Open Source Community: Their Life Style and Mentality

If you are familiar with the “open source” movement, you already must know Richard Stallman. The man behind the “copyleft” (as opposed to copyright) paradigm. They advocate the idea of a software being free of any charge, either in using or in distributing.

Also legendary Linus Torvalds: The man behind the most spread operating system after Microsoft’s.

Of course, we cannot individually count each one of them, for they contribute to the open source projects from all over the world. But this writing is not about the individual men that brought about the revolution, it is about the mentality that gives them great power.

SQLite is a very small (really! You can can call it “tiny”) relational database management system. It is wide spread because of its performance and small memory footprint. If you ask me I would say it is miraculously simple and powerful. How did they do it? Just check the code. All the things that make up a system is inside that four megabytes of code. Be it the parser, be it the statement compiler.. All there.

Here is a small comment from the head of every code file it contains:

/*
** 2005 February 15
**
** The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of
** a legal notice, here is a blessing:
**
** May you do good and not evil.
** May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
** May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
**
*************************************************************************

Wow! That is something comes out of the mouth of a saint!

This is just a sample of the behaviour.

Open Source Community loves animals. Most of the software names or any other names they give are animal names.

-GNU is the name of the project that Richard Stallman started to make an open sourced operating system. Until now it was the driving force behind the open source movement.

-The mascot of the Linux operating system is a cute Penguin.

-FireFox, FireBird etc. are Mozilla (oops!) Foundation’s open source products. Other products include SeaMonkeyBugzilla, Thunderbird.

-Hodoop was the name of the toy elephant of Doug Cutting‘s (one of the men behind Hadoop) son. Related to Hadoop; Pig, Hive, ZooKeeper :) ..

You can increase this list beyond books.

Now that we saw they like animals, now let us see what other things they like.

When Java was first being developed, it had the name Oak. Because of the oak tree just outside of the office they worked. Later it was changed to Java (this is what they say in “Learning Java” by Patrick Niemeyer & Jonathan Knudsen) because of the coffee they consumed much during development.

Also Java has a notion of “bean” (as in magic bean). A sort of term used for component based development. But, hey! this is a plant name.

Also, my favourite name “swing“. It is also a Java related name and man, it is a nice name.

So, I am saying as they say:

May you do good and not evil.
May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
May you share freely, never taking more than you give.

Alexander: The Protector of Men

You will see the name “Alexander” no matter on which culture group you are in. Alexander, Iskender or Sikandar are all relatives if you feel like me.

I always wandered why this name is so popular. Is it because of the Alexander the Great? Or is it because of some other relation to the name?

Three “Alexander”s in three cultures I can count for now:

The First

Alexander the Great was a multicultural person. His good behaviour, even to his enemies, made him popular in the regions he conquered. For example, after the Battle of Issus (currently the place is in Hatay/Turkey – ask for Issus Ruins for the city. The place where the war was made is still under debate but should be near to Issus ruins, for, the battle was named after her) Darius III even left his household and fled from the battle field. Alexander treated them as if they still are royal.

Wherever he conquered, he conducted marriages between his soldiers and the locals. Even he married to a local princes.

I think this alone made him successful in his conquest. Hellenistic civilisation was the result of this manners.

This is the great legacy of Alexander the Great.

The Second

In Judaic (for some) and Islamic culture, you will come up with the name Dhul-Qarnayn. Many will call him “Iskandar-i Dhul-Qarnayn”. In the Old Testament (in the Book of Daniel 8:20, as being said by some) and in the Qur’an, we will find references to him. In Qur’an, the incredible journey he took is told much like the ones Alexander the Great had taken. He is famous with the name “Iskandar”. This is also interesting. Because of this, many believed the two are the same: Alexander the Great and Dhul-Qarnayn. You can join on this debate on the web.

The Third

Skanda (Murugan) is also of interest in the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusion

The identity of the first Alexander is obvious, the others are in debate.

From these notes what I can deduce is if we think out of the pronunciation, the meaning will give us hints: “The Protector of Men”. With this, all three (many more may exist) can make sense. It was the meaning they had in common, not the Greek word itself. And we know, Hellenistic culture once ruled over the known world and this may be the reason why the word itself is used for.