Software industry pioneer Mitch Kapor–the father of Lotus 1-2-3 and chair of the Open Source Applications Foundation –today compared the open source movement to the seven-part Harry Potter book series.
“If the open source movement was the Harry Potter series, we’d be on book 3 or book 4,” said Kapor, while speaking at Ubuntu Live in Portland. “We’re not sure of the ending yet. With respect for the future in open source, there’s no absolute predictability — but we can influence the future a great deal.”
Kapor noted that the open source movement has achieved more than most anyone could have expected. “When software is free, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or your education or many of the distinctions that are likely barriers to opportunity,” said Kapor. “Access to a computer and access to broadband are remaining barriers.”
With open source, he noted, “you can learn, participate, better yourself, be economically successful, and come together with other people in away that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. At its best, open source is a model of getting things done.”
During one point in his keynote, Kapor paused to thank Ubuntu developers attending the conference, noting that his own office uses Ubuntu for its day to day operations “It’s been a heck of a series so far, even though we’re only on book 3 or 4 [with open source],” he concluded. “And I look forward to writing the next chapters for you.”