As an Automattician, I was afforded the opportunity to post a brief profile of myself on the new design.blog website. One of the questions asked for each of the Automattic designers was, why is Open Source so important to us? The question highlighted Automattic’s Creed stating:
I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation.
But honestly, for me, Open Source had always been some voodoo I didn’t quite understand. Why would people want to create a product, or a service just to give it away for free? The startups I had been involved with were extremely protective of the codebase, and the corporations with which I worked were even more so. I was trained under the stealth startup way of life, and when Github came around I immediately set up a paid account so that I could manage private repos of my generic code.
This changed recently. I no longer have private Github repos, I’ve moved my own site over to WordPress, and I contribute often at WordPress.org. I guess you can say that I’ve got a lot less secrets nowadays. What I do is out in the open and I’m frequently asking for feedback. And through all this, I’ve come to be engaged in this Open Source community.
And there was the answer that so exemplified why Open Source is a powerful idea to me. It’s the community. There’s this whole group of misfits, many of which define their lives quite differently than I do, that have come together to build something for others. As I learn about these people, their struggles, and their passions, I realize that we’ve all overcome great obstacles to get here—to get to this moment in time. And rather than hording our knowledge and our experiences, we’re fabricating them into a product that can help others create, organize, and share.
I’m excited about this. I’m excited about this thing called WordPress, and the community that surrounds it.