Posted by: commonsresource | April 22, 2010

Well, you could say “Dennis” – Open Source is not a Democracy

Exactly one month ago (on my one month blog-iversary!), there was an interesting post by Thom Holverda on the OSNews site entitled Kicking in Open Doors: Open Source Is Not a Democracy.  After setting the context around the issue, Thom’s includes the following Shuttleworth quote:  “We all make Ubuntu, but we do not all make all of it. This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions.”

I have been musing for some time about Thom’s post and his summary statement that “Open source or Free software does not mean democracy. It’s more NATO and less UN (if that makes any sense).” While I do feel that Thom’s NATO/UN analogy does make sense, I found myself thinking of this wonderful passage from Scene 3 of Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

“We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting. By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more….”

While I agree that Open Source is not a democracy, there are times where I do not know what it is or how to even describe it.  But, if in doubt, you could say “Dennis”!


  1. […] life like it – being an open source moderate As you may have already gathered from my Well, you could say “Dennis” – Open Source is not a Democracy post from April, I am a self-confessed Monty Python fan. As such, Simon Phipp’s “Life […]

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