inessential by Brent Simmons


In the article Open Source is here to stay! appears this line: "Open Source is one of those things that you either love or hate."

This isn't the first time you've heard this about Open Source. You've probably heard the same thing said about Microsoft, Apple, Java, OS X, and on and on.

I'm just tired to death of that statement. I don't love or hate Open Source. Or whatever.

Note that it's almost always an advocate who writes such a statement.

It's as if Open Source, by polarizing people and igniting passions, is good because it inspires a strong emotional response. If it polarizes, it must be 100% good or 100% bad -- well, at least it's 100% something, right? Which elevates it over x, y, and z, right?

Once established that the topic is 100% something, the advocate now only needs a few paragraphs to establish that it's good. The arguments don't have to convince you that it's 100% good, because the 100% part has already been taken care of.

It's a crappy rhetorical device.

And it's a lie -- plenty of people don't love or hate Open Source. (Or whatever.)

Is there room for rational, curious, open-minded, and adult analysis of technologies and methods? We don't have to say that Open Source is all good or all bad when the truth is more complicated. Don't we have a moral obligation to refrain from false simplification? -- it's one of those weblogs that you love or hate, but nothing in between.

Just joking.