always been in favor of deep and broad openness in software as well as information in general. After hearing this song I began to think of this in the terms of a philosophical moral imperative.

My reasoning is as follows:

  1. Technology is catalyzing profound paradigm shifts for humanity and the world at large
  2. Paradigm changes have far-reaching consequences for the trajectory of a species in time
  3. The underlying infrastructure (ie. the Internet) must to be built on an Open base so that humanity at large can own and control that system going forward into the future

Open source is about more than simply sharing of information or functionality.

It is about ensuring that the far reaching changes and long term infrastructure which is being deployed to change the world be made available to both the present and the future for the survival of the technical systems themselves and the species-changing transition we are undertaking.

Looking at it from another perspective, I see the infrastructure of the Internet becoming as fundamental an underpinning to post-modern human life as an ecological system. I can see few things as dangerous to our future than continuing to allow the basic components to be owned and privatized such that the machinations upon which our lives function and depend are obscured from public view.

Here is the video for the song which got me thinking:

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