Duplication Duplication

I came across Tristan Rhodes’ blog today while browsing through some recent posts on Planet Ubuntu, and his recent post about the benefit of open source seemed quite timely (at least in my life!). Specifically Tristan’s comments here were noteworthy:

“I believe that the open source development model is the most efficient way to create software. In the traditional software development model, each software company creates an isolated software silo. Meanwhile, their competitors are spending resources to create software that does almost the exact same function! Compare that to the open source model, where worldwide resources can be shared to develop an application.”

In this case Tristan is speaking specifically about duplication of effort between competitors, though I would argue that this is just as likely to happen between two companies working together. Of course whenever you run across this it definitely makes you look to the open development and free code re-use that is ubiquitous in the open source community as a model of how things really should work to avoid such pointless re-inventing of the wheel. After all, companies the world over are already re-using code (anyone who needs a database in their application is not recreating it everytime!). My suspicion is that there is often uncertainty within an organization regarding what components of their development projects need to be developed entirely on their own vs those for which it is better to give up some control and work on them in a more collaborative way – whether that be with competitors, partners, or the open source community. Those pieces of a project which do not provide any long term strategic advantage (a database for example) but which merely support getting to the end result would be a great place to start for many companies.

Filed under: Open Source | Permalink