On gossip and Open Source


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A wonderful piece on gossip by Professor Liz Lawley brought me to the connection it has with Open Source from reading the latest in the developing saga between SCO and IBM. For the uninitiated, SCO is suing Big Blue to the tune of 3 billion dollars over SCO's intellectual property, "Unix System 5 code, showing up directly inside of Linux." The suit has wide ranging implications and significance to the Open Source movement, to Linux, and to the many businesses incorporating Linux into their infrastructures.

But what does that have to do with gossip? There was a very illuminating interview on CNet's news.com yesterday with Darl McBride, CEO of SCO Group, where he said:

"The point about open source that I believe is really cool is this notion that you have thousands of eyes around the world looking at a similar problem, and obviously when you have more people focused on something, you can solve things better."

Relating to gossip, there is an element of people working together towards common goals through: understanding one another, identifying with one another within the relative social structure, assisting one another through contacts and networking, and otherwise simply problem solving.

Therefore as more people gossip on a topic isn't it more likely there will be a beneficial or productive outcome? I can think of jobs that were found for friends faced with hardship, even new relationships or friendships for those who were treated badly by others, and with gossip as an attributing factor. My mother always told me "there is strength in numbers", and I can see gossip as a medium through which this concept manifests.

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