26 Jun 2007

Open Source And Innovation

Keith Sawyer in his article "Open Source is Not Innovative" looks for examples for radical innovations in the open source space. He only find examples of duplicating existing products. According to him open source is only capable of incremental innovation:

"Linux has many features that weren't in Unix 20 years ago, and it's improved on many of the features that were originally in Unix. Firefox has some nifty features that aren't in Internet Explorer. But for-profit businesses are also pretty good at incremental innovation. The reason why businesses are intrigued by the open source model is that they're looking for a new way to generate breakthrough innovations -- and open source is the wrong place to look."
Maybe his perspective is too product centric. One true innovation is open source itself, the methodology used to build and release a product. Another radical innovation is the business model behind open source. Innovation should not be reduced to a product but must seen in a process and business context.

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