Dev Centricity

More partial thoughts. I have been pondering the whole dev-centric nature of Open Source.

Open Source projects that put the dev at the centre of the culture see all problems as technical. Which means that if a problem is presented then a dev-centric approach will see the entire problem and, consequently, the entire solution, as technical. That routes around seeing the problem for what it really is.

I think this leads to:

  1. misunderstanding the real problem at hand
  2. producing solutions that don’t fix the problem

So we need to address this, however, the way that Open Source projects avoid seeing that they claim the users don’t know what they want.

We are kind of left with the scenario that all problems are technical and only the developers can fix them. Doesn’t that feel like a little broken?

This is the result of putting faith in technical meritocracy. A developer-centric sector that mostly judges your value by your ability to program. The signifiers are all there – naming a sector after code (‘Open Source’) signifies this, as does dismissively labelling those that don’t program as ‘non-coders’.

That’s not to say developers are bad people! Some of my best friends are developers! 😉 But it is to say that we need to see, discuss, and rework this legacy power imbalance as it really doesn’t help in making good solutions. We need diversity of all kinds – gender, ethnicity and roles in Open Source – bringing all voices in at the appropriate moments, and with even power dynamics brought about through skilled facilitation. Only this will lead to unleashing the real power of collaboration and sharing and make OS beat all those brain-dead VC funded techno-meritocratic proprietary ‘solutions’.

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