I am not an Open Source fanatic. Nor do I have any source that circulates in an 'open' environment as prescribed by the GPL or any similar license. It is quite possible that I do not fully understand the implications and intentions of Open Source

That being said...

There are Open Source projects that are not collaborative. Many projects exist entirely within the scope of a single developer. A glance at Sourceforge will show many projects (don't look at the most active ones) that contain only a single developer - and he (or she) isn't looking for anyone else.

Open Source is about ownership - or rather the lack of it, or maybe the community ownership. It is the promise that no one will send corporate attack lawyers after you if you happen to borrow a snippet of code - and let others use yours just as easily.

Here, on Everything2 we are so often troubled by the Everything2 Copyright Problem. Poetry published recently cannot be legally noded. And quite rightly too - someone has placed their livelihood on selling copies of the book or album.

Unfortunately, many companies (and people in the general public) are making use of the 'Open Source' buzzword - in most cases to mean 'collaborative'.

Open Source does foster collaboration, but that is not the be all and end all of Open Source. Open Source is giving to the community, and only asking that what be made with it be given away too rather than sold.

Most often, the things open sourced are ideas with utility, however this doesn't have to be the case. Hypothetically, picture a song that has been 'Open Sourced', and that anyone can do covers of it without having to pay a royalty... The artist is free to take the song, modify it and enhance it. Others would then be able to work with that song. All the while, without worrying about infringing on any copyrights.

Open Source is about taking an idea - be it an emotion, a tune, or a process - and being able to freely use it and modify it and give it away again.