This article is from Islam Online, and is an overview of the history and successes of the open source movement (NB - there’s no mention of Islam, Muslims or any other religion in the article, despite its source) :
The Puzzling Success of Open Source
Against many economic, production and social norms, open-source software has emerged as a serious challenger to proprietary software products. Steven Weber’s new book comprehensively tells the story.
You perhaps consider, as I do, Titanic and Lord of the Rings as cinematic marvels. The special effects of both movies were made on machines running the Linux operating system; the most famous of open-source software products. And, notably, some of the world’s most celebrated commercial and non-commercial institutions are running their daily operations on Linux-mounted machines—including Google, Amazon, Reuters, Merrill Lynch, DreamWorks, the American Departments of Defense and Energy and the National Security Agency in the US. What is it in open-source software that has made it such a success?
This article is a great introduction to the concept of open source; it’s uncomplicated without being patronising, avoids jargon, and has plenty of human interest and wider cultural reference that people can relate to – e.g. the above quote, or this section:
In 1983 a new Xerox laser printer arrived at the artificial intelligence lab of MIT, where programmer and researcher Richard Stallman worked. But unlike any other piece of hardware to come to the lab, the software that runs the machine was withheld. This meant that whenever a paper jam occurred, the lab researchers couldn’t do what they used to do—tinker with the software to solve the problem.
Stallman considered the shift in attitude unethical, and the next year resigned from his position at MIT to devote his life to free software.
Including these references and stories is a great way to keep people interested – after all, who hasn’t had a problem with a paper jam in a printer? – and allows people to better imagine the possible benefits of open source in a practical rather than an abstract way.