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open movement?

I’m supposed to be doing a radio piece for Nora Young’s CBC show, spark. I’m supposed to come up with a sort of mission statement for the piece, maybe you can help.

it’s a problem because I have been struggling with just that since I started getting interested in it a couple of years ago. so, dear internet, what is the thread that ties these together?:
-mass collaboration (open source method)
-giving stuff away (commons, gpl, public domain)
-free access to information (universal access to all human knowledge)

wikipedia, free software, open source, universal access to all human knowledge, the commons… these are all strands of something that’s not quite unified, but comes from the same impulse … so what is that? I call it the “open movement” but that’s not quite right. the free and open movement is clunky, and still not right.

[note, i’ve been thinking more and more about the negatives that come with this. each step of “liberation” in parts of human society, is usually accompanied by restrictions elsewhere. what are the implications for freeing information and enabling mass collaboration?]

how about: what happens when the network frees information and allows us all to collaborate together? how will this change the way the world looks?

ach. just writing to spur some thoughts. anyone have some thoughts for me?


  1. Hugh Hugh 2008-02-15

    well it’s much more than culture. business. software. collaboration. etc.

  2. Chris Chapman Chris Chapman 2008-02-15

    hmm, I see your point, though I think those things can all be covered by a sufficiently broad definition of ‘culture’. (and there are two ways to read it… ‘culture that’s free’ and ‘the culture of making things free’… I expect that’s intentional, but I haven’t read Lessig’s book)

  3. Hugh Hugh 2008-02-15

    OK, but missed in there is open collaboration, which is the other side of things that needs to be caught in the idea

  4. Mat Mat 2008-02-15

    thinking. will get back to you.

  5. Mat Mat 2008-02-17

    i assume you’ve seen this?

    like howard, think the world is waking up to the realization that we can create more value for more people by giving and working together (to whatever limited degree) rather than purely competing.

    but i think we need to be careful about some of the examples that are cited. the ultimatum dilemma applies to a lot of online collaboration, i think. would wikipedia (or librivox for that matter) have been as successful (that is, built such a large community of volunteers) if the sites had an explicit profit motive for the founders? i imagine people would have been less inclined to give freely of their time if they knew they were putting money in someone else’s pocket, and getting for themselves only the ambiguous “improvement of the whole” type of benefit.

    i think the future lies is this kind of collaborative model, but where greater reward flows (i mean financial) come to the contributors. a “new economy” if you will, though the terms comes with so much baggage it pains me to use it.

    giving stuff away ties into the above. an ecosystem of tangible rewards i think will have to materialize to incent the community’s continued participation in such projects, especially as they see “open source” companies like mysql cash out for $1B

    with regards to free access to information, that already is (essentially) a reality… the future lies in putting filters on the information to make it more useful to people in their day to day lives (like

    so if there is a tie that binds the future of these movements together, i think it’s that the loop needs to be closed back in on the contributors for this movement to become sustainable.

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