Blaming open source for what big bad companies do with it is like blaming geology for shopping malls.

Open source is just a form of useful code and a way to produce it. That’s it.

You do have some strong arguments against bad acting by big companies, and for government regulation of icky markets. But the causes of problems there go the simple fact that old framings (patents, copyright among them) are beyond challenged by the facts of digital existences and forms of production atop the old physical ones.

And nobody has yet figured out how to deal in depth with that. It’s too radical, too new, and too easy to blame one apparent cause or another.

We’re not in Kansas anymore. But not in Oz either. The digital world is in too many ways without equal or precedent. Understanding how is the primary challenge of our time. And probably of the ones after ours as well.

Author of The Intention Economy, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Fellow of CITS at UCSB, alumnus Fellow of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard.

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