My experience with the open source way of doing things dates back to my university days in India. During those days, I had a very narrow view with regards to what exactly open source is and what its true meaning is. This view was limited only to the question “why should one give away his work for free to anyone?" I was ignorant about the beauty of the open source methodology that rests on the principle of creative collaboration.
As I moved ahead in my journey of life, I got opportunities to work in dynamic teams where certain aspects of open source were practiced. This gave me some understanding of how the open source way of working can bring positive change in organizations and teams, especially if it is implemented to its core. Apart from my experiences inside the corporate offices, some of my thirst for knowledge was quenched through the platforms and applications built on the open source philosophy. My curiosity to learn more and more about open source, its wonderful applications, and its powerful positive impact brought me to opensource.com. As I started to read these various forms in which open source is changing the topography of almost anything it touches from business to government to education and life, I was struck by one of the learning experiences that I had during my university days. This learning experience was an enriching one and was my first encounter with the open source philosophy.
This was the time when students in the second-to-last semester of their degree programs would eye a good job with a handsome salary. The selection process usually involved a written examination and an interview. A few organizations also had a group discussion round between the written test and the interview. The placement cell at the university at that time initiated a group discussion session, which gave the aspiring young minds an opportunity to present their ideas in front of an audience and to learn from the ideas of other students. And the ideas that flowed in the discussion room were just brilliant. It was a collaborative effort not only to improve the speaking skills and enhance the confidence level of the students but also to serve as a platform to share and enhance knowledge.
These debate and discussion sessions were based on the basic principles of open source--freedom of participation, sharing, open exchange for the common good, and a sense of community. These principles resonated at every level, from the planning of the sessions to the format and the mode in which the discussions were conducted and finally to the discussions in itself. Any student interested was free to join these sessions and grow with the other participants. Had these sessions been made a monetization play, the number of participants would have certainly halved, defeating the entire purpose. After all, a good idea can come from any corner.
This was my first glimpse of the wonderful world of open source. At this stage of my life, I have formed a conclusive opinion that anything built and organized around the foundations of open source will embody the natural and fundamental principles that are the freedom of participation and the right to knowledge. These were some of the principles those wonderful sessions were built on.