Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You can't legislate Darwinism

When I took my first job working for a software vendor (in 1996), one of my co-workers was adamant that the "Wild West" days of development were drawing to a close. More structure and licensing requirements were sure to come, as with other professions... Doctors, Lawyers, etc. Poor software quality would be litigated / mitigated thru resulting legislation.

Thankfully, more than 10 years later such regulation never occurred, but an even more powerful force does fill the need: Open Source.

When the world can see the naked, unvarnished quality of your code, there's nothing you can hide. If it's junk, they'll spot it. If it's beautifully architected, they'll admire it... in fact, some may contribute to the code base directly to inject new features.

OSS products will live or die based on utility as well as quality. No amount of legislation could ever have the same (positive) impact.

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