Open Source Cargo Cult

Have you ever wondered if the people who claim to want to use “open source” don’t really understand what it is?

I get this feeling a lot, mostly from the media, government politicians and organisational administrators. Very few people understand Free and Open Source Software enough to be able to understand the difference between that and proprietary software. So is it any wonder so few people are able to grasp the importance of it in their organisation?

At times I feel it’s as if they’ve heard about some mystic buzz word that can solve technical problems they never knew existed and all they have to do is observe some religious behaviours and the wonderful results of doing science properly (i.e. publishing results and peer review) will magically be yours without any requirement to understand what it is your actually doing.

I’m also cynically wondering if this same process of belief is how a lot of well to do people understand economics. Perform XYZ and get godly justified rewards! Magic until it all falls to bits as a giant pyramid scheme.

Perhaps I’m just frustrated at the lack of understanding, the promiscuity of misinformation and bad explanations that seem to grind the clear message down into an indecipherable mess.

Your thoughts?