re: How do you explain open source to people who lack a programming background? VIEW POST


At most restaurants, if you went to the chef and asked, “I’m sorry, I love your burrito; could I get the recipe?” they would refuse — this is not Open Source. Open Source is when, in addition to the product, you also have access to all the ingredients and the recipe, meaning you can replicate the whole burrito right at home.

Now imagine you start making this burrito, but you come to the conclusion that you want to cut down on the meat. So you replace it with avocado. In that case, you take the recipe, exchange the meat for the avocado, follow the rest of the steps to the letter, and check what comes out.

It may turn out that your dish tastes better than the meal at the restaurant. If the restaurant were run like an Open Source project, you could then go to the chef and say, “Hey, your burrito is great, but I’ve added avocado and now it’s even better! You can add it to your menu.”



Thanks, though I disagree. It's just a fitting metaphor, in my opinion :)

That's why I find it genius. It is a very fitting metaphor understandable by anyone with common sense.


Recipes was the first thing that came to mind when reading the question. You summed it up really good.

I'd like to add that the money isn't made from the recipe itself. It's made in the restaurant, by having a service, other features, ingredients, etc... Same with open source. Vim doesn't make you any money, but what you produce with Vim might.


Ha! Haven't thought about it this way. You're right that this analogy goes even deeper than I imagined :)

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