Who’s rude in open source culture?

Hot on the wheels of last week’s "Open source failures: Who is to blame?" post, is an enlightening article extracted from a book by Karl Fogel called Producing Open Source Software.

The title of the article says it all. It is about recognizing rudeness; a plea to the whole community to utter a mea culpa for the antagonistic approach some proponents of the open source movement might have been accused of.

Karl Fogel is no unknown in the Open Source community, having participated on a number of open source projects. You can download the book for free in PDF version here.

The excerpt only touches on the subject lightly but does not tackle the real issue of rudeness and open source. It might be a real eye opener for you to watch the IT crowd, Channel's 4 geek related sitcom, which gives a rather blunt idea how geeks work.

The open source movement was started by geeks and culturally, quite a few of them are very different from the mainstream. Where consensus might be the norm in some places, confrontation might be their answer - think General Public License 3.0. While the western world revolves around profit making, their vision is about Free as in Freedom, not free beer.

Rudeness is something subjective, as we all know, and open source proponents wouldn't recognise their action/reaction as being rude - although there are always exceptions.

The key to remember is that if you are to deal with members of the open source community is to try to think as they think. Be passionate about open source and don't see it as yet another money spinning venture. Failure to do that might wreck your entry in the open source world.

Karl Fogel ends the article mentioning common sense as a good enough guide to avoid being rude, but then, common sense is only common to mainstream - which obviously the open source movement isn’t – for now.