Organic Software

Today, I attended a small barcamp about cooperatives and I met so many smart, caring and interesting people. The conference took place at the head office of the German newspaper taz, a cooperative itself. And somehow, one thought has resonated with me since then, a simple thought. It's about eggs.

Someone made the point that cooperatives and open source software share some underlaying principles. Both have to and do exist in and despite a capitalist society — a topic for another day — and it's not about money in the first place. After that short session, I spoke with another person in the staircase. Why would — and should — companies pay for software they could get for free? Why should they pay for maintenance?

For some, it's not about the software itself, about money not necessarily in the first place, but more importantly about how it's made. They care. That moment, I had to think about organic eggs from the local supermarket.

In theory, I could get some hens and some land and some food for the hens and put some work and care into them and at the end of the day: eggs. On the other hand, I also could just go to the store and buy some. Usually I go for the organic ones. But why do I pay more money for organic eggs if I could get some eggs way cheaper?

It's not about the eggs.