Open Source Cartoons

A little list of the various line drawings I’ve encountered over the years of what open source is. These cartoons are both delightful and bloodless.

  • Open source is a kind of public good.
  • Open source is a kind of club good.
  • Open source is a kind of standards making.
  • Open source is a tactic in standards battles for limiting the rents captured by firms that implement the standard.
  • Open source is r-selected, closed source is K-selected
  • Open source as a labor movement, a guild, a profession; i.e. it can adopt any and all the functions those institutions sometime play.
  • Open source is a search device in that the users, who are closer to the actual needs, search for innovations that the project can then aggregate.
  • Open source as a portfolio of options, i.e. the project relinquishes to users control over an interesting options space.
  • Open source as a fast first mover response to network effects.
  • Open source as an aggregation of intrinsic motivations
  • Open source as a projection of selfish motivation
  • Open source as political revolution
  • Open source as lower classes slipping around vested interests
  • Open source as the immune response of the commons.
  • Open source as a negotiation framework.
  • Open source as mutual aid society
  • Open source as club of enthusiasts
  • Open source as platform competitor
  • Open source as publish-or-perish analogy
  • Open source as manifestation of alpha-male motives
  • A scheme for users/buyers to coordinate their activities with supplier firms, i.e a more flexible substitute for rigid contracting or standards.
  • A scheme that allows user/buyers to eliminate the need for a supplier (or temper supplier power) by working in common cause to create the supply.
  • A means for network owner to temper or eliminate the power of adjacent networks.
  • A negotiation framework where the code provides a document around which the parties organize the negotiation.
  • A means to coordinate the creation of a pool of knowledge or IP.
  • Just another massive multi-player game.
  • A form of community specialized on the code as the point of common cause.
  • Supply for the latent demand for quality collaborators around anything (or alternately a particular) common cause.
  • Stone Soup: A point of rendezvous (kernel, seed crystal) for small contributions that when aggregated creates something tasty.
  • An organization who’s parts are homologous to those found in any software firm, but interestingly different.
  • Open source is a hot dog and bun economy, (e.g. manufacturing/services) where we give away the hot dogs.

I’m sure there another few dozen I’ve forgotten.

1 thought on “Open Source Cartoons

  1. Santiago Gala

    I often see Open Source as a “Knowledge Exchange Market”. The image of people waving patches or bugs in front of a counter is compelling to me.

    Like in true Exchange Markets, we trade just paper (actually bits).

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