Herbalism is a low-cost, accessible, community-powered, patent-free form of medicine. It’s also under threat from the patent-driven pharmaceutical business. Could the values and struggles of open-source software proponents have much in common with herbalists?
In his article that likens herbalism to open source software, Thierry Gagnon draws on the many parallels that exist between the world of coding and the world of medicine. Both have a very strong business model that is based on patents and on limiting what others can do with ideas and processes. Both also have a strong and growing movement that counters this exclusivity and demonstrates that good effects can be had with openness and inclusion, with a world where knowledge is not hoarded for profit and where applications can be developed by anyone able to do so.
As I said in a comment to the article
“Herbalism (and nutrition, including supplements) are the open source “poor cousins” of pharmaceutical medicine.
Like the open source and free software movement in computering, herbalism and nutrition will be taking over from their more closed (and generally much more expensive) alternatives in the years to come.
As a matter of fact, there is nothing keeping us from speculating that in the future, openness may become the standard where today, intellectual property reigns pretty much supreme.”
You can read the article at Herbalism: Open Source Medicine