Open-Source Or Open-Minded?
Open-source, as a concept and a phenomenon, is quite special. What fascinates me in the Free/Open Source model is how efficiently it addresses several concerns at the same time: social, business and technological/innovative. Not to forget that it's been proven to actually work.
What is the major driving force behind the Open-Source model? A lot of people have tried to answer this question, with the different degrees of success. There probably is not a single correct answer. The Open-Source idea, like any other philosophical notion, touches aspects of human interaction, and the answer largely depends on the personal perceptions of an individual. I have changed my opinion several times, myself, through the years. Still, I dare give my two cents about the subject.
With the few exceptions, of people like Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi, human beings are largely ego-driven. Most software projects are labor-intensive undertakings that require significant number of people working towards the same goal, in unison. Unfortunately, egos and personal agendas get into the way. I am no statistician, but from the personal, very non-scientific observations, it seems that the majority of successful open-source projects have one characteristics in common. In all of these projects, the initial leaders decided to share the authority and the responsibilities with others, at an early stage. In less abstract terms - giving up Ego seems to be the Nitro-boost of software projects. Apparently, it happens more naturally in an open, global environment of a typical open-source project compared to the usual cubicle environment of a proprietary project.
In the light of this observation, one may speculate that a more precise term to describe what we have come to know as Free/Open-Source process is - Open-Minded Process. At the end of the day, it really is about being able to rather capture somebody else's mind than try prove the superiority of your own brain-power.