The Open Source Community and Collectivism

One of the corner-stones of Objectivism is its opposition to Collectivism. Namely considering a collective of individuals as more important than its individuals, or thinking that one should sacrifice the well-being or happiness of individuals for the collective.

The open-source world exhibits a very prosperous, active and often zealous community of users, contributors and advocates. Is this an instance of Collectivism?

No, it is not. Collectivism is not against forming collectives. Some collectives, like many countries, cities, and businesses, clubs and so on are or can be benevolent. The only problem comes when the leaders of the collective stress the welfare of the collective above the welfare of its individuals. This is generally not the case for the Open Source community.

Moreover, the members of the Open Source community are active there at will. There’s no force, threat of force, or fraud directed at anyone to convince them to become an open-source user or activist. If people just use open-source software because of its benefits or lower price, without contributing anything back, it is considered OK and fully allowed by the licences of the software.

Thus, the open source community is not a collectivist phenomenon, and participating in it should not be regarded as such.