Springingtiger's Blog

My “Open Source” Blog

There is something very gratifying when one finds oneself quoted in someone else’s blog. Another friend of mine recently asked to quote me, I replied that once my words had left my mouth they became a gift to anyone who would listen and they were free to use them as they chose. My words are my Giveaway in the Internet potlatch.
I was reading in Linux Format an excellent article about Linux Mint and I was thinking to myself that people like Clem Lefebvre who spend time and effort in making free, open source software available play a very special role in society. There are many of them, Linus Torvalds who gave us the Linux Kernel, and all the developers and contributors to forums so that ordinary people like me have access to quality software. A particular hero is Tim Berners-Lee, who not only invented the World Wide Web, but gave it away to the world rather than leveraging it for millions.
It is not only in the realm of software that we have people willing to share of their creativity, there is the excellent xkcd comic produced by Randall Munroe and many others who allow their material to be used and shared without charge. MySpace and YouTube have all sorts of musicians and filmmakers providing free entertainment.
The Web is awash with writers, some humorous, there are blogs and online magazines and newspapers, many of which provide their content for free.
Of course much of the free content on the Web is not open and it’s creators retain copyright, but they are still good enough to make it available without charge.
The internet may be seen by some as a money making opportunity, but for others it provides an opportunity to challenge society’s accepted models of finance and communication, putting control into the hands of ordinary people. Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to bypass the banks, and pitch their ideas directly to ordinary people who make contributions to make the idea reality. Crowdsourcing allows creators and designers to interact directly with the people, to test ideas and get feedback. Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding bring democracy into the creative process.Similarly the availability of blogging facilities and the interactivity of much online journalism democratises communication and news dissemination.
There is a tale of a man who on his death was invited to choose between heaven and hell. He asked what was the difference and was given the opportunity to visit both. In hell the people sat at a sumptuous banquet, but were miserable and hungry because the chopsticks were so long they could not get food into their mouths. Heaven at first glance was similar to hell, same banquet, same long chopsticks, but in heaven the people were happy and well feed because they were feeding each other.
I was so pleased to see that JK Rowling has lost her billionaire status because of the amount of money she gives to charity. What a wonderful woman, while others try to amass ridiculously large fortunes, she is giving hers away to make the world better for other people!
If we give up our selfishness which is just a manifestation of fear, and instead learn to share we can all participate and live well while ending the outmoded greed based structures upon which society was previously based. If we opened up and learned to share freely this could be a great world in which to live.
I am not so arrogant that I expect people to want to use what I write, but I am inspired enough by the idea of open source to declare my blog copyright free. An acknowledgment (or pingback) would be nice, but please “feel free”!


1 Comment so far
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Great post! And I love the little story about the difference between Heaven & Hell.

Comment by Mados

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