Open Source Beyond The Market →

David Heinemeier Hansson, at RailsConf 2019 - Opening Keynote

Gates was afraid that users would take his software and not pay him for it. Stallman was afraid that users would extend his software and not hand over their contributions.

Both men believed that the distribution of software was a trade exchange. One that had to be bound by certain explicit debt obligations, which had to be settled or else!

Neither Gates nor Stallman were unique in their zeal to control the terms under which their software was used and distributed. Most of the software world fall in the same category. Share the same mistrust of users, and consider some level of debt obligations for using software completely natural.

This is only a small snippet from a very interesting and wide ranging speech given by David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) at RailsConf 2019. I found this speech through the Rework Podcast, where it was played in it’s entirety as one of the episodes.

If you have any interest in software, open sources, and the economics of producing a product, I highly recommend reading or listening to the speech. DHH has a very good way of articulating complex ideas in an approachable manner. I know this speech put language to a lot of things I have thought about building software.

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