open source — limitless innovation

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
— G.B. Shaw

Simon Phipps recently published this amazing article titled “Ubuntu and Android: A match made in open source” and notes in it that:

That would have been impossible with proprietary systems. It was Bill Joy who once pointed out it’s impossible to hire all the smart people. Open source allows you to work and innovate with all the smart people.

I think there is a deep wisdom in this quote. As Mark Shuttleworth put it so eloquently in Bug 1:

Non-free software is holding back innovation in the IT industry, restricting access to IT to a small part of the world’s population and limiting the ability of software developers to reach their full potential, globally.

Open source allows people having ideas that seem foolish to the rest of the world to prove themselves right and the rest of the world wrong to the greater benefit of all. Being told “I am happy that there are crazy people like you on the LibreOffice project. Every sane person would have been sure that this cannot possibly work out.” as a praise by Michael Stahl after putting out bibisect shows this is one of the core values of our project. Many others deserve the same praise for succeeding in doing things that were deemed impossible by others. Setting up the foundation in the way it was done was one of them, but there were many others.

And despite — or maybe because of — starting from nothing less than two years ago and bootstrapping all the tiny and big things that are needed to run a software project with more than 10 million lines of code, this project also en passant enabled things like this:

Despite initial skepticism, I by now firmly believe LibreOffice to be the project that will be able to change the world. Too many individuals in this project succeeded in doing the unreasonable, the foolish and the impossible. We started from nothing and we are still very hungry. We do not fear to innovate, just because someone thinks it would be unreasonable. We will: Stay hungry, Stay foolish. And we are just getting started.

P.S.: Lets each take this opportunity to look back down the road and thank somebody for doing something impossible, foolish or unreasonable. I, for one, thank Thorsten, Florian and Mike for their tireless and invisible work setting up the foundation: Thank you. And Norbert Thiebaud for doing all the hard work on the OneGit migration making bibisect possible in the first place: Again, Thank you! And Christopher M. Penalver, Rainer Bielefeld, Cor Nouws, Sasha and many more for relentless bug wrangling: Again, Thank you! And Rico Tzschichholz for providing backports: Again, Thank you!

Please add more thanks in the comments, on twitter, g+ or whatever!