Last updated: Monday, 28 March 2005 14:08 -0500
|While the tragic events of 11 September 2001 continue to have repercussions in the physical world (attacks, bombings, increased security, and so on), open code development just keeps on keeping on.|
After the shock of the attacks had sunk in a bit, and the various relief funds (Red Cross, et cetera) had started getting broad publicity and significant donations, I asked myself: What can i, as an open developer, do to contribute?
Well, the usual avenues were open: donate blood, donate money, donate time (local drives and such). But I could not think of a single contribution that was unique to my field; what does open software have to contribute in a crisis or emergency? If you have ideas, I'd love to hear them..
The effects in the physical world were immediate and drastic: the U.S. airline industry was shut down for a few days, and greater (by orders of magnitude) security measures were instituted at airports. Caution and (let's be honest) fear have significantly reduced the number of people in U.S. skies at any given moment, and in-office productivity almost certainly dropped due to shock.
And it didn't stop there. With the additional issue of the cases of anthrax turning up around the U.S., a single envelope containing talcum powder can completely shut down multiple businesses for at least a day. This is not just a U.S. phenomenon, either. Alas, Babylon!
Many of the effects of these are clearly visible: people are cautious about opening their postal mail; industries that depend heavily on business travellers are desperately wooing local residents; certain business segments are downsizing; holiday plans are being revised; gas masks and antibiotics are in demand. All around us we can see patterns breaking and reforming -- behaviour, spending, employment, what have you.
But the virtual environment of the open developer seems largely unaffected. True, non-technical discussion lists have suffered traffic increases of mammoth proportions, but the technical lists I read have been pretty much code-as-usual since shortly after the 11th. The online open development community seems to be cranking out code just as fast as ever; the virtual environment appears to be almost completely insulated from the acts and consequences in the physical world.
But how long will that last? Personally, I hope forever.