Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category
The Power of Open collects the stories of many creators. Some are like ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative news organization that uses CC while partnering with the world’s largest media companies. Others like nomadic filmmaker Vincent Moon use CC licensing as an essential element of a lifestyle of openness in pursuit of creativity. The breadth of uses is as great as the creativity of the individuals and organizations choosing to open their content, art and ideas to the rest of the world.
As we look ahead, the field of openness is approaching a critical mass of adoption that could result in sharing becoming a default standard for the many works that were previously made available only under the all-rights-reserved framework. Even more exciting is the potential increase in global welfare from the use of Creative Commons’ tools and the increasing relevance of openness to the discourse of culture, education and innovation policy.
How is it possible that volunteers from all over the world, who might never see each other in real life and who have different backgrounds and interests, are able to create complex software? This question remained in my mind throughout this research.
Research shows that people who participate in open source communities frequently do so because they enjoy sharing their knowledge and they hope to learn from the knowledge they receive from others. Together participants are able to achieve great things: they develop software programs that are surprisingly reliable and used by many individuals, corporations and governmental organizations worldwide. One of the most important lessons I learned from talking to the many open source developers and enthusiasts is that you cannot write a complex software program without the help of others. These other people should not be confined to software programmers with similar skills and interests. On the contrary you need people who have different software development skills and even people who lack such skills altogether. Each performs a part in the quest to together improve the quality of the software.
Access is so superior to ownership, or possession, that it will drive the emerging intangible economy. The chief holdup to full-scale conversion from ownership to omni-access is the issue of modification and control. In traditional property regimes only owners have the right to modify or control the use of the property. The right of modification is not transferred in rental, leasing, or licensing agreements. But they are transferred in open source content and tools, which is part of their great attraction in this new realm. The ability and right to improve, personalize, or appropriate what is shared will be a key ingredient in the advance of omni-access. But as the ability to modify is squeezed from classic ownership models (think of those silly shrink-wrap warranties), ownership is degraded.
The trend is clear: access trumps possession. Access is better than ownership.
The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself. This technical strategy has led to the creation of a gigantic network of far-flung innovators who develop standards with one another and share the products of their work in the form of free and open-source software.
I don’t think education is about centralized instruction anymore; rather, it is the process establishing oneself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity.
Neoteny, one of my favorite words, means the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood: idealism, experimentation and wonder. In this new world, not only must we behave more like children, we also must teach the next generation to retain those attributes that will allow them to be world-changing, innovative adults who will help us reinvent the future.