Open source software: Modernity versus Middle Ages


Let’s suppose to travel back to the past and try to replace the medieval concept of knowledge to applied knowledge to computer skill or, if you prefer, to geomatics that is the science this blog deals with.
During the Middle Ages, knowledge was restricted to very few people because, among other reasons, the copyist monks were the only ones who had the required knowledge and possibility to handwrite, one by one, the ancient texts.

Some Christian monasteries fully dedicated to conserve knowledge, also because the ecclesiastical authorities were the ones who decided what texts and ideas could circulate and spread and what not; an aspect that has been masterfully described in The Name of the Rose, as well shown in this fragment of his movie adaptation:

In the Middle Ages of computer science, knowledge access is restricted to very few people because, among other reasons, a few companies of proprietary software are the only ones who have the knowledge and the material possibility to access and modify the Applications source code.

Some transnational companies are deeply working on hoarding knowledge, deciding the evolution of technologies and whether a progress can be spread or not, depending on their commercial priorities.

Modernity arose in the fifteenth century after worldwide huge changes such as printing press development, Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. Changes directly related to the hands where knowledge was handled.

Due to printing press possibility, European intellectuals had a more effective tool to reproduce and spread their own work as well as the ones of classical antiquity writers and philosophers (Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Cicero, …). Thus, the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg allowed the circulation of new ideas …

21st Century, the beginning of Modernity of computer science should be caused therefore by the presence of currents allowing the break of knowledge speculation model. The printing technology is called open source software; only through open source software it will be possible to reproduce and spread applications without any constraints. Only open source software allows software free circulation…

The argumentation is difficult to refute, but as the consolidation of modernity was not overnight, the Middle Ages of computer science is still on, even today, mainly due to the fact that policy is neglecting the importance of knowledge access in the world of technology and, at the same time, spending public budget on purchasing licenses to prevent the final steps to achieve modernity.
And so we are still anchored at the old models, old ideas, slowing scientific progress, when as Galileo said, Eppur si Muove.

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1 Response to Open source software: Modernity versus Middle Ages

  1. Parece que al final siempre la historia es una rueda y nada es tan nuevo como para que no haya hecho antes. Enhorabuena por la exposición

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