I first became acquainted with open source software in the mid-1990s. My brother James asked me if I had heard of Linux. I had not heard of it up until that time. A few weeks later I bought Red Hat 5.0 at the nearby Staples. Now, the open source model applies to more than software, but then even the thought of working for the common good appealed to me. There was after all a higher calling in this work. It reminded me of the early Apple II days when people shared their work and their code.
In the years that followed I became sold on the utility of open source software and the concept of working for the greater good. I believe it’s possible to sustain oneself while at the same time providing a valuable service to the customer. It’s a win-win proposition. Open source software really fueled the development of the internet. Platforms like WordPress, Twitter and Google itself run on open source. But what does the future hold and can the open source model be applied to other ventures too. This summer I came across an open source eye ware manufacturer in the United Kingdom called Botho. This quote taken from their “Why Botho” page really sums it up.
Open Source is about listening to our community, understanding our needs, developing solutions and facilitating our growth in a selfless way.
“Facilitating growth in a selfless way”. That’s really the heart of open source and social enterprise. That’s appealing to me.