any open collaboration software project with a concept of marketing is fundamentally broken

i have put some thought into those words, and i do believe them in earnest.

a few wikipedia definitions

using wikipedia as a source here to illustrate a point, the sources are referenced. i encourage every reader to do their own research here as well. if a definition is flawed, or could be better: pull requests accepted.


Capitalism Wikipedia

capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.

open source

Open Source Wikipedia

open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution.

open collaboration

Open Collaboration Wikipedia

any system of innovation or production that relies on goal-oriented yet loosely coordinated participants who interact to create a product (or service) of economic value, which they make available to contributors and noncontributors alike.


Economy Wikipedia

a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources.


Marketing Wikipedia

to promote the buying or selling of a product, service, or good

my opinions (collaboration vs competition)

below are my opinions - you are welcome to disagree with me - and i will still love you.


healthy competition can be paramount for a thriving economy. competition can be a dramatic motivator for growth, improvement, and innovation.

i believe when profit is the primary motivator of this competition, and the private players therein are competing for profit (regardless of macro or micro economic size) we have inevitably created a capitalist economy.


collaboration can likewise be paramount for a thriving economy. collaboration can also motivate growth, improvement, and innovation.

i believe when the primary motivator for the quality of an economy is collaboration more can be accomplished, and i believe that these economies (regardless of macro or micro economic size) are inevitably open collaboration.

the paradox

i believe that a project’s engagement with marketing concepts and primitives is a key indicator into a projects economic position, and thus it’s motives.

if a project has a strong marketing presence, and a week collaboration presence that is an indicator that the project favors capitalism and competition over collaboration.

i believe a project that promotes the buying of itself more than collaboration with itself is fundamentally capitalistic in nature and harmful to open collaboration economies.


here is a quote of mine you (or anyone) is more than welcome to use.

i don’t think you can be concerned with marketing, and also claim to be concerned with collaboration – i believe these are paradoxical in nature.



wikipedia is known for asking for donations, and likely has annoyed most of our readers. this is notable because wikipedia is also likely one of the few projects that has done this.

this is a sign that wikipedia is doing something dramatically different from other projects, and truly favors collaboration over competition.


linux is free software ad despite my distaste for the free software foundation (and the GPL license in general) the GPL license has important language in the license

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

linux fundamentally has the concept of freedom baked in to at it’s core.

the modern technical world and the competition therein is built on the shoulders of free software.


kubernetes walks the line dangerously, but well.

i have seen tremendous amount of money exchanged around concepts behind kubernetes, however i have never seen anyone actually buy kubernetes itself.

i believe from an economic perspective kubernetes is one of the rare cases where collaboration and competition was given equal attention – a balance.

measuring projects motivators

sometimes the best way to view the economic position of a project is to pay attention to what is measured

competition focused metrics

  • github stars
  • mouse clicks
  • downloads
  • adoption rates
  • publications
  • content
  • advertisements
  • competitive secrecy

in my mind these are anything attempt to provide visibility into financial gains - the USD symbol is my favorite string to grep for $.

collaboration focused metrics

  • engagement
  • collaborators
  • contributors
  • communications
    • zoom, slack, mailing list
    • when collaboration is high, opinions are high, and thus there is a need for communication
  • agility
    • collaborative projects move slow
  • transparency

in my mind these are things that are clear signs of a project that favors collaboration over competition


in my lifetime in open source and open collaborative software i have learned to be aware of the economy i am involved with.

at one point in my lifetime money was my primary motivator so surrounding myself with competitive thinking was intended.

now collaboration is my primary motivator and i chose to surround myself with collaborative thinking.

breaking my heart

seeing open source projects, open source foundations, and open source work vere from open collaboration breaks my heart.

i genuinely am distraught when i know that sub projects of the linux foundation are effectively marketing budgets, as this breaks the paradigm of open collaboration in my mind.

hearing words and sentences in open source around competition and engagement repulses me and i chose to stay away from those environments.

the bottom line

i believe that collaboration is more effective than competition.

i believe that our industries, our countries, and ultimately this planet would be more at peace with themselves if we favored collaborating over competing.

i believe this starts with our day to day lives, and for me this starts with software.