Open-Source Stifles Creativity: Discover

From an article by Jaron Lanier:

[A] politically correct dogma holds that open source is automatically the best path to creativity and innovation, and that claim is not borne out by the facts…[a]n honest empiricist must conclude that while the open approach has been able to create lovely, polished copies, it hasn’t been so good at creating notable originals. Even though the open-source movement has a stinging countercultural rhetoric, it has in practice been a conservative force.

Pretty strong stuff, and I’m assuming that there are a lot of people out there right now vehemently disagreeing with this. Lanier singles out PageRank, Flash, and the iPhone as prime recent examples of “closed-source” creativity. Just having spent a day with the iPhone, I can tell you that it’s the most innovative thing I’ve ever seen, but is the argument sturdy enough to drive the nail through the palm of the open-source movement?

(h/t Slashdot)

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3 Responses to “Open-Source Stifles Creativity: Discover”


  1. 1 Dmitri December 31, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    I for one agree with this. The only way to achieve true innovation is to have the right motivation: i.e., closed-source commercial development.

  2. 2 Andriy Khavryuchenko May 17, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Huh, I don’t get why you make equal “the best” and “the only”? Public sharing of ideas and their implementations (be in in hardware, software or pure texts) helps innovation by reducing reinvention costs. Remember, Google runs its servers on OSS and MacOS has also an open-source kernel?


  1. 1 Geoff Arnold on Jaron Lanier « The Pursuit of a Life Trackback on December 31, 2007 at 8:04 am

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