30 July 2010


It seems that it would have been fun to be in San Diego on July 26, 2002 attending a conference on open source coding and hear this speech delivered.

Even the logistics of the speech were evidently a challenge. Bruce Sterling began to give this speech, "A Contrarian View of Open Source," and almost half way through a conference organizer interrupted to suggest they all move to another, larger, room.

"Can't you just throw out half the audience?" Sterling suggested. Which gives you an idea of the tone of the whole, too.

They got everybody settled in the new digs and the speech went on.

It's a better read if you know some of the cliches with which he is playing here -- if you know something about Lawrence Lessig's views on intellectual property rights, for example, or the context in which Eric S. Raymond introduced the expression The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

But you'll pick up the gist of it, from Sterling's own wonderfully skewed point-of-view, if you read.

And reading without reflecting is, as someone once said, a lot like eating without digesting.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.