Linux and open source have long struggled to gain acceptance from the wider (read: non-technical) audience. This has improved in recent years, but still has a long way to go. Columnist Matt Asay suggests that perhaps open source projects should attempt to emulate Apple's design philosophy, with whoever succeeds becoming the "winner" of the hearts and minds of the vast majority of users. "Some projects already accomplish this to some extent. The strength of Mozilla, for example, is that it has figured out how to enable 40 percent of its development to be done by outside contributors, as BusinessWeek recently wrote. The downside is that these contributors are techies, but the upside is that they're techies who add language packs, accessibility features, and other "niche" areas that Mozilla might otherwise struggle to deliver. This suggests a start: enable your open-source project to accept meaningful outside contributions that make the project reflective of a wider development community. But the real goldmine is broadening the definition of "developer" to include lay users of your software. The day that I, as a nontechnical software user, can meaningfully participate in an open-source project is the day that open source will truly have won."
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