The Open Source Economy
- Second sight: Open source is a model for education, and social services - Imagine a society where the computer hacker isn't a figure of fear or derision, but something of a national hero (Linus Torvalds). Imagine a country where the leading thinkers and policy-makers are comfortable with the idea of "open source" - not just as software, but as a model for education, social services, even democracy itself. As a technoculture, Finland is much more than the might of Nokia and its latest stockmarket valuations. The higher values of the net - participation, sharing of resources, love of knowledge - seem deeply hard-wired into this culture. The latest evidence is a new book by philosopher Pekka Himanen, endorsed by Torvalds, called The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age.
- Amazon.com: The Hacker Ethic - I've never read a clearer, more erudite, more persuasive demolition of the old Protestant Work Ethic than Pekka Himanen's essay in this book. And that clarity comes from being part of a new constituency - the hacker community - who are redefining what it is to be a passionate, active, creative, tool-wielding human being (ie, it's much more than just being a "worker"). And rather than the Hacker Ethic being the usual pizza-stained celebration of digital anarchism you find in hacker commentary, Himanen begins to construct a real and tangible politics out of the self-organising energies of hackerdom. What might the hacker ethic mean for how we build educational institutions, as communities of inquiry rather than job factories? For how we generate technological innovation, in ways that don't always depend on the furies of the market? For how we might provide social services amongst ourselves, rather than waiting for politicians and bureaucrats to deliver?
- Amazon.com: Excerpt from The Hacker Ethic: The Hacker Ethic - It is not only the hackers' "jargon file" that emphasizes this general idea of being a hacker. At the first Hacker Conference in San Francisco in 1984, Burrell Smith, the hacker behind Apple's Macintosh computer, defined the term as follows: "Hackers can do almost anything and be a hacker. You can be a hacker carpenter. It's not necessarily high tech. I think it has to do with craftsmanship and caring about what you're doing." Raymond notes in his guide "How to Become a Hacker" that "there are people who apply the hacker attitude to other things [than software], like electronics and music — actually, you can find it at the highest levels of any science or art." Looked at on this level, computer hackers can be understood as an excellent example of a more general work ethic — which we can give the name the hacker work ethic — gaining ground in our network society, in which the role of information professionals is expanding. But although we use a label coined by computer hackers to express this attitude, it is important to note that we could talk about it even without any reference to computer people. We are discussing a general social challenge that calls into question the Protestant work ethic that has long governed our lives and still maintains a powerful hold on us.
- Technology prepares to cross the Finnish line - Finland seems to be riding an extraordinary stroke of historical luck. The egalitarian grain of their national culture has met the cutting blade of the network society - and they're speedily carving out a new information society from the collision. Linturi reminds me that, even before the post-Cold War recession of the early 1990s, the Finnish government was establishing bodies such as Sitra (their infamous Ministry Of The Future), which made the potentials and pitfalls of a network society a matter of heated public debate. So Nokia's famous corporate turn - from boots and colour TVs, to software and mobiles - took place within a rich culture of theorising about the future. Go to Risto Linturi's own website, and you will even see his own detailed sci-fi chronology for the next 50 Finnish years.
- Network Society has new tools for learning, but it also redefines what learning means - Computers and communication change our environment. They will change how we teach and how we learn but they also change what we need to learn and who actually learns. Networked people and their computers resemble more and more neurological networks. If we think about learning and what it means - it means that we reach correct decisions more often or faster. For an individual this means better connections between neurons in our brains and suitable chemicals in their nearness. If we give each employee a mobile phone - organization reaches correct information faster and makes decisions faster - it has learned. Organizations have to be taught as living organisms where part of teaching happens through creating communication links and automated routines. Just compare this to the way the braincells interlink and reinforce the links. Similarities are clear. We measure IQs to get a feeling for people's brain capacity. The more connections and the faster pathways the higher IQ. Organizational intelligence can be increased by enabling better and more dynamic communications channels and information systems inside organizations and in our networked society also between interlinked organizations and their customers at home.
- Creating virtual learning environment for SMEs - Emerging new ways of doing business and organising work means that we also have to create new ways to organise training. The purpose of this paper is to describe one approach to network-based learning, a new way of organising training for SMEs in virtual learning environment using Internet and videoconferencing. In this paper I am going to describe two successful projects, Virtual Workplace and Virtual Expo & Business Center. The aim of the projects is to help SMEs utilise information and communication technology in their business activities. A virtual learning environment has been designed and implemented in these projects. To create a new learning environment is, however, not enough. In addition, there is a need to design a new kind of curriculum that enables us to narrow the gap between training and business. Training can no longer be seen as a separate function. Instead it should be seen as an important part of work and as a development project of a company. Amiedu Net College is a virtual learning environment which provides SMEs flexibility in time and place, and moreover, gives a possibility to combine learning and doing business.
- Blueprint for a City - The Glasgow Telecolleges Network (GTN) is a partnership of ten Further Education Colleges supported by the four local universities, the Scottish Office, the Scottish Council for Educational Technology, the Strathclyde European Partnership and the Glasgow Development Agency. The GTN has implemented an ATM-based 155 Mbps infrastructure which supports currently 85,000 students and offers on-line learning, video-conferencing and access to data services. Its key target audiences are Small and Medium Sized Companies (SMEs) and disadvantaged learners. The City of Glasgow Council has taken the strategic decision to establish links between the GTN and initially its secondary but in the short term all its schools. The GTN and the Higher Education Metropolitan Network are already linked. Other partners such as the Public Libraries network intend to link to the GTN. Other access points in shopping malls and other public places are likely.
- The Hacker's Ethic - Sadly, due to the traditional ignorance and sensationalizing of the mass media, the once-noble term hacker has become a perjorative. Among true computer people, being called a hacker is a compliment. One of the traits of the true hacker is a profoundly antibureaucratic and democratic spirit. That spirit is best exemplified by the Hacker's Ethic.
- Internet, Innovation, and Open Source: Actors in the Network - A distinctive characteristic of open source projects, when compared with traditional corporate software development projects, is the way intellectual property rights are handled. One key innovation in open source has been the GNU General Public License (Stallman, 1999), which has made it possible to legally improve and adopt software developed by others, at the same time facilitating continuous improvement. In the history of software, open source models have, however, been used before copyrights became an issue. For example, it has been estimated that about half of the operating system programs for CTSS, an early time-sharing system at MIT, were developed by the users of the system. One of the motivations for launching the ARPANET project in 1960s was the belief that by connecting different computing sites, communities of computer programmers could more efficiently share their programs and knowledge. Indeed, two of the most influential visionaries of ARPANET, J.C.R. Licklider and Robert Taylor argued in great detail in 1968 that such online communities would radically transform computer programming, but also society, work, and human thinking. Although they saw security and privacy as important challenges in online communities, their underlying assumption was that - within a given access control policy - software could be freely used and shared.
- The Magic Cauldron - This paper analyzes the evolving economic substrate of the open-source phenomenon. We first explode some prevalent myths about the funding of program development and the price structure of software. We present a game-theory analysis of the stability of open-source cooperation. We present nine models for sustainable funding of open-source development; two non-profit, seven for-profit. We continue to develop a qualitative theory of when it is economically rational to be closed. We then examine some novel additional mechanisms the market is now inventing to fund for-profit open-source development, including the reinvention of the patronage system and task markets. We conclude with some tentative predictions of the future.
- Homesteading the Noosphere: The Hacker Culture as Gift Economy - To understand the role of reputation in the open-source culture, it is helpful to move from history further into anthropology and economics, and examine the difference between exchange cultures and gift cultures.
- Open-Source Biology And Its Impact on Industry - In 50 years, you may be reading IEEE Spectrum on a leaf. The page will not actually look like a leaf, but it will be grown like a leaf. It will be designed for its function, and it will be alive. The leaf will be the product of intentional biological design and manufacturing. Rather than being constantly green, the cells on its surface will contain pigments controlled by the action of something akin to a nervous system. Like the skin of a cuttlefish, the cells will turn color to form words and images as directed by a connection to the Internet of the day. Given the speed with which the cuttlefish changes its pigment, these pages may not change fast enough to display moving images, but they will be fine for the written word. Each page will be slightly thicker than the paper Spectrum is now printed on, making room for control elements (the nervous system) and circulation of nutrients. When a page ages, or is damaged, it will be easily recycled. It will be fueled by sugar and light. Many of the artifacts produced in 50 years and used in daily living will have a similar appearance and a similar origin. The consequences of mature biological design and manufacturing will be widespread, and will affect all aspects of the economy, including energy and resource usage, transportation, and labor. Today, electronic paper and similar display technologies are just around the corner, but in the long run they will not be able to compete with the products of inexpensive, distributed biological manufacturing. Growing engineered leaves for display devices may seem a complex biological engineering feat, but foundations for the technology are already being laid. Structurally simple replacement human tissues are currently being grown in the laboratory on frameworks of suture material. Projects to grow functional human heart tissue, and eventually a whole heart, are under way, with a timeline for completion of 10 years.
- Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution
- Business Models for Open Source Hardware Design - The concept of open source hardware has the potential to solve many of the problems currently facing the semiconductor industry. Commodity electronic components and implementations of industry standard protocols may be more efficiently designed and distributed in an open source fashion. Furthermore, the widely heralded system-on-chip revolution will require the "commoditization" of semiconductor intellectual property, which may in many cases be more efficiently produced in an open source model. This paper will explore those ideas and propose possible business situations in which the open source hardware model could be successful.
- Walking the open-source walk - Eric Raymond incorporates reader insights into his essay on the open-source economy.
- InfoWorld: DOWN TO THE WIRE.(open-source software)(Industry Trend or Event) - Is the open-source movement going to revolutionize the software economy? I believe so, but not the way some idealists paint it. They behave as if the open-source and free software revolution is the dawn of a new world order in which programmers work entirely for the personal satisfaction of seeing others benefit from their work. In this future utopia, we all freely share our contributions as we tie-dye T-shirts and tiptoe through the daisies in our copious spare time. The problem with this view is that it implies that money and personal satisfaction are mutually exclusive motives for programming. The worst extremists can make it sound as if anyone who holds a regular job has broken communion with the voodoo spirit of emacs. As propitiation, they have to sacrifice weekends with the family to code open source.
Well, I've got a news flash. Money and personal satisfaction aren't mutually exclusive. Here's an even bigger shock: All programmers want to get paid for their work. Every single one of them. What distinguishes one type of programmer from another is the currency in which they want to be paid. Some want to be paid in recognition. Others want personal satisfaction. Some even want (gasp) money.