I didn’t anticipate this lead into my debut as an O’Reilly Network weblogger, but I guess ya gotta go where the muse takes you. As I anticipated making this first entry, I was wondering what to cover. I was going to cover who I am, what I’m doing, and give a preview of what you might expect to read in this web log.
As I woke-up this morning the headlines read Atrapados entre balas asesinas, Trapped between assassins bullets. A father and two of his daughters had been shot to death in their car as they waited for the light to change. One minute the were just coming home from the game, the next, instant misery for two mothers, two sisters, and everyone else left behind to suffer their loss.
As the “pueblo” of Puerto Rico mourns, I come here to finally begin writing. But now I sit asking myself: “Who am I?”; “What am I doing that makes any sense in light of this tragedy?”; “What can I write about when my passion for technology, software development and open source seems pointless.”
But that’s just it, it isn’t pointless. It’s easy to compare our lives against the suffering we see around us and wonder if we have made the right choices. However like George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, we each have our role to play. Yes we can change that role whenever we choose, but we always have a role.
One of the main reasons I am leading the SNAP Development Center is because of the choices I am now making. I decided about two years ago that I would involve myself in the creation of a high technology economy in Puerto Rico. I knew that I could help, and I willed myself to pursue the opportunity. I decided that I would become involved in this effort because I felt I had something to contribute. I saw in Puerto Rico what we all see by volunteering in open source software projects. I believed in the goal of the project, I saw problems that I could solve, and opportunities that I knew I could attack.
Deep down there are many people that are confused and scared of open source software. However, I believe that it has nothing to do with software licensing. They are scared and confused because they are unable to understand why a large group of programmers would volunteer their time to make commercial quality software.
Thankfully, there are millions who volunteer their time for countless altruistic causes. They help to bring comfort, to feed, to ask for donations, and to spread peace where none exists. Now enter the open source software development community; we write and test code so everyone else can make their own unique contributions. We have finally found a way to play our role, and we feel good playing it.
What confuses and scares people about open source is their inability to recognize that we all must find our role. We all need to find something we believe in and a way to turn our visions of the future into reality. What they don’t understand is that with open source, we now realize that there is a way. There is a way for us to volunteer our unique gifts and spread this model to others. We each want to help ease the suffering we see around us, and we now have a model that gives us a way to play our role. We can be ourselves, play our role, and still make a difference. So we must reach out to those who don’t understand, and lead them so that they too can find their role and make a difference.
What role do you play in open source and how do you think it makes a difference?