August 25th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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wweek.com readers speak on… “The Geek Cure”


“‘She was in Portland, the city widely considered America’s open-source capital...’

Ugh. A dozen major cities claim this every year: San Francisco, Santa Clara, Copenhagen, Oslo, etc. Can we stop with the delusional Portland myth for a few days? Or is making sh*t up for the heck of it becoming the norm?” —Monkeys Just Might Fly Straight out of Your Butt

“The open-source way of communing has produced great software... but Portland is seriously lacking in affordable housing, an economy to attract (and retain) employees and mostly a local government that provides business incentives to attract jobs.

As for Portland being ‘America’s open-source city’ I call B.S. Take a stroll through City Hall or the Portland building and count how many desktops are running Windows. Then count how many of those systems are running Open Office. Or if the city has adopted open document formats for all digital material they create.

Lastly, go to netcraft.com and see what server portlandonline.com is running.

I understand your frustration of something intrinsically good (like open-source software) gaining popularity and being pimped out by politicians essentially ‘lying’ about our city... for a sound bite.

Geeks are way smarter than the spin, which is what this story did a great job of highlighting.” —Jason Wurster

“Add to the list the GIS data not being available to the openstreetmap.org project. My opinion is that any software/data that is paid for by the public should be open to the public.”

—IamPersistent

“This article is missing a vital component of this entire story: the perspectives of actual open-source software developers.

Having known key figures in our vibrant open-source community over the last few years, I know that these people care not only about code and open-source ethos but also about the city of Portland and its economic development. Many developers are here despite the economic conditions: We love this city and its culture. And some of these developers spend their free time outside of their so-called ‘lifestyle jobs’ to work with other individuals in the community to build a better software industry.

So far the biggest problem seems to be a disconnect among the different players in making this happen. Your exclusion of a vital component of the big picture from this story reinforces that point. I think Deb Bryant’s closing quote ‘It takes a whole village to really blow this’ is apt.

That said, thanks for contributing to the discussion. As a developer who wants to stay and thrive in Portland, I’m glad to see these issues getting some attention.” —Moo

 
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