Open source and open standards are similar because both are generally created by communities of collaborators who must trust each other across organizational boundaries. This is relevant to the right to fork, because the “right to fork” is an important mechanism to help those communities trust each other. This is surprising – the right to fork is often viewed as an anti-social right, which allows someone to stomp their feet and walk away. However, it is also pro-social: because it makes it impossible for any one person or organization to become a single point of failure. This is particularly important where the community is in large part a volunteer one, and where a single point of failure is widely perceived to have actually failed in the past.
Which is a nice way to frame things. I particularly like the phrase “trust across organizational boundaries.” It’s a phrase that get used in interesting contexts. My fellow open source enthusiasts tend to thing that the trust problem is between individuals, but in the end individuals are just tiny organizations.
The phrase “single point of failure” is an interesting way to frame the larger problem of contingency plans. Yeah! Right to fork is a kind of prenup.