The getting fired for blogging discussion is highly interesting when seen from the Open Source perspective. The basic question then is: Does the Open Source collaborative model lead to a more sound relationship between Open Source companies and their employees?
I can whole heartedly answer with yes.
The key to a sound relationship between a company and its employees is independence – not only in the Open Source business. In general, any relationship between humans can only work if all parties can keep their independence.
The term independence, as I understand it, includes the ability for mutually beneficial consensus. Only individuals or organisations who are able to act independently, can find healthy solutions in a conflict situation.
Such an understanding of independence includes, paradoxically enough, that you are very much aware of your dependence. You simply know that nothing great can be achieved in life, if you are doing it solely on your own.
The freedom of an individual or an organization to shape its future, leads to the afore described independence. Because freedom implies that the executing party is responsible for failures and successes. This inevitably leads to understanding independence as a result of responsibility and freedom, with the awareness of dependence.
From here on, it is simple to put together the pieces: When working in an Open Source project that appreciates your contributions, you gain self-confidence. Even if you’d never become a core-developer of the project, even little success can make you feel proud and aware of your abilities. This makes you more independent from others, because with knowing what you can achieve, you can better achieve what you want.
Business organizations who employ an Open Source developer, always have to respect that this person is being respected by the Open Source project’s community. The employee’s self-confidence is fueled by a community, not necessarily by the company that pays his salary. Although working in a company, especially if it is an Open Source company, can be very rewarding.
Now ask yourself, how big problems with blogging can really become in an Open Source company like MySQL or eZ systems? I’d say that they tend towards zero, because any Open Source undertaking is based on the kind of independence and mutual respect laid out here.