DIY-IT: How Linux and Open Source Are Bringing Do-It-Yourself to Information Technology

Follow the conventional IT media and you'll miss the new level of self-reliance and participation in Linux at companies large and small. Executives from Ernie Ball, Morgan Stanley and Ticketmaster explain the shift to “do-it-yourself”.

Without vendors, we wouldn't have magazines or tradeshows, to name two of my favorite things. It's important to the market's ecology for vendors to push their goods and tell their stories. The problem we've had—and still have—is a long lag between what's happening in the marketplace and how we cover the subject. And I believe that lag derives from the young ages of the industries involved. The computer industry is about 50 years old. The software industry is half that age. The Internet—which changed everything—began supporting business only about nine years ago. What we need are more stories from the demand side of the marketplace and more courage by those in positions to tell them. We also need publications that welcome those stories, with authors and editors and analysts to help tell them.

My friend Christopher Lydon (, a former reporter for the New York Times and host of NPR's “Connections”, believes what's happening in our industry—this DIY-IT movement—is profoundly Emersonian. He points to this encouraging prose from the author's seminal essay, “Self-Reliance” (

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost....There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.

We'll be doing our part here at Linux Journal. And, as always, we rely on your help as well.

Doc Searls ( is senior editor of Linux Journal. His monthly column is Linux for Suits, and his biweekly newsletter is SuitWatch.


Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal