The Dragonflies of Eden

I don’t know about you, but dragonflies creep me out. They’re the hawks of the insect world: fast, voracious, and capable of catching their dinner on the fly — literally. In fact, long before birds showed up on this planet, giant dragonflies ruled the skies, with wingspans of two-and-a-half feet.

Imagine one of those suckers landing in your hair.

I found this dragonfly basking out in the open, just down the street from QNX headquarters. It’s much smaller than its Paleozoic ancestors, yet it performs a great service, by preying on mosquitos. Given that mosquitos in North America can spread West Nile virus, this is a good thing.

Moral: The thing that looks scary at first often turns out to be the best thing for you.

For example, at QNX Software Systems, we provided a closed source operating system for over 25 years. We could have taken the easy route and kept it closed. After all, why publish your source code or open up your development process when business is good? Better to play it safe, right?

We came to realize, however, that “opening the kimono” was nothing to fear. The more we thought about it, the more we understood that embracing a transparent and collaborative approach to software development was, in fact, healthy — both for QNX and for the people who use our technology. And the result was the hybrid software model.

As for me, I’m not ready to embrace dragonflies just yet. But I’m growing more open to the idea.

Tags: open source, QNX

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