Nothing warms my heart quite like an idealistic, Peace Corps veteran, garbed in a rare, killer Dylan tee. And while I might be feeding a repressed romantic dream, I am convinced that this granola-munching, guitar-toting, Habitat for Humanity-joining citizen is working to make things “better.” Technology has played an important role in addressing the world’s problems, from advances in sustainable agriculture to online education classes. Open-source software is, in many ways, another example of a “volunteer” opportunity for the computing world.
Seeing as the CR editorial staff is located in Columbus, Ohio, I’d like to pay a small homage to our growing city. The last week of June was filled with anticipation for the weekend community festival, ComFest. For three days, locals gathered to share our unique Midwest culture, including dance, music, food, and nature. And there was rain—oh, was there rain. But we rallied on, despite perceived setbacks. Similar to how our festival represents the coming together of many different types of people who are all working to create and encourage a supportive and growing community, open-source software also invites the possibility of involvement. Furthermore, open-source software faces showers of its own. Luckily, umbrellas never go out of fashion.
Phillip Laplante addresses open-source software more rationally than myself in our latest Hot Topic. Whereas I’d liked to jump right in, hand out Nobel prizes to every committer (new jargon, compliments of the HT), there are other, more business-minded aspects to be weighed (not to mention ethical concerns).
But I’ll continue beaming: open source invites contributors from the Web over, as code is worked and reworked until, finally, abracadabra (at least for the moment)! The Columbus community festival is a rare event that brings individuals of all types to one giant picnic blanket, so to speak. So the question is, has open-source software brought the Harvards, the hippies, and the hackers together at last?