[AktiviX-discuss] Open Source book from Demos...

Dan dan at aktivix.org
Wed Nov 30 13:27:40 UTC 2005

Seen this?


Open source methods and their future potential

Authors/Editors: Geoff Mulgan, Omar Salem, Tom Steinberg

The rise of the Internet has made it possible for knowledge to be 
created and shared in ways that emphasise its character as a common 
good, rather than as something to be owned.

In the world of open source programming, the computer software is 
distributed under licence, allowing users to change or share the 
software’s source code – the human readable version of a computer programme.

This open and collaborative approach to creating knowledge has produced 
remarkable results, such as the Linux operating system and the web-based 
encyclopaedia Wikipedia. In defiance of the conventional wisdom of 
modern business, open source methods have led the main underlying 
innovations around the Internet.

Other fields have much to learn from open source methods – because they 
bring principles and working methods which can help to produce better 
knowledge, goods or services, or make them available on more widely 
beneficial terms.

 From the formulation of public policy to more open forms of academic 
peer review, setting up mutual support groups for people facing similar 
health problems to collaborative forms of social innovation, the 
principles of open source promise to radically alter the way we approach 
complex social problems.

The future potential of these methods is such that they will soon become 
commonplace in our lives. Just as it is now impossible to think about 
getting things done without considering the role of the Internet, so 
will it soon be impossible to think about how to solve a large social 
problem without considering the role of open methods.

Geoff Mulgan is Director of the Young Foundation and former Head of 
Policy in the Prime Minister's Office. Tom Steinberg is Director of 
mySociety and is currently a fellow at the Young Foundation. Omar Salem 
is a student at Oxford University and an intern at the Young Foundation.

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