Sun, 24 Sep 2006

Art? Or Craft?

I attended EuroFoo Camp and EuroOSCON last week in Brussels, Belgium. Had fun renewing friendships (Piers, Simon, Gerv, Kristijan Zimmer, Ewan, Zak, Suw, Rob, Simon Wardley), and making new ones (Debbie, Emily Zotto, Fabienne Serriere, Jim Purbrick (aka Babbage Linden), and Paul Hudson).

Had an interesting chat with Debbie on the flight from Brussels to JFK. She was wondering why her programmers work from 9 to 5 and don't personally invested in the products, whereas open source developers live, eat, and drink the code practically every waking moment. I speculate that it's similar to the difference between art and craft. You can craft a sweater, or you can create a piece of artwork in the form of a sweater.

I think that open source developers are artists, whereas closed source programmer bees are crafters. Both art and craft take talent, but art requires passion. There's plenty of passion among open sourcers.

UPDATE: tigert points out that Apple has been able to fire up such passion from its coders and designers, so the dividing line isn't between open and closed source.

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