Thursday, January 03, 2008

Long Live Closed-Source Software

This article over at Discover is interesting and goes against conventional thinking:

But back to that dingy bachelor pad near MIT. When Richard [Stallman] told me his plan, I was intrigued but sad ... If politically correct code was going to amount to endless replays of dull stuff like Unix instead of bold projects like the LISP Machine, what was the point? Would mere humans have enough energy to carry both kinds of idealism?

Twenty-five years later, that concern seems to have been justified. Open wisdom-of-crowds software movements have become influential, but they haven’t promoted the kind of radical creativity I love most in computer science. If anything, they’ve been hindrances. Some of the youngest, brightest minds have been trapped in a 1970s intellectual framework because they are hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique, shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it.

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