Once upon not a too distant time in the past, there were research labs abundant at least in the US. Remember Bell Labs, Palo Alto, T.J. Watson ? The last is still operational and that is probably the reason why IBM is such a great company. These labs were the center of innovation, this is where inquisitive minds were pushing the envelope of their imagination and creativity, this is where it all started, and then they faded away. It came to pass that they were center as cost centers and were closed down to save some money. Well you know what happens to a body once the brain is shut off, it is clinically dead. Brain transplants in humans as well as corporations seem to be inefficient. One cannot have someone else do the thinking ( outsource innovation ) and expect to remain sentient. The net result will be more like senility.
Innovation and creativity is in the heart of every human being, it is a veritable driving force. We all aspire to something greater, from the plains’ Indians who were looking for a quest to the kids in high school dreaming to surpass Einstein or draw better than Giotto. Once upon a time then, the inquisitive people were dreaming of working in such centers and were actively pursuing that dream, and lo and behold great miracles started coming from those centers.
Now switch to the modern age where absolute profit maximization is the only corporate goal. The centers were closed but the people’s brains were not turned off. New kids were coming of age eager to test their mettle against the old brains. New ideas were brewing, fresh blood was growing up with the now mythical centers of excellence as their shangri-las. This power, this ecstasy of creation found a way to express itself in Open Source development. There one could explore the geography of ones mind and push their limits of creativity and imagination. The rest as they say is history, it started with the GNU tools, BSD unix, Linux, and now with a vast range of applications which are sometimes substandard yet other times absolutely glorious.
I am curious about the next level, too bad I stopped growing up and now I am growing old.