Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Open Source fragmentation and cognitive biases

I've just finished Predictably Irrational (it was nice, many of the of the theses I already knew from Internet articles - so it was not ground-breaking for me, but still I learned from it). In the seventh chapter of this book entitled "The High Price of Ownership" the author presents some surprising stories about how we "overvalue what we have". Apparently we all give much more value to things that we posses then to those that we could potentially have - this is a common cognitive bias.

This made me thinking. Wouldn't that explain the fragmentation of Open Source libraries (and CPAN in particular)? Would that not explain why one author values the miniature efficiency gains of his reinvented wheel over the robustness of time-tested code?

Maybe once we know how this mechanis works, we could design better Open Source library repositories, limitting the power of that fragmentation drive? Maybe by being more explicite about our choices we can become more rational?