2013-04-19

Open-Source vs. Turnkey House Analogy

The other day in a roundtable discussion at Cyberpipe, a prominent hackspace in Ljubljana, I heard this interesting analogy on why companies should be mindful of what IT architecture they vest themselves in.

Consider this: You order a new house for your family for the next generation to live in. As you are a shoes salesman by profession and don't know a thing about construction, you don't want the building process to take any of your effort (save for the expressed preference of where the fireplace should lie). You let the house be built by builders. You want a turnkey solution.

When the building is finished and you are ready to take over possession of your new acquisition, do you wish to get handed-over the keys to the house?

Or do you wish to get handed-over the keys to the house, along with all construction plans?

In the first case, you should know that after 5, 10, 20 years, without plans, even the most professional servicer will tear half of your wall down to accommodate you in extending, fixing, or updating your infrastructure.

Contemplating this, remember that open-source comes with open plans. It's an analogy.

Share and build upon the ideas and labours of others. It lowers the time, effort, and cost of innovation, allowing for best practices and design patterns to develop and mature. By choice, preference, and on principle.

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