Chapter 8. On the Shoulders of Giants

In the context of the profound changes we’ve already discussed, it should come as no surprise that software development in the Social Age has changed as well.

In a 1676 letter to his rival Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton talked about the importance of earlier discoveries by his predecessors: “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”[1]

Newton’s comment applies as much in our day to open software as it did to the discoveries he described in his brilliant Principia Mathematica. In the world of open software, building on the work of others is a fundamental principle. Collaboration, sharing of ideas, and discrete contributions made by a group of individuals produce ...

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