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Open Source everywhere I turn

21 August 2007 One Comment


Is it just me or is this the year of open source? That ever elusive “year of Linux” may not arrive but certainly, it seems the virus of open source is taking hold. It certainly is happening in the kind of Web2.0 projects we are seeing coming up, and many businesses are choosing open business models of traditional models. Green is in, Green is good and open source is along for the ride. Or is it that suddenly because I am kind of focused on Open Source technologies, it starts sticking it’s head out at me from everywhere I look? I am truly being amazed at what’s happening in the world of open source, public domain, creative commons.. call it what you will. I have been writing a mini essay of sorts on the topic, which I began expressing parts of in this post about open source hardware and home fabrication.

Where do I start? Let’s start with the fact Peru had a large earthquake on the 16th August near the cities of Chincha (The Afroperuvian epicentre), Ica and Pisco. These places are approximately 140kms south of Lima, where my wife is from (and her family are living).

I subscribe to Treehugger RSS feeds and the same day as the Earthquake comes a post with Vinay Gupta, the brainchild of the Hexayurt project, an open source disaster relief shelter, to put it simply. I suggest Treehugger subscribers pitch in some funds to send Vinay to Peru to kick something off and Vinay responded with this post, to which I also responded. When Vinay was discussing the Hexayurt, he mentioned “wood gas fire” as seen in this clip

I happen to work with a guy who is right into his steam engines.. now, I don’t really discuss my “treehugger” leanings with him, as they burn coal in those things but the above wood burner did lead me to think about how a closed system steam engine might possibly be able to fit with the goals of yet another open source project called worldbike, which is a group of bicycle designers who make open source bicycle designs to build or modify an existing bike to be more suited to our brothers and sisters in Africa.

I would like to think that the goals of Open Source Green Vehicle are somewhat similar, in brief – a group of people who come together in like mindedness to share some of their skills for the betterment of humanity. People may not realise just how much Google has it’s hand in all this. Google is almost like the glue of all knowledge. Google has shown us to realise how powerful open business models can be and helps reward people for sharing their knowledge. Staying with the our OSGV project, for the moment. I came across this group of videos on youtube (now owned by google) that discusses in depth two big interests of mine. How to convert an engine to hydrogen and use it for both automotive use and / or when used in housing (whether emergency or not) it can provide a source of electricity, heating and clean water. Now, with the amount of instructional video content on youtube, it’s really a knowledge sharing platform just as powerful (if not more so) than Sourceforge or Wikipedia.

Vinay also linked to this Microcredit system being used in India, another area which I am interested in and I am not bullshitting about this, you can view my Amazon wishlist on this. I am currently on three weeks holiday. The first week (right now) I am in Canberra, the Capital of Australia doing my Vmware Virtual Infrastructure course. The following two weeks, I will be starting to code the beginnings of a Microfinance System that I will be writing in Django. I have been really working hard teaching myself Python (and Spanish) using my own modified version of the “Seinfieldian” system.

Now, it’s also worth mentioning that through Vinay’s posts, I ended up finding “The Open Business Guide” and Open Source Ecology that Vinay offered up to me, which I haven’t yet had time to have a good read of as yet.

I could write a lot longer of the “bizaare” sequence of events but I have some reading to do.

Richard Stallman may yet become the modern day Marx, the way things are going..

The simplest example of open source that I use as an analogy is

“imagine eating in a restaurant where you loved the food and the chef was willing to share the whole recipe with you – you may go home and make it yourself but if he is a good chef, you will no doubt return for ‘his way’ of preparing the dish” – this is the nature of open source, to give something to humanity and yet you lose nothing.

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One Comment »

  • Vinay Gupta said:

    Pray God, not Marx.

    Stalin: 60 million served.

    Mao: 45 million served.

    Hitler: 20 million served. (historical links between national socialism and Marx are much weaker than for the other two, of course.)

    Pol Pot: 2 million served.

    Yeah. For reasons I don’t clearly understand, this Marx thing just doesn’t seem to run all that well, although the code looks fine. Mandelbugs.

    The key to Stallman’s work is that he’s found a form of collectivization which is free of coercion, at least this far. I do agree that he’s a very, very great thinker who’s work will have massive long term effects, but hopefully NOT MARX… hahahahah

    Vinay

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