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Open source isn’t the community you think it is

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Name your favorite open source project, and the odds are good—very good—that a small handful of contributors account for the vast majority of significant development thereof. The odds are just as good that most of those contributors work for just one or a few vendors. Such is open source today, and such has been open source for the past 20 years.

So, does that mean open source is really just commercial software by another name?

[ Community: Who really contributes to open source. | Celebration: 20 years of open source: Its world-changing history. | Contrarian: 20 years on, open source hasn’t changed the world as promised. ]

No, it does not. But it means the popular stereotype of a broad community coming together to create software is a myth. The reality of open source is different than the myth, but still a good, positive alternative to commercial software.

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