Tom Sawyer, and the open-source fence-painting project.


I graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Open Source movement was starting to capture public imagination. In the 1st half of the 1st decade of the 21st century, we engineers joked about carrying our precious code sewn in our underpants.

I majored in Artificial Intelligence. I wrote code to implement algorithms in a machine learning lab. We kept the source code secure and gave away executables.  That was job security. Let another copy your source code? You must be insane!

Today, we look back and laugh.

Today, software developers worry about not giving away their code quickly enough. Today, developers not only give away code for free, they go to great lengths to ensure that other developers find it easy to use in their work and modify. Today, work gets done in collaborative communities. And it gets done faster, cheaper and better.

Like Tom Sawyer and the fence!


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