By Dave Winer on Friday, September 09, 2011 at 11:35 AM.
I don't know who said this first, but he or she was one smart mofo.
It's one of my mottos, along with Still diggin, Let's have fun, It's even worse than it appears (also a favorite). We make shitty software and We make shitty software, with bugs.
What's great about this slogan is that it has several meanings which sneak up on you as you ponder its meaning.
Here are some of the things you can glean from it:
1. I care who I steal from.
2. To me, stealing is a sign of respect.
3. I am selective about who I steal from.
4. I give credit to them.
Also, you can almost infer that I wish to be stolen from, on these terms. (I do.)
And I think it's implicit, almost definitional, that you steal from people you respect. Because respect means listening, and stealing indicates you were listening.
The opposite of OSFTB is intellectual property, something I have never understood.
I barely understand the concept of property. But our society depends on it, without it, everything would fall apart, so I am in favor of property.
Our lives are so short, how could we seriously think of owning something. I once owned a few acres of land that had some old trees on it. I sat under one of the trees on a lovely afternoon, and thought of the tree "I own you." The tree formed a thought that somehow I could tune into. "I was here long before you were born and I will be here long after you die." I didn't see it exactly as a response to my claim of ownership. But it sure did put things in perspective!
When it comes to ideas implemented in software, I choose to see it like music. It's okay for the Rolling Stones to build their repetoire based on traditions pioneered by blues musicians. So it's okay for people working on realtime systems to use what we did with RSS. Or people working on authoring tools, or methods of knowledge representation and presentation, or narrating your work -- to use outliners.
I do my work not just to create products, but to advance the art.