By Doug Gaff
As part of my work in the Eclipse DSDP project, I find myself regularly having conversations about the merits of open source software development. There are no shortages of opinion for or against open source. If
I’m not justifying the importance of open source contributions to one
person or group, I’m defending proprietary software development to
another. The reality is that a balance between open and commercial software development is essential for successful software companies. Below I offer some (admittedly unoriginal) reasons why this is true.
Increased collective knowledge. In an ideal world, humans could absorb all the knowledge learned before them and focus their energies discovering and inventing. While that’s impossible, it is true that building on existing knowledge is
exactly how many disciplines maintain a high degree of success and innovation. The medical and scientific communities are prime examples of this.