Why Open Source, Free Software and Agile Methodology are Revolutionary

I have in recent history become a believer in Open Source Free Software. I don’t mean “free as in beer” but rather “free as in speech” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_Libre. To me, Agile is simply a mindset for managing real world behaviour… namely the nature and frequency of change. The whole idea around agile revolves around the concept that needs change as discovery progresses. That applies to everything in life and will likely always be the case.

Examples:

– I purchase a car that seats 5 people. Next year I have a new child and require a capacity for 6 (and possibly more in the future). How do I extend this vehicle?

–  I regularly eat bread but acquire an allergy to gluten. My diet needs to change, what are my options?

– I use various kinds of software but receive data from new sources that I want to use in my existing software. Can I quickly connect these items?

There are many things that change in the real world, but how can I deal with them in a timely manner when new requirements are discovered?A key aspect relating to software is “change potential”. If I use closed source licensed software, than I am bound by the decisions of the vendor and their timing. If I use free, open source software I have potential to change behaviour to match what I want, when I want it. This is where”free open source” and “agile” create the perfect solution for most business problems. A smart”free open source” product is one that is open to frequent design change and has the ability to consider frequent new ideas/requirements.

Just because something is open source does not mean it is free, nor does it mean it is agile. It is possible that the administrators of such projects do not allow involvment from the real world community or disregards/slows down change requests. “Free Open Source” gives me “free speech” enabling me to change according to my needs, while agile shows me how to manage change. I believe there is a trendous future once this catches on at a larger scale.

Expecting great things to come:

Mark.


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